Mary Handley has been building her private detective business for a few years now. She agrees to take on a case for a man who fears his wife is cheating on him. It is not something she normally would pursue, but the man's mother is a friend of Mary's mother. Along with the marital fidelity case, she is also asked to look into a murder case from 3 years before. The accused man's brother is sure of his innocence and wants Mary to find proof. It seems that his brother was charged with a Jack-the-Ripper style murder, mostly on circumstantial evidence and the fact that he was Algerian. As usual, her investigation causes conflict with political powers in New York and Brooklyn. Police don't look kindly on those who say they arrested the wrong man, and the crooked cops don't want anyone looking too closely at their affairs.
For those who have read Mary's other adventures, the return of Brooklyn's first female detective will be a welcome reunion of reader and character. Those who are encountering Mary for the first time, will be amazed at the painstaking recreation of 1894 New York. Many notable figures of the day have a place in the story, including - Andrew Carnegie, Jacob Riis, Russell Sage, and Theodore Roosevelt. It is incredible how many real events and people are worked into the plot. Even the booths of Coney Island, the prevailing prejudice against immigrants, and the attitudes toward women are present. Mary is a complex character with intelligence, courage, stubbornness, loyalty, and a determination to succeed despite society's restrictions and the disapproval of her own mother. Readers will be eagerly awaiting her next appearance when they reach the last page.
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I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.