Second Street Station: A Book Review

9780553418927A historical mystery featuring the witty and wily Mary Handley, the first woman detective in Brooklyn, as she tries to prove herself in a man’s world while solving a high profile murder.
Mary Handley is a not your typical late-nineteenth century lady. She’s fiery, clever, daring—and she’s not about to conform to the gender norms of the day. Not long after being fired from her job at the hat factory for insubordinate behavior, Mary finds herself at the murder scene of Charles Goodrich, the brother of a prominent alderman and former bookkeeper of Thomas Edison. When Mary proves her acumen as a sleuth, she is hired by the Brooklyn police department—as the city’s first female policewoman—to solve the crime. The top brass of the department expect her to fail, but Mary has other plans. As she delves into the mystery, she finds herself questioning the likes of J. P. Morgan, Thomas Edison, and Nikola Tesla. Mary soon discovers the key to solving the case goes well beyond finding a murderer and depends on her ability to unearth the machinations of the city’s most prominent and respected public figures, men who will go to great lengths to protect their secrets.

Much like Mr. Churchill’s Secretary and Maisie Dobbs, Second Street Station presents a portrait of a world plunging into modernity through the eyes of a clever female sleuth. Mary Handley is an unforgettable protagonist whose wit, humor, and charm will delight readers from the very first page.

My Review: This book was right up my alley. It had all the elements I love in a cozy mystery. A likable, feisty amateur detective, an intriguing plot and a great setting. I thoroughly enjoy books set in this time period and location.

Mary Handley is a strong, clever and witty character. She is quite likable and often surprised me with her quick wit and sense of humor. She is a bit bolder than characters I’ve read in similarly-styled novels. I suspect that she will be quite entertaining to follow throughout this series! I thought it was an intriguing twist to include historical figures such as Thomas Edison in this novel. I loved that element of weaving a bit of reality into a work of fiction. It definitely makes you pause to consider how true to character these real-life historical figures might be.

The rest of the characters were well developed and interesting. The mystery itself had many layers, and I can say that I was a bit surprised by the outcome. I think the author did a great job with attention to detail and in describing scenes so that you can really visualize them as you are reading. A very well written debut and a great mystery. I look forward to continuing in the series.

* I received a copy of this book free of charge from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.



LAWRENCE H. LEVY is a highly regarded film and TV writer who is a Writers Guild Award winner and two-time Emmy nominee. He has written for various hit TV shows such as Family Ties, Saved by the Bell, Roseanne, and Seinfeld. Second Street Station is his first novel.



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