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In his sixth adventure, Sergeant Verity returns to London's 1860s underworld of alleys and brothels, peopled with sneak thieves, dancing girls, thugs, murderers and pimps.
From Newgate Gaol come sinister rumours of a man to be hanged for a murder he did not commit. 'Handsome' Jack Rann, safebreaker extraordinary, has been snared by the rival Swell Mob, and a corrupt policeman, 'Flash' Charley Fowler. To reach America and be lost for ever, Jack must escape the death-cell and pull off the robbery planned by his dead accomplice, Pandy Quinn.
From Newgate prison to the stage of the Penny Gaff, from bank vaults under Cornhill to rotting sewers below Wapping and Shadwell, Rann flees - while Sergeant Verity closes on the forces of evil with awesome tenacity.