The Hellfire Conspiracy

Written by Will Thomas
Review by Richard Dery

When a middle-class girl goes missing in the notorious Bethnal Green neighborhood of 1880s London, private investigator Cyrus Barker takes the case and soon finds himself embroiled in a conspiracy involving white slavers, serial killers, and some of the most powerful men of his era. Written in a manner owing much to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Hellfire Conspiracy nevertheless manages an identity of its own, with an intriguing plotline and interesting, well-drawn characters.

Will Thomas brings a great variety of historical detail to life in the novel, from the crusading efforts of the socialistic Fabian Society to the political maneuverings of the era’s noble elites. Keen details about the food, clothes and nightlife of the era’s denizens, high, low and in-between, breathe life into the narrative, and it is all conveyed so naturally within the framework of the story as to never bog down the plot with encyclopedic tedium. Anglophiles, fans of traditional detective novels and those interested in 19th century England will find this book more than rewards them for their efforts.