“Set in England at the turn of the last century, Mr. Belfoure’s latest novel featuring an architect is focused on the birth of musical variety theater. Once considered little better than criminals, charlatans, or worse; actors, singers, dancers, and the like are just starting to gain respect as artists. The “dance hall” is becoming “the theater”. Automobiles are starting to appear in the streets of London and one of the featured acts in the new opulent and extravagant play houses are short snippets of moving pictures. In 1900, Douglas Layton was one of the busiest architects in England—respected by his colleagues, married to the daughter of a peer, the father of a young son. Life was good for the younger son of a brick mason. Now, he is one of the most hated men in the country, christened “The Butcher of the West End” by the press, responsible for the death of fourteen people and the maiming of more than a dozen others. Five years later as he leaves prison, Layton is almost convinced that he was guilty of the disaster at the Britannia Theatre; that the collapse of the balcony that resulted in all this sorrow was because his design was flawed and he was criminally negligent. His only option for the future is to reinvent himself with a new name and career. In a strange twist of fate, he becomes a scene painter for musical variety theater. Here he literally meets a whole cast of characters both quirky and charismatic. It is in one of the regional theaters of England that he discovers something that makes him think that the Britannia disaster was not an accident or negligence, it was flat out murder. With new and old friends, he begins to delve deeper into the world of the theater and begins to hope that he can clear his name and return to his old life.”Karen, McLean & Eakin Booksellers
In this riveting novel from The New York Times bestselling author of The Paris Architect, a man in disgrace finds that digging up the past is the only road he can take. Architect Douglas Layton has lost everything. The balcony of one of his beautiful music halls collapsed during a packed performance, killing dozens. Layton knows the flaw was not in his design; someone else must have caused the dreadful catastrophe. But with no proof and a hoard of furious Londoners screaming for blood, someone has to take the fall-and Layton finds himself facing a five-year prison sentence. When he is finally freed, Layton is determined to start over. With a new name and identity, he takes a job as a set painter. But as Layton begins to discover dead bodies hidden within theatre halls across London, it soon becomes clear that something darker is chasing him. When he unearths a clue that ties the bodies to the disaster that ruined him, he knows that redemption is within his reach.unless the culprit gets to him first.