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Smith: The Story of a Pickpocket (New York Review Children's Collection)by Leon Garfield
Synopses & Reviews
Leon Garfield (1921–1996) was born and raised in the seaside town of Brighton, England. his father owned a series of businesses, and the family’s fortunes fluctuated wildly. Garfield enrolled in art school, left to work in an office, and in 1940 was drafted into the army, serving in the medical corps. After the war, he returned to London and worked as a biochemical technician. in 1948 he married Vivian Alcock, an artist who would later become a successful writer of children’s books, and it was she who encouraged him to write his first novel, Jack Holborn, which was published in 1964. in all, Garfield would write some fifty books, including a continuation of Charles Dickens’s Mystery of Edwin Drood and retellings of biblical and Shakespearian stories. Among his best-known books are Devil-in-the-Fog (1966, winner of The Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize), The God Beneath the Sea (1970, winner of the Carnegie medal), Bostock and Harris; or, The Night of the Comet (1979; forthcoming from The New York Review Children’s Collection), and John Diamond (1980, winner of the Whitbread Award).
Seconds after twelve-year-old Smith picks the bulging pocket of an old gentleman, he hears footsteps in Curtis Alley, his planned path of escape. Two men in brown appear, and from the doorway where he is hiding, Smith witnesses the murder and violent search of his victim. Terrified, he flees the scene of the crime.
A quarter of a mile off Smith stops. What has he stolen that is worth the life of a man? He stares at his loot bitterly. It is a document—and Smith cannot read.
Leon Garfield’s crisp, exuberant writing brings new excitement and high adventure to the genre of historical fiction. The Who’s Who of Children’s Literature has called Smith “a graphic, breathtaking picture of England—and particularly London—with a handful of memorable, larger-than-life characters.”
About the Author
Leon Garfield (1921–1996) was a celebrated British author of more than fifty books for children and young adults, including Jack Holborn, Smith, The Strange Affair of Adelaide Harris, The Prisoners of September, and The Night of the Comet: A Comedy of Courtship Featuring Bostock and Harris. After serving in the Royal Army Medical Corps during World War II, Garfield spent nearly twenty years as a biochemical technician at a London hospital, writing in his free time.
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