Another chapter in the Victorian Age adventure of no-nonsense Sergeant Bragg and his aristocratic partner Constable Morton, as the two maneuver the hazards of London's police bureaucracy while trying to solve the stabbing murder of industrialist Andrew Livesey. There's evidence that Livesey, in collusion with other businessmen-engineers, was trying to steal the patent on Alfred Nobel's new gunpowder--as well as evidence that Livesey consorted with child prostitutes and had not lived with his wife Sarah for most of their ten-year-marriage. The discovery that Mary Tompkins, a 12-year-old prostitute, was killed with the same distinctive weapon as Livesey leads Bragg and Morton through some sordid byways of London society, their burden increased by two more murders, until the tangled motives behind Livesey's death come clear. Literate and informative, as always with this series, but too disjointed and discursive to rank with the author's best (Deathwatch, etc.).