What the blurb says: “London, 1859. Novice detective, Campbell Lawless, stumbles onto the trail of Berwick Skelton, an elusive revolutionary threatening to convulse the city with devilish acts of terror. Thrust into a lethal, intoxicating world of sabotage and royal scandal – and aided by a gang of street urchins and a vivacious librarian – Lawless sets out to capture his underworld nemesis before he unleashes his final vengeance.”
This story is unlike any historical crime novel I’ve read before – it’s fascinating, witty and rather hilarious. Romping along at a jaunty pace, the story is filled with the sights, sounds and smells (and trust me, there are a lot of smells, many of them quite unpleasant!) of Victorian London, whisking you along for the ride.
Campbell Lawless is finding his feet in the detecting profession. He throws himself into his cases, determined to uncover the mysteries behind the ‘great spouts’ of water that spring up at strange locations across the city – outside the recently built Euston Station, at curtain call on a London stage to name a couple; why in a chain of seemingly impossible burglaries of wealthy houses little is taken, and who (and why) someone is stealing the workings of clocks.
Aided by super-smart Librarian, Ruth Villiers, Lawless works tirelessly to piece together the clues he finds, whilst staying on the right side of his rather grumpy boss, Wardle. In the course of his adventure, Lawless has encounters with the men behind the new underground system, newspaper editors, actresses, revolutionaries, and even a Prince. Each player in the story is a well-drawn and fabulously larger-than-life character.
Lawless and the Devil of Euston Square is William Sutton’s debut novel and the first in a series of mysteries featuring London policeman, Campbell Lawless.
I’m very much looking forward to the next one.
[Many thanks to William Sutton (and Exhibit A) for my copy of Lawless and the Devil of Euston Square]