Tom Wasp and the Newgate Knocker
The dawn of the year 1863 sees London chimney sweep Tom Wasp visiting his friend Eliza in prison just before her execution. She’s got a gift for him: a pawn ticket that he redeems for his next adventure. On hand is Tom’s apprentice Ned, a 12-year-old on the brink of a choice between a life of crime or finding solutions to crime; pretty and bright Jemima, daughter to a leader of the Rat Mob; and master of disguise Mr. Chuckwick who does his best to protect them all.
The mystery compounds with two murders, then the stakes escalate when it looks like upper classes are keeping their own secrets, involving international intrigue being played out on the eve of the wedding of the Prince of Wales to a Danish princess.
Tom Wasp’s second adventure is clever as Tom himself, whose simple faith and integrity help the reader navigate a world alive with eccentrics of all classes, with settings from rag fairs to grand balls. By the suspenseful end, it is, in Tom’s words, “time to come clean—although this is hard for sweeps.”