John Stone
'Stone's Fall' by Iain Pears

In his internationally bestselling 1997 novel, intriguingly titled "An Instance of the Fingerpost," British author Iain Pears explored the murder of a 17th-century Oxford don via intricate plotting, ambitious structure, unreliable narrators and provocative ideas about Restoration-era politics and science. In his subsequent fiction, Pears has displayed a similar flair for shifting viewpoints and historical periods, as well as obsessive research. His latest, "Stone's Fall," is no exception. The title refers to a mysterious English industrialist named John Stone (given a peerage, and known as Lord Ravenscliff), who in 1909 drops out of a second-floor window in his...