When an Italian assassin's body is found floating in a barrel in Victorian London's East End, enquiry agent Cyrus Barker and his assistant Thomas Llewelyn are called into their fifth investigation. Soon corpses begin to appear all over London, each accompanied by a Mafia "Black Hand" note. As Barker and Llewelyn dig deeper, they become entangled in the vendettas of rival Italian syndicates—and it is no longer clear who is a friend or foe.
"In this fifth adventure for Cyrus Barker and Thomas Llewelyn, the Victorian detecting duo pulls out all the stops to squelch an Italian incursion into local organized crime. Characters worthy of Dickens's London cross paths with mafiosi as creatively brutal as Mario Puzo's Corleones.... After a particularly personal attack, Barker lands on a unique solution to rid the East End of the unwelcome Sicilians. In an underground meeting readers won't soon forget, the pugnacious Barker foments a gang war guaranteed to leave fans with clenched fists."—Booklist