Books: Follow The Paper

A swashbuckling P.I. takes on stock fraud

Fiction's private investigators now come in so many colors and flavors that it's easy to overlook their fundamental similarities. Regardless of gender, race or sexual tilt, the best of them still fit Raymond Chandler's classic definition: "He will take no man's money dishonestly and no man's insolence without a due and dispassionate revenge."

Those stern principles are upheld with conspicuous dignity by Benjamin Weaver, the swashbuckling shamus in David Liss's genre-stretching first novel, A Conspiracy of Paper (Random House; 442 pages; $25).

That's right, swashbuckling. Armed with snubby flintlock and limber blade, Weaver does his crime busting in London during the...

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