"The smoke - Cockney slang for London - is about a cat burglar and jewel thief, called Jethro, in the austere world of 1947 postwar, black-market riddled England." "Brought up around one of London's famed street markets, Jethro is as smart as he is streetwise, which is just as well, as he always needs all of his wits about him to pull off the perfect job. But since the end of the war - having served in the Merchant Navy - Jethro has told everybody that he's gone straight and has taken up as a stagehand around London's many theaters and music halls. (His skill with ropes and pulleys, which served him well in going up and down the outsides of buildings, is as easily suited to his new work above the theater fly gallery.) But the truth is, hiding in plain sight in and around London's West End is the perfect cover for him to set up his diamond capers in the wealthy areas of Mayfair, Knightsbridge, and Belgravia." "Neither of London's top villains - Jack Spot and Billy Hill - believe that Jethro has gone straight, and neither does Messima, Soho's fearsome crime lord. And at one time or another, everyone wants him to do a little job for them for old times' sake." "When, after burgling the embassy of a Soviet satellite country and stealing jewelry belonging to the ambassador's wife and daughter, Jethro comes to the attention of His Majesty's Secret Service, even they ask him to burgle for them. If he doesn't, then things threaten to go very badly indeed, for him, his family, and his friends." "But it's all a setup that leads to a deadly game of cat and mouse to see who will get to Jethro first: London's gangsters, MI5, or one of the Soviet Union's most formidable secret agents."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Brought up in one of London’s famed street markets, Jethro the cat burglar is as smart as he is streetwise, which is just as well, as he always needs all of his wits about him to pull off the perfect job and not get caught. After he breaks into the Soviet embassy and steals jewels belonging to the ambassador's wife, Jethro comes to the attention of His Majesty’s Secret Service, who forces him to revisit the place again to retrieve a code book for them. But this is all just a set up for a thief to catch a thief, and it leads to a deadly game of cat and mouse to see who will get to Jethro first: London’s gangsters, MI5, or one of the Soviet’s most formidable secret agents.