The Tenants of Cinnamon Street

The Tenants of Cinnamon Street

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London, December 1811: against the background of the Napoleonic Wars, William Day begins his legal career at Bow-street Public Office, spending the morning at a gruesome public execution and the afternoon in court, alternately appalled and amused at the idiosyncrasies of his flamboyant mentor, Senior Magistrate Aaron Graham. Soon, he is investigating a series of gratuitously brutal, apparently indiscriminate, murders of respectable citizens, unprecedented in England. None of the victims was robbed; no other motive can be established; there are few unambiguous clues. The only surviving witness has been threatened with his life; a suspected accomplice of the killers disappears unexpectedly and without trace. John Williams, a young seaman who was known to be in the vicinity of the murders at the time, emerges as the prime suspect. Aaron Graham doubts the man's guilt, but the weight of evidence against him seems inexorable. Graham has only the shred of a clue, the final victim's mysterious dying words - 'the broken bond'. The trail leads the two Bow Street men through the riverside districts of east London, to the seafaring community around Cinnamon Street, and to the revelation of yet another brutality which took place some years previously. Can Graham and Day unravel the mystery behind the cryptic message in time to save John Williams from the gallows? Séamas Duffy's third published novel, The Tenants of Cinnamon Street, captures the picturesqueness and squalor of Regency London in naturalistic detail, portrays a cast of fascinating characters with candour and humour, and recreates the dread and terror struck into the hearts of the populace by a succession of gory killings in Ratcliff Highway.
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