Bruce Alexander, Author . Putnam $24.95 (288p) ISBN 978-0-399-14774-6

Sir John Fielding, the blind magistrate of Bow Street Court, returns for another rousing period crime adventure, as told by 17-year-old orphan Jeremy Proctor, from the pseudonymous Alexander (Blind Justice; Watery Grave; etc.). In 1772, Jeremy is learning the law from Sir John, for whom he is companion and attendant, but he has little time for study when the Lord Chief Justice sends Sir John to the town of Deal in Kent to investigate the conduct of the magistrate there. Fifteen-year-old Clarissa Roundtree, another stray welcomed into the Fielding household as Lady Fielding's assistant, accompanies them to Kent. Lying a short distance from the French coast, Deal prospers from "owling," the local term for smuggling. Soon after their arrival, the local magistrate is murdered, while smugglers boldly continue their activities. Sir John, as acting magistrate, plans an ingenious land-and-sea trap to ensnare the smuggling gang and sever their supply and distribution lines. At the swashbuckling climax, under the bright light of a "smuggler's moon," Jeremy proves himself a hero as part of the boarding party engaging in an on-deck saber fight with the villains. As for Clarissa, who once aspired to write romance novels, she conceives of the first murder mystery in the wake of the action. As usual, the author deftly captures the flavor of the period without overdoing the archaic language. This is an exciting novel sure to please established fans and those who appreciate classic yarns in the tradition of Treasure Island . (Nov. 5)

Reviewed on: 10/01/2001
Release date: 10/01/2001
Genre: Fiction
Hardcover - 978-0-399-14778-4
Mass Market Paperbound - 304 pages - 978-0-425-18690-9
Hardcover - 471 pages - 978-0-7862-4141-5
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