His book, which recently won a Somerset Maugham award, is a rollicking whodunit – a tale of political machinations and extravagance on an enormous scale.
It takes us back to 18th century France and the affair of the stolen diamond necklace that ruined the already tarnished reputation of the Queen of France, Marie Antoinette.
Beckman’s retelling of this significant event includes kidnappings, prison breaks and assassination attempts, along with hapless French police disguised as colliers, reams of lesbian pornography and a duel fought with poisoned pigs.
It is a detective story, a courtroom drama, a tragicomic farce, and a study of credulity and self-deception in the Age of Enlightenment.
Jonathan Beckman is senior editor of Literary Review. He has degrees in English from the University of Cambridge and Intellectual and Cultural History from Queen Mary, University of London.
In 2010, he won the Royal Society of Literature Jerwood Award for Non-Fiction.
Sunday, October 25. The Beacon, Wantage. 3.30pm. Tickets:£6
Click here to book online via Tickets Oxford.
Online booking closes on 22 October.