Rapscallion - James McGee
Rapscallion is the third in a series of books featuring Matthew Hawkwood, Bow Street Runner and Man With A Secret Past, following on from [b:Resurrectionist|1776675|The Resurrectionist|Jack O'Connell|http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/213qSg11AHL._SL75_.jpg|1775203].

What I really liked about Rapscallion is the efforts the author made to set the story in a completely unique setting - historical detective stories are now a dime a dozen, but this is very much the first where I've come across such good use of background detail. The majority of the story is set on a prison bark, where Hawkwood is sent to infiltrate the French prisoners because there have been a number of unexplained escapes. Not only that, but previous attempts to send someone undercover have ended up with those individuals suffering a nasty death.

Hawkwood is, of course, fluent in French and able to pass himself off as a captured American naval officer, gaining the confidence of other prisoners sufficiently to discover just what is going on. The amount of research McGee clearly did into the period and the elements used in this story shows in the overall plot and makes this an enjoyable read. I expect there'll be more in this series and I look forward to reading them...