Staff Recommendation: In 1746 Englishman Richard Smith arrives at the office of a New York merchant with a bill for £1,000. Whilst waiting for his money he attempts to hide the true nature of his visit without strictly lying. But what is the true nature of his visit? This is the New York of 1746 30 years before the revolution, a colonial outpost built around a fort and ruled by trading forces. Whilst waiting for his bill to clear Smith becomes increasingly suspect: is he a conman, spy, a seducer? Real characters rub shoulders with imaginary ones and they all live and breathe with conviction. A wonderful novel and top of my list this year.