and how they were Captured by the Daring
Detectives of the New Cut Gang
Knopf Books for Young Readers
May 8, 2012 / ISBN 978-0375870293
Genre Children Ages 9-12
Historical Mystery, 1892 London
by Beth E. McKenzie
Two Crafty Criminals contains two novellas set in late
Victorian London: 'Thunderbolt's Waxwork' and 'The Gasfitters' Ball'.
The New Cut Gang is a group of children and early teens that run
together in an area of London called New Cut. In the late 19th century
this area was best known for the number of poor families that lived
there. The ring-leaders of the New Cut Gang are Sam "Thunderbolt"
Dobney, Benny Kaminsky, red-haired Bridie Malone and her large family
that includes Little Sharky Bob (who wins bets for the gang by eating
anything), the Peretti twins (Angela and Zerlina who were more frightening
when they weren't up to mischief). Benny, the boss, is fond of detecting
and takes advantage of his "experience" with the great
detective Mr. Sexton Blake. Thunderbolt collects things and studies
hard while Bridie organizes and tells them what to do.
Thunderbolts's father is arrested for an unknown crime, which coincides
with counterfeit coins being passed in the neighborhood and a series
of break-ins at the Dobney home. Mr. Dobney is an inventor and he
is normally pleased to share his creative corner with his son, but
lately he has been secretive and receiving mysterious visitors in
the locked basement. Could his father be the counterfeiter and his
cohorts trying to steal the remaining coins? But why are the thieves
always looking for the wax figure the gang made in honor of their
friend Dobby, the Horse Chestnut Seller and Philanthropist? They
need to get it in the wax figure museum before it is stolen or Sharky
Bob eats the nose again!
The Gasfitter's Ball
The silver regalia and trophies are stolen from the Worshipful Company
of Gas-Fitters Hall and Benny, with a Swedish Lucifer, a blob of
wax and his well-honed detecting skills follows the clues to where
it is hidden, but who put it there? But the real challenge is how
to get Dick Smith, who is in love with Daisy Miller, to tell her.
That's a miracle that even the Peretti twins can't pull off. They
need the help of a thief, a strong-man, a band leader, a bookie,
sliced cucumber skins, and a royally mysterious guest at the Gas-Fitters
Ball as they try to bring the befuddled couple to the altar.