Spectres in the Smoke

Spectres in the Smoke

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by Tony Broadbent
     
 

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Jethro, the renowned Cockney cat burglar and jewel thief, has been pushed out onto the slippery rooftops of London again by Colonel Walsingham of MI5. Jethro does ‘a creep’ in the posh Mayfair house of a certain Baron Belfold that sets in motion a tale of dark and deadly dealings amongst England’s aristocracy that mixes sex-orgies and blackmail

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Overview

Jethro, the renowned Cockney cat burglar and jewel thief, has been pushed out onto the slippery rooftops of London again by Colonel Walsingham of MI5. Jethro does ‘a creep’ in the posh Mayfair house of a certain Baron Belfold that sets in motion a tale of dark and deadly dealings amongst England’s aristocracy that mixes sex-orgies and blackmail with politics. In a tale that not only touches upon a Royal cover-up of the Duke of Windsor’s alleged dealings with Adolf Hitler during the War, but also on the Government’s attempts to root out Fascist sympathisers and Communist moles from the corridors of power in Whitehall.

Meanwhile, Walsingham’s secret string pulling has had unintended consequences in London’s gangland, and has resulted in Jethro’s best friend, Seth, being savagely beaten up by “the Emperor of Soho's” thugs. Seeking retribution, Jethro turns to Jack Spot, another of London's gang bosses, for help and then burgles Walsingham’s house to show him that no deed is ever without its consequences. The burglary leads to a confrontation that results in Jethro again taking action in “Defence of the Realm.” This time, it’s a break-in at the headquarters of the shadowy New Order of Britain Party, a powerful neo-Fascist society with serious political aims. And what Jethro uncovers confirms Walsingham’s worst suspicions, that there is indeed a plot by a secret group of high-ranking aristocrats to bring down Clement Attlee’s Labour Government. Fearing that even MI5 has been penetrated by spies, Walsingham again turns to Jethro for help in tracking down the sinister group’s ‘Keys to the Kingdom’, a collection of Red Books that reveal “who’s secretly who and what’s secretly what.”

The only difficulty being, Jethro has to pass for ‘a gentleman’ amongst the English upper classes. For help Walsingham turns to his old chums, David Niven and Ian Fleming. Then, suitably polished up, Jethro sallies forth with Walsingham’s trusted assistant Simon Bosanquet to tackle “the enemy within.” The trouble is, there’s a mysterious American OSS agent roaming around London that looks set to bugger everything up. And all of this the precursor to a very serious bit of burglary at a certain country house; the success or failure of which, could mean England saved from going to the dogs or spell curtains for Jethro. And if that wasn't enough, if Jethro manages to survive it all, Jack Spot is looking for Jethro to pay off the big favour he owes him by helping to pull off the-never-before -attempted 'Great Airport Robbery’. (And no excuses this time. Jethro’s in the gang proper or he's out of the game, permanently.) As Jethro would say, It never rains, but it pours.”

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Editorial Reviews

Booklist
One of the best Spy Novels of 2006.

Booklist (starred review)
...the second entry in this series starring a London cat burglar is every bit as tense and fascinating as its predecessor...Broadbent's physical descriptions of Londoners crawling out from the ruins are vivid and powerful, as when he likens a street to a mouth with missing teeth. He is also instructive, without being overbearing, on the political and social history of the times. But what will make readers clutch their books a little tighter are the cat burglar's accounts of hanging from ropes outside of homes, dropping in, allowing all his senses to scan the area, and, when trouble looms, pulling off his gravity- and death-defying escapes... Terrific details on the cat burglary and embattled London, liberally laced with Jethro's sardonic wit.

Lee Child
Vintage atmosphere, great writing, perfect story ...nails the period better than I have ever seen it done before.

Chicago Tribune Dick Adler
Broadbent honors—with understated admiration and moments of high-quality local humor—the spirit of London's (postwar) inhabitants. Cary Grant could have played Jethro perfectly.

The Denver Post Tom and Enid Schantz
As cheeky and endearing as ever, Jethro—"a gifted irregular" in the words of MI5—gets the job done with the same aplomb he demonstrated in his first caper, The Smoke...

Poisoned Pen Barbara Peters
As thrillers get bigger I keep moving back towards a smaller stage where I can actually believe the peril(s) facing the protagonist. British Broadbent's wonderfully imagined cat burglar—remember the immortal To Catch a Thief?—Jethro returns in Spectres in the Smoke...

