Canadian author Banks depicts a Regency London as grimly fascinating as Dickens's Victorian London in this neatly plotted historical introducing Bow Street constable Henry Morton. When the body of Halbert Glendinning, a gentleman of impeccable character, turns up one night in a hackney cab with no driver in Claridge Square, it appears he choked to death on his own vomit. Fearing foul play, the dead man's fianc?e hires Morton to investigate. Morton himself suspects poison, but in the early days of forensics such a verdict is difficult to establish. The constable's search for answers takes him from the town houses of the wellborn to the notorious brothels and gin-shops of Spitalfields. What he finds leads him not just to question the mode of Glendinning's death but to uncover a web of deceit and corruption that endangers his own life and reaches far beyond the scope of his original commission. The author brings his characters to life in dialogue both natural and evocative of the period, while the relationship between Morton and his servant, Wilkes, is as enjoyable as that between Margery Allingham's Campion and Lugg. In addition to the small details, Banks captures the complex moral tenor of the time on a variety of social levels (Morton's landlady is appalled to discover she's been renting rooms to a "horney"). Other Regency mysteries may feature historical personages such as Jane Austen or Beau Brummel as detectives, but the fictional Henry Morton shines in his debut without benefit of an established identity. (Oct. 16) Forecast: The classy jacket art and crossover appeal to Regency romance readers should give this title a boost. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Bucking an official verdict of accident in the death of a high-society figure, Bow Street constable Henry Morton begins his own inquiry. As he nears the truth, however, with the aid of a beautiful actress, Regency society nearly makes his task impossible. An energetic, authentic historical. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
A veteran Bow Street Runner like Henry Morton has few illusions about what passes for a constabulary in early 19th-century London. He knows how undermanned the Runners are, how haphazardly they've been organized, and how slipshod daily operations can be, though he also knows that in a basically rotten barrel there are a few good apples like himself. Still, that doesn't mean he's averse to padding a needy exchequer with the occasional private job. When Miss Louisa Hamilton offers him 400 pounds-"a good year's income"-to look into the mystery surrounding her fiance's death, he leaps at the opportunity. It doesn't take him long to become convinced that young Halbert Glendinning was a homicide, deftly poisoned. Soon thereafter, however, he realizes he's stirred up a hornet's nest. Young Glendinning's murder is connected to diverse forms of wickedness, not the least of which is the unabashed corruption stemming from #4 Bow Street. But Henry Morton is the stuff of bulldogs. With the help of celebrated actress Arabella Malibrant, as bright as she is beautiful, and as adorable as she is wayward, he persists in his investigation, wriggles free of a dastardly frame-up, faces down a cold-blooded band of assassins, suffers insults, indignities, and aristocratic stonewalling, takes his lumps, and gets his man. This first entry in a new series is tightly knit and capably written. And Henry Morton-nimble of wit, ready of fist-makes an amiable guide through fog-bound Regency London.
“This lively re-creation of Regency London before Scotland Yard fascinates.”
“Set vividly in the urgency and squalor of its time. You will never forget Lucy.”
Anne Perry, author of The Whitechapel Conspiracy