By Gaslight is packed with colorful characters, intriguing plot lines and dramatic settings. Ranging from the palaces of London to its sewers, from ostrich farms to diamond heists in South Africa, and America’s Civil War battlefields to its famous train robberies, this Victorian novel centers on detective William Pinkerton and notorious crook Adam Foole. The story plays out perfectly with new questions raised as small mysteries are solved. Delicious historical context and fabulous dialogue throughout kept me joyfully immersed in a 19th century world of romance and intrigue, and leaving me wanting more until the very last page. Hence my only complaint: after such a bravura performance, I was hoping for a wallop of an ending, and I would gladly have read on for another hundred pages to get it.
A literary tour de force of a detective's ceaseless hunt for an elusive criminal
By Gaslight is a deeply atmospheric, haunting novel about the unending quest that has shaped a man’s life.
William Pinkerton is already famous, the son of the most notorious detective of all time, when he descends into the underworld of Victorian London in pursuit of a new lead on the fabled con Edward Shade. William’s father died without ever finding Shade, but William is determined to drag the thief out of the shadows.
Adam Foole is a gentleman without a past, haunted by a love affair ten years gone. When he receives a letter from his lost beloved, he returns to London to find her. What he learns of her fate, and its connection to the man known as Shade, will force him to confront a grief he thought long-buried.
A fog-enshrouded hunt through sewers, opium dens, drawing rooms, and séance halls ensues, creating the most unlikely of bonds: between Pinkerton, the great detective, and Foole, the one man who may hold the key to finding Edward Shade.
Steven Price’s dazzling, riveting By Gaslight moves from the diamond mines of South Africa to the battlefields of the Civil War, on a journey into a cityscape of grief, trust, and its breaking, where what we share can bind us even against our darker selves.
"By Gaslight can be seen as Arthur Conan Doyle by way of Dickens by way of Faulkner . . . Intense, London-centric, threaded through with a melancholy brilliance, it is an extravagant novel that takes inspiration from the classics and yet remains wholly itself." —Jean Zimmerman, NPR.org
The immersive grandeur and gravity of Price’s (Into That Darkness) sophomore novel might answer the literary cognoscenti question: “Where are today’s Dickenses, Radcliffes, and Twains?” . . . Price’s naturalism is unsentimental, adding verisimilitude to a book already thrumming with emotional and psychological realism." —Library Journal
“By Gaslight is Steven Price's extraordinary historical novel, finely written and deeply researched, about the period just following the Civil War, the son of America's most famous detective (Allen Pinkerton), and a cast of truly powerful characters, half-mad and all dangerous.” —Alan Furst, author of Night Soldiers
"Steven Price has done a daring thing: taken a long look at a complex, utterly fascinating 19th-century crime. Price's gift for unraveling a terrific yarn shines through. Give this book a try." —Caleb Carr, author of The Alienist
“This sweeping tale of the unforgettable William Pinkerton and Adam Foole thrusts the reader into smoky Victorian London with all its grit and glitter. Uniting the literary grace and depth of William Faulkner and Cormac McCarthy with the intrigue and momentum of a Sherlock Holmes story, ByGaslight is completely absorbing—an epic, brilliantly written novel to rank with the world’s best.” —Jacqueline Baker, author of The Broken Hours
“This darkly mesmerizing tale is worthy of the great Victorian thriller writers, but Steven Price brings to his prose a sensibility and dazzling skill all his own. The gruesome, eerie events that unfold during the search for Charlotte Reckitt are given enthralling life in a book that is perfectly grounded in period and rich in incident and image. Haunting and deeply satisfying.”—Marina Endicott, author of Close to Hugh
“A poetic, persuasive pea-souper. Think Dickens with Maigret’s whiskers.” —Anakana Schofield, author of Martin John
“A dark tale of love, betrayal and murder that reaches from the slums of Victorian London to the diamond mines in South Africa, to the American Civil War and back. Superb storytelling.” —Kurt Palka, author of the Piano Maker