by Liz Freeland brings to life New York in the early 1900s.
Besides a good mystery, readers will be enlightened about
the different social issues during that era.
The plot begins with a fire breaking
out at a publicity house. It is the one Louise Faulk works
at while waiting to see if she has passed the exam to become
an NYPD police officer. As the investigation of the charred
ruins begins, rumors of foul play are already circulating.
Trying to get to the truth, the firm's surviving partner asks
Louise to investigate the matter, knowing she has experience
in police issues. While trying to find who murdered her boss,
Guy Van Hooten, Louise finds herself searching for answers
from one end of New York to the other, crossing paths with
all levels of society.
"Without having the technology,
I am freed up, so the police have to use only clues to figure
out the who done it. Although it was an era when some technology
cases were using blood types to help in the investigation.
A lot of the research I do is trying to figure when things
started to happen in terms of forensics."
Louise is determined, has an independent
spirit, and focused on the clues. She is very motivated in
finding out who would want her boss dead. Having helped in
solving one murder, she has experience in investigating this
next one to cross her path.
Social issues of the period make the
story relevant. This includes a Jewish character who faces
Anti-Semitism, a mixed marriage couple, and a famous entertainer
who gets embroiled in the story.
"Besides those social issues, I wrote about corruption
during that era. I put in the quote about politicians, policemen,
and functionaries could be bought. The corruption was a cancer
on the system. It was a town where anything went. This is
when the progressive era was starting to clean things up.
They tried to turn the ship around and enact laws."
The plot has quite a few suspects and
plenty of red herrings, twists and turns to keep readers guessing
along the way. It is a delightful cozy mystery intertwined
with historical depictions, an exciting turn of the century
New York City setting, and a plucky protagonist.