A Spider in the Cup
Random House Publishers
New York, New York
There may be in the cup
A spider steeped, and one may drink, depart,
And yet partake no venom, for his knowledge
Is not infected; but if one present
The abhorred ingredient to his eye, make known
How he hath drunk, he cracks his gorge, his sides,
With violent hefts. I have drunk, and seen the spider!
Shakespeare had phenomenal insights into people. If there is a poisonous spider in a cup and you drink it, chances are you will be fine if you don't realize what has actually happened. However, if you drink the spider and know it, usually you will become ill.
In the year of 1933 along the Thames River, an eclectic group of adult explorers was scouring the beaches. As a group they frequently search for metal. Leading this hardy band is a woman who is known as a gifted dowser. Rather than searching for water, this group was looking for metals with a dowsing stick made of hickory. The stick seemed to be almost possessed as it was pointing strongly to a particular spot along the beach that would soon be covered with water once the tide came in. Quickly the group stated to dig only to slowly unearth the body of a young woman who is missing her big toe. Intrigued and realizing that this spot would soon be covered with water, they continued to dig out her body while also informing the local law enforcement officers. Then they noticed something unusual. There was something in her mouth. What would an ancient Roman coin being doing in the mouth of a young woman?
Assistant Commissioner of Scotland Yard, Joe Sandilands, expects to be in charge of this investigation. His superiors have other ideas. Joe is expected to protect an American Senator, Cornelius Kingstone, who is visiting Great Britain as a representative of the American President, Franklin D. Roosevelt at the global economic conference at this time during the Great Depression with the impending threat of the new Nazi regime in Germany. Senator Kingstone already has his own security from the FBI which is a former British policeman who left the force in disgrace. To make this situation even more awkward, the Senator has a mistress who is a premiere Russian ballerina who is currently missing.
A SPIDER IN THE CUP is the eleventh novel in the Joe Sandilands' series by Beverly Cleverly. The story is well-organized and planned but lacks a personal connection with the protagonist. The feeling of indifference towards all the characters seems of a distant, cold attitude. In Cleverly's previous novels, the reader likes the protagonist and can identify with him. This causes the novel to plod along. The characters are vividly described and believable, just not likable.
Beverly Cleverly usually is an outstanding author. The basic story line is good. Read any of her previous novels to truly enjoy the gifted writing of this author.