The Ways of the World is set in a post WWI era, or just after the war in 1919. The peace talks are still underway and the League of Nations hasn’t yet been formed. The world leaders are all holed up in Paris, trying to come up with a common agreement. The war isn’t technically over until the treaty is signed, you see.
James Maxted, or Max as he likes to be called is a retired RAF pilot. He was a POW for a few years and now has his papers. He has been talking to a mechanic he knew about starting up a flying school. His father, a diplomat and baronet, has promised to let him have some land. But Sir Henry, said father, is found murdered in Paris. The circumstances are fishy, but everyone wants to keep it hush hush. James’s brother who is henpecked at best inherits the title and wants to have a quiet funeral. His mother urges him to head to Paris and get to the bottom of the truth. Lady Maxted is a brave woman who is willing to accept that her husband may have had a lady friend. But finding his killer is the right thing to do, no matter what secrets it brings to light, and so she sends James on his way.
Max realizes that his father could never have climbed to the top of the roof and slipped. The local police and the British Secret Service both want to close the case quietly. The peace talks are cited as the reason, and Max is implored to think about how important they are to maintain order in the world. Max persists and begins unearthing clues. His father was a lifelong diplomat and had friends in many countries. Max meets different people and tries to piece together the puzzle. There is a killer on the loose who doesn’t like Max’s efforts. So he narrowly misses being a victim himself. He gets aid from unexpected sources and persists in his mission.
The Ways of the World sounds pithy but is in fact an apt title for this book. Adventure and action lovers will love this, so will readers who like a good chase. A must read, and one of my first good ones this year, or last good ones last year.