Sunday, April 11, 2010

Some Danger Involved

Broke and homeless in 19th-century London, and unable to find honest work because of prospective employers' aversion to his stint in prison for theft and assault, young Thomas Llewelyn drops the battered suitcase containing all his worldly possession in the trash as he stands in line to apply for one more job; one way or another he won't be needing it any more.  Either he'll be hired, or he'll jump off a bridge into the Thames.  He gets the job, as assistant to private enquiry agent Cyrus Barker (who hates the term "detective"), and is soon caught up in his first case when a young Jewish man with a marked resemblance to conventional depictions of Jesus is murdered and left hanging up on a telegraph pole as if crucified.

No surprise that some of the author's previous publications were in Sherlock Holmes journals, though Llewelyn's character as smart-mouthed amanuensis occasionally seems more like Archie Goodwin than Watson.  He's a bright kid, though, and learns his new profession quickly.  There's some anachronistic dialog, and some unlikely elements--would an Englishman, even one who grew up on the streets after the death of his missionary parents in China, be teaching martial arts classes to the police?  I wonder.  But a fun, well-plotted story.

Originally posted at MySpace 1/28/07

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