TITLE: The Detective's Apprentice
GENRE: YA Historical Mystery
The first thing I noticed about Charlie Becket, the famous London detective, was his eyes. In the street, most people don’t let you see their eyes. The lawyers walking to Chancery, the clerks popping around to the pub for lunch, even the factory workers, their faces smudged with soot—they all walk with their heads down, trying not to see the suffering all around them. The beggars and the orphans, we’re the ones looking up, trying to get someone—anyone—to see us, to take pity on us, to give us a couple coins. Most people just ignore us.
But not Becket.
Pete and I had been begging by the Thames, trying to scrape together a few pence for some dinner, and having rotten luck. The day was ending, the shops closing, and no one had time for two cold, hungry orphans. But then I spotted Becket coming around the corner, his head held high and his eyes darting this way and that—seeing everything, missing nothing.
“Look,” I said to Pete, and pointed. “What about him?”
“You want me to lift his wallet, Daisy?” Pete asked.
I scoffed. “Are you dense? Do you want to get pinched?” Pete was my best friend—my only friend, come to that—but we often disagreed about how to survive in the streets. I liked to smile, curtsy, and charm people out of their money. He favored a more forceful approach.
I shook my head. “No, that man right there—that’s a man who could see his way to feeling generous.”