The Hellfire Conspiracy
A Barker and Llewelyn Mystery by Will Thomas
Review: Private enquiry agent Cyrus Barker and his assistant Thomas Llewelyn take on assignment to find a missing upper class twelve year girl in The Hellfire Conspiracy, the fourth mystery in this series by Will Thomas.
The girl was abducted from the East End, a low class, seedy part of London. Barker and Llewelyn had heard that the white slavers were back who may have taken her to sell her to someone who would whisk her out of the country and concentrate their efforts there. During their intense search, however, they come upon knowledge that five other girls between the ages of eleven and fourteen had been found murdered and tossed in the river. They were nude, raped, their faces painted like some satanic ritual, and one finger cut off at the first knuckle. This was definitely not the work of the white slavers. They finally find the missing girl in the River Thames, nude, raped and strangled, with her face painted and one finger cut off at the knuckle. Though convinced the white slavers were not responsible for this crime, there are other sinister secret cults at work. Their search goes on in the darkest, most barbaric, desolate, and uncivilized parts of London. When another child, age eleven, disappears, Barker pledges to the parents that they will find her before she, too, is killed.
Though the crimes here are against children, the author doesn't dwell on the murders but instead focuses on the investigation by Barker and Llewelyn. When they discover who the malicious murderer is, Llewelyn professes surprise though Barker claims he knew it all along; most readers will as well.
Set in late 1880s London, the period and location details add a mysterious atmospheric layer to a well-paced plot. Despite the horrific nature of the crimes, The Hellfire Conspiracy is a pleasure to read.
Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of The Hellfire Conspiracy.
Acknowledgment: Touchstone provided a copy of The Hellfire Conspiracy for this review.
Review Copyright © 2007 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
The Black Hand
Touchstone (Trade Paperback), July 2008
ISBN-13: 9781416558958; ISBN-10: 1416558950
Location(s) referenced in The Hellfire Conspiracy: London, England
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The Hellfire Conspiracy by Will Thomas — A Barker and Llewelyn Mystery
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: July 2007
List Price: $24.00
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Page Author: Lance Wright
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