Agnes Meadows is a cook who becomes involved in a mystery. Silver is missing from the house presumed to have been stolen by a missing young servant. Agnes is more worried about the young woman whose disappearance has her puzzled. Of course, she fears foul play.
The research, the setting and the characters are indicative of the period. I loved the little details that take us back to the London of the 1700s. The roles of the servants, the kitchen and cooking information and the attitudes of those who employ the servants fold together to make this an entertaining read. My first reaction was "A cook as an investigator?" And, I found myself saying "Why not?" Other readers have questioned this role for the cook as being inappropriate for the time but one must remember that this is fiction and anything can happen in fiction.
All in all this is a good historical mystery. I quite liked it.
A household cook is reluctantly drawn into a complex murder and theft investigation. Lots of intrigue and deception. Interesting view of household from the "below stairs" characters. The cook is a great character and could have another book written about the next saga of her life, or even the one preceeding her becoming a cook, if the author wanted to make this into a series.
Excellent period piece, rich in detail of 1750's London. Gleeson writes with well-researched knowledge and brings to life not only a gritty picture of life below in servents' quarters but, an engaging murder mystery as well.
A well-researched mystery set in 18th-century London. The author provides interesting details about life as a member of a household staff during those times. If you like cooking, then you'll really appreciate the descriptions of menus and the preparation of meals. The mystery surrounding the disappearance of a maid and the theft of a valuable silver cooler will draw you in and keep you reading until late into the night.
Very interesting book and the inner workings of the underworld class in England and the corruptness of the whole system. A great understanding of class and the struggles that went with being in the lower class. Great details, plot development and historical information. A really good read.
Good story, though implausible in many ways. The mystery is tantalizing, but not overly complex. It's nice to see a strong female character for this era, but I have a difficult time believing that a wealthy man would seek help from a cook, in any circumstances. However, that aside, the story is entertaining.
Before I ordered The Thief Taker I had read and enjoyed Janet Gleeson's The Serpent in the Garden. I have also recently read The Grenadillo Box. To me, The Thief Taker was the best of these three. Gleeson is a terrific writer. Her characters are well drawn and her plots move along at a galloping pace. There is also a lot of wry humor. What I most appreciate in her books, however, is the sense of place. The minute details and descriptions of the life of the cook and other servants make the reader a part of the life of mid-eighteenth century England. The scene of the preparation of the hogshead is grotesque and funny at the same time.
Not much substance, seems like a Mary Higgins type of writing. I did not feel like the characters are developed. The whole time you are trying to figure out the connection of the Blanchard household, who is who. No history of when characters came into the household or much background of any of them. Very elementary writing.
I enjoyed this historical murder mystery which takes place in 1750s London. The main character is Agnes Meadowes, head cook in the household of a well-to-do silversmith. As if planning and preparing multiple-course meals from scratch weren't enough, Agnes is also an amateur sleuth. She puts her keen mind to work tracking down thieves who not only stole a very expensive silver wine cooler from her employer but murdered a young apprentice as well. Not long after, one of the kitchen maids disappears only to be discovered murdered, She needs to dig deep to find out who took the wine cooler. Is this crime connected to Rose's murder? Is she herself in danger? There is a sense of urgency added when her young son Peter is kidnapped by person(s) unknown and Agnes must bring all her deductive skills to bear if she wants to save his life and her own.
I like this period of English history. Gleeson made an effort to reinforce the authenticity of her story in describing 18th century everyday life, cooking practices, foods and recipes. I didn't find it hard to follow nor exceptionally horrific. A nice read for those who enjoy historical mystery of a lighter nature.
Great story well told in an unusual setting