Opium and Absinthe

Lydia Kang. Lake Union, $14.95 trade paper (480p) ISBN 978-1-5420-1779-4
Kang’s bustling, inspired historical mystery (after A Beautiful Poison) tackles drug addiction, vampirism, and deficiencies of medicine in New York at the end of the 19th century. Spunky and scientifically curious Tillie Pembroke, who has no patience for the social calendar her mother and imperious grandmother want to arrange for her, breaks her collarbone in a riding accident and is soon indulging in copious quantities of laudanum, morphine, and heroin, some prescribed rather liberally for her pain and some obtained illicitly. After reading a newspaper story about an unidentified woman found dead outside the Met on Fifth Avenue, she recognizes her older sister, Lucy, in the description and swoons. When not drifting off into one altered state or another, Tillie and charming newsie Ian, who appalls her family because he is both poor and Jewish, secretly attempt to solve the mystery of Lucy’s vampiric murder (she was found with two holes in her neck and her blood drained). A large cast of colorful, duplicitous characters adds to the suspense, and while the author amps up the gore and the melodrama toward the end, she convincingly ties up the many loose ends of her saga. Kang’s whirlwind tour of New York in the Naughty ’90s is worth the price of admission. (July)
Reviewed on : 04/28/2020
Release date: 07/01/2020
Genre: Fiction
MP3 CD - 978-1-7997-5540-1
Compact Disc - 978-1-7997-5539-5
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