"fascinating English perspective on the troublesome colonies"
He may be blind but Sir John Fielding is regarded as one of
the most intelligent magistrates in 1793 London. He
presides as a judge in court and leads investigations on
matters that are sensitive to England's interests. Lord
Hillsborough, the Secretary of State for the American
Colonies, is robbed and one of the footmen is dead. He
tells Sir John that he has no idea what the burglars were
after but the magistrate doesn't believe him.
After he reports to his superior, Sir John is ordered to
once again visit Lord Hillsborough who promises to be
forthcoming. He says a packet of letters were stolen but
he won't say how many or what was in them. Sir John's
assistant, Jeremy traces the purloined letters to Ben
Franklin and his confederate Arthur Lee. The latter is
seen boarding a ship heading to the colonies and Jeremy
presumes the letters are on board. Sir John is really not
interested in the politics but he is interested in justice
and will do all in his power to see the killer go to jail
no matter who it is.
It is fascinating to read about the English perspective on
the troublesome English colonies and how far radicals will
go in support of their solution. Bruce Alexander is a fine
storyteller and the historical detail he brings to the plot
only enhances the quality of AN EXPERIMENT IN TREASON.
Readers will continue to read the Sir John Fielding
mysteries because they are excellent period pieces.
Consistently hailed as "wonderful" (The New York Times Book
Review), the Fielding mysteries are a magical combination of
period ambiance, vivid characterization, and intriguing
plotlines. In An Experiment in Treason, a packet of
incendiary letters is stolen from the London residence of a
prominent official, and turns up in the colony of
Massachusetts. Why are the contents so controversial? Why
has a suspect in the theft turned up dead? And what should
Sir John do about his feeling that Benjamin Franklin himself
is somehow complicit? While the political tensions rise, Sir
John searches for answers and finds that justice isn't
always served by the letter of the law.