Title: Last Stop in Brooklyn: A Mary Handley Mystery (Book 3)
Author: Lawrence H. Levy
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by: Shakera
Genre: Literary Fiction, Mystery, Suspense
Publisher: Random House, LLC
Date of Release: January 9, 2018
Format: Kindle (First to Read)
It was such a pleasure to read this book! Mary Handley is one hell of a private detective… and in the 19th century, no less! The book starts with an explosion, but ends with fireworks! In a time when Andrew Carnegie, Russell Sage, Jay Gould, and John Rockefeller, people were angry and frustrated and anarchy was on the rise. So was corruption in the New York Police force. Inspector Thomas Byrne joins the force and proclaims he will have Jack the Ripper apprehended in 36 hours. Well, Inspector Byrnes did apprehend someone… but was it indeed Jack the Ripper?
Mary’s first case came from a family friend who suspects his wife of cheating. Little did she know it would lead to a much bigger case that speaks to what’s going on in the country. Did I mention Jack the Ripper?! This leads to Mary’s next case. Yes, she’s working two cases. While the characters are intertwined in the two cases, the cases aren’t related, but they are intriguing. Brian Murphy thinks his wife is having an affair. He hires Mary to find out if that is true. What she stumbles upon is much bigger! A key witness to the assassination attempt of Russell Sage. The witness, Brian’s wife. This leads her to meet Harper Lloyd, who becomes extremely helpful in her second case, Ameer Ben Ali.
She’s hired by his brother, Basem Ben Ali to prove he is innocent of killing prostitute, Carrie Brown. Ameer is Algerian and occasionally live across the hall from Carrie. When she is murdered, Ameer is arrested, tried, and found guilty by a “jury of his peers”. Mary’s investigation takes her to Coney Island, a huge tourist attraction in a country of immigrants. While there you will meet characters who are not that intricate to the case but help you understand the time period. The opinions of immigrants were not very high, but not just for African-Americans, but for the Irish, Eastern Europeans… anyone who was different. Mary holds a different world view and was not afraid to voice those opinions. Her retorts to some of the comments will having you in stitches. Can she save Ameer from certain death or will he fall victim to a severely corrupt judicial system?
The pacing was a bit slow at times, but it was full of information that helped you understand what it was like to live in Brooklyn during the 1890’s. It also gave you, as the reader, an idea of what you would have experienced during this time period. Mary’s reasoning and deduction skills are modern and amazing. So is the constant banter she has with Harper. They have really great scenes together. What really fascinated me about this book is the research that went into telling this story, as most of the characters are actual people. Some of the chapters do fly by. The writing keeps you engaged. You find yourself wanting to know what will happen to the characters in this chapter and what will happen next. This was a great book and I’m so glad I was picked to read it.