Has Jack the Ripper moved across the Atlantic to terrorize Gilded Age New York City?
For 14-year-old Carver Young, growing up as an orphan in 1895 New York isn't easy, though it gives him plenty of opportunities to practice lock picking, sleuthing and eavesdropping. When he’s chosen as an apprentice by Pinkerton detective Albert Hawking, Carver finds boundless opportunities to learn the detective trade, especially when he assists Hawking on the hunt for a serial killer in New York City. Carver dives into the case, turning to Delia, his best friend from the orphanage, for assistance with research, as her adoptive parents have access to the archives of The New York Times. As the clues mount, Carver discovers the killer might be Jack the Ripper, and that Jack may have a clue to Carver’s parents. Petrucha does an excellent job developing historic New York as a character in the city, though a map or two would not be amiss. Well-rounded characters, both teen and adult, help to gloss over occasional lapses in the credibility of the dialogue. Pacing is smooth, blending coming-of-age with mystery and action.
While some may guess the plot twist, Petrucha nonetheless provides both a well-crafted romp through yesteryear’s New York and an enticing companion for it. (Historical mystery. 12-15)