The Ways of the World: A James Maxted Thriller

Robert Goddard. Grove/Atlantic/Mysterious, $25 (416p) ISBN 978-0-8021-9104-5
The Paris peace talks of 1919 provide the backdrop for Edgar-winner Goddard’s enjoyable first in a trilogy featuring James “Max” Maxted, “late of the Royal Flying Corps.” When Max’s father, aging diplomat Henry Maxted, is found dead outside his mistress’s Montparnasse apartment building, the police and some members of the British delegation maintain Henry simply fell from the roof or jumped. Yet the doggedly curious Max and his sidekick—former plane mechanic Sam Twentyman—spot a pattern of suspicious circumstances indicating otherwise. Of particular note is the series of strange deaths of other diplomats that follows in the coming days. Goddard (Fault Line) evokes time and place with an expert hand. The plot, however, drifts lazily at times, lacking urgency, and is burdened with a confusingly large cast of characters. Max, however, is a likable hero, and fans of period mysteries set in times of historical transition will be satisfied. Agent: Mel Berger, William Morris Endeavor Entertainment. (June)
Reviewed on: 03/09/2015
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