Some Danger Involved by Will Thomas
I really enjoyed this mystery set in Victorian London.
London is a beautiful city, and never more so than when it rains. The streets gleam, the buildings all take on a dappled color, and the lights from butcher shops, tobacconists, and tea shops cast a cozy shade of ochre upon the pavement. (pg. 31)
Thomas Llewelyn, the narrator, is at the end of his rope when he is hired by enquiry agent Cyrus Barker as his assistant, a position that thankfully includes room and board. The two work together to solve the mystery behind the murder of a young Jewish man in London’s Jewish ghetto. It’s vaguely reminiscent of a Holmes-Watson relationship, with Thomas as Barker’s apprentice.
The strength of this novel, for me, was the characters. Barker is certainly an eccentric and surrounds himself with an odd cast of character, including Llewelyn who has a past as both an Oxford student and prison inmate. The household also includes a temperamental French chef, a Jewish manservant who brews an excellent, and a tiny Pekinese. They are all quirky and charming and their interactions are wonderful. Even secondary characters are well-described.
The Victorian London setting was well-done. As we travel throughout the town with Barker and Thomas, we see not only the elegant drawing rooms, but also the Jewish ghetto and the back-alleys. We meet mobsters and members of the upper class.
I will definitely be reading more of this series. I can’t wait to see what other adventures await Thomas and Barker. I liked that it was just a straight mystery for a change, no romance, no amateurs, no fantasy elements.