The Thief Taker is an interesting historical mystery. Set in London in 1750, the book is the story of Agnes Meadowes, cook to the Blanchards, a family of silversmiths in Foster Lane. One evening, an expensive wine cooler goes missing and an apprentice ends up with his throat slit. It's clear that the crimes were committed by someone in the household, or someone connected with it. Agnes is asked to act as a liaison between the family and a dangerous thief taker named Marcus Pitt. Soon, two more people end up dead--a thief as well as an unlucky maid in the Blanchard's household. Agnes finds herself pitted against some very dangerous and unsavory characters, and its up to her to find the cooler and discover who committed the murders. In all, I thought that this book was highly suspenseful and not at all what one might expect from historical fiction.
Gleeson write about characters from the past without making them seem as though they're modern or have modern thought processes. That's not to say that Gleeson's writing style is dense or complicated; rather, it's a fast-paced read. However, there was one thing about this novel that I didn't like; the identity of the murderer came out of left field and I thought that the murderer's death happened almost too quickly. It's like Janet Gleeson didn't want to write about that kind of unpleasant thing, but for the sake of the story had to, so she rushed through it as much as possible.
Despite these flaws, however, I still found myself hooked by the premise, not to mention the plot, of The Thief Taker.
Also reviewed by: Daemonwolf Books