The Detective Wore Silk Drawers

Peter Lovesey - The Detective Wore Silk Drawers


A Sergeant Cribb mystery

For my second novel I stayed with sport as a background, this time bare-knuckle boxing. This form of pugilism was forbidden by law in late Victorian England, but Cribb discovers evidence that it continues in secret, confirmed by a headless body in the Thames whose hands were “pickled” for fighting. A young constable called Henry Jago is chosen to infiltrate the gang and he has to submit to a rigorous programme of purging, pickling and training. Moreover, Cribb needs to intervene at the crucial time to prevent young Jago from being battered to death.

UK Publisher: Macmillan, 1971
UK Paperback: Panther, 1972
US Publisher: Dodd, Mead, 1971
US Paperback: Dell, 1972
Latest UK publication: Alison & Busby, 1999 ISBN 0-7490-0445-2
Latest US paperback: Soho Press, 2008. ISBN 978-1-56947-524-9

The Detective Wore Silk Drawers will establish the Historical Thriller as securely as Mrs Christie established her own particular brand of whodunit.”
Whitefriar, Smith’s Trade News

“A gorgeous piece of period reconstruction … all the details of pickling and purging, gymnastics and ‘coming up to scratch’ worked into an exciting plot.”
Violent Grant, Daily Telegraph

“A splendid thick-ear thriller in the literal sense.”
Matthew Coady, The Guardian

“A rich and unusual mystery, with suspense enough for the most confirmed addict.”
Robert Kirsch, Los Angeles Times