Under the Manhattan Bridge

Overview

Anita Servi has given up social work; there was too much stress, too many people were dying. So she went to work for her husband, Benno, spending time in the arty community under the Manhattan Bridge, doing simple jobs in his woodworking shop. It was easy, it was fun.

Unfortunately for Anita, the job that was supposed to be peaceful was anything but, and it certainly wasn't fun. Not with the discovery of the body of a young man hidden in the equipment, a boy really, brutally ...

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Overview

Anita Servi has given up social work; there was too much stress, too many people were dying. So she went to work for her husband, Benno, spending time in the arty community under the Manhattan Bridge, doing simple jobs in his woodworking shop. It was easy, it was fun.

Unfortunately for Anita, the job that was supposed to be peaceful was anything but, and it certainly wasn't fun. Not with the discovery of the body of a young man hidden in the equipment, a boy really, brutally murdered. There was no clue as to his identity, as to why he might have been killed...only a corpse and too many questions that demanded answers.

Asking questions is something Anita knows how to do; sometimes it takes her longer and farther afield to find the answers. This time her search takes her from the Russian baths on the Lower East Side to the Orthodox community in Williamsburg and the artists' galleries of the East Village. What she uncovers—links between party drugs, a stash of old diamonds and some expected greed—brings one of Irene Marcuse's praised denouments.

The highly praised Anita Servi mysteries, are not only set in New York, but bring the character of the city to life, as they explore the ways in which we treat each other. Drawing on her long career as a social worker and activist, Irene Marcuse portrays the city vividly while offering brilliant mysteries for the puzzle lover in all of us.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Agatha-nominee Marcuse once again sensitively explores serious social issues in her fourth cozy (after 2002's Consider the Alternative) to feature former New York social worker Anita Servi. Still reeling from the devastation of 9/11 and the death of her best friend shortly thereafter, Anita has found some solace in working for her husband, a cabinet maker. One day in the finishing room, however, she discovers the body of an unidentified young man in the vacuum press, a gluing machine that sucks the air out of a plastic bag and presses down on its contents. While willing to leave the forensics and the search for the murderer to the police, Anita sets out to give the victim a name and embarks on an investigation that ultimately puts her and her family in peril. The author brings to life the community of Orthodox Jews, Jehovah's Witnesses, drug dealers, artists and other residents of the Brooklyn neighborhood known as Dumbo (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) in the aftermath of 9/11. While those looking for a conventional whodunit may be disappointed, the independent, curious, gutsy, smart, humorous and above all caring Anita remains a model sleuth for the new century. Agent, Sandra Dijkstra. (July 7) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Series protagonist Anita Servi (Death of an Amiable Child) helps with her husband Benno's wood-finishing business in lower Manhattan. The recent 9/11 tragedy and the loss of her best friend leave her emotionally depleted, but when she discovers a young murder victim in the vacuum press upstairs, Anita cannot rest until she finds out who he is and what happened. Her quest takes her through various ethnic neighborhoods, where she unearths a connection between Hasidic Jews and the Jehovah's Witnesses. Deft prose, sure descriptions of city life, a mixed Jewish-Catholic outlook, and a sobering plot result make this essential reading. Marcuse lives in Manhattan. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
An amateur sleuth discovers a body in her husband's cabinetry workshop. Anita Servi, whiling away the hours since she gave up social work (Consider the Alternative, 2002, etc.) by helping her craftsman husband Benno sand and stain projects, finally notices a peculiar smell and splotches emanating from a vacuum press. By a series of coincidences, Anita learns that their origin is the gruesomely dead grandson of aging artist Helen Baum, whose family tree included a diamond smuggler and a daughter now married to a Jewish martinet, neither of whom spoke to Helen. More coincidences land Anita in the midst of a crystal-meth processing plant right next door to Benno's factory space, until the rashly inquisitive heroine is unknowingly flirting with drug dealers and buyers and unwittingly putting poor Helen smack in their sights. Since several friends of Anita's are cops, it would be sensible for her to confide in them, but first that rash streak leads to her getting trussed up in masking tape, and it's only by yet another coincidence that she is saved, murders are solved, and she can happily collapse in Benno's protective arms. Marcuse differentiates crisply between Orthodox and Hasidic Jews in Brooklyn's Williamsburg section and even shows how to use tefillin (Jewish prayer boxes) to hide E (Ecstasy). But she has yet to create a plot as engaging as her heroine.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780765308047
  • Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates
  • Publication date: 7/1/2004
  • Series: Anita Servi Novels Series
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.58 (h) x 0.99 (d)

Meet the Author

Irene Marcuse is the granddaughter of social philosopher Herbert Marcuse, an accident of birth that has formed a lot of her life. She has lived all over the United States and worked as a medical technician, long distance telephone operator, house cleaner, waitress, painter and wallpaper hanger, bead stringer, proofreader, and editor before receiving an MSW in social work from Columbia University. Before becoming a full time writer, Irene was Assistant Director of Morningside Retirement and Health Services.

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