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.
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)