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…
if you didn’t see it on the other blog; here it is for your delectation
OH and I have been thinking a lot about Emily and her relationship with Symington. She’s an East End girl of genteel stock; he was part of the late King Edward’s crowd. . He has been asked to look after her, she has contacts in the East End that are vital to a criminologist; but she is feisty and independent. She will not accept help easily but – if she doesn’t – the work house is the only alternative. However, she’s a girl who doesn’t trust easily (she suspects him of having designs upon her personage; a bit like Liza Doolittle did of Henry Higgins) – well with her father, do you blame her?
Let me explain:
Emily’s mother was a rural vicar’s daughter who ran off with an artist with a roving eye. Our heroine passed the 11 plus but never went to grammar school because after her mother…
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see what London was like in 1927 – rare colour film, uncovered by the BFI
Uncovered recently by the BFI, this footage was taken in 1927. 18 years earlier the dresses were longer; and probably less cars. But this was the London, Lucy Pevensea and Mark Birch (two 21st kids) found themselves in. Different isn’t it? Find out more of a world of danger, intrigue and timetravelling teenagers…..