David Beasley has written two detective novels both strikingly different. The Grand Conspiracy is fictional and follows the exploits of Detective Rudyard Mack. Mack's girlfriend's name is Arbuthnott. Makes you want to say -- Arbuthnott? Not. But that is in fact the name David Beasley has chosen to give this particular character in his book. This book is full of characters worthy of names that veer from the mainstream and follows the characters Arbuthnott Vine and Rudyard Mack first introduced in Beasley's novel The Jenny. The story itself centres around a crime committed in the New York Public Library, union politics, and... a grand conspiracy. Beasley has well-developed realistic characters even if he does tend towards the odd stereotype (an African-American woman is described as being like a wild antelope on the African plains, a mobster-type appears as a wise-cracking flunky, and a number of socialists hackneyed nonetheless). There is also the possibility that the viewpoint is supposed to be that of the detective Mack and not indicative of Beasley's vision, but still... But what the story lacks in strikingly novel descriptions it makes up for in plot. Straight-forward crime solving turns into an interesting look at the potential for big trouble in the world we know. Without giving too much away, The Grand Conspiracy touches on issues that are very current and which touch close to home - in particular, the stratification of our so-called egalitarian democratic society. Through Mack's investigations Beasley manages to showcase just how insidious certain elements inherent in our society are or could be. Detective Mack is somewhat wishy-washy in his own views despite his feisty girlfriend, and this is evident in his personal life where fidelity is questionable and his remorse almost non-existent. His association with Arbuthnott is interesting because of the evident differences. Beasley has written an intriguing, fast-paced detective novel. Snappy dialogue moves it along nicely and the characters become very real during the read. Funny names that give your brain a momentary spasm as you read aside, The Grand Conspiracy is worth picking-up.
Tannis Koskella - VIEW