Jeffrey Archer - Nothing Ventured
"...Archer is always so wonderfully readable."
William Warwick has always wanted to be a detective, and decides, much to his father's dismay, that rather than become a barrister like his father, Sir Julian Warwick QC, and his sister Grace, he will join London's Metropolitan Police Force.
After graduating from university, William begins a career that will define his life: from his early months on the beat under the watchful eye of his first mentor, Constable Fred Yates, to his first high-stakes case as a fledgling detective in Scotland Yard's Art and Antiques squad. Investigating the theft of a priceless Rembrandt painting from the Fitzmolean Museum, he meets Beth Rainsford, a research assistant at the gallery who he falls hopelessly in love with, even as Beth guards a secret of her own that she's terrified will come to light.
While William follows the trail of the missing masterpiece, he comes up against suave art collector Miles Faulkner and his brilliant lawyer, Booth Watson QC, who are willing to bend the law to breaking point to stay one step ahead of William. Meanwhile, Miles Faulkner's wife, Christina, befriends William, but whose side is she really on?
William Warwick is the fictional character as created and written by the fictional character, Harry from Archers' Clifton Chronicles. Are you still with me on this one? You don't have to have read the Clifton Chronicles as Archer is clever enough to make this series a springboard for any new reader.
We start with William's beginnings with the police force and his promotion to Scotland Yard, especially due to his studies on art and antiquities. His first case is to track down a Rembrandt and the sly Miles Faulkner.
I really enjoyed reading about Warwick, however I felt that after his visit to Monte Carlo, William sort of blended in to the background, rather than take centre stage, which was a shame. I did enjoy the courtroom dramas, especially the ones involving William's father and sister, but as I said, they seemed to push William out of the picture (pardon the pun!).
Having read Archer's usual fare, 'Nothing Ventured' is quite slight compared to his other books. Even though I enjoyed the cat and mouse case with Faulkner, I didn't really get to know the players in this drama. I hope that over time more will be revealed about these new characters. Regardless of my minor niggles, Archer as always is a fabulous teller of tales and if nothing else, Archer is always so wonderfully readable.
Reviewed by: C.S.