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The Worms of Euston Square Paperback – 21 Aug 2006


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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: 600,119 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)


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Hugh Davies-Webb on 18 Nov 2006
Format: Paperback
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 By David Woodhouse on 11 Oct 2006
Format: Paperback
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 By A. Stone on 11 Oct 2006
Format: Paperback
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 By Robert Campbell on 1 Oct 2006
Format: Paperback
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 T. Crook on 11 April 2011
Format: Paperback
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By thejollypilgrim on 3 April 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a marvellous book. Set in mid-nineteenth-century London, it has a noble hero, an intriguing anti hero, a sexy love interest and a selection of cameo characters, ranging from the seedy to the bazaar to the tragic. The plot is big, elaborate and tightly woven, but with enough messy elaborations that it speaks of real life. It's divided into subchapters which makes it easy to dip in and out of, and periodic detours (into newspaper stories and, at one, point music hall) spice-up the narrative.

While ostensibly historical crime-busting fiction, you'll learn an enormous amount about nineteenth-century London from reading it. Anyone who lives in twenty-first-century London will be fascinated by the light it casts on the process which brought the great metropolis to its current state and character.

People often talk of how the twentieth century was a period of transformation. This book reminds one of how - in Britain at least - the structural changes which turned a post-medieval world into the modern one fundamentally played themselves out in the century before. It's telling how many epoch-defining people were running around London at the time (Darwin, Dickens, Marx and Brunel, to name a few), several of whom make cameos in Mr Sutton's wonderful book.
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