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A Spectacle of Corruption (Benjamin Weaver #2)

4.03  ·  Rating Details ·  2,534 Ratings  ·  187 Reviews
Benjamin Weaver, the quick-witted pugilist turned private investigator, returns in David Liss’s sequel to the Edgar Award–winning novel, A Conspiracy of Paper.

Moments after his conviction for a murder he did not commit, at a trial presided over by a judge determined to find him guilty, Benjamin Weaver is accosted by a stranger who cunningly slips a lockpick and a file into
Kindle Edition, 396 pages
Published March 4th 2004 by Random House (first published 2004)
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Richard Derus
Aug 09, 2014 Richard Derus rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rating: 4* of five

The Publisher Says: Moments after his conviction for a murder he did not commit, at a trial presided over by a judge determined to find him guilty, Benjamin Weaver is accosted by a stranger who cunningly slips a lockpick and a file into his hands. In an instant he understands two things: Someone had gone to a great deal of trouble to see him condemned to hang--and another equally mysterious agent is determined to see him free.

So begins A Spectacle of Corruption, which heralds
I loved this book, it was so...
exciting, interesting, clever, relevant and laugh out loud funny! In fact I almost choked a few times I laughed so hard.

This is the second installment of the fictional memoir from the life and times of Benjamin Weaver. I recommend reading his accounts in the order they are presented; A Conspiracy of Paper, A Spectacle of Corruption.

Weaver is a charming, handsome, capable man of action and former pugilist who makes an honest living as a thief-taker, debt-collecto
N W James
Jun 14, 2012 N W James rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
David Liss is just good at informing while telling a story. This is the third book I've read of his and each time I put his books down I think to myself, "Now that was a good book." And then, about 3 days later, I think to myself, "I actually learned stuffs from that read." In this case, I learned that elections have always had an ocean of hidden agendas simmering underneath them. I am currently vacillating between the horrifics and the comforts behind that realization.


Jan 25, 2015 Simon rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: judaica, fiction
Quite good, though perhaps not as good as the previous one in the series. The 'Jewish' angle is a lot less pronounced, which I guess is fine, but it was something I was interested in in the first book. The account of the 1722 election is fascinating and, I am supposing, well researched. I was only bothered by three places where the author used highly anachronistic language. In general, Liss does not reproduce 18th century English full-on, but he does a good job of giving a flavor of it. But he h ...more
Feb 13, 2012 Shari rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A Spectacle of Corruption is a story of the chaos that follows an election in 18th century England - and right smack in the middle of it is Benjamin Weaver, an ex-pugilist private investigator, who got pulled in in the mess by being accused of murder. Liss’s world and character building in this novel is simply captivating. The author’s use of language is just beautiful, helping put the reader quite at home in the setting. The election in question is filled with intrigues, political and social, b ...more
Mar 16, 2009 Jody rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jody by: Barb (of course) :)
A Spectacle of Corruption is a rare wonder of a book that educates, entertains, and tugs the heartstrings. Set in 1722 London against the backdrop of the first general election since the crowning of George I, this is the second installment of the story of Benjamin Weaver, Jewish ex-pugilist private investigator. David Liss is a master of characterization, creating complicated, compelling protagonists, and Weaver is no exception with his appealing combination of daring, determination, dry humor, ...more
Jan 15, 2016 Shawn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an exciting, fun read. An interesting look into what it might have been like in London in the 18th century. Employing the classic genre move of having the detective hero solve the crime in order to exonerate himself, we get a crash course in English politics and law of the time. Liss does a good job of capturing the language and the style of the times (or at least appearing to--I am not an expert in 18th century England and so I am sure he doesn't get it all correct. But it has the feel ...more
Peter Clothier
Aug 15, 2012 Peter Clothier rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Quite apart from the Olympic Games, which I have been watching on television, I seem to be finding myself in London a good deal this summer. A few days ago I finished---and wrote about--Wolf Hall, by Hilary Mantel, a historical novel set in 17th century London. Just yesterday, I finished A Spectacle of Corruption, by David Liss, a fine romp through the back alleys and drawing rooms of 18th century London, in the reign of George I. And no sooner done with that, I happened to pick up from my pile ...more
Aug 27, 2009 Nicole rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
A decent book that makes a better early draft than final version. In this book, Liss never found the balance between plot-forwarding action and the little details that give color to the main character's life even if they aren't strictly necessary. The book was too much a long series of actions strung together rather than a nicely flowing narrative. Even with this focus on the plot, the mystery takes so many twists and turns that the reader begins to forget what the problem was in the first place ...more
Sep 30, 2012 Wilson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A Spectacle of Corruption is a historical fiction set around the time of the 1722 General Election; it is a mystery novel built on the backdrop of Whigs and Tories jockeying for position, on Jonathan Wild, on Jacobites and the royal succession. This background is a really exciting place for David Liss to construct his story of Benjamin Weaver, the Jewish, former boxer, private invesigator. Liss takes the trappings of the typical hard-boiled noir story, the flashback structures, the outsider narr ...more
May 06, 2016 Gage rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Everyone should read this book this year - election year. If you think our political process is corrupt, read this book and find out how bad it could be. The title is taken from one of the politicians running for Parliament in the book who says that the political process in 1722 London is "a spectacle of corruption." Like all of Liss' books, it is a fabulous portrayal of historical events wrapped up in a great mystery.
The continuing story of Benjamin Weaver, a thief-taker. This is a story of his condemnation for murder and his determination to clear his name. The story of his love for Marion and her refusal to be with him. The plot is great, but the history of political process in the early 18th century is outstanding.

