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Review of 'Montmorency: Thief, Liar, Gentleman?'


Montmorency: Thief, Liar, Gentleman?

By Eleanor Updale, 2003, Orchard Books

Historical fiction, Crime

Rating: 👻👻👻 (3 out of 4 boos)


What is the book about?

“When a petty thief falls though a glass roof in his attempt to escape from the police, what should have been the death of him marks the beginning of a while [sic] new life. After his broken body is reconstructed by an ambitious young doctor, he is released from prison, and–-with the help of Victorian London’s extensive sewer system–-he becomes the most elusive burglar in the city. He adopts a dual existence as a respectable, wealthy gentleman named Montmorency, and his degenerate servant Scarper. But Montmorency must always be on guard. The smallest mistake could reveal his secret and ruin both his lives.”


What’s the main character like?

Montmorency/Scarper is as clever as they come. While not the most sentimental of people, he is an amusing character and inevitably capable of changing some of his negative habits. He is a quick study in many regards, and his ability to be two people is a fun adventure for him and the reader.


How scary is it?

Confession. It’s hard to find a U author. I went to the local library and perused the young adult U section and picked the book that had a cover that looked the closest to the kind of thing I usually read for this blog. While not scary, Montmorency has a gothic flair due to Montmorency’s scars from being reconstructed like Frankenstein's creature. There’s also a Sweeney Todd feel to the book, but it's not really that scary.


Who might like this book?

Fans of the newer Sherlock series or Sherlock Holmes movies may be drawn to the clever antics of Montmorency/Scarper. Readers who are more interested in historical settings than in action-packed plots might also enjoy this book. This book is the first in a series, so lovers of old-fashioned crime series might also be drawn to this story.


What did I like best?

The ending! Very satisfying. Bows you didn’t even think you wanted tied were tied. But I hate to say more and ruin it.


What was not so great?

So… about that plot. As someone who doesn’t usually read historical fiction, I wanted more action. The character development, world-building, and writing craft were subtle and masterful. They were the highlights of this book, not the slowly unfolding plot.

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