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Smoke (Jethro Mysteries, #1)

3.87  ·  Rating Details  ·  127 Ratings  ·  25 Reviews
Brought up in one of London’s famed street markets, Jethro the cat burglar is as smart as he is streetwise, which is just as well, as he always needs all of his wits about him to pull off the perfect job and not get caught. After he breaks into the Soviet embassy and steals jewels belonging to the ambassador's wife, Jethro comes to the attention of His Majesty’s Secret Ser ...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published September 10th 2002 by Minotaur Books
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(showing 1-30 of 275)
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Joyce Lagow
Apr 20, 2010 Joyce Lagow rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Jethro is a self-respecting Cockney cat burglar in post-World War II London, minding his own business as he goes about "redistributing the wealth"--robbbing the rich to give to the poor, the latter comprising himself, his family and a few friends. After careful planning, Jethro succesfully burgles the Embassy of an unnamed foreign power--and in doing so, inadvertently finds himself a reluctant participant in MI5's efforts to thwart Soviet espionage and the rise of Communism in England.[return][r ...more
Jeremy Lyon
Jul 12, 2008 Jeremy Lyon rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
An entertaining mystery/caper/crime novel that takes place in a rarely visited setting: London immediately after WWII. A tad heavy-handed, occasionally predictable, but it kept me turning the pages. Jethro, the narrator and main character, is a cat thief that gets unintentionally involved in the emerging espionage war between the West and the Soviets. Don't read it for the plot: read it for Jethro's smart ass commentary and introduction to the London criminal underground of the late 1940s.
3.5 stars. In November, my friend and I stumbled across a mystery book store in Seattle. We decided that we needed to (somewhat) randomly select a book to buy. I ended up buying "Shadows in the Smoke," not realizing it was the third book in a series. I started to read it and while I probably could have read it as a stand alone novel, I decided to start at the beginning.

"The Smoke," takes place in London after the end of WWII in a time when food, services and goods are still being rationed. The m
Feb 17, 2009 Laurie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My only regret is that these are set too late to introduce Mary Russell to Tony's cat burglar, Jethro.
Mar 20, 2013 Andrea rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jethro is a cat burglar and jewel thief in 1947 postwar England. He has told everyone he has gone straight and is now working as a stagehand in London's many theaters and music halls. But in reality he is still committing capers against the wealthy in Mayfair, Knightsbridge and Belgravia. The top villains in London don't believe he has gone straight and neither does Messima the local crime boss. And each at one time or another want him to do a little job for him. He finds himself in a tight corn ...more
Paul Collis
Aug 23, 2012 Paul Collis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An evocative setting and a charismatic protagonist.
As a Londoner who grew up watching the rebuilding of the city, and playing cops and robbers in its rubble-strewn bomb sites, I found the author's depiction of post-World War II London to be accurate and evocative. If anything had fifty shades of grey it was that drab, foggy, smoky city at that time.
Rationing was still in place years after the war ended, and the black market was supplied by spivs and crooks — simpler, less violent villains than
Lance Charnes
Jan 18, 2013 Lance Charnes rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People looking for "To Catch a Thief" in postwar Britain
The Smoke, Tony Broadbent’s maiden effort, can boast an uncommon setting – postwar Austerity Britain – and an equally unusual lead character. Unfortunately, it doesn’t pay off as well as I’d hoped.

Jethro isn’t yet another DCI-with-a-troubled-life; he’s a cat burglar. He thinks he has all the fiddles sussed in 1947 London and is doing well for himself. Then he decides to burgle the Soviet Embassy and everything comes apart in a storm of spies, MI5 agents and rival bands of gangsters, all of whom
Robert Scott
Finished 11/16/2012. I loved this book. It has highs and lows and the writing is not sophisticated, but it isn't intended to be since the hero (?) Jethro is a Cockney jewel thief. He is a highly thought of "creeper" and is drafted by a high brow thug, the thug's boss, another crime lord and MI5. He has befriended a guitar player and singer while working at the Palladium and Seth twice delivers him from sure death. +
Mar 16, 2013 Ian rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Surname-less cat burglar Jethro gets in over his head by swiping the wrong person's stuff in the course of a "creep" at an unspecified Eastern European embassy and soon finds himself at odds with both Eastern Bloc and British intelligence, a rival cat burglar, and various factions of postwar London's criminal underworld. While the plot is hardly original and the ending is weak the book really shines in its depiction of its setting: a London that's still adjusting to a peacetime scarcely less aus ...more
Nov 27, 2013 Maddy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013-reads
PROTAGONIST: Jethro, cat burglar
SETTING: 1947 London
SERIES: #1 of 3
RATING: 3.25
WHY: Jethro is a master cat burglar who has never been caught by the authorities. He has only one fence, "Buggy Billy" aka Ray Karmin. He's just had a successful "creep" (burglary) at the Embassy. The cops have taken in Ray and now negotiate with Jethro to rob the Embassy again, mostly to spirit away a young woman. It seems like he's in everyone's crosshairs--crime lord Darby Messima wants to use his skills; two other
Rick Skwiot
Dec 09, 2013 Rick Skwiot rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tony Broadbent’s admirable caper novel “The Smoke” convincingly steeps us in the post-war London underworld, with roguish and glib cat burglar Jethro as our guide and narrator. While the episodic plot and coincidences make the book stagger a bit as it travels through London’s streets, markets, pubs and back alleys, Jethro’s language, wit, aplomb and criminal ethics carry the day. An accomplished recreation of a drab yet beguiling London and a buoyant working class milieu.
Rebecca Huston
Aug 08, 2010 Rebecca Huston rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: keepers, mystery, england
A very good mystery/thriller set in post-WWII London, with an unusual protagonist -- a cat burglar -- and very well written with an eye to detail. It's not for the squeamish, however, but if you want a very smart mystery that doesn't talk down to the reader, or relies on cliches, this is one you'll enjoy. There is a sequel, Spectres in the Smoke as well.

