Lord Ravenscliff, John Stone, was a circumspect private
man and the lynch pin of a financial empire.
He fell to his death out a second story window; his fear of heights was
well known and raises red flags for reporter Mathew Braddock. Lord and Lady Ravenscliff have no children,
until a short time before his death his will left all worldly goods to his
wife. The will was altered leaving a
bequest to his child, a child no one knew he had fathered. Lady Ravenscliff is shocked but determined to
honor her husband’s intentions. She
hires Braddock to find her husband’s child.
As he searches Braddock uncovers the false foundation of Stone’s empire,
a misstep could leave the world financial markets teetering on the brink of
disaster. Sound familiar? Arms dealers, financial skullduggery, stocks
reflecting nothing more than smoke and mirrors?
In the afterward Ian Pears says: “What
surprised me most (although perhaps it should not have done) was that however
much the world changes, human nature stays the same. The great constant in
finance is the tendency of men to become befuddled by their own success, making
them willing to take greater risks and eventually be brought down by their own
vanity, which can easily overcome the most sophisticated expertise.” If
you want a ripping good mystery, elegant writing, and an intricate plot, Stone’s
Fall is just the ticket.
At his London home, John Stone falls out of a window to his death. A financier and arms dealer, Stone was a man so wealthy that he was able to manipulate markets, industries, and indeed entire countries and continents. Did he jump, was he pushed, or was it merely a tragic accident? His alluring and enigmatic widow hires a young crime reporter to investigate. The story moves backward in time—from London in 1909 to Paris in 1890 and finally to Venice in 1867—and the attempts to uncover the truth play out against the backdrop of the evolution of high-stakes international finance, Europe’s first great age of espionage, and the start of the twentieth century’s arms race. Stone’s Fall is a tale of love and frailty, as much as it is of high finance and skulduggery. The mixture, then, as now, is an often fatal combination.
About the Author
Iain Pears is the author of the bestsellers An Instance of the Fingerpost and The Dream of Scipio and a novella, The Portrait, as well as a series of acclaimed detective novels, a book of art history and countless articles on artistic, financial and historical subjects. He lives in Oxford, England.
“When I read Iain Pears' An Instance of the Fingerpost years ago, I thought it was so brilliantly plotted, so compulsively entertaining, so utterly engrossing that I gave it to my father and said, 'This is the new Dickens.' Stone's Fall is better.”—Malcolm Gladwell
“Mr. Pears’s assured command of period history, language, lore, and attitudes is formidable.”–The Wall Street Journal