here it is…the cover reveal for A Cowardice of Crows.
Millicent Jones committed suicide… until a House of Commons cufflink is found wedged in her throat.
Given Queen Victoria is dying, the last thing anyone needs is political scandal, which means there’s only one man for the job: Symington, Lord Byrd; playboy and gentleman detective.
But someone far cleverer is one step ahead, and she has personal reasons for wanting Millie’s killer caught.
With suspects galore and no obvious solution Byrd and his cousin, Chief Inspector Sir Charles Carter, find themselves drawn into the criminal world of the Pawnbroker and his Apprentice: a world so seductive that Byrd is in danger of losing his soul.
Meet another player in the Symington Byrd mysteries: Mordecai Gold, a man who “dances on the edge of the criminal world.”
Mordy (as he is known to his friends) runs a jewelers -come- pawnbrokers. He is a hard nosed businessman, with an eye for a bargain.
But I didn’t want him to be the stereotypical Jew of literature. When Walter Scott created Isaac of York he made him an extreme – the complete antithesis of his beautiful daughter Rebecca; while both George Du Maurier and Dickens created wholly evil criminal masterminds – who looked and acted in an immediately identifiable caricature.
There’s far more to Mordy than that. Tall, white haired – grandfatherly – this is a man who will admit to being 50 but not a day older. Having escaped the pogroms of Eastern Europe, Mordy made his home in Whitechapel. Using his connections Mordy has built up a reputation as an honest criminal. He is the soul of discretion who (trusted by the highest born and the lowliest of beggars) will ensure the best deal is achieved for all (though obviously the house will always win). But you cross him at your peril. Fail to keep your word and retribution is swift.
A man who always has sweets in his pockets, Mordy is at the centre of his community: respected, loved and feared in equal measure
When he first encounters Emily, the lonely little girl who spends at least ten minutes of her walk home from school staring into his shop window, Mordy sees an outsider – just like himself: a mystery inside an enigma. After her father’s death, when her mother brings trinkets to pawn to pay for the funeral, Mordy finds himself being wrapped around the finger of a 7 year old girl who has wisdom beyond her years and an innate ability to identify rough diamonds. Intrigued and sensing there is more to Emily and her mother than meets the eye, Mordy makes her mother an offer that will ensure that as Emily grows up she becomes the Pawnbroker’s apprentice.
I have made a decision, my gentleman detective needs a dressing gown.
Well, you’d have thought I’d have asked the Pope to change religion!
You see, if I wanted an Arthur Dent style dressing gown, I’d have been fine. Not only could I have sourced one for Symington at the start of the 20th century, but I could get one for OH from Ebay…
But a man’s dressing gown? Very limited stock indeed from which to choose.
See what I mean?
Now Symington is a man of taste, suaveness and sophistication. I can’t see him in any of the above.
Well possibly the last one but in black and gold…