A year after the events narrated in the bestselling THE ALIENIST, the cast of characters from that novel are again brought together to investigate a crime committed in the heady days of New York in the 1890s, but this time narrated by the orphan Stevie Taggert. A young child, the daughter of Spanish diplomats, disappears. It seems she has been ...
A year after the events narrated in the bestselling THE ALIENIST, the cast of characters from that novel are again brought together to investigate a crime committed in the heady days of New York in the 1890s, but this time narrated by the orphan Stevie Taggert. A young child, the daughter of Spanish diplomats, disappears. It seems she has been abducted but no ransom note is received and the detectives Isaacson quickly discover that a nurse, Elspeth Hunter, is probably the kidnapper. They also discover that Hunter has been a little too closely connected with the death of three other infants. But what are her motives? She married a fortune, and although she is connected to some fairly rough villains this crime does not fit their modus operandi. Is it something as 'simple' as psychological disturbance due to her own inability to bear children, or something more sinister unguessed at?
Publishers Weekly, 1997-08-25 The multitudes who enjoyed The Alienist are in for a surprise when they open this comfortable sequel to that mega-seller. Gone is the crisp, educated narration of New York Times reporter James Moore, replaced by the hotter, more ragged tones of former street urchin Stevie, a relatively minor figure in the first novel. That's a bold move on Carr's partęConan Doyle never replaced Watsonębut not too bold, as it cuts staleness. Otherwise, the novel retreads its predecessor's prowl through Olde New York and resurrects its catchy crime-busting crew of alienist Laszlo Kreizler and his carefully typecast assistants, as well as a flurry of historical figures (Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Teddy Roosevelt, et al.) whose appearances again blend into the action like stones into cake batter. Why tinker with success? Carr doesn't really, though for variety's sake he takes Kreizler and company upstate for a spell as they gather evidence against the monstrous Libby Hatch, a serial killer whose kidnapping of an infant gets Kreizler on her trail and smack up against society's sentiments about the sanctity of women. Carr also offers some courtroom dramatics as Libby is put on trial, defended by Clarence Darrow. Like The Alienist, this is a talky thriller, paced less by its bursts of violence (culminating in the U.S. Navy invading Greenwich Village) than by its broodingsępsychological, moral, legalęabout the roots of evil. To experience it is to plunge into a meticulously reconstructed past where ideas count and where the principals take their time exploring them. Just so, readers will want to take their time exploring Carr's cleverly crafted sequel, a novel whose myriad pleasures exude the essence of intelligent leisure reading. 250,000 first printing; major ad/promo; author tour. (Oct.)
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