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The Grand Complications
by Allen Kurzwell

Category: Fiction / General
360 pages; ISBN: 0786866039

Rating: 9/10  (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Harriet Klausner


Reference librarian Alex Short finds work very boring as assisting customers is done more on an assembly line with pneumatic tubes than on a one-to-one basis. He enjoys lettering and on rare occasions, a customer’s call slip is written in a historical style of graphics and he collects these rarities with a passion. The young man prefers to “girdle” by writing observations in his little notebook that he carries with him all the time more than he wants to have sex with his beautiful French wife.

Sixtyish Henry James Jesson III submits a library call slip requesting Secret Compartments, an eighteenth century furniture book. The beautiful rarely seen-today writing style catches Alex’s eye and he breaks the rules by delivering the book to the requester. Henry offers Alex a job to complete a collection that contains a secret compartment with a hanging nail inside but the attached item is missing. Henry begins to follow the trail of THE GRAND COMPLICATION, a lost eighteenth century watch, and a search that could prove to cost him his soul.

THE GRAND COMPLICATION is a different type of mystery one that seems so simple yet is so rich and complex. The library, Nic’s pop-ups, eighteenth century cabinets to conserve precious items, and Henry’s Manhattan townhouse are filled with layers of detail weaved into the delightful story line. The investigation is intelligent and adds to the strange relationship between Henry and Alex. Readers who delight in well-written, off beat literature will want to obtain Allen Kurzweil’s first novel in a decade because few writers enter the soul of his characters quite like this author does.

Harriet Klausner


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