Agnes Meadowes is cook to the Blanchards of Foster Lane, the renowned silversmiths. Her quiet world of culinary activity, preparing jugged hare, oyster loaves, almond soup and other delicacies for the family, is a happy refuge from the hustle and bustle of 1750s London. But in a single night everything is to change. When the Blanchards' most ...
Agnes Meadowes is cook to the Blanchards of Foster Lane, the renowned silversmiths. Her quiet world of culinary activity, preparing jugged hare, oyster loaves, almond soup and other delicacies for the family, is a happy refuge from the hustle and bustle of 1750s London. But in a single night everything is to change. When the Blanchards' most prestigious and expensive commission, a giant silver wine cooler destined for the house of Sir Bartholomew Grey, is stolen, a sinister chain of events is set in motion. That same night a young apprentice is murdered and a young maid, Rose, disappears. Are these portentous happenings connected? Called upon by her master, Theodore Blanchard, to investigate 'below stairs', Agnes now enters a dark world of hidden secrets, jealousy and murderous intent. Before the game is played out she will be forced to act as mouse to the infamous Thief Taker's cat as she is slowly drawn into a seamy underworld of London crime. But the truth, like the expensive tea leaves that Agnes keeps under lock and key, comes at a high price and she must decide how big a sacrifice she is prepared to make to bring the villains to justice. Once again Janet Gleeson has produced a gripping historical murder mystery, and in Agnes Meadowes has created a heroine whom readers will love. The Thief Taker is an evocative and spell-binding novel of crime, chicanery and cooking that will delight her existing fans and win her many more.
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Publishers Weekly, 2006-07-17 Following the cabinetmakers of The Grenadillo Box (2004) and the portraitists of The Serpent in the Garden (2005), Gleeson hangs her solid third historical on another group of artisans-a family of silversmiths, the Blanchards, who have fallen on uncertain times in 18th-century London. When an apprentice is murdered, the kitchen maid vanishes and the business's most valuable commission-a huge wine cooler-is stolen, the Blanchards' cook, Agnes Meadowes, becomes the improbable prime sleuth. Meadowes first negotiates with the corrupt character of the novel's title, who's suspected of engineering the crime to profit from recovering the stolen item. She takes a more active role after she begins to suspect an accomplice inside the Blanchard household. Meadowes's eventual success owes more to bravery and doggedness than actual deduction, making her a less interesting sleuth than her fictional peers in the late Bruce Alexander's Sir John Fielding mystery series, also set in Georgian England. (Sept.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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