Lawless & the Devil of Euston Square
(originally entitled The Worms of Euston Square) is a mystery set in the bowels of Victorian London. 1859. An era of great exhibitions, foreign conquests, trains under the ground. The Victorian fervour for progress is transmogrifying London: networks of underground rivers, sewers, hydraulics, gas, trains; slums rebuilt; poor laws and poor houses; exploitation of children banned.
But what if you were one of those urchins? Banned from sweeping chimneys. Banned from digging ‘night-soil’. Banned from sewer scavenging. And, likely as not, turfed out of your slum on the Euston Road by the cut-and-cover construction of the bleeding Metropolitan Line. Watch this cinematographical entertainment to find out more:
"Thoroughly enjoyable." The Scotsman
"A first-rate piece of Victorian crime fiction." The Herald
You can listen to the First Chapter and more snippets on SoundCloud.
My Dearest Dolly,
Your presence is cordially required at the Moveable Feast, where B.S. and his vermicular troupe shall present larksome spree, glees and merriments for the Monstrous Crumbo and his Blabbing Spooney.
The itinerant extravaganza departs Notgniddap at nobber o’ the clock this very notchy. Tug on your cover-me-properlies, your stampers and fumbles and bonarest fakements, and toddle along.
Shift your crabshells, you doxy old fishbag!
Your ever affectionate
Worm's Parlaree Invitation to the Party
Compelling story, unpredictable and entertaining. - Amazon review
“You’re a novice, you are. Guarding the public? Don’t make me laugh. They’ll eat you alive here.” With a sigh Worm stepped out across the thoroughfare.“There is them as has no respect for the traditions we work in. Them as regards us as vermin and would gladly see us put down. But me – I’m in the habit of forgiving them their ignorance. Besides,” he grinned, rubbing his hands, “what is life without a few enemies?”
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
SABOTAGE SCANDAL & STINK
Genuinely funny ... prose and interweaving plots built
like wrought-iron Victorian follies - Scotland on Sunday
The trains underground cant drown out the revolutionary rumblings. The Great Exhibition doesn’t stop the Great Stink. And it ain’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 and miseries of the metropolis. When a hydraulic engine explodes at Euston Station and a body is recovered, Lawless stumbles onto the trail of an elusive revolutionary, Berwick Skelton.
From humble beginnings, Skelton rose to mix with London’s high and mighty. Now he has vanished, threatening revolution and retribution, his sweetheart stolen by a mysterious philandering gentleman.
Lawless finds himself in a heady world of music hall hoofers and sewer dwellers, corrupt industrialists and disaffected idealists. Aided by code-cracking librarian, Ruth Villiers, and a gang of urchins known as the Worms, he searches for Skelton.
Can Lawless track down this underworld mastermind before he unleashes a spectacular attack on those who have wronged him and his people?
With colourful characters—including walk-on parts for Dickens and Marx—The Worms of Euston Square is a splendidly diverting literary mystery, alive with the sights, sounds and smells of Victorian London.
World of Worms: more background to the tale
Author William Sutton
Title Lawless and the Devil of Euston Square
Published August, 2013