The Traitor's Gate by Avi.
A Richard Jackson Book/Atheneum Books for Young Readers: NY, 2007.

John Huffam's father swears he doesn't owe any one person the amount of money for which he is sent to debtor's prison in 1849 London. While trying to solve the problem of getting his father released, John learns that just about everyone he encounters is lying-his father, the family's housemaid, the bailiff, his ex-school teacher, his sister's suitor, the inspector treating his father as a traitor, the inspector who isn't that confronts him with a warning, even Sary, his new friend, who is helping him make sense of the confusing mystery. All he knows for sure is that there is a spy after a secret that his father holds, and he is determined to discover who it is.

Very much in the style of Dickens, the story has many elements that Dickens used-scenes of poverty, sneaks from the lower class, wrongful accusation, trial of the innocent, many and varied colorful characters, wealthy benefactor, and emphasis on detail and description. Because of the detail and twisting of the plot, it takes some time to become involved in the story. Once sufficiently into the story, the mystery is captivating. It isn't my favorite Avi book, but I would recommend it for both historical and mystery.

related-19th century England, imprisonment for debts, spies, Scotland Yard, intrigue, poverty (1800s), mystery and detective stories

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