By Louis Bayard
William Morrow & Company, Paperback, 9780060534226, 416pp.
Publication Date: October 26, 2004
It's the Christmas season, and Mr. Timothy Cratchit, not the pious child the world thought he was, has just buried his father. He's also struggling to bury his past as a cripple and shed his financial ties to his benevolent "Uncle" Ebenezer by losing himself in the thick of London's underbelly. He boards at a brothel in exchange for teaching the mistress how to read and spends his nights dredging the Thames for dead bodies and the treasures in their pockets.
Timothy's life takes a sharp turn when he discovers the bodies of two dead girls, each seared with the same cruel brand on the upper arm. The sight of their horror-struck faces compels Timothy to become the protector of another young girl, Philomela, from the fate the others suffered at the hands of a dangerous and powerful man.
A different kind of Christmas story, this breathless flight through the teeming markets, shadowy passageways, and rolling brown fog of 1860s London would do Dickens proud for its surprising twists and turns, and its extraordinary heart.
“[A] dazzling blend of literary fiction and white-knuckle thriller.”
-People (four-star review)
“Inventive and amusing.”
-New York Times Book Review
“This mix of thriller and literature is as rich as a Christmas cake…a spirited adventure. ”
“The voice and intelligence behind the book are a real marvel.”
-Sena Jeter Naslund, author of Ahab's Wife and Four Spirits
“...all of the moral passion of a Dickens novel but none of the quaint sentimentality.”
-Gary Krist, bestelling author of Extravagance
“Mr. Timothy is a spirited and absorbing thriller and Louis Bayard is a very talented writer.”
-Kevin Baker, author of Paradise Alley
“...a satisfying, gruesome thriller and a moving meditation on fathers, sons, and the making of a family.”
-Sarah Smith, bestselling author of "The Vanished Child"
“There isn’t one throwaway sentence in this fabulous Victorian mystery ...a subtle character examination and a page-turning plot.”
“Audacious...triumphant entertainment ...a page-turner of a thriller.”
-Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“A first-rate entertainment.”
“A divinely crafted novel.”