This is a wonderful read!
Georgia Carvalho
This is what great historical fiction should be like, rich with details, well developed characters and great integration of the historical background with the plot. It is a pleasure to read David Liss's books. I hope there will be more than three books in the Benjamin Weaver series because I can't get enough.
Gumble's Yard
Feb 18, 2017 Gumble's Yard rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010
Follow-up to A Conspiracy of Paper (a.k.a. The South Sea Company), the title of this book refers to the election – as (very interestingly given the seeming missing angle from the previous book) this book is based entirely around the 1722 General Election – the first Hanoverian election and fiercely contested between the Tories and the Whigs, with in the background the Jacobites plotting another revolution.

In many ways the plot is similar to the previous book: again there are two opposing sides w
Dec 20, 2016 Charles rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Peter Pactor
Feb 15, 2017 Peter Pactor rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the second time I have read A Spectacle of Corruption. The first time was about ten years ago. The book was still engaging, and a long enough time had elapsed so that it was relatively fresh. Mr. Liss does a great job of building interesting characters, a complex plot, and capturing the period of time in which the action takes place.

I am a fan of his writing, and I plan to reread the other volumes one more time. For me reading his books is pure pleasure.
Dec 31, 2016 Jennifer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked up this book at a second hand book sale not realizing it was 2nd in a series until I got on to Goodreads to add it to my book list. It reads very well as a stand alone. Fast-paced, lots of twists and turns. Provides an interesting insight in to British elections in the 18th century. Will re-read for sure and am now interested to hunt out the other books about Benjamin Weaver.
Lubov Yakovleva
Новые приключения Бена Уивера - еврея, бывшего бойца и настоящего ловца воров, искателя приключений.
Детектив - повод для автора рассказать о предвыборной гонке между вигами и тори в начале 18 века.
Коррупция, злодейства и жестокость.
Mar 03, 2017 Sophie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved the Benjamin Weaver books when I read them some years ago, but missed this one, which is a shame because it is a delight. Mr. Liss brings us into the world of British politics, with intriguing parallels to today. Well written and tightly paced, I had trouble putting this book down.
Allan Wiener
Feb 12, 2017 Allan Wiener rated it it was amazing

Once again David Kiss has tied a story line to history in a fascinating intrigue. His manner of writing creates a very enjoyable read.
In the mood for time travel to the 18th century, and remembered that the first book in this series (Conspiracy of Paper) was a pleasant, comfort food kind of read, so I was hoping to feel the same about the second. Abandoned by page 30 - just not compelling. Other comments mention that the Jewish perspective wasn't in this one, and that's what was so interesting about the first book
Jul 11, 2011 Anachronist rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What I liked:

The main character – nothing changed here. We deal here with a very likeable rouge but if you take into account the times he lived in and his underprivileged position within the English society you might judge him even less harshly. Of course Benjamin is hardly a saint - it makes him as well-rounded a character as I like. Despite tough conditions he always complies with his own set of rules although he is not forced to do it by anyone or anything, apart from his own conscience. Inde
Jan 13, 2015 S rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am certainly not an expert on 18th century England. It is not even a period I normally enjoy reading about, because whenever I think about it, my poor imagination presents me with images of hungry, sickly people shivering in dark hovels while well-fed aristocrats drink wine and make merry in well-lit parlors. But after reading A Spectacle of Corruption I now have a whole new set of images with which to remember the time period.

