A female detective must be mentally, physically, and morally tough to solve crimes involving corruption at the highest level.
The Brooklyn of 1894 includes many fine people, along with its share of bigots and more than its share of corrupt cops. Mary Handley is a private detective whose brother is a police officer and whose mother just wants her to get married. She’s following Colleen, a woman whose husband thinks she's cheating on him. At a Coney Island hotel, Mary is horrified to see Colleen meeting attorney Walter Cooper, the husband of Mary’s best friend. When Mary confronts a man who’s been following her, he identifies himself as Basem Ben Ali and asks her to prove that his brother, Ameer Ben Ali, didn’t murder the prostitute he was convicted of killing. In truth, Mary would much rather try to prove the brother innocent than find out whether Cooper’s cheating. She finally discovers that Cooper’s working on the case of a man severely injured when financier Russell Sage, a stock manipulator and friend of Gould, Vanderbilt, and Rockefeller, was almost blown up by a bomber demanding money. Sage would rather spend his last penny on lawsuits then pay the injured man, and Colleen is a witness to what happened. Thankful that Cooper isn’t cheating on his wife, she concentrates on Ameer’s dilemma and discovers that his case is just one of many that feature a Ripper-like killer whose misdeeds have been systematically covered up by corrupt police brass. Mary has developed a professional and romantic relationship with reporter Harper Lloyd, who’s helping Cooper with his case and is happy to join Mary in the hunt for the real killer. Her search pits her against titans of industry, white supremacists, and crooked cops, none of whom make her back down.
The heroine (Brooklyn on Fire, 2016, etc.) finally unmasks a clever killer, but there’s little to celebrate in this fact-based study of the corrupting power of money.