The Second Glass of Absinthe by Michelle Black, Paperback | Barnes & Noble
The Second Glass of Absinthe

The Second Glass of Absinthe

by Michelle Black

View All Available Formats & Editions

In the American West of 1880, Leadville, Colorado, is the wealthiest mining district on earth and by far its richest mine is the Eye Dazzler.

When Lucinda Ridenour, the notorious widow-heiress to the Dazzler, chooses young Kit Randall to be her lover, Kit thinks he has the world at his feet. But when their affair sinks into depravity, he must rediscover himself


In the American West of 1880, Leadville, Colorado, is the wealthiest mining district on earth and by far its richest mine is the Eye Dazzler.

When Lucinda Ridenour, the notorious widow-heiress to the Dazzler, chooses young Kit Randall to be her lover, Kit thinks he has the world at his feet. But when their affair sinks into depravity, he must rediscover himself and find out if he has the character to survive in a society that has more money than morals.

After waking up from an absinthe-created hallucination in which unspeakable acts seem to have taken place, Kit angrily leaves the house of Lucinda and her twenty-year-old son, Christopher, feeling betrayed and exploited. Then, Lucinda is found stabbed to death.
In the midst of this turmoil and of Leadville's anxiety over its labor unrest and the impending arrival of the railroad, Kit's uncle, Brad Randall, and his fiancé, Eden Murdoch, arrive in the boomtown planning to celebrate their wedding, but are instead shocked to learn Kit is the primary suspect in the sensational murder.

Eden resolves to learn the truth and clear Kit Randall's name. To do so, she forms an uneasy alliance with Bella Valentine, Kit's former girlfriend and a dabbler in the occult. With this unlikely ally Eden uncovers shocking secrets of the Ridenour family just as Leadville's first labor strike brings the town to an armed and dangerous standstill.

The Second Glass of Absinthe is a dazzling glimpse of the Victorian West and a riveting murder mystery set in the dizzying world of a boomtown where lusts-for gold, for power, for flesh-intoxicate all who come in contact with it.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Eden Murdoch is one of those premature modernists who give life to so many fine historical mystery series--Miriam Grace Monfredo's Civil War books, for example, or Laurie R. King's stories about Mary Russell. There's a well-drawn murder plot, a credible and touching love story, and an homage not only to contemporary feminism but also to the civil disobedience taught by Henry David Thoreau.” —The Chicago Tribune on Solomon Spring

“Absorbing. . . . Black's graceful style and meticulous attention to historical detail render Solomon Spring a historical thriller of the first water.” —Raleigh News-Observer

“The saga of Eden Murdoch began in An Uncommon Enemy and this latest work continues the life of this resilient 19th century woman...Readers of An Uncommon Enemy will not want to miss this sequel! And those who are meeting Eden for the first time receive enough back story to be thoroughly engrossed in this creative mixture of fact and fiction. This is a fast-paced enthralling read.” —RT Book Reviews on Solomon Spring

“Credible and engaging characters, particularly the fearless and feisty heroine, Eden Murdoch, together with a well-paced, suspenseful plot make for a fine historical adventure yarn in a this sequel to Black's An Uncommon Enemy.” —Publishers Weekly on Solomon Spring

“The strong characters, the vivid details of life in the West in the late 1800s, and an engaging plot combine to make this an absorbing historical mystery.” —Booklist on Solomon Spring

“A courageous, deeply moving, fiercely honest novel about a woman trapped between the frontier military and the Cheyenne. I was enthralled, not only by the swift-moving story, but by the integrity and depth of understanding in every page. This novel is richly rewarding, and I look forward to more splendid stories from her.” —Richard S. Wheeler, author of The Fields of Eden, on An Uncommon Enemy

Publishers Weekly
Despite its wonderfully realized setting (Leadville, Colo., in 1880) and arresting title taken from an Oscar Wilde aphorism ("After the first glass [of absinthe] you see things as you wish they were. After the second, you see things as they are not. Finally, you see things as they really are, and that is the most horrible thing in the world"), Black's latest Victorian western mystery (after 2002's Solomon Spring) comes across largely as a missed opportunity, due to slack placing. Having lost all his money gambling, Kit Randall becomes a kept man, the plaything of wealthy Lucinda Ridenour, widow and heiress to the Eye Dazzler mine. When someone stabs Lucinda to death with a wolf's-head pocketknife similar to the one Kit owns, Kit flees and takes refuge with Bella Valentine, a prostitute-cum-fortune teller. Numerous other suspects include the mine foreman and the foreman's wife. Striking miners and the imminent arrival of former President Grant complicate the equation. All in all, the story contains the makings of an engrossing mystery, but the action is so strung out readers will find it difficult to care who killed the heiress or why. The authentic period detail, however, should provide satisfaction enough for many fans, especially those for whom the crime-solving is incidental. Agent, Nat Sobel. (Sept. 10) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Little marching bands, whorehouses, nouveaux riches, and disgruntled miners feed the silver-mine economy of 1880 Leadville, CO. There, shortly after wealthy mine owner's widow Lucinda ejects her 21-year-old "kept" boyfriend, Kit, someone kills her. Suspicion falls directly on Kit, but his fortune-telling, on-again girlfriend and his uncle's fianc e strive to prove his innocence. What really bothers Kit, though, is that he may have had sex with Lucinda's same-age son while under the influence of absinthe. From the author of Solomon Springs, this is a fascinating look at boomtown life, incipient miner unrest, and period mores, tempered by inconsistent prose. For larger collections. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
How the West was drunk, framed, and turned fugitive. Spring 1880. Kit Randall, blessed with the family dimples and cursed with an excess of what his stepaunt Eden Murdoch calls "animal spirits," finds himself in Leadville, Colorado, in the arms of wealthy widow Lucinda Ridenour. Being kept by the sensuous older woman isn't so bad until one hallucinatory evening under the influence of absinthe. When Lucinda taunts Kit the next morning about the night he can hardly recall, he leaves. Lucinda ups the ante by charging him with theft, and before he can clear himself, she's found murdered. Brad Randall, his idolized uncle, and Eden, his stepaunt-to-be, arrive in Leadville to find Kit hiding out with a former girlfriend, Bella Valentine, the local fortuneteller and medium. Christopher Ridenour, Lucinda's son and Kit's former friend, now single-handedly running the Eye Dazzler Mine, source of the family wealth, sets his bodyguards on him; Eden responds by sending Kit to nurse his injuries in a camp out of town. When Brad is summoned back East to the bedside of his sick son, Eden picks up the investigative slack by joining Ridenour's household as a maid, uncovering an unusual family history and all-too-usual labor conflicts surrounding the mine. With the help of loyal and unorthodox Bella, Eden saves Kit and identifies the real killer. Kit and Bella are appealing, eccentric ingénues in an unappealingly politically correct tale from Black (Solomon Spring, 2002, etc.). Agent: Nat Sobel/Sobel Weber Associates

Product Details

Tom Doherty Associates
Publication date:
Eden Murdoch Mysteries of the Victorian West Series, #3
Edition description:
First Edition
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.00(d)

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

Michelle Black is the Colorado author of such novels as An Uncommon Enemy and Solomon Spring.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >