Murder, mayhem, disease and death: just another summer season in turn-of-the-century New York.
Private eye Molly Murphy (In Like Flynn, 2005, etc.) has lost faith in Daniel Sullivan, but not her love for the NYPD captain. So when he begs Molly for help after his jailing on trumped-up corruption charges, Molly asks who hates Daniel enough to set him up. His wealthy ex-fiancée Arabella Norton, who insists she doesn’t feel vindictive, entreats Molly to investigate the disappearance of her closest friend, Letitia Blackwell. Because she can find no personal vendetta that accounts for Daniel’s arrest, Molly pokes into his last two cases, a horse-doping at a Coney Island racetrack and the East Side Ripper murders. A chance meeting with Sabella Goodwin, a police matron who’s also investigating the Ripper, enables them to join forces and gives Molly access to Sabella’s credentials while the pair visit morgues, graveyards and relatives of missing girls in their dangerous search for the Ripper. They discover that the strangled and disfigured girls are not prostitutes—one is the missing Letitia—and that they all had a connection to Coney Island. Along the way, Molly finds that her unusual ennui is caused not by the sweltering heat but by her pregnancy.
Reliable period thrills for Molly’s fans. A bonus is the introduction to historic personage Sabella Goodwin, who really was promoted to police detective in 1910.