The story begins in 1857 as police are called to 31 Bond Street upon the horrific murder of Dr. Harvey Burdell. Poised for a run at the mayor's office, ambitious D.A. Abraham Oakey Hall sets his sights on Widow Emma Cunningham as his #1 suspect. Supposedly living in Burdell's house as a tenant and *housekeeper* of sorts, Emma produces a marriage certificate (but can she prove its real?) and further complicates the matter - did she murder the not-so-good doctor for his money and prestigious home? In steps defense attorney Henry Clinton to get to the bottom of it all. Clinton's efforts to unravel the mystery lead to many side trips, from land speculation to the underground slave trade to shady Tammany Hall politics to courtroom drama. The book is based on real people and events and while very well written, this one just didn't come to life for me. I didn't connect well with Emma and really didn't care much what happened to her and the only character I truly cared about came to a sorry end. I found the courtroom scenes rather tedious, but then perhaps with a jury summons in my very near future that was the last thing I needed reminding of (been less than three years since the last time). Lastly, despite all the hype I don't feel the author really brought the city and it's players to life for me, I've seen better in Celeste de Blasis' Wild Swan trilogy as well as Kathleen Winsor's Wanderers Eastward, Wanderers West and the Castles in the Air series by Patricia Gallagher. Don't get me wrong, this is a good book it's just not a great one.