A deeply atmospheric literary tour de force with a cast of unforgettable characters, By Gaslight is the remarkable story of one detective's ceaseless hunt for an elusive criminal.
London, 1885. A woman's body is discovered on Edgware Road; ten miles away, her head is dredged from the dark, muddy waters of the Thames. Famed detective William Pinkerton had one lead to the notorious thief Edward Shade, and now that lead is dead. Determined to drag Shade out of the shadows, Pinkerton descends into the seedy underworld of Victorian London, with its gas-lit streets, opium dens, sewers and séance halls, its underworld of spies, blackmailers, cultists, petty thieves and pitiless murderers.
Adam Foole is a gentleman without a past, haunted by a love affair ten years gone. Returning to London in search of his lost beloved, his journey brings him face-to-face with Pinkerton, and what he learns of his lover's fate will force him to confront a past - and a grief - he thought long buried.
Epic in scope, brilliantly conceived and vividly atmospheric, By Gaslight is a riveting portrait of two men on the brink. Shrouded in secrets, betrayals and deceptions, this is the story of the most unlikely of bonds: between William Pinkerton, the greatest detective of his age, and Adam Foole, the one man who may hold the key to finding Edward Shade.
‘Price's naturalism is unsentimental, adding verisimilitude to a book already thrumming with emotional and psychological realism. The author's blend of quest, grief, betrayal, and the mysteries of identity will appeal to readers of literary crime fiction.'
‘Entertaining…as vast as the three-decker Victorian novels it so cleverly echoes'.
'Steven Price has done a daring thing: taken a long, complex, but utterly fascinating 19th Century crime tale and applied to it the rules of modern mystery writing. The result is something unique, but it is his gift for unraveling a terrific yarn, in whatever manner, that shines through. Do not be daunted by length: give this book a try.'
'Price's elegantly written, vividly evoked second novel marries historical suspense with literary sophistication…contemporary…sweeping.'
‘[An] extraordinary historical novel, finely written and deeply researched…[with] a cast of truly powerful characters, half-mad and all dangerous.'
‘This sweeping tale of the unforgettable William Pinkerton and Adam Foole thrusts the reader into smoky Victorian London with all its grit and glitter. Uniting the literary grace and depth of William Faulkner and Cormac McCarthy with the intrigue and momentum of a Sherlock Holmes story, By Gaslight is completely absorbing - an epic, brilliantly written novel to rank with the world's best.'
‘This darkly mesmerizing tale is worthy of the great Victorian thriller writers, but Steven Price brings to his prose a sensibility and dazzling skill all his own. The gruesome, eerie events that unfold during the search for Charlotte Reckitt are given enthralling life in a book that is perfectly grounded in period and rich in incident and image. Haunting and deeply satisfying.'
‘A dark tale of love, betrayal and murder that reaches from the slums of Victorian London to the diamond mines in South Africa, to the American Civil War and back. Superb storytelling.'