J. F. Slattery

Eminent criminal barrister Adolphus Winterbourne had been worried about his godson Arthur before but when he discovered that the young man was in Clerkenwell prison on remand for suspected burglary, he got quite a shock… It is 1829, and burglary is a capital offence. But Arthur’s brief stay in a London prison on a mistaken charge is only the first in a strange series of interlinked events into which he and Lord Horatio Carlton, his friend and fellow student, are inextricably drawn – events involving every aspect of London life: its journalists and politicians, its artists and scholars, its idlers and gamblers, its burglars, confidence tricksters and pickpockets. Meet George Marshall, irascible editor of The Morning Indicator and his striking print workers; Colonel Henderson and his Indian wife, whose greatest ambition is to walk in a London street without a veil; Oliver Morris and Lieutenant Peterson, on leave from Madras, whose friendship ends in violence and death; and above all, Frank Hoskins – charming, talented, kindly Frank, receiver of stolen goods and police agent, whose career spirals down into robbery and murder. Once Arthur and Horatio lived a life of jokes and laughter but as events unfold they find the shadows of tragedy closing in around them. Only a desperate plea to Sir Robert Peel, Home Secretary and founder of the new Metropolitan Police Force, will avert disaster. When, twenty-five years later, Mr. Winterbourne takes up his pen to write an account of these events, he wonders how he is to do it… Based on actual police reports of the period, Wisdom and Rubies is an engaging fictional account of a vital period in English social history. A sequel to ‘Wisdom and Rubies’ will shortly be published, entitled ‘The Scapegoat’. It will be a...