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The Worms of Euston Square [Paperback]

William Sutton
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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There is a newer edition of this item:
Lawless & The Devil of Euston Square (A Victorian Mystery) Lawless & The Devil of Euston Square (A Victorian Mystery) 4.2 out of 5 stars (8)
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Book Description

21 Aug 2006
London, 1859 - an era of great exhibitions, foreign conquests, underground trains. But the age of Victorian progress is also the time of the Great Stink. With cholera and depravity never far away, it isn't just the sewers that smell bad. Beneath the respectable surface of society, a multitude of ills needs flushing out. Young police recruit Campbell Lawless is newly arrived from Scotland, and wide-eyed at the marvels of the metropolis. When a hydraulic engine explodes at Euston Station and a body is recovered, he stumbles onto the trail of an elusive revolutionary named Berwick Skelton. Lawless is drawn into a heady world of music hall hoofers and sewer dwellers, corrupt industrialists and disaffected idealists. He learns of Skelton's rise from humble beginnings to mix with London's high and mighty, of his breathless love affair, and of the mysterious philanderer who has stolen his sweetheart. Aided by code-cracking librarian, Ruth Villiers, and a gang of street urchins known as the Worms, he searches for Skelton. Can they track down this mastermind of the underworld before he unleashes a spectacular attack on those who have wronged him and his people? With a cast of colourful characters - including walk-on parts for Dickens and Marx - "The Worms of Euston Square" is a compulsively readable mystery, alive with the sights, sounds and smells of Victorian London.

Product details

  • Paperback: 362 pages
  • Publisher: Mercat Press (21 Aug 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 184183100X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841831008
  • Product Dimensions: 21.2 x 13.8 x 3.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 789,952 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

William Sutton was born in Scotland in 1970 and appeared in pantomime at the age of nine.

He learned blues harmonica from his Latin teacher, drove to California in a VW beetle and studied classics at Oxford. Besides writing radio plays and short stories, he has acted in the longest play in the world, tutored the Sugababes and played cricket for Brazil.

After living in Brazil and Italy, teaching English and singing in ice cream shops, he has returned to the UK where he teaches Latin and plays accordion.

The Worms of Euston Square is a literary mystery set beneath the smoggy cobblestones of Victorian London. The Scotsman newspaper said: William Sutton's first novel is a fine, extravagant and thoroughly enjoyable example of Victorian Crime fiction. It somewhat resembles Boris Akunin's Fandòrin international bestsellers, and there is no good reason why Sutton's Worms of Euston Square shouldn't also do very well.

One of the joys of the novel is the language employed by Worm and his friends, part authentic Victorian slang, part thieves' cant, and part - I rather think - invented ... The action moves with dizzying speed from the highest quarters in the land to the vilest slums and low dives of the teeming city. ... A tale of this sort requires fine villains, and Sutton obliges us with a couple ... This is a world enveloped in smoke and fog. The fun is fast and furious.

We are told that William Sutton is now at work on another Campbell Lawless mystery. If he can maintain this standard of invention, this mastery of linguistic tone, he is on to a winner. (Allan Massie, The Scotsman)

Product Description


'A first-rate piece of Victorian crime fiction.' -- The Herald

'William Sutton's first novel is fine, extravagant and thoroughly
enjoyable...an exhuberant tale...the fun is fast and furious...'
-- Allan Massie, The Scotsman

A thoroughly enjoyable tale.

... terrorist agents at work in Victorian London.

A promising debut. -- Scottish Review of Books, Sunday Herald, 12 Nov 06

Tongue in cheek Victorian romp and magnificent picture of imperial
capital. ... enjoyable, well written, atmospheric journey back in time. -- Dooyoo.co.uk

genuinely funny ... Prose and interweaving plots built like
wrought-iron Victorian follies ... highly original and engaging debut
novel. -- Scotland on Sunday, 10 September 2006 http://living.scotsman.com/books.cfm?id=1335012006

shines in its excellent evocation of Victorian London: a living,
breathing, stinking beast of a city, terrible and awe inspiring. -- TheBookBag.co.uk

About the Author

William Sutton grew up in Scotland. He has also lived in London, South America and Italy. Besides writing plays, stories and articles, he has performed on the Edinburgh Fringe, acted in the world's longest play, taught Latin and Greek, and played cricket for Brazil. he has just returned to the UK after several years abroad writing, teaching and singing in pubs and ice-cream parlours. He is working on another Campbell Lawless mystery.

