What it’s about:
Ringo Devereux knows far too much for a man of his times. There’s no simple explanation for it that doesn’t involve improbable conversations about the future, and Ringo’s advanced understanding of three-phase generators and the secret histories of his city are not things he can discuss with the Victorian Londoners around him. Even his origins as an orphaned street thief are far too dangerous for a young gentleman of means to reveal.
An encounter with a ten-year-old pickpocket, and a luncheon with Oscar Wilde and Arthur Conan Doyle draw Ringo back into the shadows of his criminal past. A stolen gemstone, a suspicious pawnbroker, and a damning bundle of letters are mysteries that require Ringo’s thief’s instincts, his obscure facts, and the help of a little girl with the skills of deduction like his.
But are these crimes as random as they first appear? What do a covert affair and a blue carbuncle have in common? Ringo knows too much, but someone knows more, and the identity of a mysterious red-haired woman is perhaps the most diabolically complicated plot of them all.
An Urchin of Means is the first of the author’s new Baker Street series. It is a spin-off from the Immortal Descendant series; however, it is not necessary to have read the prior series as long as you have an inkling of the prior series’ premise. The author gives her readers sufficient information to dive right into the book.
Ms. White’s writing is smart and witty. The premise for her story is fun and creative. She clearly has been influenced by classic literature. Ms. White’s research is evident in the admirable scene setting and historical references. Avid readers will enjoy the various literary references in the story. Her characters are fantastic. The author brings her character, Ringo Devereux, back to the Victorian London, and with the knowledge he gained in prior time traveling, this former street urchin brings a kindness and generosity to the streets of London.
Ringo’s relationship with his wife Charlotte—who goes by the name Charlie—and his family of misfits, is utterly charming. The loving, respectful group is heartwarming. The addition of both Oscar Wilde and Arthur Conan Doyle bring much levity to the story. Ms. White’s wry sense of humor is apparent throughout the book.
An Urchin of Means is a clean young adult novel that crosses the genres of historical fiction, mystery, and throws in a tiny bit of fantasy. I found it addicting, and I think readers of all ages will as well. It is sure to spark an interest in younger readers for some other well-known authors. The well paced plot, creative story premise and charming cast of characters made for a very entertaining read.