‘The parish searcher!’ Mr Paxton exclaimed. He sat back on his heels, squinting at Philo with a quizzical look. ‘May I remind you, Master Grey, that the parish searcher is charged with identifying cause of death, for the bills of mortality?’
‘Aye.’ Philo knew that well enough.
‘Our unfortunate friend is not dead,’ the surgeon pointed out, ‘and therefore has no need of a parish searcher.’ Jumping to his feet, he added, ‘We must take him to the workhouse infirmary. Come. ‘Tis close enough.’
As Theophilus (Philo) Grey guides a new client, Mr Paxton, home, they come across the unconscious form of Jemmy Jukes. Paxton, a doctor, insists on getting help for the man, in spite of Philo’s misgivings. In the days that follow more thieves and rogues start dropping without any sign of injury or illness, and Philo and others suspect some kind of faery demon is at work. With the help of his friends – a team of fellow linkboys – and Mr Paxton, Philo is determined to uncover the truth.
Theophilus Grey and the Demon Thief is an intriguing tale set in the back streets and alleyways of Georgian London. Theo is a linkboy – making his living from guiding people home with a lit torch – and heads a team of boys who do the same, under the control of a shady, house-bound master, who uses them both to raise money and to collect information for him. The mystery of what is causing the mysterious collapse of men like Jemmy Jukes, as well as a sudden swell of crime are what drives the story, but there is additional interest from the workings and interactions of the team.
A back of book glossary and a map of old London on the inside cover will help young readers to access this gripping story.