The Thief Taker
Agnes Meadowes is cook to the Blanchards of Foster Lane, the renowned London silversmiths. Preparing jugged hare, oyster loaves, almond soup, and other delicacies for the family has given her a dependable life for herself and her son. But when the Blanchards' most prestigious commission, a giant silver wine cooler, is stolen and a young apprentice murdered, Theodore Blanchard calls on Agnes to investigate below stairs. Soon she is inside the sordid underworld of London crime, where learning the truth comes at a high price.
Reading Group Guide
The Thief Taker
Questions for Discussion
- Starting on the first page, consider how Gleeson reveals the book's society and time frame. What are the social classes of the main characters? Share some examples of how the author establishes characters and settings with her language, tone, and cadence.
- Why does Agnes keep herself separate from everyone? How does her relationship with the staff change from the beginning to the end of the book?
- After Elsie steals from her, Agnes doesn't appear to be angry. Why do you think this is? Are there other instances of Agnes's compassion? If so, what are they?
- Agnes suffered greatly at the hands of her husband. How do her past relationships with men impact her actions, particularly with Philip, Thomas, and Marcus Pitt, during the investigation? Do her feelings toward men change?
- What are the most powerful instances of station and class affecting how people interact with each other (for example, Agnes and Rose versus Agnes and Lydia Blanchard; Rose and Philip versus Nancy and Nicolas Blanchard)? How does class affect Agnes's ability to investigate Rose's murder?
- When Thomas explains the meaning of the stamps on the pieces of silver to Agnes, it casts doubt on the integrity of the Blanchards. At this point in the investigation, whom do you suspect as