Item description for The Smoke (Jethro Mysteries) by Tony Broadbent...
The first Jethro mystery First time in paperback It's 1947, and London, having toughed out the War, is being half-crippled by the Peace. It's the coldest winter in living memory, everything from bread to soap to underwear is rationed, and even beer, by official order, is watered down. No wonder the Black Market is thriving. But Jethro doesn't bother complaining much. As a jewel thief, he needs all his wits about him when engaged in redistributing the wealth of the upper classes. And the demands on Jethro's wits only increase when his thieving skills attract some unwelcome interest, first from London's thuggish crime lords and then from His Majesty's Secret Service, which wants him to pull a little job on the Soviet Embassy. You wouldn't believe what an honest Cockney cat burglar has to do to survive sometimes.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 7.4" Width: 5.5" Height: 1" Weight: 1 lbs.
Release Date Oct 15, 2005
Publisher Felony & Mayhem
ISBN 1933397152 ISBN13 9781933397153
Availability 0 units.
More About Tony Broadbent
Tony Broadbent was born in Windsor, England, at the edge of "the Smoke," but now lives in Mill Valley, California, at the edge of "Fog City"---otherwise known as San Francisco. He can be found most nights hard at work setting up another caper for Jethro, the cat burglar and jewel thief.
Tony Broadbent currently resides in the state of California.
Reviews - What do customers think about The Smoke (Jethro Mysteries)?
A Thriller of a Ride! Jul 13, 2008
You might think that on the surface this is a 'man's' book. Nothing could be further from the truth. Good writing appeals to everyone and THE SMOKE is writing at its finest. Thrills. Chills. A hint of romance. What's more, there's nothing like a hero with enough flaws to keep him from perfection, and enough old-fashioned honor to have you sitting in your seat cheering him on.
The world in England right after WWII was harder than most of us here in the States might imagine. Like the title, Tony Broadbent paints a picture of the gray everyday life that surrounded the British who had fought to keep their Empire intact but are now bearing the ramifications of loss, hardship, and want. Scraping by to survive is the rule of the day, so it's easy to understand and like Jethro and his thieving ways. He's surrounded by characters who illustrate humanity--some noble and good, some greedy and evil, and some who realistically display the bit of larceny that comes to the top in such times from necessity of patriotism and the needs of the many.
Everything from the descriptions to the dialogue is loaded with authenticity. I fell in love with Jethro. The actions scenes were spot on. The nobility of the everyday man forced to play the hero is done exceptionally well in this book. IF Hollywood had a brain, they'd scoop this series up. Then again, I don't know how they could because the characters were done so well that I doubt they'd translate the onto the screen with the same dexterity as author allowed me to portray in my mind.
I so enjoyed Jethro's exploits that I immediately ordered the sequel for my husband to put away for me for Christmas. I have to admit that I'm straining at the bit to see what happens next but I'm sure that by the time I finish Jethro's next exploits they'll be another book around for me to devour.
I have recommended this series to all my friends and purchased another copy to 'lend'. (No, I refuse to lend MY copy as I might not get it back...and this one is going on my Keeper Shelf. Since I spotted a few authors before they climbed upward (like Nora Roberts, Iris Johansen, Dick Francis, Kay Hooper, Richard Doetsch, and Marnie Davis Kellogg,) I'm expecting to see Tony Broadbent join them before too long.
I look forward to saying, "I told you!"
Creeping in London's criminal scene in post world war II. Dec 5, 2007
It's odd, but I've always felt that once WWII was over, London was back to the capital that we've gotten to know, full of black taxis, stately terrace homes, and monuments everywhere. Now I know better, thanks to Tony Broadbent's first novel, The Smoke: A Creeping Narrative.
This is a London that may be at peace, but it is certainly not a prosperous one. Everything is still rationed -- even bread, there's a flourishing black market, and most of the City is still in ruins from the German bombings. Worst still, there's not that much work to be had, and the economy is still depressed and looking to slide further into unrest. For a cat burglar like Jethro, it's lean times, especially if he can't get a good job or two in.
Lucky for Jethro he's very very good at what he does. As the novel opens, he's slipping into an embassy to pilfer the jewelry that the ambassador's wife and daughter were wearing to a social event. The heist goes smoothly, until Jethro almost gets caught, and the shooting starts. Unluckily for him, while he does get away, someone does get killed falling to his death on the street below.
And things just go downhill from there. In his plunder, Jethro finds not one, but two little black books, and both promise to get him into a lot of trouble. Even the people that he cares about are being threatened, from Ray -- Buggy Billy -- his scholarly fence, to his family are being harmed, and the local thugs are out to get him.
When Jethro is given an offer he can't turn down -- he can't even negotiate on it -- the story takes a surprising twist, and just when I thought the story was over, it wasn't. Instead, Broadbent builds everything up in a steady acceleration of suspense, to a final conclusion that hints of more to come.
I was really pleased with this book. The narrative is exciting, full of action and description and a real sense of life where even if the bombings are over, there's a new war that is brewing. The depictions of life are very well done, including those silky smooth men in MI5 who might not be as rough as the street gangs, but much more deadly.
What makes this novel work so well is the skill that Broadbent has in creating his protagonist, Jethro. He's survived the war, with terrible losses of his own, and while he's making a living in a very creative way of expressing 'redistribution of wealth,' there's something about Jethro that makes him a rogue, and a very likeable one at that. While he is breaking the law, he has a certain moral code that he lives by, and it has its own responsibilities and admonditions.
Several of the secondary characters are just as vivid, especial Ray, the well-educated, patriotic fence, and the very intriguing Seth who comes to Jethro's aid when he runs afoul of the treacherous Chalkie. Even the mob leaders are interesting, if detestible, especially the Emperor of Soho, Mr. Messima, who runs his underworld with all the subtlety and artistic flair of a Nero.
Most of all with this one is the language, with the rolling, rhyming Cockney slang and Jethro's own awareness of who he is and the decisions that he makes. I found myself flung into a world that's having a hard time of it, but still able to take pleasures in the small happy things of life, even with things turn tragic, there's still the idea that it's really going to get better soon.
A very nice touch was the inclusion of a glossary of the slang and speak of the novel, which really helped to sort out some of the novel, and a map of London just after the war.
For those who like their thrillers to be candid, honest and with a touch of humour, The Smoke is an excellent choice for a winter night's read. Broadbent has written a sequel for the next mystery about Jethro, and I suspect that it will be just as exciting as this one was, with the title being Spectres in the Smoke.
Four and a half stars, rounded up to five.
Cat Burgler and Post WWII London-What a combo! Aug 9, 2006
I loved this book! The protagonist (Jethro the Cat Burgler) isn't TOO clean, the government "good guys" aren't TOO good, and the taste and feel of Post-war London is delicious. Step into a different world and learn some cockney while you are at it!