Agnes Meadowes is cook to the Blanchards of Foster Lane, the renowned silversmiths. Her quiet world of culinary activity, preparing jugged hare, oyster loaves, almond soup and other delicacies for the family, is a happy refuge from the hustle and bustle of 1750s London. But in a single night everything is to change: the Blanchards' most prestigious and expensive commission, a giant silver wine cooler destined for the house of Sir Bartholomew Grey, is stolen and a sinister chain of events is set in motion. A young apprentice is murdered and a young maid, Rose, disappears. Are these portentous happenings connected? Called upon by her master to investigate 'below stairs', Agnes enters a dark world of hidden secrets, jealousy and murderous intent. Before the game is played out she will be forced to act as mouse to the infamous Thief Taker's cat as she is drawn into a seamy underworld of London crime. And the truth comes at a high price: she must decide how big a sacrifice she is prepared to make to bring the villains to justice. Boasting a heroine who's going to win a multitude of admirers, THE THIEF TAKER is a spellbinding novel of crime, chicanery and cooking.
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'Colourful and wildly entertaining...A wonderful read' - GUARDIAN
'A delicious five-course banquet: a murder mystery is succeeded by an abandoned infant weepie, a love story, a social history and, finally, a richly flavoured, full-bodied, 18th-century whodunnit...You'll be kept guessing right up until the last page in this splendid novel' - HARPERS & QUEEN
'A compulsive page-turner which will appeal especially to anyone who was spellbound by Charles Palliser's The Quincunx' - DAILY MAIL
'Take the rarefied world of Gosford Park, add the dark atmosphere of Sherlock Holmes and a pinch of stylish prose and you have The Thief Taker - an absorbing novel that evokes days of sin and skulduggery'
Janet Gleeson was born in Sir Lanka, where her father was a tea planter. After taking a degree in History of Art and English she joined Sotheby's, and later worked for Bonhams Auctioneers. In 1991 she joined Reed Books, where she was responsible for devising and writing Miller's Antiques and Collectibles. She is the author of the Sunday Times non-fiction bestsellers The Arcanum and The Moneymaker. She is also the author of two previous novels, The Grenadillo Box and The Serpent in the Garden.