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The Devil in the Marshalsea

 
 
Author
Antonia Hodgson.
Publisher Mariner  
Format paperback
Product Dimensions 8 x 5.25 x 1 inches
ISBN 9780544176676
Pages/Publication Date 384/2014
Daedalus Item Code 60781
This item is not available.
Description
(Winner of the 2014 CWA Historical Dagger) This first novel in a new historical crime series by Little, Brown's UK editor-in-chief Antonia Hodgson is set in early 18th-century London and follows Thomas Hawkins, a rakish scoundrel who has turned his back on his father's country parsonage, preferring instead to pursue wine, women, and cards. Faced with debtors' prison, however, Hawkins shows fortitude enough to accept his fate, and soon finds that the notorious Marshalsea Gaol is a world of its own, where those with outside support can live fairly comfortably, while those with none will starve in squalor. After the grisly murder of a fellow debtor, Captain Roberts, suspicion falls on Samuel Fleet, a man many have claimed is a devil to be shunned—and who also happens to be Hawkins's cellmate.

"[The author] conjures up scenes of Dickensian squalor and marries them to a crackerjack plot, in her impressive first novel.... Hodgson makes the stench, as well as the despair, almost palpable, besides expertly dropping fair clues. Fans of Iain Pears and Charles Palliser will hope for a sequel."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"As promised in the historical note that opens Hodgson's satisfyingly twisty debut thriller, readers will encounter an eye-opening look at Georgian London's debtors' prisons and some authentically colorful swearing within its pages. Tom Hawkins experiences both of these when he's thrown into the Marshalsea Gaol after too many gambling losses and a near-fatal mugging. To his surprise, the Marshalsea seems like a miniature town, complete with a tap room, coffeehouse, and barber. 'Indeed it reminded me of my old college, save for the iron spikes,' he observes. But after meeting many disreputable characters and hearing screams coming from the gaol's 'Common Side,' where those too broke to afford their upkeep are left to rot, he almost regrets not obeying his estranged father and becoming a clergyman. Complicating matters further are Samuel Fleet, Tom's fear-inducing roommate, and conspiracies surrounding a former prisoner whose ghost reportedly roams—and whose murder Tom must solve, or else. The squalid atmosphere is so well detailed that one can almost smell the corruption, and the irrepressibly roguish Tom makes a winning hero."—Booklist

 
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