Delacorte, Oct 2001, 23.95, 288 pp.
In 1815 London the Bow Street Runners are the nearest entity to a police force that the city has but it is not looked upon favorably by the public. The Bow Street Runners are not paid a salary but earn a commission when a person they arrest is convicted and an even bigger reward if that person is hung.
Henry Morton is a Bow Street constable who is an honorable man. He obeys the laws and doesn't take bribes to look the other way when a crime is committed. After boxing with Lord Byron at Gentleman's Jack, he is called to investigate the death of Halbert Glendinning who died in a coach that was driving him to his friend's house. A doctor who is a guest at the house says that the man choked on his own vomit but Morton believes it was murder. He sets out to investigate the man's death never dreaming that the inquiries will end with him in jail struggling to save his own life.
TF Banks has written a historical mystery that is very atmospheric and captures the ambiance of Regency England. The characters are very well developed and the hero is a man to admire, an individual who rises above the corruption that surrounds him. THE THIEF-TAKER is the first installment in what appears to be a fascinating series.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner