“Nothing Ventured”

“Nothing Ventured” by Jeffery Archer expands the background of William Warwick a reader favorite from Archer’s Clifton Chronicles. This is not a detective story; this is a story about a detective. Warwick is a detective with a rich history and a complicated career.  

“Nothing Ventured” opens when Warwick leaves school and, much to his father’s dismay, decides he wants to join the Metropolitan Police rather than become a pupil in his father’s chambers. Readers follow Warwick’s life and the varied and interesting cast of characters who cross his path, some good, some not so good, as he becomes a detective and eventually transfers to New Scotland Yard.

Archer brings Warwick to life for readers through the detailed background of Warwick’s education, training, and early work on the police force. The narrative is filled with cordial, friendly, family conversations about the present, the future, and the state of the government. The style is sociable, flowing, easy to read, and compelling. Archer develops a lasting relationship between readers and Warwick.  

Warwick knows he is fortunate to have a supportive family. At work, he is just ordinary guy doing ordinary things, having lunch, compromising with parents, conversing with friends watching his budget, and looking for bargains. He certainly does not share with colleagues that he attended one of England’s leading public schools, or that he has a degree in Art History from King’s College London, and he positively does not mention anything about his father’s occupation. He walks, takes the tube, and watches James Bond movies. He is both ordinary and extraordinary at the same time. He worries about what to wear and what wine to drink, but can immediately spot a forged art masterpiece.

Readers follow him into the dark world of Art and Antiquities theft when he starts working at New Scotland Yard. This is a world where insurance companies ransom their stolen paintings, and forgers create everything from fake Rembrandts to counterfeit first edition books. Opportunities for criminals seem to be unlimited in an arena where people with too much time and money on their hands need an expensive hobby.

Archer creates a character-driven mystery that encompasses the world of art, the work of police, and the drama of court. It builds in intensity, and keeps readers turning the pages through twists and turns, triumphs and tragedies. I received a review copy of “Nothing Ventured” from Jeffry Archer and St Martin’s Press. Warwick is set to do battle against all manner of criminal elements, and is certain to become an enduring new character for Archer and eager readers.