Saturday, January 13, 2018

Last Stop in Brooklyn by Lawrence H. Levy

Someday I'm going to recruit my sister, Christie, to write book reviews for the blog. She       
reads some of the series I haven't yet had time to pick up, and her comments are perceptive and on target. She liked Lawrence H. Levy's earlier Mary Handley books, but I'm just getting around to the series with the third historical mystery, Last Stop in Brooklyn.

Mary Handley is the first female private investigator in Brooklyn. The daughter of an immigrant, she sees prejudice and racism, and she's willing to fight against it. She's on her least favorite type of case, trailing a possible cheating spouse, when she realizes she's being followed. When she accosts the man, he reveals he's the brother of a man convicted of killing a prostitute in a Jack the Ripper style slaying. But, he's convinced his brother was railroaded because he's an Algerian immigrant who doesn't speak English well.

As Mary uncovers evidence of police corruption, she keeps her friend, Superintendent Campbell, in the loop. She's finding evidence that there were other similar killings, most of them in the area around Coney Island. It isn't long before she's challenged and working with a brash newspaper reporter, Harper Lloyd. While they taunt each other, it's obvious the two investigators also respect each other.

Levy's third Mary Handley mystery is filled with historical details and figures. Teddy Roosevelt, while not prominent in most of the story, becomes an important figure for the wrap-up. Financiers Henry L. Norcross and Jay Gould are figures targeted by anarchists. The bigotry and segregation that Mary witnesses at Coney Island is based on facts. And, the author's note mentions that "new immigrants were blamed for the country's problems when the reason for those problems run much deeper." It's a fascinating historical mystery, with relevance in our own time.

If you're looking for the story of Mary Handley, start with Levy's first mystery, Second Street Station. If you want a fascinating historical mystery, try Last Stop in Brooklyn.

Lawrence H. Levy's website is

Last Stop in Brooklyn by Lawrence H. Levy. Broadway Books, 2018. ISBN 9780451498441 (paperback), 336p.

FTC Full Disclosure - I received the book to review for a journal.


Kay said...

I think you should recruit your sister to write reviews. Sounds like she'd be perfect for the job. This is not a series I've heard about (guess there are actually some of those out there - Ha!), but I love the inclusion of the 'real' characters. Will watch for it.

Jeffrey Meyerson said...

I think a friend gave us a copy of the first one, probably for the Brooklyn connection, and I will have to look for it when we get home.

Lesa said...

She would be, Kay. She makes succinct, on-point comments when we discuss or write each other about books. I enjoyed the inclusion of the "real" characters, too.

Lesa said...

Well, good luck with finding it, Jeff, if your piles of books are anything like mine.

Christie said...

I picked this up at the library today! With a long weekend, I should be able to get to it.

Lesa said...

And, I'll eagerly await your review, Christie!

Sheryl Jeffries said...

Great review! This is my TBR list, I just raised it up a few books-:)