Title – The Thief Taker
Author – C. S. Quinn
In London, 1665, the plague has ravaged the city and the surrounding countryside. Underneath it all, a serial killer stalks young women, dressed in the hood and mask of a plague doctor. But it not only death that this killer seeks, but to overthrow the very kingdom itself.
Thief Taker, a private detective of sorts, Charlie Tuesday is commissioned by the sister of one of the victims. The gruesome remains lead Charlie to believe that this is not a single crime and there on the body is a symbol, a symbol that Charlie himself has and too late does he realize that his commission is not to catch the killer, but because he is suspected to be the killer!
Set after the overthrow of Cromwell and the rise of the new King, The Thief Take is more than a murder mystery. It is filled with palace intrigue and politics as the new King is set upon by those who wish to overthrow the monarchy and see the time of plague as their opportunity.
In this time, Charlie must solve the murder to prove his own innocence and in doing so, save the Kingdom from rebellion.
It took me a long time to read this one and I enjoy historical novels quite a bit. Throw in a good serial murderer and one would think this to be a very good story. And it is. Only it takes far too long to develop and far too long for the separate narratives to join together.
Is it a murder mystery? Is it a witch hunt? Is it rebellion on a nationwide scale? Is it about a young man finding the truth about himself? Is it all or too little of none?
There is a lot of promise in the scope of this novel and perhaps it would have been better served if it had been developed on a grander scale. But as a novel, it simply had too many different plots for it to hold together as one tale.
The Thief Taker started strong but sidelines into different lines and by the time it gets back to the main plot, momentum was lost. It is a good story with some obvious missteps. Which is too bad. It could and should have been much better.