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 novel that introduces an equally captivating duo.
©2004 Will Thomas (P)2016 Tantor
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
3 out of 5 stars
By K on 11-02-17

Jolly enough take on an old formulae

The story was actually very engaging.
Victorian crime novels with a sleuth and his side-kick have started to get a bit hackneyed recently. Presumably many authors are cashing in on the Sherlock Hoes revival. However, this offering is interesting and different enough to easily keep the reader's attention. The Scottish (at least I think he's meant to be) sleuth and his down-at-heel assistant are a nicely conceived characters and the peripheral characters are both diverse and complimentary to the tale.

There's nothing essentially new or inventive in this take on the classic detective novel but it is written slickly and engagingly enough to make it a worthwhile listen.

I must say, though, that the narrater is dreadful. He reads like an automated telephone answering machine and his accents are abominable - his Scottish is barely there but his Irish at one point is indistinguishable from Cockney and his French chef has surely migrated to London via Jamaica. It must really be a good book to keep me listening through this shocker care of narrator, Anthony Ferguson (with a name like Ferguson- you'd think he'd manage the Scottish accent okay).

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6 of 7 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Simon on 01-12-16

Resonant Echoes of the Past

I think it's fair to say that the concept of an inscrutable detective, or as Mr Barker would remind us "Enquiry agent" seen through the eyes of an assistant in Victorian London is not exactly brand new. However, it has not often been done this well.

"Some Danger Involved" introduces us to the enigma that is Cyrus Barker seen through the eyes of his sometimes hapless but actually quite talented assistant, Thomas Llewelyn. The book moves mostly at a reasonably sedate pace successfully evoking a very atmospheric period London at both its best and worst. Will Thomas introduces us to an extremely rich cast of characters while demonstrating ably his knowledge of the times, the city and in particular the Jewish community who feature prominently.

Barker really does fit the bill and both he and Llewelyn are painted with depth and care. The interview scene I found particularly revealing and enjoyable. The rest of the cast also have genuine colour and the time taken to introduce them does slow the pace but they promise much more to come in future episodes.

Antony Ferguson's narration is very well suited and attuned to what the author is trying to portray. He is particularly good with Barker himself.

The story itself while set in Victorian London is incredibly relevant to today's Britain. The theme of prejudice around immigration really is as old as civilisation and it is quite stunning how these echoes from our past continue to resonate today. Thomas does not fall into the trap of polarising the effects, he recognises the multi-faceted nature of this particular beast.

I understand that this book was five years in the making and the result of all that effort is a top quality novel which appears to usher in a series with characters I could grow to love.

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13 of 16 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Kathi on 13-01-17

Clever writing!

I really enjoyed listening to this book. Will Thomas has written a story about a clash of cultures in Victorian London that was interesting to listen to because he is a very good story teller who includes many historical and even theological bits of information that take it well beyond a simple period mystery.

Told from the perspective of Thomas Llewelyn, the assistant to the eccentric but brilliant Cyrus Barker, the story focuses on their efforts to find the killer of a young Jewish man, and stop the possibility of there being another pogram against the Jews who inhabit this London ghetto.

I find it somewhat interesting as well, that the author has given his own name to the assistant who is initially desperate for any sort of job--indeed is contemplating suicide because he sees no way to go on living--but quickly becomes a character with a lot of fortitude and intelligence and who develops the most over the course of the book.

I nearly marked the stars down a bit because there are a few anachronisms (mostly in language that probably would not have been true to the times) that were a little pesky, but the overall story was so engaging that I decided they didn't make that much difference. A good story, a good mystery and good narration. That's worth 5 stars to me.

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111 of 115 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Blue Dragonfly on 03-01-17

Introduction to a great historical mystery series

Would you consider the audio edition of Some Danger Involved to be better than the print version?

Yes, though the print version was excellent, too. I have waited a long time for this to come out in an audio version. I hope more of the series will become avialable on audio.

What other book might you compare Some Danger Involved to and why?

It is pretty unique. The closest I can think of is Alex Grecian's "Murder Squad".

What about Antony Ferguson’s performance did you like?

Wonderful performance! He really had the accents and characterizations down perfectly. You really feel as if there are many different people speaking.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Well, no, because I like to savor it.

Any additional comments?

This initial book, written some years ago, is actually an introduction to the variety of characters that appear again and again in the series. They are unique, mysterious, enigmatic and interesting. Though this first story may have disappointed some in its outcome, they get better and better as the series goes on. I particularly liked Will Thomas' obvious research into the details of the problems of this historical period that are not unlike what goes on in our world today with its religious and racial prejudices and its economic woes. The story is told from the point of view of a new young assistant to the enigmatic Cyrus Barker. Though he has never been a detective's assistant, he learns the business from a unique character who works his way through his cases with an intuitive thought process and an understanding of human nature and the criminal mind. Don't give up on this series based on your opinion of the first book. They just get more intriguing. I hope that Audible will be able to provide more than just the first two in the series, in the future.

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57 of 60 people found this review helpful

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