The Mendelssohn Connection, James Macnutt’s first volume of his historical fiction trilogy, is now available in local bookshops.
Blending historical facts with fiction-themed events—covering a specific period of time, The Mendelssohn Connection tells the story of a collection of historical and cultural artifacts, combined with investments in property, minerals and securities acquired in Imperial Russia, that were held in the name of a trust. Various companies successfully hid the identity of the family that owned the collection, thereby preserving it from seizure by governments and racially hostile groups.
The novel begins with the founding of a bank in the small Western Russian town of Smolensk in the post– Napoleonic invasion era. The bank expands its operation into Novorossia, St. Petersburg and Moscow, ultimately collaborating with German relatives in the Mendelssohn family. The portfolio of assets continued to grow until after the collapse of the Soviet Union when the terms of the trust that held the assets required it to be wound up and the assets distributed to beneficiaries named by a descendent of the founder of the bank. The beneficiary, an American doctor, is surprised and unprepared to be named the inheritor of a trust of which he had never heard.
The story follows the beneficiary and his old university friend from Canada who he has invited to help him discover the location and value of the assets he has inherited.
As they travel through Europe, they become aware that they are being pursued by Russian oligarchs and others who claim the assets.
The Mendelssohn Connection extends to two subsequent novels, the third of which finalizes the story with a conclusion that is both plausible and one that will surprise and please Islanders.