cover image The Lace Widow: An Eliza Hamilton Mystery

The Lace Widow: An Eliza Hamilton Mystery

Mollie Ann Cox. Crooked Lane, $29.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-63910-528-1

What if there was more to Alexander Hamilton’s 1804 death than his duel with political rival Aaron Burr? That intriguing what-if animates Cox’s brilliant debut mystery, which sees Hamilton’s widow, Eliza, investigating his killing. Days after the duel, and before Eliza has had time to properly process its outcome, she witnesses the corpse of John Van Der Gloss being pulled from the North River near her Harlem home with his throat slashed. Van Der Gloss was not only Hamilton’s friend, but one of the only witnesses to his and Burr’s duel. The situation becomes even more personal when Eliza’s teenage son, also named Alexander, becomes the prime suspect in Van Der Gloss’s death. The night before his body was found, Van Der Gloss brawled with the younger Alexander, who told Eliza he’d become upset after hearing Van Der Gloss say “nobody knew the truth” about the duel. Resolved to exonerate her son and investigate Van Der Gloss’s claims about her husband, Eliza starts thumbing through Hamilton’s papers, which leads her down a rabbit hole of secrets and conspiracies involving the U.S. government and New York City’s elite. Cox plausibly recreates 19th-century New York without freezing it in amber, and wrings real emotion out of Eliza’s investigation. Admirers of Mally Becker’s Revolutionary War Mysteries will be delighted. Agent: Jill Marsal, Marsal Lyon Literary. (Dec.)