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Friday 7 June 2019

‘Tom Wasp and the Seven Deadly Sins’ by Amy Myers

Published by Endeavour Quill,
23 February 2019.
ISBN: 978-1-91144569-2 (PB)

The year is 1864 and Victorian London is a place divided by social rank and by wealth. While some of the population are rich and respectable a large number of people are struggling to survive poverty and violence, often harassed by predatory gangs who threaten the poor into yielding the little that they have. Tom Wasp is a chimney sweep who struggles each day to keep a roof over his head and food on the table for himself and his young apprentice, Ned. Nevertheless, when his friends need help Tom is always willing to provide it and among his dearest friends are Clara, the kind and comely landlady of Dolly’s Chop House; Hetty, Clara’s beautiful, innocent but flirtatious daughter; and street entertainer Phineas Snook. When one of Clara’s regular patrons, Mr Arnold Harcourt, is found murdered after leaving the Chop House, Phineas is in danger of being sent to the gallows for the crime. Tom has to discover the truth, even at great risk to his own life and, far worse, placing Ned in danger.

The dead man was a member of the Tarlton Ordinaries, a group of literary gentlemen who gather together at Dolly’s Chop House to celebrate the life and achievements of Richard Tarlton, the king of clowns at the court of Queen Elizabeth I, who was also reputed to be a friend of Shakespeare. It is fortunate that Tom has some education, paid for by a kind lady who rescued him when he was a climbing boy, for Harcourt’s murder is tied to his acquisition of a mysterious manuscript, The Seven Deadly Sins, which may have been written by Richard Tarlton. Tom needs all his knowledge and courage to untangle the deadly knot without losing his own life or the lives of those dear to him.

Tom Wasp and the Seven Deadly Sins is the third book featuring Tom Wasp. It is a lively depiction of life on the poor streets of Victorian London, with some fascinating period detail. The plot is interesting and the central characters are very engaging, most noticeably Phineas Snook’s magnificent, street-wise tabby, Cockalorum, ‘a lean and learned cat.’ Tom Wasp is a thoroughly likeable protagonist, as are the friends that he is determined to protect. Tom Wasp and the Seven Deadly Sins is a very enjoyable book with an unusual view of Victorian life. I recommend it.
Reviewer: by Carol Westron

Amy Myers worked as a director in a London publishing firm, before realising her dream to become a writer. Her first series featured detective, August Didier, a half French, half English master chef in late Victorian and Edwardian times. She writes a series with her American husband James Myers, featuring Jack Colby, car detective, there are 5 books in the series. Her most recent series is set post WW1 and the first book is  Dancing With Death, published January 2017.  Amy also writes historical novels and suspense under the name Harriet Hudson.

Carol Westron is a successful short story writer and a Creative Writing teacher.  She is the moderator for the cosy/historical crime panel, The Deadly Dames.  Her crime novels are set both in contemporary and Victorian times.  The Terminal Velocity of Cats the first in her Scene of Crimes novels, was published July 2013. Carol recently gave an interview to Mystery People. To read the interview click on the link below.

To read a review of Carol latest book Strangers and Angels click on the title.

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