Publisher description for The thief-taker : memoirs of a Bow Street runner / T.F. Banks.

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Counter June 1815. Regency-era London comes vividly to life in T. F. Banks’s darkly atmospheric mystery. Against this enthralling backdrop — when Napoleon, Wellington, and Lord Byron ruled the world stage — and featuring a lively cast of rabble-rousers and miscreants, constables and aristocrats, The Thief-Taker weaves an unforgettable tale of jealousy, revenge, and inconsolable love.

When Henry Morton is called to the scene at Portman House in Claridge Square, the Bow Street constable finds a man dead — ostensibly of asphyxiation. He was Halbert Glendinning, a member of the Sussex Circle and a gentleman of unsullied character whose behavior was above reproach. Then why was he seen frequenting one of London’s most notorious dens of iniquity? And why has the driver of the hackney coach in which the dead man was discovered vanished into the night?

While Sir Nathaniel Conant, the chief magistrate at Number 4 Bow Street, accepts the official verdict of accidental death, Morton knows that Glendinning was a victim of foul play. With the help of actress Arabella Malibrant, one of London’s most celebrated beauties, he embarks on his own discreet inquiry.

Morton’s investigation takes him from the elegant town houses of Mayfair to the backstage dressing rooms of the Drury Lane Theatre, from the cobbled streets of Whitechapel to the docks of the Old Bailey — and into the teeming underbelly of a London he knows only too well. Yet the answers may lie somewhere else entirely: in an affair of honor between two men vying for the affections of the same woman.

As Morton’s search brings him nearer to the truth, as the upper circles of London society ruthlessly close ranks against him, Morton must prevent a grave miscarriage of justice from taking place. With his own freedom — and, ultimately, his life — suspended in the balance, he races to unmask a killer whose motives are as complex and unfathomable as the passions that rule the human heart.

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