SPECTRES IN THE SMOKE by Tony Broadbent

SPECTRES IN THE SMOKE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

In post-war Smoke (street slang for London), a certain world-class creeper (cat burglar) would like to get unbent (go straight), only there’s MI5 threatening GBH (grievous bodily harm).

It’s been three years since the end of hostilities, but young Jethro, that nonpareil among thieves, is still painfully engaged in his unequal struggle with Colonel William Walsingham. The boss of MI5 has stuff on Jethro that can land him in lock-up, where his elegant form will be subjected to the usual unspeakable indignities. Which means that when Walsingham says jump, Jethro says which roof and what exactly am I expected to steal for king and country. This time it’s a master file, detailing the membership of a secret organization engaged in fomenting political unrest. The New Order of Britain party won’t use the word, but Fascism is “what oozes out of every pore.” Sharing (understandably) MI5’s dim view of the NOB is another shadowy organization, the clandestine Cabal—vigilant, militant, Jewish. The Cabal, too, wants that tell-tale master file, and, like MI5, it knows just the right “cat” to tap. So there’s Jethro, high-pressured by both to take on the same larcenous gig. For the sake of efficiency and the greater good, you’d think one might consider backing off. Oh, really? How’s-yer-father (street slang for “no way”).

Though Jethro continues to charm, some loose plotting keeps this from measuring up to his swift and sparkling debut (Smoke, 2002).

Pub Date: Oct. 17th, 2005
ISBN: 0-312-29026-8
Page count: 336pp
Publisher: Dunne/Minotaur
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 2005