I'm not sure how to describe this novel, except to say it deserved to be read in one sitting.Emerald Torrington is set to celebrate her 20th birthday with her family and a few close friends at a dinner at her family home, Sterne, in April 1912. The night is thrown into disarray when, as her guests arrive, so does news of a train derailment, sending dozens of passengers to Sterne for the evening to await rescue by the railway. The assembled group tries it's best to carry on with the party, but the arrival of an unexpected guest sends the night into an unexpected direction.At first, the novel reminded me very much of the Flavia de Luce novels by Alan Bradley. The tone was playful, and the families were similar in some ways - emotionally distant but loving parents, a family living in genteel poverty, a precocious child, etc. However, that quickly changed as the plot began to turn toward more adult themes.This is a great read that I would definitely recommend.
Journalist Jon Ronson investigates various extremist groups and finds a common element - they all believe that a secret, select group of individuals meet periodically to choose world leaders, sway economic policy,and otherwise rule the world. To discover if this group does exist, Ronson meets with everyone from the Weaver family of Ruby Ridge fame, Omar Bakri Mohammed, who supports the Taliban from his home in England, to KKK Grand Wizard Thom Robb, and the even stranger David Ickes. To his surprise, not only does this group actually exist...but they grant him an interview...As hard as it is to believe sometimes, the people Ronson interviews in this book are real! Ronson does a good job showing off the personalities of these characters so you can really get a sense of what they believe and how strongly they believe it. It was, at times, a bit redundant, but I suppose that is to be expected, considering how similar the belief systems these groups are. And his interview with the alleged "One World Government" group is hysterical.This book was filled with some pretty interesting information, and it was written with a humorous touch, so if you enjoy reading about conspiracy theories and the nuts that believe them, this could be the book for you.