- Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
- Publisher: Berkley; Reissue edition (Nov. 1 1996)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0425155501
- ISBN-13: 978-0425155509
- Product Dimensions: 10.7 x 2 x 16.8 cm
- Shipping Weight: 159 g
- Average Customer Review: 18 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,094,143 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Murder in Grub Street Mass Market Paperback – Nov 1 1996
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From Publishers Weekly
The lusty life of London's Covent Garden?and its diverse practitioners?highlights the second appearance of blind Sir John Fielding, an 18th-century magistrate first met in Blind Justice. Jeremy Proctor, Sir John's 13-year-old ward, has been hired by Grub Street publisher/bookseller Ezekiel Crabb. But the night before the apprenticeship is to begin, Crabb, his family and two employees die in a hideous massacre. Houseguest and rustic poet John Clayton, found dazed with ax in hand, is taken into custody. But Fielding is not satisfied with the evidence. In pursuit of the truth, he enlists the help of the Bow Street Runners, Samuel Johnson (but not Boswell), a pickpocket, a gambler, another publisher and, of course, Jeremy. More murders and a torched synagogue lead to a band of religious zealots who have come from Monongahela in the American colonies to convert London's Jews. Still needing facts, Fielding sets a trap that snares the villains in a stunning double climax. Especially noteworthy are scenes of Sir John in action at the Bow Street Court, dispensing practical justice to Londoners high and low.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From School Library Journal
YA?In this sequel to Blind Justice (Putnam, 1994), 13-year-old Jeremy Proctor again teams up with Sir John Fielding, the blind magistrate and co-founder of London's first police force, this time to investigate who massacred the printer, Ezekiel Grabb, and his family and two employees the day before Jeremy was to be apprenticed to him. Acting once more as Sir John's eyes, the boy becomes ever more deeply involved in the magistrate's life and eventually earns himself a permanent place in his household. Though fiction, this book relies heavily on historic figures as its key characters. Its strength is its depiction of 18th-century London, seen through the eyes of young Jeremy, as he ranges from Grub Street to the Bedlam madhouse, from Covent Garden to London's worst slums..?Pamela Rearden, Centreville Regional Library, Fairfax County, VA
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
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In my opinion, "Murder in Grub Street" is slightly superior to "Blind Justice" partly because the characters whom we already know become more fully rounded, as Sir John Fielding officially welcomes Jeremy Proctor into his household, and their relationship becomes more akin to father-son.
Jeremy Proctor's virtue and his elevated manner of speech might be cause for some annoyance, but he is NOT a complete goody-two shoes, and one of the seminal occurrences in this novel is when he gets into a street brawl with sneak thief, Jimmy Bunkins, a lad about Jeremy's own age.
The brawl between Jeremy and Bunkins becomes occasion for Sir John to actually regard Jeremy as a son who has, on this occasion, disappointed him, and we see how Sir John deals with a situation in which Jeremy has, for the first time, failed to meet his expectations.
Jeremy's antagonist, Bunkins, communicates not in the King's English but in his street "cant" (slang), which is remarkably easy for the reader to follow, and he becomes a key figure in the story and will presumably figure again in this series. Bunkins's morally-flawed but street-wise personality makes him a good foil to Jeremy.
When he warns Jeremy, "You'll do nicks to me, for I see no Beak-runners by your side, nor barking irons in your daddles", I was pleasantly surprised to realize that I had no trouble interpreting this to mean, "You'll do nothing to me, for I don't see any officers of the law with you or any guns in your pockets."
Bunkins's colorful mode of expression, as well as his personality, make him an attractive character in spite of his faults. And if he seems a little too Dickensian to be regarded as completely of the author's creation, Alexander pays proper homage to the origins of this character by describing him as running away "at full speed, dodging artfully through the pedestrians in the street."
Bunkins's introduction into the series also provides the occasion for the re-introduction of "Black Jack" Bilbo, the owner of the gambling house on St. James Street with the mysterious and reputedly sinister past, who is also a stimulating character.
And notwithstanding Jeremy's sometimes too-treacly personality, there are a number of things which ensure that the story itself never gets too sugary. The mystery around which it centers is the gruesome murder of the household of Ezekiel Crabb, publisher and book-seller in Grub Street, and we are also introduced to the grotesque image of "The Raker", who collects and disposes of corpses for the cities of London and Westminster ("He enjoys his work too much. There is something unholy about the man," Sir John remarks). There is also a not-easily-forgotten trip to Bedlam, the famed London insane asylum, as it existed in the 18th century.
While the revelation that climaxes this novel may not be all that surprising, the climax is still filled with more drama than that the first novel contained.
All in all, an excellent sequel, and I look forward to reading the next novels in the series.
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