From Publishers Weekly
Following the cabinetmakers of The Grenadillo Box
(2004) and the portraitists of The Serpent in the Garden
(2005), Gleeson hangs her solid third historical on another group of artisans—a family of silversmiths, the Blanchards, who have fallen on uncertain times in 18th-century London. When an apprentice is murdered, the kitchen maid vanishes and the business's most valuable commission—a huge wine cooler—is stolen, the Blanchards' cook, Agnes Meadowes, becomes the improbable prime sleuth. Meadowes first negotiates with the corrupt character of the novel's title, who's suspected of engineering the crime to profit from recovering the stolen item. She takes a more active role after she begins to suspect an accomplice inside the Blanchard household. Meadowes's eventual success owes more to bravery and doggedness than actual deduction, making her a less interesting sleuth than her fictional peers in the late Bruce Alexander's Sir John Fielding mystery series, also set in Georgian England. (Sept.)
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Gleeson's latest unconventional eighteenth-century sleuth is Agnes Meadowes, stalwart widowed cook to the Blanchards of Foster Lane. Picking up on the artisan themes she mined for period detail in The Grenadillo Box
(2003) and The Serpent in the Garden
(2005), the Blanchards are a family of renowned silversmiths. When an apprentice is murdered, the kitchen maid disappears, and a valuable silver wine cooler is stolen, patriarch Richard Blanchard turns to Agnes for assistance. Agnes quickly negotiates with a local "thief taker" to recover the wine cooler, but her mission becomes more dangerous when Rose's lifeless body is discovered. As the murder investigation twists and turns, Gleeson, a former Sotheby's agent, immerses readers in both the cuisine and craftsmanship of the era. Suspense and historical detail are artfully interwoven into another historical whodunit. Margaret FlanaganCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved