31 Bond Street: A Novel

31 Bond Street: A Novel

3.8 40
by Ellen Horan
     
 

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“The skill with which Ellen Horan has braided true crime with thoughtful novelizing is pure pleasure.… Caleb Carr meets Scott Turow. What could possibly be better?”
— Beverly Swerling, author of City of God

“An impressive blend of imagination and history as it vividly brings to life one of New York’s

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Overview

“The skill with which Ellen Horan has braided true crime with thoughtful novelizing is pure pleasure.… Caleb Carr meets Scott Turow. What could possibly be better?”
— Beverly Swerling, author of City of God

“An impressive blend of imagination and history as it vividly brings to life one of New York’s City’s most notorious crimes. Ellen Horan has written a novel that, once begun, will be difficult for any reader to put down.” — Ron Rash, New York Times bestselling author of Serena

31 Bond Street, an unforgettable literary debut from Ellen Horan, is based on the true story of a brutal murder, a desperate mother and mistress, and the vicious constraints of 19th century society. Fans of Caleb Carr’s The Alienist, Edith Wharton’s The House of Myrth, and John Berendt’s Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil will love the stunning prose and beautiful imagery of 31 Bond Street.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
A real-life New York City murder case provides the basis for Horan's impressive fiction debut, which works better as a historical novel than as a whodunit. In 1857, Manhattan is horrified and fascinated by a grisly crime—the murder of dentist Harvey Burdell, found on his office floor stabbed more than a dozen times and with his throat cut. The ambitious district attorney, Oakey Hall, who's linked with the Tammany Hall political machine, quickly focuses on Emma Cunningham as the prime suspect. Cunningham, the victim's housekeeper, claims that she and Burdell were secretly married. Her sole hope for avoiding conviction for murder is crusading defense attorney Henry Clinton. Horan alternates deftly between the present and flashbacks to Cunningham's past, capturing both the complex inner lives of her characters and the feel of the times. She also creates exciting courtroom scenes, but some may find the mystery's resolution disappointing. (Apr.)
Kirkus Reviews
Horan brings to life a sensational 19th-century New York City murder trial in which a woman is accused of viciously killing her husband. Emma Cunningham, a widow with two daughters, has recently settled at 31 Bond St. as head housekeeper to the mysterious Dr. Harvey Burdell, a dental surgeon with a penchant for making crooked real-estate deals. Her "housekeeping" duties are fairly light and disguise the fact that Burdell occasionally summons her to his bed and that he intends to marry her, or so he says. When one morning a young lad-of-all-work discovers Burdell's body, with numerous gashes and an almost-severed head, District Attorney Oakey Hall, hoping to grandstand his way to the mayor's mansion, wastes little time in accusing Emma. Motive is supplied by a recently discovered wedding license testifying to Harvey and Emma's marriage some two weeks before the murder, so it looks as though his land holdings will go to his wife rather than to his venal siblings. Emma, however, is just as startled as anyone about the existence of this document, which seems an obvious forgery, especially since the minister who performed the ceremony has a hazy memory of the bride and groom. (Perhaps Harvey has done this to give himself legal custody of the dowry of Emma's 18-year-old daughter Augusta and thus to consummate a large and illegal transaction involving potentially valuable swampland in New Jersey.) To the rescue comes Henry Clinton, an up-and-coming defense lawyer, a kind of 19th-century Atticus Finch. He's convinced of Emma's innocence and disgusted with Hall's smarmy and politically motivated prosecution. Another mystery involves the disappearance of Samuel, Burdell's black servant, and theappearance of Katuma, a Native American who feels resentful that his tribe's land has been appropriated by whites. An engaging mix of fact and fiction, with a juicy trial, sensationalistic reporters and lots of local urban color.
Ron Rash
“31 BOND STREET is an impressive blend of imagination and history as it vividly brings to life one of New York’s City’s most notorious crimes. Ellen Horan has written a novel that, once begun, will be difficult for any reader to put down.”
BookPage
“This thrilling book becomes not only a murder mystery, but a Wharton-esque examination of the mores and customs of antebellum New York society. . . . Rich with historical detail, 31 BOND STREET is one of the best debut novels in a long while.”

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061969379
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
03/30/2010
Sold by:
HARPERCOLLINS
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
384
Sales rank:
356,792
File size:
1 MB

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