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Tom Wasp and the Newgate Knocker (Five Star First Edition Mystery) Hardcover – May 19, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

At the start of Myers's entertaining second Tom Wasp Victorian historical (after 2007's Tom Wasp and the Murdered Stunner), Tom, a multitalented London chimney sweep, visits his friend Eliza Hogg, curiously called the knocker, at Newgate prison, where she's to be hanged the next day for killing her abusive soldier husband. Eliza gives Tom a pawn ticket for a mysterious china doll, which burglars later steal after ransacking Tom's lodgings. Suspense builds with the murder at palatial Claremont House of housemaid Dinah Johnson. Dinah's parents, leaders of the Rat Mob gang, want her killer found, and hire Tom as an undercover detective. Lending protection is the comical Mr. Chuckwick, a man of many disguises. Meanwhile, the rival Nichol Gang targets Tom and Ned, Tom's 12-year-old apprentice, perhaps because Dinah knew the identity of their own putter-up or mob leader. Fans of witty, lighthearted whodunits will be rewarded, though some may find the geopolitical significance of the doll stretches credulity. (May)
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Product Details

  • Series: Five Star First Edition Mystery
  • Hardcover: 254 pages
  • Publisher: Five Star; 1 edition (May 19, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594148708
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594148705
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.8 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,832,899 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
In 1863, master flue faker Tom Wasp visits his friend housekeeper Eliza Hogg at Newgate prison the day before the latter is to be executed for poisoning her spouse George. Tom understands murder is unacceptable in the eyes of the law so she will be hung though he feels accentuating circumstances makes the case unfair as her husband was an abusive violent man.

Eliza gives Tom a pawn ticket to redeem a dilapidated naval doll, which he does. Inside the doll, Tom and his twelve years old apprentice Ned find a statue of the Goddess of Mercy Kwan-yin. George robbed the statue during the burning of the Peking Palace. Soon two London gangs are at war with one another over the strangulation of maid Dinah Johnson, daughter of the Rat Mob chief Billy. He orders Tom to investigate and the chimney sweeper agrees due to his friendship with the victim's sister. Upsetting the rival Nichol Gang, Tom, assisted by Ned and the self-anointed royal bug destroyer, carefully sweeps away the fog overwhelming his inquiry. Tom begins to believe an assassination is at the center of the power play.

The second Tom Wasp Victorian mystery (see Tom Wasp and the Murdered Stunner) is a wonderful amateur sleuth whodunit starring a charming chimney sweep trying to resolve two murders and perform his day job in the dangerous East End. The investigation is cleverly drawn as the scope widens at a nice pace. The cast is strong bringing to life London's squalid East End at a time when the Prince awaits his Danish bride. Amy Myers writes an engaging historical murder mystery with international implications.

Harriet Klausner
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