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The Hellfire Conspiracy

(Barker & Llewelyn #4)

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  1,854 ratings  ·  129 reviews
In the latest adventure in what is "fast becoming one of the genre's best historical-mystery series" (Booklist), roughhewn private enquiry agent Cyrus Barker and his assistant Thomas Llewelyn must track down London's first serial killer.

When Barker and Llewelyn are hired to find a girl from the upper classes who has gone missing in the East End, they assume her kidnappin
Paperback, 336 pages
Published July 10th 2007 by Touchstone
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4.08  · 
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 ·  1,854 ratings  ·  129 reviews

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Mike Billington
Jul 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
London in the reign of Queen Victoria was a magical place in many respects.
It was, for example, a city of great wealth, of cultural significance, and the seat of a vast empire.
It was also, however, a place where hundreds of thousands of people lived in dirty, dangerous, unhealthy conditions; where politicians and the police turned a blind eye to corruption and even murder when the victims were poor and uneducated.
In this city of such great contrasts, little girls are being kidnapped, violated, a
The Hellfire Conspiracy (2007) is the fourth entry in Will Thomas's excellent historical mystery series set in Victorian London. The intellectual, yet physically strong inquiry agent Cyrus Barker and his assistant Thomas Llewelyn, a former Oxford scholar who was falsely imprisoned, are clearly cast in the Holmes and Watson and/or Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin mold. Thomas has steadily built the characters and their relationships (to each other and to other recurring characters) over the course o ...more
Joe Santoro
Jul 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This one is easily the best one of the series to date... as Barker and Llewelyn go to the East End to solve a string of child murders. It does a fantastic job of showing the class issues in England at the time, right down to bickering between police.

He also added real historical figures into this one , actually discussing the issues of the time in raising the age of consent from 13-16, and making William Thomas Stead a central figure in the story.

As far as I can see, the fiction story was weaved
Ram Kaushik
Sep 02, 2017 rated it liked it
An enjoyable romp through 19th century gritty London. Don't think too hard and don't take it too seriously.
Mar 12, 2017 rated it liked it
I enjoy this series featuring "private inquiry agents" Cyrus Barker and Thomas Llewelyn in Victorian England, but there is something about the books that keep them from really becoming a "favorite" and I'm not quite sure what that is. I find myself scoffing a lot during the reading of them, so perhaps it's just the utter implausibility of some of the situations and Cyrus Barker's superhuman abilities that don't ring true, I don't know. In this book, they are hired to locate the missing daughter ...more
Jan 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
This series keeps getting better and better. I love the two main characters, the rich way that the author describes the streets, the clothes, the atmosphere of this period. its like reading a multi-layered cake - there is something on each layer for the reader to taste and digest.
Jun 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: epub

At the start of Thomas's well-crafted fourth Barker and Llewelyn mystery to feature a London detective duo clearly modeled on Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson (after 2006's The Limehouse Text), a distraught guardsman, Major DeVere, consults Cyrus Barker, a smugly intellectual private enquiry agent, and his young apprentice, ex-con Thomas Llewelyn. The major's 12-year-old daughter has disappeared, and DeVere fears she has fallen victim to white slavers, though the sleuths suspect a serial kill

Terry Jarrett
Mar 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
My enjoyment of this series increases with each installment. The characters are well developed and I like "being around them". Frankly, I enjoy them more than Holmes and Watson. And that is saying something!

While I'm not an expert on this historical period I'm of the belief the author is loyal to the facts.

Thus far the plots revolve around major social issues that continue to be of concern to this day. Additionally, there is almost a moral framework that exists but isn't jammed down your throat.
Miss Lemon
Mar 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Another winning mystery for Mr. Thomas. There's something about Barker & Llewelyn...we are immersed in their world of Victorian crime, London streets, and inquiring agent business but continue to see Barker as a mystery man and Llewelyn having more depth of character and talents than even he realizes. The household and business aquaintenances are fully developed 'real' people and that is the beauty of Will's writing, it's all very believable, rich and appealing. And one of my personal attrac ...more
Christine Lamoreaux
Oct 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This one is definitely my favorite in the series thus far, although I knew immediately who the murderer was... but I don't think that is due to any fault of the author. I have just read too many mysteries. I took this book and the next one of the series on a 10 day vacation to Nevada. Read them both and I highly recommend them as 'waiting at the airport/on the plane books'. Thomas is a step up from the typical beach read but is still light entertainment. It's the regular characters and the endea ...more
Tim Healy
Sep 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this entry in this series more than the last two. It's very focused on it's story, which moves along well. Better, there's also some real character development. We get a lot more detail on what happened to Thomas Llewelyn at Oxford and even get some closure on that for him. The story, dealing with the kidnappings and murders of pre-teen girls in the city of London by a man claiming to be a fairy tale ogre is pretty interesting. The whole works well together, and does not have some of the ...more
Aug 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
I've been listening to this series instead of reading with my eyes, and each book is a good palate cleanser - especially with all the news podcasts I listen to. I still have to compare them to the Sherlock Holmes books, since they're mysteries set in 1800s London and they're being solved by a detective ("private inquiry agent") and his assistant with equal amounts of help and opposition from Scotland Yard.
J.T.K. Gibbs
May 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Another spell-binding mystery and deep look into late Victorian English society! Thomas combines personalities, history and mystery so skillfully, one feels as if one is walking alongside each character and can feel the world they inhabit with every sense. Thomas also takes the readers along through the investigations without dragging them through every single thought, but leaves the reader enough to consider and deduct their own conclusions. This is by far a personal favorite series!
Feb 25, 2019 rated it liked it
This was good but the personal vendettas lessened the impact.

Someone is stealing young girls and their bodies are found floating in the river. It appears they have been kept alive for awhile before their death.

This appears to be similar to the events of a former club called the Hellfire Club. But that group is long dead. Isn't it?

I found the murderer to be less than convincing.

I borrowed a copy from the public library.
Oct 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Another good entry in this series. This one explores the implications of the age of consent being 13 years old in 1880s England. When a number of poor young girls go missing Barker and Llewelyn investigate. The moment the murderer was introduced I was pretty sure it was he, but that didn't take away from the book. This series does address social ills of the time, but without the preachy-ness of, for instance, Anne Perry.
I'm truly enjoying Barker and Llewelyn cases.
In The Hellfire Conspiracy Thomas Llewelyn finally met, again, with, his school nemesis - the guy who got him locked up for two years. Thomas could even beat him up in a ring! The dialogues between Cyrus Barker employers are so comical and extremely well written, its simply a pleasure to fallow their progress of discovery each new case along.
Great work by Will Thomas!
Kathy Ferrell
Mar 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own-it
I grabbed it up and was well into it before I realized it is number 4 in a series. This didn't hurt the enjoyment at all, as it stands alone quite well. I will definitely be reading number one soon, and I want to read them all. Great detective characters, with lots of interesting eccentricities. Rich descriptions of gas-light London, good strong female characters (and male).
If you want a book weighed down with pages of police procedure descriptions, you'll be disappointed. This moves along at a
Chris Ellis
Dec 04, 2017 rated it liked it
Liked it as much or more for its historical setting and lead character studies than i did for the plotline.

As usual, I appear to have jumped into the middle of a series, and will now have to go back and fill in the with the previous adventures of these two London based "Inquiry Agents".

This volume has no issues standing on its own, no need to have the others prior.
I liked this one much more than the last one in the series. I thought it was an interesting mystery and Llewelyn showed a lot of growth and left behind a lot of the somewhat naïve mistakes he had made in past books caused more by his curiosity getting the best of him than lack of knowledge.

A Good read.
Mar 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
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Jul 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another winner for Will Thomas

Thomas does a remarkable job of presenting social history interwoven into Victorian detective pulp fiction. The best of the Barker and Llewellyn books thus far.
Jan 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
I think this was my favorite of the series so far. We learned a lot about our characters and the time period, as they took on the most evil and sad mystery yet. I am so glad I already have the next book borrowed from the library and ready to crack open. More Barker and Llewelyn, please!
Feb 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Love this series. Now ready to begin #5. Barker & Llewelyn give a great inside view into London life during Victorian London. Definitely written as an homage to Sherlock Holmes, but how splendid is that?
C.J. Milbrandt
The case of a missing girl leads straight into an eerie game of chase with a serial killer. Sordid and sad, with a dash of historical commentary and cameos. I've grown increasingly attached to the cast, so that their stories appeal to me as much (if not more than) the mystery that's afoot.
Jul 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another delightful episode of this historical mystery series, this time about the murder of young girls after rape and mutilation. Not a great mystery. I figured out "who done it" very early. But getting there is all the fun.
Mar 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Thomas tells an another excellent tale, full of curves and confusion to distract and enthrall the reader. While we learn a little more about the enigmatic Barker, our main character remains an original and mysterious character. Great plot. Strong characters. Good fun!
Cherie Bush
Jun 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
I'm a fan. Barker and Llewelyn are a great team.
Mary Beth
Oct 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This series gets better with each book. The storyline line and historical detail are great. Looking forward to the next one.
Sep 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I've enjoyed reading the first five of Will Thomas' Barker and Llewellyn series of crime novels. This fifth book is in my opinion the best so far. On to the sixth novel!
Molly Moody
Jan 01, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: detective
Another great Llewelyen & Barker book, tho not one of the best. Still, a great read if you like the series.
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

Will Thomas, born 1958 in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, is a novelist who writes a Victorian mystery series featuring Cyrus Barker, a Scottish detective or "private enquiry agent," and his Welsh assistant, Thomas Llewelyn. The Barker/Llewelyn novels are set in the 1880s and o

Other books in the series

Barker & Llewelyn (1 - 10 of 11 books)
  • Some Danger Involved (Barker & Llewelyn, #1)
  • To Kingdom Come (Barker & Llewelyn, #2)
  • The Limehouse Text (Barker & Llewelyn, #3)
  • The Black Hand (Barker & Llewelyn, #5)
  • Fatal Enquiry (Barker & Llewelyn, #6)
  • Anatomy of Evil (Barker & Llewelyn, #7)
  • Hell Bay (Barker & Llewelyn, #8)
  • Old Scores (Barker & Llewelyn, #9)
  • Blood Is Blood (Barker & Llewelyn, #10)
  • Lethal Pursuit (Barker & Llewelyn, #11)