Death on the Ladies Mile
The Ladies Mile, stretching from 8th to 23rd Street in 1880s New York City, housed the shops and restaurants frequented by the city’s richest women. When a young bride-to-be in her wedding dress is found brutally murdered, private investigator Ross Buchanan is hired to find the killer. Amanda Whitney, an independent society reporter, both helps and hinders him in his task. When two more bodies are found wearing the same attire, we get to visit two parallel worlds. Amanda introduces us to the realm of the wealthy, with their focus on social events, luxurious clothes, and the rarefied atmosphere in which they live. Ross gives voice to the squalor and misery of the city’s poorest, who are trying desperately to eke out a living. Haviland captures both worlds extremely well while weaving a good mystery filled with surprising turnarounds and convincing characters. She is particularly adept at describing the surroundings, whether outdoors or indoors, and manages to capture the sensibilities of the era. This is a captivating book, and I will be on the lookout for future volumes of the Gaslight and Shadows mystery series.