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Customer Reviews

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4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A cracking read... 18 Nov 2006
I was a little suspicious of the title at first, and then I went to a book reading of 'The Worms', given by William Sutton, and I bought the book without hesitation. William Sutton does have an encyclopaedic knowledge of Victoriana, and an eye for detail. However, none of this would be of any consequence without a great plot and good characters. The book is both atmospheric and very readable. Thoroughly enjoyable. I await the next Campbell Lawless novel with anticipation!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant debut 11 Oct 2006
I bought this book on the back of a good review in The Scotsman and was not disappointed.

Will Sutton is a real talent with a distinctive voice. He has obviously put in a tremendous amount of research into early 1860s London, but his novel wears this lightly. The detective story is exciting, the settings atmospheric, the discursions into Victorian culture provocative, the dialogue lively and vernacular. The narrative voice nods its head to the great Victorian novelists, without descending into pastiche. There are some laugh-out-loud moments too.

All in all this is an extraordinary debut and I already can't wait for the next Campbell Lawless mystery.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Bravo! Love the plot, the rich prose, and the masses of period detail. Trying to work-out where facts end and fiction begins is pleasingly tricky. I look forward to meeting PC Campbell Lawless in further adventures. In the meantime - must brush-up on cadgers' cant and my coster-slang.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best novel I've read in a long time... 1 Oct 2006
This is a beautifully written and utterly absorbing novel. A page-turner of the highest order which resonates historically, intellectually, politically, and most strikingly, linguistically: Sutton's use of the English language and turn of phrase is quite brilliant, and sets him apart as a writer of the highest order.

Set in the volatile underbelly of Victorian London, a city obsessed with the relentless march of progress yet rotten to the core with corporate greed and inequality, this is a blast from the capital's past which brilliantly mirrors our own troubled and nervous times.

And it's very funny. Wonderfully anachronistic with legions of fabulous contemporary references to spot - full Marx (that's Karl and Groucho). This is a novel which is both challenging and supremely witty: London will never feel the same to me again.

You must buy this book. Or better still join the British Library in Euston and read it there. Or better still break into the British Library and read it there.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By S. Cahn
The author has a sense of fun combined with a depth of knowledge to convey place and time. Almost akin to fantasy writing the Worms inhabit a world that was once actually real no matter how strange. Their world is imaginatively portrayed in the gendre of mystery and adventure. An excellent read from this first novelist, and I for one look forward to more. In the modern world of publishing it is rare to find something new and fresh so pass this one on by word of mouth so we get to follow William Sutton's rise to fame.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Historical and original crime writing at its best 11 April 2011
A magnificently evocative novel that I could not put down from page 1 to 363. The author combines an outstanding quality of historical novelistic writing with the traditional crime genre. We are plunged into the dynamic, chaotic, exciting London of 1859 as Great Britain was forging ahead its global empire, but domestically the revolutions and social changes were equally explosive and powerful. The research undertaken for the fictional backdrop and context has been Herculean and quite brilliant. The writing has imagistic, olfactory, sonic, gustatory, and tactile genius. You could feel yourself walking the streets of London at this time. Sutton's central character Campbell Lawless is one of the most intriguing and interesting personalities to emerge in recent new crime fiction. He could be the focus of a brilliant television series. We want to read more from this talented new author.

In the light of the scandal about fake, malicious and manipulated reviews on Amazon, I am happy to declare the interest that I was the professional director of 2 of the authors' radio plays, and one play in live professional theatre. We have remained in infrequent contact in terms of professional acquaintance.
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