Eight exquisite mystery stories set in London, starring Dr. Samuel Johnson, one of the greatest minds of the eighteenth century. In 1775, as the British Empire is about to be cracked by the earthquake of the American Revolution, twenty English families join in the ghoulish bargain known as a tontine. Each puts £5,000 into a common fund to be held in trust for their children with the terrible stipulation that the money will go to the last child left alive. Such a bargain should take seventy or eighty years to come to fruition, but there is a curse upon this tontine. Sixteen of the twenty children are dead within four years--and the survivors have no one to turn to but the great Dr. Sam Johnson. The seventy-year-old scholar has seen his share of trickery, corruption, and murder, but he's never encountered anything quite as chilling as "The Tontine Curse." In this story, and the seven others included in this volume, Dr. Johnson and his assistant, biographer James Boswell, pit their wits against the darkest mysteries of the Enlightenment. In this charming, brilliant series, author Lillian de la Torre features Johnson and Boswell, real-life forerunners of Holmes and Watson, in an assortment of "excellent detective puzzles" (The New York Times).