Women Sleuths in
Historical Mysteries

New York - late 1890s Gilded Age


Masterpiece of Murder

by Mary Kruger

Soon after taking up residence in the fashionable Dakota apartments, Socialite Brooke and her new detective husband Matt become involved in the unsolved murder of the curator of the prestigious Manhattan Museum (aka Metropolitan Museum of Art). In addition to this crime, a series of suspicious thefts of recently acquired masterpiece paintings has devastated the museum.

Brooke and Matt form an unlikely partnership. The case obviously is officially Matt’s. Given the social standing of his wife, however, his working class background does little to win the support of his fellow policemen who perceive him as someone who is only dabbling in crime. Brooke’s connections to the Gilded Age upper classes, on the other hand, prove to be invaluable in uncovering hidden secrets. And, while Brooke hopes for fulfillment in volunteering in the ladies “Voter Education League,” established to educate the poor about politics and government, and, not so incidentally, to work for women’s suffrage, it is in assisting Matt that she finds her real purpose.

The story provides a wealth of period details, particularly of clothing and furnishings. Descriptions of 1890s New York City include the expanding residental areas north of the upper West Side, Central Park, Washington Square, the bars, brothels, and theaters of the Bowery, and the poverty driven life of the immigrants who populated Mulberry Street. Pivotal roles are played by Theodore Roosevelt, then the reform minded Police Commissioner, and Monk Eastman, a gangster who controlled not only the lower East Side but much of Tammany Hall as well.

Brief Author’s Note explaining places where her fictional characters intersected with real ones.



Lyn Reese is the author of all the information on this website
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