‘LAWLESS and the Flowers of Sin’ Book Review By Ron Fortier

Lawless and the Flowers of Sin Book Review By Ron Fortier

LAWLESS and the Flowers of Sin
By William Sutton
Titan Books
359 pgs

London in the mid-1860s. Vice Detective Sgt. Campbell Lawless was given the unsavory assignment of numbering how many young ladies are employed in local brothels from the most tawdry to the elegant catering to the city’s elite gentry. In a nutshell, he’s tasked with tallying how many prostitutes ply their trade in the capital city. It is a ridiculous job devised to produce a fictional number by which a commission can then be inaugurated to look into dealing with the societal plight of these poor ladies. It is all a sham to make the local politicians look.

Unfortunately, Lawless, a conscientious fellow, soon comes to realize the extent of trade is far greater than he had ever envisioned. In one form or another, prostitution pervades the entire metropolis, and the number he is seeking soul shaking. At the same time, he and two of his squad colleagues begin to suspect a secret network of opportunists have devised a hellish system by keeping the trade bustling. Under the organization of a mysterious mastermind, a school for courtesans had been established in the rougher riverfront area where stolen little girls are brought and educated in the roles of sex partners. Everything from proper diction to etiquette and manners is part of the curriculum along with the more basic erotic physicality. Once of age and sufficiently schooled, they are then sold to wealthy men throughout the city. They are referred to as the Flowers of Sin.

As Lawless tells the readers at the start, this tale is not so much about the mystery as it is about the exploitation of women throughout the ages, from pre-cultural ages to the dawn of so-called civilization. So many men of power have constantly abused that power to treat womankind as mere objects to satiate their depravities and then cast them aside. Author Sutton’s depiction of these women is profoundly disturbing as it should be. What is sad is our modern world hasn’t changed all that much in regard to that sin.

“Lawless and the Flowers of Sin,” is not for the faint of heart. But it is worth your attention.

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