The Masters of Bow Street

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Authors: John Creasey
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flowers, roses such as never appeared on London streets; and there were gravel paths for the nursemaids to push their charges and all who had authority to walk.
    By night and by day there were six middle-aged watchmen in the garden and the surrounding streets, armed with staves and with pistols and muskets close at hand. There were also six younger watchmen inside the great house, almost a museum, where the grandfather and the father of John and his brothers and sisters had lived. To the east and west were individual houses for members of the family. In one, William and his wife and seven children lived - five girls and two boys. In another lived Francis and Deborah and their two pale and puny children. Anne, oldest of the sisters, lived in another house with her husband, Jason Gilroy, whose banking and trading business had merged with the Furnivals’ on marriage. Gilroy travelled extensively in India and farther east, and Anne lived the life of a widow with her two children, boy and girl twins now aged fourteen. Next door to Anne was Cleo, long married to Robert Yeoman, Member of Parliament for one of the City constituencies. Two of their daughters were already married to young men who, if they chose, could each play a leading part in the growth of the great enterprises which had come to be known as the House of Furnival. Cleo also had a daughter aged seven and two sons, one slightly older and the other younger than Sarah’s son Timothy.
    The Furnival family had first come to prominence in Queen Elizabeth’s day, with William, a banker. His oldest son, John, a man of great strength of will and unbounded ambition, had brought the business enterprises to great power, had built Furnival Tower House, so near the Tower of London, had even built some docks across the river and, of course, had created Great Furnival Square. Largely because of substantial loans he made to the Court he had been knighted. His oldest son, John the Second, had extended all the enterprises, and of his male children - John the Third, William, and Francis - had expected most of John the Third.
    At first these expectations promised well. John the Third travelled the world, came to know the vast Furnival empire, and made a report of great detail and value to his father and brothers. Then he had simply stated his intention of withdrawing from business, taking his inherited money with him, and becoming a justice of the peace for Westminster. Nothing had dissuaded him.
    There had never been a justice like him, for he could afford to keep peace officers and far more court officials, had great personal courage, and was incorruptible. He had become the scourge of London’s criminals; with a dozen like him, he might have cleansed the City and Westminster of crime. Certainly he tried without ceasing. When he had left the business he had also left his house in Great Furnival Square. By inheritance his, it was now occupied by poorer relatives; he did not keep even one room for his own use.
    Here in Furnival Square and in nearby streets hundreds lived, but none who was not a Furnival, a relation of the family, or working for one or the other of the businesses.
    It would have been difficult to find a square better kept or more attractive to the eye.
    Three miles away, in the heart of the City of London, close to the Tower and with its warehouses fronting the river and St. Catherine’s Docks, were the Furnival offices, substantial and comparable with the biggest business houses, designed by Colin Campbell, whereas Furnival Square had been designed by the first John Furnival, working with a builder who had been one of those who had helped to build the Covent Garden piazza. Here were the head offices of all the Furnival businesses, from banking to shipping, importing and exporting; there were few branches of commerce with which Furnival and Sons was not associated, either directly or indirectly. Here, in Furnival Tower House, there was a private force of guards, or

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