Doctor Noah Whitestone, along with his father, has a medical office in Brooklyn, New York in 1899. Noah is asked to attend to the sickness of a wealthy family’s child in the middle of the night. The child dies later that night after he administers a dose of laudanum. Blamed for the child’s death, the doctor attempts to find the real cause. He eventually teams with a local muckraker magazine reporter and learns of overdoses of heroin being administered to young children by other doctors testing the dosage of the strong medication. The doctor is drawn into a criminal element, along with political factions influencing the drug market, both in the United States and Europe.
Known for his mysteries, Goldstone provides extensive medical knowledge in his writing. This fascinating novel is filled with medical and forensic details that help describe problems with prescriptions at the turn of the 20th century, before medicines were tested. Actual historical figures and well-known pharmaceuticals are woven into the storyline. As the novel progresses, it’s uncertain whether the doctors prescribing the deadly drugs will be prosecuted under the American laws of 1899. Also, the radical politics of the age help advance the investigation into poor pharmaceutical practices. If you like to be immersed in a good mystery, you will enjoy this novel.