Berkley, 1995.

Review published Mar 2007.

This is the first in a delightful series of ten Georgian mysteries by the late Bruce Cook, writing under the pseudonym Bruce Alexander. His protagonist is a historical character -- Sir John Fielding, known as "The Blind Beak," the half-brother of novelist Henry Fielding, and co-founder of London's Bow Street Runners.

Alexander wrote his mysteries from the point of view of a precocious 13-year-old orphan, Jeremy Proctor, who is saved by Sir John from the complaints of unscrupulous thief-takers.

A gunshot is heard in the locked study of Lord Goodhope, a notorious London playboy. Soon afterwards, Goodhope's wealthy half-brother appears off a ship bound from the West Indies, and takes up company with a hugely popular London actress. Lady Goodhope wants nothing more than to bury the body and return to Lancaster.

Sir John is widely known for his ability to recognize the origin of witnesses from their accents, and can detect criminals by voice. Jeremy's eyes prove an invaluable aid to the Bow Street magistrate by reading and carefully observing crime scenes. Sir John is kept busy keeping this country boy out of trouble in boisterous London.

For fans of the old-fashioned mystery story, filled with plot and detection and colorful characters, the Sir John Fielding Mysteries can't be beat.