From best seller to death-dealer, London's Plumtree Press has a world-class best seller of a novel. And the sequel is earmarked to get this old family firm out of the red.
But its anonymous author, known to Plumtree only as "Arthur," has apparently vanished, leaving the crucial last five chapters undelivered. Alex already knows they reveal the identity of the characters who smuggled British children to America during World War II. But, of course, this is fiction. So when a lead critic previews the book as a nonfiction expos, Alex is shocked. Even more so when the critic is murdered...and Alex finds himself the target of a ruthless hunt for the manuscript and bizarre attempts on his life.
Ducking newshounds, government officials, and the sniping of jealous publishers, Alex knows only one thing: If he can't find Arthur and untangle the truth, his next season's list may be a posthumous one.
I read the series years ago. I liked them then and was excited to listen to them. I always like a book where I learn something. The world of book publishing was something I knew nothing about. The books are adventures wrapped around little known historical events. That made them fun to read. And, that made up for any structural or story issues.
I took a chance on getting this (first book) in a series, after having previously read a later one out of order, and thinking maybe I found it kind of lackluster was because I didn't have the background the first books would have provided. So it turns out that that was sort of correct--I liked this one considerably better than the other one, but it still had a quality of seeming like an over-long listen.
Alex Plumtree is desperate to keep his publishing house going, and is depending upon a mystery writer whom he knows as "Arthur" to provide him with the remainder of a best selling novel about kidnapped children. Except there is beginning to be suspicion that this might not be fictional, but true. Furthermore, where is Arthur? He, and the missing end of the manuscript have disappeared. So it is a really good setup for a book. Dangerous things begin to occur and Alex is beginning to wonder who is trustworthy?
I think two things kept this book from being more interesting (to me). For one thing, it seemed longer than necessary, but more importantly, I didn't feel as if the characters (however well drawn they were) were that interesting (some more than others). The other concern was that Alex is portrayed as a rather young man, someone who is physically fit and has love interest, but my ears heard the narration making him sound more like an older man in the part, which left a disconnect in my listening experience somehow. But that is only my own opinion, others may not hear it that way. The premise of the book is interesting, and it has lots of places that are interesting, but it just seemed to be a little too stretched out somehow. Could have used a bit more editing. Better than I had expected, less engaging than I had hoped for. And I did like it better than the other one in the series I read previously.
3 of 6 people found this review helpful