Recent Events

Thursday 6 June 2019

‘The Paper Chase’ by Ron Welling

Published by The Book Guild Ltd
28 November 2019.
ISBN: 978 1912575 602 (PB)

The themes dominating this book are how to make money out of property and drug deals.  To begin with we have (relatively speaking) a likable, honest property trader Rick Austin, and a decidedly less appealing, greedy and bullying developer, Harry Stone.  Harry doesn’t like anything or anybody coming between him and his profits and has money secreted away in accounts in Panama.  The two men are linked by Claire, an attractive, caring, and clever character who excels at sorting out business problems.  

Claire is currently acting as a trouble-shooter for Rick. She is also heavily involved in a romantic relationship with him - he has just suggested that she should move in with him.  Her problem is that she is permanently on edge because she has lied to Rick about her past.  She doesn’t want him to know that she used to work for the disreputable Harry Stone because she is worried that it will ruin both their professional and personal relationships.

One would think that a highly successful businessman like Rick would have checked Claire’s background before letting her into his business.  In addition, Roger Garon and his wife Jennie are friends with Rick and Claire.  Roger does a lot of work for Harry Stone but, surprisingly, neither he nor Jennie seem to have told Rick that Claire used to work for Harry. Can Rick really not know about Claire’s past?  Is he so besotted with her that he doesn’t care if she lied to him?  What will happen when he eventually finds out?

When Harry Stone becomes cash strapped the workmen on his development site down tools until they are paid. Desperate for cash Harry becomes involved with drug traders who want a large sum of cash cleaned up. Harry persuades Martyn Blake, the owner of a supermarket, to launder the dirty drug money through the tills in his shop.  This is not a particularly good idea. Not only does Martyn have huge debts, but Rick, who has bought a part share in the supermarket has instructed Claire to find out why it is losing money. Finally, the three main protagonists are brought into confrontation.

There are many other characters in The Paper Chase including a satisfactory variety of likable and kind ones. Dave, the manager of Harry Stone’s failing building site, valiantly tries to please everyone, and Jo, the longsuffering housekeeper who goes with the house that Harry is renting is commendably loyal.  The villains are all too believable and good at their jobs of damaging people and goods if it suits their purposes.  This book is for those who are interested in following the - often less than savory - interactions between big business and the murky world of drug dealing.
Reviewer Angela Crowther

Ron Welling was born in Essex just before Europe's second war, close to London's East End. He trained as a chartered accountant. But also undertook work including voluntary work tutoring prison inmates and charitable work as treasurer of a care home. Over forty years working in many different businesses he has many thriller stories swirling around his head. His latest book The Paper Chase, is the sequel to The Price. Now retired and living in the Channel Islands he has plenty t keep him busy.

Angela Crowther is a retired scientist.  She has published many scientific papers but, as yet, no crime fiction.  In her spare time Angela belongs to a Handbell Ringing group, goes country dancing and enjoys listening to music, particularly the operas of Verdi and Wagner.

No comments:

Post a Comment