Touchstone, Jun 2004, 22.95, 304 pp.
After being expelled from Oxford and spending several months in prison, young Welshman Thomas Llewelyn responds to a Times ad in the “Situations Wanted section that an Enquiry Agent needs an assistant. Thomas applies for the “SOME DANGER INVOLVED” position. Following a unique interview culminating with dodging a knife tossed at his chest by the employer Cyrus Barker, Thomas, not losing his aplomb, gets the job.
The Jewish Board of Deputies retains Barker to investigate the crucifixion murder of Jewish student Louis Pokrzya by the brutal Anti-Semite League. Barker leads his recruit through the Jewish ghetto where few want to talk with a person seemingly of authority out of fear of governmental reprisal even if the two sleuths have no such credentials. Meanwhile the case provides Thomas with an on the job training through the various dangerous ethnic underground factions teeming in the London ghettos with several folks wanting the sleuths silent and others just despising or fearing outsiders.
Barker in many ways is as enigmatic as Sherlock Holmes and Llewelyn is the chronicler like Watson. However, this team is clearly different and their journey into the London ghettoes is fast-paced, vividly alive, and filled with action and awe as Barker introduces Llewellyn to a mini globe inside the city.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner