Mary Handley is a young, feisty woman trying to break into the male-dominated world of police and detective work at the end of the 19th century. When Emily Worsham arrives at her office, Mary gets her chance. Emily asks Mary to locate the killer of her uncle, John Worsham. As Mary digs more deeply into the case, nothing is what it appears, and Mary is thrust into the depths of a political power struggle between the cities of New York and Brooklyn and the corrupt men who run them. Mary finds herself immersed in the deceitful world of New York’s business elite, who are willing to lie to protect their interests. Mary’s only ally comes from an unlikely source: an adventurous George Vanderbilt, with whom Mary falls into an unexpected romance. Ultimately, her search for John Worsham’s killer takes her to North Carolina for an unexpected plot twist and forces Mary to take on the murders of two other people and a case that presents a danger to people close to her heart.
Lawrence Levy’s Mary Handley is a fun, unconventional woman, and the world he’s built for her is as boisterous and rebellious as she is. Populating his novel with famous names like Andrew Carnegie and John Rockefeller, Levy brings to life both the impoverished and stratosphere-defying elite of New York and everyone in between. Brooklyn on Fire is a fast- paced detective novel with a lead character who is both humorous and a serious sleuth. A great book looking into the corruption of New York in the late 1800s, and one that readers will enjoy.
Review originally appeared https://historicalnovelsociety.org/reviews/brooklyn-on-fire-a-mary-handley-mystery/