Review: Old Scores by Will Thomas

Posted September 29, 2017 by Minx

This review is based on a complimentary book I received from NetGalley. It is an honest and voluntary review. The complimentary receipt of it in no way affected my review or rating.

Review: Old Scores by Will Thomas Old Scores by Will Thomas
Series: Barker and Llewelyn #9
Genres: Crime, Historical Fiction, Mystery
Release Date: October 3, 2017
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Format: ARC, E-book
Source: NetGalley
Pages: 320
ISBN: 1250077966
Purchase at: Amazon Barnes & Noble Book Depository Google Play Kobo IndieBound
Minx's Rating:

When a Japanese diplomat is murdered, and Cyrus Barker is the prime suspect, Barker and sidekick Llewelyn must work against the clock to find the real killer.

In London of 1890, the first Japanese diplomatic delegation arrives in London to open an embassy in London. Cyrus Barker, private enquiry agent and occasional agent for the Foreign Service Office, is enlisted to display his personal Japanese garden to the visiting dignitaries.

Later that night, Ambassador Toda is shot and killed in his office and Cyrus Barker is discovered across the street, watching the very same office, in possession of a revolver with one spent cartridge.

Arrested by the Special Branch for the crime, Barker is vigorously interrogated and finally released due to the intervention of his assistant, Thomas Llewelyn, and his solicitor. With the London constabulary still convinced of his guilt, Barker is hired by the new Japanese ambassador to find the real murderer.

In a case that takes leads Barker and Llewelyn deep into parts of London's underworld, on paths that lead deep into Barker's own mysterious personal history, Old Scores is the finest yet in Will Thomas's critically acclaimed series.


I really enjoyed that this book was titled Old Scores as it was indeed a book about settling old scores. Cyrus Barker was an enigma of a man and in this installment readers will learn more about Cyrus’s history and how his past and present collide in a drastic way. In addition, there is also a nice mystery, character growth, a little bit of romance, and a surprise ending to keep you entertained.

This series, Barker & Llewelyn, is set in Victorian London during the late eighteen-hundreds. Barker and Llewelyn have been tasked with finding the criminal responsible for murdering visiting Japanese Ambassador Toda Ichigo. They must step cautiously though because at the same time Barker himself was the man that fingers of suspicion were pointing to. Barker has to do everything by the book in order to cast the suspicion from himself. Which leaves Thomas and others to take up the majority of the investigating.

I enjoyed that Thomas had to take more of an investigative role in this story. He had to rely more on himself and less on Barker while at the same time he was actually in a position to be the one who helped Barker out of a few tight spots. Another portion of this story that I really enjoyed was the unconventional romance between Thomas and Rebecca. I really enjoyed Rebecca’s character a lot and the relationship that develops between her and Fu Ying is quite cute.

In addition to the mystery of who killed the Japanese Ambassador there was also the caveat of how tightly this mystery was entwined with Barker’s past. It gave a very powerful emotional piece to the overall story and by the end, left Barker in a position where he did not really know where to go next with it all. Old Scores is one of those mystery novels that have an intricate mystery that is woven in such a way that you just can’t put the book down until the bitter end. It was a fantastic read!

*Thank you to NetGalley & St. Martin’s Press for this eARC of Old Scores*


About Will Thomas

Author Will Thomas

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 often feature historical events, people, and movements. Martial combat is a recurring theme throughout this hardboiled series.

Prior to writing novels, Will Thomas wrote essays for Sherlock Holmes society publications and lectured on crime fiction of the Victorian era.

Will Thomas’ first novel, Some Danger Involved, was nominated for a Barry Award and a Shamus Award, and won the 2005 Oklahoma Book Award. In 2015, he won the Oklahoma Book Award a second time for Fatal Enquiry. Will Thomas has been featured on the cover of Library Journal, and was the Toastmaster at the 2007 Great Manhattan Mystery Conclave in Manhattan, Kansas. His fifth novel, The Black Hand, was nominated for a 2009 Shamus Award. He is married to Julia Thomas, author of The English Boys and Penhale Wood.

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