Jacqueline Winspear
In Spectres in The Smoke, Tony Broadbent well and truly claims post-war London as his manor. With a view from the rooftops through the eyes of Jethro the cat-burglar—a most likeable rogue if ever there was one—we are steeped in the characters, color and history that followed Britain's finest hour. Spectres in The Smoke is a page-turner that takes us from the inner sanctum of Britain's Secret Service to underworld territories run by the kings of crime. With royalty gone bad along with the communists and facists for good measure, it's a broth of intrigue that you will not put down until the last page. I loved every minute of it!

Otto Penzler
Fans of Tony Broadbent's memorable debut, The Smoke, will be delighted to find his (not quite) reformed cat burglar hero back in action and in trouble up to his Cockney ears on the colorful streets of post-war London. If you enjoy the adventures of Raffles, The Saint and Richard Hannay, this is for you.

Publishers Weekly
As in Broadbent's first post-WWII British spy caper to feature cat burglar Jethro, The Smoke (2002), his second lighthearted thriller finds British intelligence enlisting Jethro's criminal expertise in the national interest. To thwart a resurgence of fascism just a few years after the Nazis' defeat, the thief must recover some compromising records that implicate a member of the royal family in a right-wing conspiracy. Complicating Jethro's efforts to serve his handlers is a gangland war that threatens those dearest to him. Unfortunately, the author fails to match his engaging, roguish hero with a suitable plot. Despite the fast-paced action and diverting appearances by David Niven and Ian Fleming, the last-minute, hairbreadth rescues (including one of an attractive woman apparently intended as a sacrifice) strain credulity and diminish the impact of the political issues raised. Agent, Jill Grosjean. (Oct.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
In post-war Smoke (street slang for London), a certain world-class creeper (cat burglar) would like to get unbent (go straight), only there's MI5 threatening GBH (grievous bodily harm). It's been three years since the end of hostilities, but young Jethro, that nonpareil among thieves, is still painfully engaged in his unequal struggle with Colonel William Walsingham. The boss of MI5 has stuff on Jethro that can land him in lock-up, where his elegant form will be subjected to the usual unspeakable indignities. Which means that when Walsingham says jump, Jethro says which roof and what exactly am I expected to steal for king and country. This time it's a master file, detailing the membership of a secret organization engaged in fomenting political unrest. The New Order of Britain party won't use the word, but Fascism is "what oozes out of every pore." Sharing (understandably) MI5's dim view of the NOB is another shadowy organization, the clandestine Cabal-vigilant, militant, Jewish. The Cabal, too, wants that tell-tale master file, and, like MI5, it knows just the right "cat" to tap. So there's Jethro, high-pressured by both to take on the same larcenous gig. For the sake of efficiency and the greater good, you'd think one might consider backing off. Oh, really? How's-yer-father (street slang for "no way"). Though Jethro continues to charm, some loose plotting keeps this from measuring up to his swift and sparkling debut (Smoke, 2002).
From the Publisher
Praise for Spectres in the Smoke

"In Spectres in the Smoke, Tony Broadbent well and truly claims post-war London as his manor. With a view from the rooftops through the eyes of Jethro the cat-burglar—-a most likeable rogue if ever there was one—-we are steeped in the characters, color, and history that followed Britain's finest hour. Spectres in the Smoke is a page-turner that takes us from the inner sanctum of Britain's Secret Service to underworld territories run by the kings of crime. With royalty gone bad along with the communists and fascists for good measure, it's a broth of intrigue that you will not put down until the last page. I loved every minute of it!"

—-Jacqueline Winspear, author of Maisie Dobbs, Birds of a Feather, and Pardonable Lies

"Fans of Tony Broadbent's memorable debut, The Smoke, will be delighted to find his (not quite) reformed cat burglar hero back in action and in trouble up to his Cockney ears on the colorful streets of post-war London. If you enjoy the adventures of Raffles, The Saint, and Richard Hannay, this is for you."

—-Otto Penzler

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781849821537
Publisher:
MP Publishing Ltd
Publication date:
09/11/2012
Pages:
336
Sales rank:
1,392,669
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.00(d)

Meet the Author

Tony Broadbent was born in Windsor, England. He was an art student in London in the late Sixties (from Revolver to Let It Be). He then worked as copywriter and creative director at some of the best advertising agencies in London, New York, and San Francis

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Spectres in the Smoke 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago