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The Worms of Euston Square (Campbell Lawless #1)

3.47  ·  Rating details ·  186 Ratings  ·  51 Reviews
London, 1859 - an era of great exhibitions, foreign conquests, underground trains. But the age of Victorian progress is also the time of the Great Stink. With cholera and depravity never far away, it isn't just the sewers that smell bad. Beneath the respectable surface of society, a multitude of ills needs flushing out. Young police recruit Campbell Lawless is newly arrive ...more
Paperback, 362 pages
Published August 21st 2006 by Crescent
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Community Reviews

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Jul 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I’ve discovered over the last couple of years that I really enjoy historical crime fiction. Taking the staples of a good mystery and adding the extra wrinkle of a different time period can really breathe new life into the genre. Authors like Sarah Pinborough and Lynn Shepherd have produced novels that are hugely entertaining, marvellously evocative and a pleasure to read. William Sutton’s debut, set in Victorian England, treads similar ground. The big question is though, does it deliver?

Things g
Russell Olson
Nov 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Having read some of the few reviews here, I have to disagree. Yes, there is a lot of detail. No, it isn't a traditional crime novel. BUT, it is a wonderful guide through Victorian London, filled with all of the details you'd expect from a travel journal. On top of that, the unconventional and ambiguous relationship between crime stopper and criminal is at the very least, novel, if not inspired. I'd highly recommend it.
Andrea Stoeckel
[I received this book from GoodReads/First Reads. And I thank them in advance for their generosity. However, I was not compensated otherwise and my opinions are my own. Now you know, and knowing's half the battle ;)]

Thank goodness it's NOT Steampunk! However, it is a "penny dreadful" Victoriana mystery, emphasis on dreadful.

Campbell Lawless is a wanna be ANYTHING than what he sees himself: a son who let down his father. He gets involved in such a mixed up mess I never could figure it out. He was
Jul 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book under the previous title, but am glad that the interest persists in an author who is witty, quirky, and able to paint a historical scene packed full of interesting anecdotes and observations. Like Holmes, the crime solving is edgy and fraught with danger, but I like the way that Lawless's moral compass takes a different bearing, and makes him, to me, an easier character to relate to. The nods to historical figures are fun, if a little forced. I hope to read more from the author, ...more
Jun 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-books, 2014-reads
This is much more than a Victorian crime novel taking place in London. There parts which sound more like a social novel and a historical novel. But it is all interwoven. I laved to follow Campbell Lawless and Ruth Villliers.

I look forward to read Lawless and the Flowers of Sin which will be published in August 2014.

Jun 07, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very enjoyable historical romp. A tad long, I got a little confused at points, though that's possibly more my bad memory than anything else. The writing was exquisite to my untrained eye; I felt like I was in Victorian London. I have learned some marvellous insults too!
Sep 26, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Victorian London never goes out of style. Whether it's straight historical fiction, historical crime fiction, steampunk, or historical fantasy, there are always novels slated to be published or recently published that are set in Victorian times and often for significant portion in London. Lawless & the Devil of Euston Square is one of the more recent examples of this phenomenon. It is set in a vibrant period in London's history during the building of the Tube and around the passing of Prince ...more
Charley Robson
This review comes in three parts. The good, the bad, and the fishy.

First of all, the Good: we were not yet three chapters in, and Campbell Lawless had already secured my interest, empathy, and a place among my favourite literary detectives (watch out, Poirot, your spot's not looking too secure right now). The narrative, told predominantly from Campbell's perspective, is readable, engaging, and at times startlingly funny.

Meanwhile, the plot is a strong one and, despite the author's disclaimer, b
(Review originally posted at Notes of Life

Lawless and The Devil of Euston Square isn’t a thriller, but more of a good old fashioned Victorian mystery. Just when Campbell Lawless thinks he’s on top of it all, he soon finds he’s still two steps behind. Will he ever crack the case? Well, he’s not about to let it drop.

Campbell Lawless is a likeable fellow from the start. We get his background and a good idea of who he is early on. He wants to do things right and this is his first case.

Sutton has cle
Caroline Lambe
Of course I'm utterly biased, working for the publisher, but Will Sutton has created a fantastic beginning to a wonderful series here. Worm is certainly my favourite character, and for anyone with a Holmes-esque reading interest, this book should be right up your Victorian street!
Breakaway Reviewers
Victorian London comes to life.

This book is written in a totally different style from anything I have read before. Maybe that is why, to begin with, I struggled with following the plot as it seemed to bounce about from one plot to another and from various different characters from all layers of Victorian life.

Campbell Lawless is a young Scotsman who has joined the police force in London and who, at the start of the book, has just been summoned to help out Inspector Wardle at Scotland Yard. His
May 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, history-era
It is the Victorian era in London and rather than stay employed with his father in the watch making and repair trade, Campbell Lawless chooses to go into police work with an eye towards working for Scotland Yard.

He is assigned to Inspector Wardle and finds his duties are filing and repairing watches for various members of the department. Not what he expected, until his presence is required at the scene of a horrendous crime of sabotage. What is taken at face value is not what Lawless sees. He f
Stella Bahin
Mar 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Review Lawless and the Devil of Euston Square
The strength and subtleties of author William Sutton’s plotting is one of his great fortés. Our temporal perspective within Sutton’s Victorian London setting veers, easily, from second by second close-up minutia, to a soaring bird’s-eye-view passing-by of months. Sutton’s vision is complete; the story will hold. The story, is a most understated love story. Perhaps that’s because it’s a crime novel (and a love story). The love story element, pulsating
Mar 19, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I think the best way I can describe this book is "overly-ambitious". There is a good story in there, but there was way too much padding and flotsam and jetsam stuffed in that overwhelmed that good story. 2.5 stars really, but I couldn't give it the third star in my rating because of the faults.

Basically, this is a really good 300-page book that is unfortunately delivered in 500+ pages. Let me be fair - I am automatically suspicious of a 500-page novel. I wouldn't say it's impossible to write a g
David Ledeboer
May 25, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lawless and The Devil of Euston Square struck me as an enigma of sorts. The whole pre-”Sherlock Holmes” detective gambit and Victorian era had me running around in pandemic circles; I absolutely had to read this story. Here is the snippet on the back:

“London, 1859. Novice detective, Campbell Lawless, stumbles onto the trail of Berwick Skelton, an elusive revolutionary, threatening to bring the city to its knees with devilish acts of terror.

Thrust into a lethal, intoxicating world of sabotage and
Beth Kemp
Jul 07, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great start to a new Victorian detective series

Strong setting, lots of clues and misdirects, intriguing characters: there’s a lot to enjoy in this debut detective novel from William Sutton, out 1 August through the new Exhibit A imprint from Angry Robot Books.

Firstly the setting: Victorian London. This was rendered in glorious technicolour – or perhaps not so glorious, as it is the time of the Big Stink, after all! I felt that William Sutton really nailed the setting and transported me wholly t
Oct 09, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2013, netgalley
The masterful writing of this book really does put you right there in the heart of Victorian London, you can see (and almost smell) every detail.

The main character, Campbell Lawless, begins as quite a naive young detective and I loved seeing the way his character grew through the course of the book, his investigations knocking the naiveté out of him bit by bit.

There are so many great characters in this book, from all walks of life, and I have a feeling they will stay with me for a long time. My
Jun 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
First in what will hopefully be a long and entertaining series.This book has everything I love in a mystery: well-developed characters, a crisply detailed setting, and a mystery as intricate and outrageously toothsome as a piece of brass clockwork.

Campbell Lawless left his father's clock shop in Scotland with high hopes for becoming a crack investigator in Victorian London's police force. "As I saw it, repairing watches required subtle deductive powers" he reasons, only to become the force's "W
Euston Square station, 1859. Newly arrived in London from Scotland, rookie policeman Constable Campbell Lawless finds himself involved in a bizarre case when a water-powered crane malfunctions, apparently killing a vagrant and damaging a priceless clock in the process. Only it turns out that the vagrant was dead before the crane malfunctioned, and the clock mechanism wasn't so much damaged as missing entirely. Lawless doesn't know it, but this is the beginning of a case which will haunt him thro ...more
Oct 19, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This story is unlike any historical crime novel I’ve read before – it’s fascinating, witty and rather hilarious. Romping along at a jaunty pace, the story is filled with the sights, sounds and smells (and trust me, there are a lot of smells, many of them quite unpleasant!) of Victorian London, whisking you along for the ride.

Campbell Lawless is finding his feet in the detecting profession. He throws himself into his cases, determined to uncover the mysteries behind the ‘great spouts’ of water th
This is not your traditional murder-mystery novel. The book does not revolve solely on a crime committed and the finding of those criminals. I found that a little difficult to deal with at times. The novel began with a crime, a confusing one at most, and then it kind of left the crime and described more about the detectives life and his day-to-day experiences. Then, a chapter would come along that would bring up the original crime from the 1st chapter and they would progress on it and then... th ...more
Jun 05, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: just-no

I very very rarely don't finish a book
But after 4tries I still couldn't get into it!

So this will be a really short review.
The biggest issue for me was definitely the writing style. It's just really not to my liking. But on top of that the whole thing was extremely long wound and had so many details added it became rather complicated to keep the storyline in mind.
I do get what the author was trying to do. The fact that he tried to recreate that world and tried to portrait the society at tha
Apr 16, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of my first reads that I won last year and I'm really glad I did!

It took me a while to read this one, not sure whether it's due to the language or how the action unfolds in the story but somehow I enjoyed that it wasn't one of my "quick reads". I loved the characters, their quirks and growth over the time period; and how Sutton managed to get everyone in there from the beginning and make them come up at the end again, loved it!
Since I love stories set in Victorian times, this was esp
Jun 15, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lawless and the Devil of Euston Square, by William Sutton, is the opening volume in a trilogy about Campbell Lawless. Lawless is a Scottish transplant to London. He joined the Metropolitan Police, looking for a life more exciting than repairing watches and clocks with his father. Unfortunately, being a low level constable in London in 1859 isn’t the righteous (in the old sense of the world, not the Bill and Ted sense of the word) adventure that he thought it would be...

Read the rest of my review
The parent publisher for Lawless and the Devil of Euston Square is a well known UK sci-fi publisher I’ve worked with quite a bit. When I learned they were creating a new crime/mystery imprint, Exhibit A, I got really excited. This is the first of the new imprint’s novels that I’ve read and they nailed it. Lawless and the Devil of Euston Square is a Victorian police procedural, Book #1 of a new historical thriller series. Do you like Hercule Poirot or Sherlock Holmes? This series has much of the ...more
Campbell Lawless moves to London thinking it would be better than life in Scotland. He becomes a police officer and one day finds himself working for Scotland Yard. He becomes embroiled in a case featuring attacks on hydraulics and is soon knee deep in shady businessmen, street urchins and revolutionaries. Aided by a lively librarian, he eventually solves all the interlinking crimes and the novel ends as if his memoirs have been published 50 years later upon his death. It was good although I was ...more
Apr 06, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book was highly recommended to me but I gave up about half way through. It went off at boring tangents then back to the story and I just didn't gel with it. Maybe if he had just stuck to solving the crime it might have worked but I spent more time skimming through the endless descriptions of victorian London and wierd asides till the story picked up again but I just got fed up with it. I will be wary of accepting a recommendation from this friend again, she raved about it. Hey ho we can't a ...more
A Victorian-set mystery, this novel tells the story of Campbell Lawless' early years with Scotland Yard. Unfortunately for the reader, these years are spent between mundane chores and the glacial progress of a case about which no one, but Lawless, cares.

Lawless himself is somewhat interesting, albeit somewhat morose and timid, while the case is somewhat complicated and surprising, but yet still not engaging.

Basically, this novel was okay. Not the best, not the worst, just something for passing t
I really enjoyed the beginning and middle but as it really leads no where in the end (and is someone confusing to follow) I was a little dissapointed. All the other elements were there--characters (young eager detective Campbell Lawless, his mentor and old salt detective Whaler, the ever elusive Berwick Skelton and his former love Nellie, and a bevy of eccentric turn of the century characters from rich to poor), setting, etc.
These 500+ pages claim to be Victorian mystery. The writing is excessive, redundant and redolent with references to Dickens, Scotland Yard, Wilkie Collins, etc., demonstrating that the author is quite educated. The mystery is just not there. It needs a good editor. I honestly can not recommend this book to anyone. I received a review copy of the book from Goodreads, however it was published in 2006.
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William Sutton was born in Scotland in 1970 and appeared in pantomime at the age of nine.

He learned blues harmonica from his Latin teacher, drove to California in a VW beetle and studied classics at Oxford. Besides writing radio plays and short stories, he has acted in the longest play in the world, tutored the Sugababes and played cricket for Brazil.

After living in Brazil and Italy, teaching Engl
More about William Sutton...

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