A Second Book in a Series
I chose Brooklyn on Fire for my summer reading challenge category, The Second Book in a Series. In Lawrence H. Levy’s first book, Second Street Station, Mary Handley gets a chance at a new career when she is hired by the police chief to help with a murder case. Second Street Station is based on the actual Charles Goodrich murder case in which the real Mary Handley was a key part of the investigation.
Mary is on a new case in Brooklyn on Fire and she may need to use her jujitsu skills to stay out of trouble. This fun and intriguing historical mystery is set in 1890s Brooklyn and includes many of the movers and shakers of that time period: railroad magnate Collis Huntington, New York city planner Andrew Haswell Green and Hugh McLaughlin, head of the city’s Democratic Party. Rounding out the crowd are the ultra-rich and powerful Vanderbilts, Rockefellers and Carnegies. An intimidating group like this is no match for the unflappable Mary Handley, who is sharp-witted and fast on her feet. Challenges await her, however, when she is hired to investigate the cause of death of Arabella Huntington’s first husband, John Worsham.
Politics, scandal and shady characters muddle the plot and point Mary in different directions. At Brooklyn’s Second Street Station, Mary’s brother Sean investigates a recent murder, and when a shocking tragedy rocks the Handley family, Mary must redirect her efforts to save her brother.
No story would be complete without a little romance and when Mary meets a certain wealthy bachelor, she develops a taste for the finer things in life. An added benefit: Mary’s new beau puts her in good standing with her mother, who is eager for Mary to marry. But will the relationship last?
There are plenty of side characters and sub-plots to keep the reader guessing. Amusing dialogue and interesting historical descriptions highlight important issues of the day: women’s rights, modernization, big business and the lifestyles of the rich and poor. Levy’s frequent references to classic literature are also a nice treat and my favorite is from Charles Dickens: “You’re not Pip in Great Expectations. This is serious.” Wouldn’t it be fun to use this line in real life?
Politics, mystery, action and romance run through this fast-paced plot and lead to a satisfying finish. I enjoyed Brooklyn on Fire very much and I’m looking forward to Mary’s next adventure!
For more information about the Mary Handley Mysteries, check out these posts:
Follow along as I work my way through my 16 in 16 Challenge!
Book 1 – A Book You Can Finish in a Day: The Good Neighbor by A.J. Banner
Book 2 – A Book in a Genre You Typically Don’t Read: The Ghost Map by Steven Johnson
Book 3 – A Book with a Blue Cover: The Vacationers by Emma Straub
Book 4 – A Book Translated to English: I Refuse by Per Petterson
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