Victorian sleuths Barker and Llewelyn have their hands full when the Mafia invades London.
Forget about Scotland Yard. After several people, including the director of the East and West India Docks, are murdered in a style that suggests Italian assassins, the Home Office hires private enquiry agent Cyrus Barker to represent their interests. A large number of Sicilians have become dock workers, and their organization, the Mafia, is poised to branch out in London’s criminal world. When Barker’s chef and restaurant owner Etienne Dummolard is stabbed and narrowly escapes death, Barker calls upon his knowledge of London’s gangs to discover the identity of the Mafia leader. After a visiting Italian policeman, who left Italy hounded by death threats from the Mafia, is the next victim, Barker and Llewelyn, prompted by Barker’s own Black Hand missive, flee to the coastal home of Barker’s mysterious inamorata. Numerous escapes from death mark their progress until Barker arranges a showdown on their return to London that he hopes will finally unmask the head Mafioso and put paid to the nefarious scheme.
Thomas’s detectives (The Hellfire Conspiracy, 2007, etc.) offer value even when adventures like this offer less mystery than historical thrills.