Most days, young Jethro’s a bloke like any other, but stick a glim in his turtledoves and skels in his pocket, and he’s on his way to becoming just about the cleverest creeper in the Smoke. (Glim: flashlight; turtledoves: gloves; skels: skeleton keys; creeper: cat burglar; the Smoke: London.) In 1947, everything useful is either rationed or black-marketed, and street-smart Jethro knows that “the only way to survive is to bend the rules.” Starting on the roof of the Soviet Embassy, he proceeds to bend them, with spectacular results: two jewelry cases stuffed with diamonds and other worthwhile baubles, along with a pair of ticking time bombs in the form of black leather address books. Jethro’s favorite fence, a closet patriot with a knack for spotting a good code when he sees one, soon has the books and, not long after that, Jethro in the hands of MI5, which needs him back onto that embassy roof, this time to steal a person: an information-laden young Soviet attaché in a mood to defect if she can be successfully liberated. When Jethro declines with thanks, those draconian MI5 toffs threaten him with prison. So Jethro returns to the scene of the crime, followed by an impressive range of murderous thugs—all determined to keep the cat from getting out of the bag.
First of a series: with lovable, larcenous Jethro a good bet to steal hearts on both sides of the Atlantic.