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Publisher's Summary

Susanna Gregory, author of the Matthew Bartholomew series of medieval mysteries, has created another compelling fictional detective set in Restoration London.

The third adventure in the Thomas Chaloner series.

Having just returned from a clandestine excursion to Spain and Portugal on behalf of the queen, Thomas Chaloner finds London dank and grey under leaden skies. He finds many things changed, including the government slapping a tax on printed newspapers. Handwritten news reports escape the duty, and the rivalry between the producers of the two conduits of news is the talk of the coffee houses with the battle to be first with any sort of intelligence escalating into violent rivalry. And it seems that a number of citizens who have eaten cucumbers have come to untimely deaths.

It is such a death which Chaloner is despatched to investigate; that of a lawyer with links to 'the Butcher of Smithfield', a shady trader surrounded by a fearsome gang of thugs who terrorise the streets well beyond the confines of Smithfield market. Chaloner doesn't believe that either this death or the others are caused by a simple vegetable, but to prove his theory he has to untangle the devious means of how news is gathered and he has to put his personal safety aside as he tries to penetrate the rumour mill surrounding the Butcher of Smithfield and discover his real identity.

©2008 Susanna Gregory (P)2021 Hachette Audio UK

What listeners say about The Butcher of Smithfield

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 08-30-21

Now we Have Cucumbers and a Cat

This was my third listen/read of a Thomas Chaloner novel and found it less rewarding than the the first two of this series. I still enjoy the restoration setting and the scrapes of Thomas Chaloner are interesting enough. For me this novel is hectic, crowded and over long. Sixteen hours of listening is a significant investment of time. It is no surprise that the ending summarises the book (split between three character voices) and no surprise that I had forgotten some of it in my listening and reading. The novel could have been better had it been less dense; an editing issue. More time developing an understanding of characters would have been welcome. After the green parrot and turkey of the first two books this is the novel of the cucumbers and the cat. What comes next? On the narration, I found this more variable than the previous two. I found that Gordon Griffin's voice appeared to fatigue and thin during recording sessions, whereas starts it was richer and rounder. This novel will please those that like stiff puzzles and a steady flow of murders The ending provides an tantalising development for future novels. Happily I already have the next one waiting.

1 person found this helpful