Inventive Assassination

Life-altering inventions. A mysterious murder of Thomas Edison’s accountant. An aspiring female detective takes on the case in Second Street Station by Lawrence H. Levy.

Mary Handley isn’t the most conventional of women in the late nineteenth century. She speaks her mind and unashamedly wants to become a detective. Having stumbled across the murdered Charles Goodrich, fiance of her friend Kate Stoddard, Mary’s keen observation skills and ability to think beyond base assumptions garners her a test position in the police force. The investigation brings Mary into the realm of Edison, Nicola Tesla, and J.P. Morgan; but unraveling the mystery of who killed Charles brings Mary into direct danger and treading the tumultuous waters of political and monetary aspirations of powerful men.

The narrative is a seemingly basic mystery/detective plot that plays off the female plight common prior to the women’s suffrage movement. It provides an interesting take on Edison’s stealing of inventions, Morgan’s strong-arming, and Tesla’s romantic aloofness. With a narrative that gets tied together in an incredibly neat fashion with bookended character action in the form of Bowler Hat, it felt a little too neat and, therefore, predictable. There were a few unrealistic aspects to Mary’s actions, particularly the petticoat removal during a foot chase. Showing contemporary society as not too far from what was encountered during the 1880s with women and homosexuals battling essentially the same issues of rights.

Overall, I’d give it a 3 out of 5 stars.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

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