Pyke returns in a gripping tale of brutal murder and deception, set in the back streets of Victorian London and the cane fields of Jamaica.
London: 1840. The economy is sliding into recession; gangs of unemployed workers roam the streets; and a murderer prowls the capital's poor neighbourhoods.
Pyke, still grieving over the death of his wife and struggling to shoulder his responsibilities as a father, is in debtors' prison, having lost his home and reached the edge of bankruptcy. Fitzroy Tilling, now head of the new Metropolitan Police Force gives Pyke his freedom, but in return he must agree to investigate the brutal death of a young mulatto woman, who was apparently working as a prostitute.
It is not long before another woman turns up dead and Pyke begins to suspect that he has stumbled on something more sinister and more far-reaching than the murder of a couple of prostitutes...
Pyke's investigation takes him from the London docks to the sugar plantations of Jamaica, from a fading colonial mansion to the back-streets of the East End in a struggle against ambitious and ruthless enemies, as well as demons of his own.
'The novel drips with all the atmospheric detail of a pre-Victorian murder mystery "pea-soupers", dingy lanterns and laudanum' - THE TIMES
'In its urgency and rawness... KILL-DEVIL AND WATER goes further than simply clever and diverting literary appropriation' - TLS
'Pyke is violent, vengeful and conflicted in the best tradition of detectives. His story takes in grisly murder and torture, and uses 1800s London in the same way that hard-boiled fiction uses Los Angeles as a mirror of a corrupt society' - TIME OUT