“If someone had told me, those many years ago, that I would spend the bulk of my life as assistant and eventual partner to one of the most eminent detectives in London, I would have thought him a raving lunatic.” (Page 1)
The start of a new year may have you contemplating a career change. Yes, the long process of searching and interviewing for potential opportunities can be overwhelming but you know it will be worth it in the end if you find the right job. Thomas Llewelyn had just about hit rock bottom when he began his job search, and several failed interviews certainly didn’t help him feel any better. He was just about to give up completely when an advertisement caught his eye:
“ASSISTANT to prominent enquiry agent. Typing and shorthand required. Some danger involved in performance of duties. Salary commensurate with ability. 7 Craig’s Court.” (Page 3)
Needless to say, after a somewhat unusual interview, Cyrus Barker hires Llewelyn as his assistant and it’s not long before they have a murder to investigate.
From The Cover: “An atmospheric debut novel set on the gritty streets of Victorian London, Some Danger Involved introduces detective Cyrus Barker and his assistant, Thomas Llewelyn, as they work to solve the gruesome murder of a young scholar in London’s Jewish ghetto. When the eccentric and enigmatic Barker takes the case, he must hire an assistant, and out of all who answer an ad for a position with “some danger involved,” he chooses downtrodden Llewelyn, a gutsy young man with a murky past.
As they inch ever closer to the shocking truth behind the murder, Llewelyn is drawn deeper and deeper into Barker’s peculiar world of vigilante detective work, as well as the heart of London’s teeming underworld.
Brimming with wit and unforgettable characters and steeped in authentic period detail, Some Danger Involved is a captivating page-turner that introduces an equally captivating duo.”
I’ve read a lot of mysteries that have dynamic main characters… the kind that you can never learn enough about and that you can hardly wait to go on another adventure with. What a lot of these mysteries are lacking though is an equally engaging cast of supporting characters. You get the feeling with some of them that they only exist to fill space in the story. That’s not the case with Some Danger Involved (or any other books in the series). These pages are brimming with interesting characters that all add to the story in their own unique way. I still get excited every time they head down the tunnel to Ho’s restaurant!
Just as importantly, the mystery at the center of Some Danger Involved is every bit as interesting as the characters and kept me guessing right up to the end. I think this is the first story I’ve read that involves Victorian England’s Jewish ghetto and that helped set it apart from other mysteries I’ve read based in the same time period.
Now, back to those main characters. I think Barker and Llewelyn are a great addition to the world of crime-solving duos. And while I like Cyrus Barker, for me Thomas Llewelyn is the the stand-out character of the series. I’d say that right now he’s my second favorite detective! (Number one on that list is Archie Goodwin from Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe series).
Just One More Thing: As I didn’t discover this series till about the time The Black Hand was published (2008), I read through the first five books back to back. The next book in the series wasn’t published till 2014, so I reread those five books just before the sixth one was released. I enjoyed them again as much as I did on the first read!
This Edition: Paperback published by Touchstone (2005)
Other Books In This Series: To Kingdom Come, The Limehouse Text, The Hellfire Conspiracy, The Black Hand, Fatal Enquiry, Anatomy of Evil
You Might Also Like: The Sir John Fielding mystery series by Bruce Alexander
Have you read any of the Barker & Llewelyn books? I’d love to know what you thought about them!