Hoare and the Matter of Treason

Hoare and the Matter of Treason by Wilder Perkins. This “maritime mystery” was another recommendation from Carola Dunn on the Crime thru Time Yahoo group. Unfortunately, my library only had the last of the three books in the series that ended prematurely with the author’s death in 1999. Given the number of references to Captain Bartholomew Hoare’s previous adventures, I once again felt at an extreme disadvantage by not having read the series from its beginning. This is especially true of the non-mystery elements of the book, since the opening chapter is a description of Hoare’s wedding to the widow Eleanor Graves. Although some effort is made to describe how they met, I felt like I was ignorant of vital bits of information about their history together. The same holds true for Hoare himself and for the important members of his crew about the Royal Duke, a ship designed to be a sort of floating counterintelligence clearinghouse.

Hoare’s honeymoon is superseded by an order to report to the head of the fleet and Navy Intelligence in London. Once there, he is tasked with recovering “certain documents” that have disappeared from the Admiralty offices. But finding the papers only leads Hoare and his team deeper into a treasonous conspiracy in league with Napoleon’s spy master that involves assassination, kidnapping and danger for both himself and those he loves.

The setting at the start of the 19th century was interesting and the mystery and action of the story were of good quality, though sometimes the villains a bit too openly presented and the cameos by historical figures were annoying. However, what makes the story unique was also one of its major flaws. I found that the frequent use of London thieves’ cant and the abundance of nautical terms made for difficult reading at times and I will not pursue the other two volumes through ILL.

1 Response to “Hoare and the Matter of Treason”

  1. 1 Jade Rooster « The unset alarm clock Trackback on October 28, 2008 at 10:02 am

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