Reviewer: Mary Lignor
Title: 31 Bond Street
Author: Ellen Horan
ISBN-13: 978-0-06-177396-9 (Hardcover)
Release Date: April 2010
Genre/Sub-genre: Historical Mystery
Year/Setting: 1857, New York City
Overall Rating: 5.0
Sexual Content Rating: Sensual
Language (Profanity/Slang) Content Rating: Moderate
Violent Content Rating: Moderate/Extreme
Ellen's Website/Blog: www.ellenhoran.com
On January 30, 1857 at 8:00 a.m. a young boy, working as a servant in the home of Dr. Harvey Burdell finds the Doctor's body in the bedroom of his very fancy home at 31 Bond St., New York City. The doctor had been stabbed 15 times by a left handed person, according to the forensics of that time. There were no clues and no witnesses and the people of the city were astounded and nervous over the terrible crime. The District Attorney immediately suspected Emma Cunningham, who was the doctor's housekeeper and was living at 31 Bond Street since 1854. She was a very attractive widow with two young daughters that Burdell had met at Saratoga and asked if she would become his housekeeper and care for his home in exchange for a marriage proposal. The marriage to take place in the future. He did not make good on the proposal and Emma is left with a good motive for the killing. She retains a lawyer and they begin the fight of the century to keep her freedom.
This is the beginning of Ms. Horan's novel and a great story in itself. This novel is a fascinating look into the state of society in upscale New York City in the 1800's. When the horribly stabbed body of a prominent dentist is found the killer's identity preoccupies all interest nationally immediately preceding the start of the Civil War. All the evidence points to Emma, but the tale goes on to many twists and turns that mirror all the tensions of the times right before the war between the states.
This is a wonderful book and I couldn't put it down. The author does an excellent job of melding fact and fiction to make the story blend in. History buffs will love it along with mystery fans. You won't be able to set this book aside. I tried many times but I just had to read just one more chapter and found myself engrossed in this story. If you are looking for a book to while away an afternoon, I highly recommend this novel. Excellent writing, characters that you will love and hate and a great story about historical New York City.
I'll talk to you soon,
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