London had Sherlock Holmes. The dark alleys of Edinburgh had Inspector McLevy.
Known as the father of forensics and a likely influence on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, real-life police inspector James McLevy is here reinvented by David Ashton in a thrilling mystery - the fourth in a series - set in dark, violent Victorian Edinburgh.
It's 1887. The streets of Edinburgh seethe with anarchy as two gangs of students rival each other in wild exploits. After a pitched battle between them, an old woman is found savagely battered to death in Leith Harbour. Enter the Thieftaker - Inspector James McLevy. With Constable Mulholland at his side, he scours the low dives of the waterfront and then sees the tendrils of the case spread to more respectable nooks and crannies.
When the inspector encounters Robert Louis Stevenson, author of The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, in the city to bury his deceased father, the two recognise each other as fellow travellers, observers of the dark side of human nature, and hopeless insomniacs.
Glimpses of the murderer indicate a slender, androgynous figure with a silver cane, which is used to lethal effect. A dancing killer not unlike Mr Edward Hyde.
"Elegant and convincing." ( The Times)
"Ashton is the direct heir to Robert Louis Stevenson." (Brian Cox)
"Excellent." (The Sherlock Holmes Society)
"A real page-turner." ( Sunday Post)
"Dripping with melodrama and derring-do." ( Herald)