It is a truth universally acknowledged, at least among
private enquiry agents, that the most momentous of cases,
the real corkers, begin on the blandest, most ordinary of
Cyrus Barker has a long history with Sebastian Nightwine going
all the way back to their years in China. Was Nightwine responsible
for the death of Barker’s brother? Yet now, years later,
not only is Nightwine coming to London, he has received immunity
from the British government and is about to do a major deal
with him. Nightwine recognized Barker will try to stop him
and, in turn, is determined to destroy Barker. The two are
locked in a desperate game of wits and violence; Barker with
his assistant Thomas Llewelyn at his side and Nightwine with
an unanticipated ally. Will anyone survive?
There is a wonderful sense of time and place from food, to
clothes, to technology to the city of London itself. Even
without introduction, the voice of the narrator and the wry
humor is so engaging--The Gov’s brows furrowed. “You’ve
been hired to protect someone from me?” “You’ve
been known to take a man apart like a watch.” Barker
considered this. “Not unless he deserved it.”--one
is immediately captivated. The case which is presented to
Barker is unexpected and compelling.
Cyrus Barker is a fascinating character; a man of many skills
and particular tastes. We learn a good deal about his childhood
and understand that much of what made him as he is. Llewelyn,
Barker’s assistant, has grown as a character. For those
who have been following the series, an interesting change
is that Llewelyn takes the lead in much of this story.
Particular credit goes to the author for his secondary characters.
These are not cardboard figures but fully realized and developed
characters. Because of that, the reader becomes much more
invested in the story and events.
Thomas skillfully inserts actual historical figures into the
story but only in ways which would fit with their real lives.
He also educates us on a number of interesting subjects; including
the use of ricin, information on the Knights Templar, Knights
Hospitaller and the Freemasons; and the creation of the ambulance
service. Rather than ever slowing the story down, the information
serves to weaves the story together.
Some authors are so good you want to read
sentences or passages aloud to someone else. Will Thomas is
so good, you want to read the entire book aloud to someone
else just to ensure they experience the same high quality
of storytelling as did you.
Fatal Enquiry is excellent on every level. In addition
to the qualities already mentioned, it has a cleverly constructed,
gripping plot with excellent suspense, and a wonderful “Ah-ha!”
moment. It’s hard to wait for the next book in this