Wisdom and Rubies by 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...

J. F. Slattery

J. F. Slattery was born in Essex, England, in 1950. In the course of a varied education (some said restless mind, others intellectual butterfly) he studied Classics, social history and German – the latter at London University, after which he spent twenty years teaching German literature and philosophy to university students. During this time he published scholarly articles on Heine, Thomas and Erika Mann, and the history of the BBC German Service. In 1995 he decided he could not stand the university world for another moment, so he escaped. In 1996 he founded Slattery Translations, an international business, which in 2000 he relocated to Portugal. He lives in Cascais, near Lisbon. Interview: What makes you proud to be a writer from Cascais, Portugal? People often ask me where I am “from”, and I never know what to reply. I am not really “from” anywhere: I have lived in so many cities, in England, in Germany, and in Portugal. But Cascais – that elegant, cosmopolitan town, on the coast twenty miles from Lisbon – suits me, and suits my business, (my day job) completely. Some people have found it strange that I should be living here and writing books which rely on a precise evocation of another city (London) in another time (nearly two-hundred years ago). I reply that such abstraction of place is not unusual: Arnold Bennett wrote many of his books about life in the industrial heart of England (the “Potteries”) while he was in fact living in Paris; while Thomas Mann’s minute evocation of life in Lübeck, Buddenbrooks, was composed when he was living in Munich – a very different city, especially at that time. I think physical removal from the place you are writing about has great advantages: you are forced...