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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Nov. 28, 2005 / 26 Mar-Cheshvan 5766

Victorian detective's debut is full of fun, intrigue

By Ron Bernas

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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Thomas Llewelyn doesn't know what to expect when he applies to a "situations vacant" ad that reads: "Assistant to prominent enquiry agent. Typing and shorthand required. Some danger involved in performance of duties."


What he — and lucky readers — find in "Some Danger Involved" by sure-footed, first-time novelist Will Thomas is a vibrant gumshoe full of contradictions and wit, equally at ease among London's highest society and its lowest denizens.


For Llewelyn, who narrates the book, answering the ad is a last gasp at pulling himself out of despair. For readers, it's the exciting start of a new friendship with a truly unique detective and his equally intriguing assistant.


It's 1884 and London is awash in Jews escaping persecution in other parts of Europe. One of those increasingly unwelcome immigrants, a scholar with a surprising resemblance to traditional images of the Christian savior, is crucified in the middle of the Jewish market section of town.


Cyrus Barker, the man who placed the advertisement to which Llewelyn replied, is hired by a Jewish league to investigate. With Llewelyn as his new assistant, Barker must determine whether the gruesome murder is only about the dead scholar, or whether it is the signal of something more insidious — a plan to incite a pogrom in England.


Barker, intrigued by Llewelyn's background as a classics student and his stint in prison, spends much of the book turning Llewelyn into a proper assistant. It's a bit of "Pygmalion," and Llewelyn — who came to the job destitute and mourning the death of his wife — proves an eager student.


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Barker is aided on this mission by a bizarre collection of people who have one thing in common: a faith in him and his unorthodox, though successful, ways.


Barker's surly butler also serves as his take-no-prisoners bodyguard, and his cook is a classically trained French chef who's insulted at Barker's inability to truly appreciate his meals. There is also a network of underground spies, helpers and protectors whom Barker calls on from time to time.


Though the investigation into the scholar's murder is compelling enough, getting to know Barker and Llewelyn and watching the relationship develop is the book's real treat.


Barker is a Scot who was raised in China; he speaks several languages, has intimate knowledge of Jewish traditions and the workings of the mafia, is a martial arts expert and devotes as much time to reading and gardening as he does to his work. Wisely, Thomas does not reveal too much about Barker, turning him into a mystery readers will want to try to solve over the course of future books.


Thomas' storytelling is top-notch, generously filled with humor and attention to detail. He brings to life a London roiling with secret leagues, deadly organizations and hidden clubs and teaches Llewelyn — and us — to love it.


"London's a right raucous old lass when you get to know her, isn't she?" Barker asks.


Indeed she is. And with Thomas as the guide, she's a lass readers will be eager to visit again and again.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in Washinton and the media consider must reading. Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Ron Bernas is a copy editor at the Detroit Free Press . To comment, please click here.







© 2004, Detroit Free Press. Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services.