Thomas, Will. The Hellfire Conspiracy.
This is the 4th in the series of Private Inquiry Agent Cyrus Barker and his assistant Thomas Llewelyn. Set in London in 1885, Barker's latest client is frantic about the disappearance of his daughter. The topic of white slavery of young women for purposes of prostitution was a hot one in Victorian London, and Devere fears that white slavers are responsible .
Barker, however, isn't sure the disappearance of young Gwendolyn DeVere is related to white slavery and soon discovers that other young girls have disappeared with deadly results. Barker and Llewelyn suspect that the abuse and murders are the work of a serial killer and, indeed, soon receive a letter from the murderer taunting them.
The novel includes several real issues from the era and several real people. The real people include William Stead, a journalist who campaigned against the practice of selling young women into prostitution and to raise the age of consent from 13 to 16. The inclusion of William T. Stead works, but the inclusion of Beatrix Potter doesn't.
The characters are interesting, but not fully rounded. The strength (for me) is the ambiance, history, and culture of Victorian London. Overall, an enjoyable mystery.
Fiction. Mystery. 2007. 311 pages.