Death at Tammany Hall: A Gilded Age Mystery

Charles O’Brien. Kensington, $15 trade paper (304p) ISBN 978-0-7582-8646-8

O’Brien’s uneven third Gilded Age mystery (after 2014’s Death in Sarasota Springs) pits attorney Jeremiah Prescott and investigator Pamela Thompson against Tammany Hall, the political machine that once dominated Manhattan. In 1887, Tammany operatives assassinate a cab driver who finds evidence of their corruption. When police detective Harry Miller realizes that the killer has gone free, he winds up going to prison on false charges. Seven years later, Harry is working for Prescott’s firm when the family of the woman he loves forbids their relationship due to his checkered past. To save his romance and expunge his wrongful conviction, Pamela’s team probes the family’s sinister connections to the judge who sentenced Harry and the real story behind the cabbie’s murder, thus risking Tammany’s reprisals. The deftly chosen period details and gentle romance between Prescott and Pamela shine. But the myriad minor characters, convoluted subplots, and secondhand accounts don’t do full justice to O’Brien’s gifts or Tammany’s dark vigor. Agent: Evan Marshall, Evan Marshall Agency. (July)
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