To read the more complete review, please go here:
Jan 04, 2010 Mk100 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction-crime
An absolutely wonderful read, told from the point of view of a jewel thief dragooned into Her Majesty's service for a diplomatically sensitive job. He has no special skills other than as a jewel thief, which makes the book even more enjoyable. I loved it - the description of London in the post-war years, the familiarity with the criminal argot and underworld generally and the elegance of the plot are all terrific.
Jan 11, 2015 Amanda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wonderfully detailed post-WW2 London setting and a hero as charming as he is devious made for a terrific, exciting read. The plot is almost secondary to the characters and the world, which is not to say that it is not also great. Shades of Hitchcock, Dickens, and the theatre enhanced the high-action caper-turned-spy-story.
Apr 30, 2013 Janet rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Loved it. Jethro’s immensely likeable, and giving him the narrating voice was a stroke of brilliance by Broadbent. His irrepressible Cockney-isms and underground slang are a lot of fun to read, and the glossary in the front of the book translates most of his idioms. Will definitely be continuing with this series.
Lorin Walter
Oct 04, 2008 Lorin Walter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book had all the intrigue of period black and white movie. The setting is post-war London. The lead character Jethro, a crack jewel thief, was completely likeable, and I hoped that the author would write a sequel so I could spend more time with him. (He did... Spectres in the Smoke.)
Jun 16, 2013 Amy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a clever book, but a bit "guy" for my taste. Lots of violence, including torture. But the narrator is a likable voice, with a Cockney accent and an eye for the ladies. The mental part of the story, planning and executing heists, is fun. The physical parts, less so.
Sep 04, 2012 Claire rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: giving-up

Very put off by the definitions of rhyming slang. Every time he explained what he had just said, I disliked Jethro even more. Kept thinking I would suffer through, but kept getting side tracked away from it. Two-thirds of the way through and just not worth it.
Jun 06, 2015 Tamara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, mystery
I really liked the main character -- a cat burglar with a great voice. I did see some of the plot points coming but the characters were mostly likable and real. London itself is a character and perhaps the best drawn of them all.
Mark Pearce
Apr 30, 2012 Mark Pearce rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved the character of Jethro the cat burglar.

This is definitely a Jason Statham Film. Very Film Noire with a great laid back style of writing. Funny in lots of ways. But the character is very likeable.

Dan Morris
A better-than-average crime/spy story in the well-utilized backdrop of post-WWII Britain. Good use of the dialect and culture of the time and place without overdoing it.
May 09, 2008 Jessica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great atmosphere and mood, with an engaging hero and a refreshingly slanted perspective on property crime. Lots of potential for future outings.
Annette Reynolds
Amazing piece of London noir that hooked me from Word One. Immersive.
Jane Shaffer
Oct 03, 2012 Jane Shaffer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Bloody brilliant, my old China!
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Tony Broadbent was an art student in London in the late Sixties.

He then worked as copywriter and creative director at some of the best advertising agencies in London, New York, and San Francisco, before opening his own agency.

He's now a consulting brand strategist, planner, and ideator for clients in the U.S. and Europe.

Tony is married and lives in Mill Valley, California.
More about Tony Broadbent...

Other Books in the Series

Jethro Mysteries, (3 books)
  • Spectres in the Smoke (Jethro Mysteries, #2)
  • Shadows in the Smoke

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