Images of games people played.....
"A plump goose was tied by its fo
When Benjamin Weaver went to a pub, he never expected to end up fighting for his life, let alone be arrested for the crime of killing a man he only met when the man saved his life during the struggle. But that's what taking jobs from mild-mannered preachers will get you. The minister had been threatened with violence if he didn't stop sermonizing against the Whig abuse of the poor, and asked Weaver -- detective, bounty hunter, thieftaker, shakedown man -- to find out who was responsible for the ...more
Mar 25, 2015 Jim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Benjamin Weaver is a thief catcher who plies his trade in eighteenth century London. As this story begins, he has been despondent and self-destructive for months since the woman he loves married another man. Eventually he decides to try to move on and regain a more normal life. He accepts a job from Mr. Ufford, a minister of the Church of England. Weaver’s task is to discover the author of a crudely written threatening note sent to Mr. Ufford. His investigation quickly leads him into a tangled w ...more
Dec 11, 2009 D.w. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
I am tempted to say that the convolutions that the book undergoes is almost not necessary to be a good read. But those twists and turns make it complex and a much better read because of them. We open at the trial for murder, so we have one body. Again bodies accumulate along the way, and we see into the heart of hero and his longing for the woman he loves.

These ingredients make a rich story and a deep one. We have the background of the first parliamentary election under George I and a thorough d
Jan 03, 2014 fiacha rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Se me dissessem que iria começar a ler tantos livros de Romance Histórico, diria que não seria possível, pois o que mais desejava descobrir eram livros de Ficção Cientifica até pelos muitos livros que tenho para ler da Coleção Argonauta. Mas quis o destino que começasse a ler mais este género e depois de ler “A Companhia do Diabo”, deste escritor, teria obviamente que ler mais e não perdi tempo. Este autor só não é o escritor revelação de 2013, pois li também o Dan Simmons, mas foi sem dúvida um ...more
Jul 30, 2008 Scot rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a sequel to the author's _A Conspiracy of Paper_, featuring the same hero, thief-catcher Benjamin Weaver, a pugilist Jew in Georgian England. I haven't read the first book, but found this one charming, entertaining, and very educational all at the same time.

Liss explores the levels and processes of corruption at work in London during a 1722 election for a representative to Parliament for Westminster, but the story is much more than just an insightful lesson in political science. The dial
Ronald Wise
Jul 22, 2011 Ronald Wise rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thoroughly enjoyed this detective mystery set in 1722 London. Written as a memoir by a Jewish thieftaker (the precursor to the modern private detective) who tries to clear his name after being wrongly convicted of murder, and then escaping from prison before his execution. His task already difficult enough, he finds his fate deeply entangled with the heated politics, labor disputes, and treasonous intrigue of the day.

The book is written in the informal style of a modern memoirist and one could
Anna S
Dec 09, 2012 Anna S rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good enough story but a great pity as the author could have made the story more engaging if he had committed to a theme and chosen to make the story more that just a bland retelling of events either by:
Adding some humor, giving it a tone of levity - many of the circumstances the character finds himself in border on the ridiculous and much of the story (false identities, plots within plots) lend themselves to comedy if the author had only given his character a sense of humor.
Or the author coul
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I am a novelist living in San Antonio, Texas, though, for the record, I am not from Texas. I just live here. I have four novels published: A Conspiracy of Paper (which won the Edgar Award for Best First Novel) and A Spectacle of Corruption were both national bestsellers. They are set in 18th century London and feature Benjamin Weaver, a Jewish former pugilist, thief-taker for hire. Weaver will be ...more
More about David Liss...

Other Books in the Series

Benjamin Weaver (4 books)
  • A Conspiracy of Paper (Benjamin Weaver, #1)
  • The Devil's Company (Benjamin Weaver, #3)
  • The Day of Atonement

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“It is in general and odd thing to reach some measure of fame and see one's name bandied about in the newspapers. It is quite another to see oneself turned into a chess piece in a political match. I should call myself a pawn, but I feel that does some disservice to the the obliqueness of my movements. I was a bishop, perhaps, sliding at odd angles, or a knight, jumping from one spot to another. I did not much like the feel of unseen fingers pinching me as I was moved from this square to that." - Benjamin Weaver” 1 likes
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