City of Liars and Thieves

City of Liars and Thieves_400x620

Price: $ 14.00
ISBN: 9781087954813 (paperback)
eBook: $ 3.99
Page Count: 266



"City of Liars and Thieves is both a historical murder mystery and the tragic story of vulnerable woman snared in the ambition of New York's most powerful men. Karlin captivates at every step with a nuanced narrator, right-here-and-now details, and steadily mounting dread. But it's the twist ending that leaves us gasping, along with the narrator, with the vertigo of disillusionment and a craving for justice."
—Maia Chance, author of Snow White Red-Handed

"Gracefully written, and with exquisitely drawn, convincing characters, this is one of those rare historical novels that hit not one false note. City of Liars and Thieves offers a compelling tale of romance and intrigue, set in a fascinating era of Manhattan's tumultuous past."
—Leslie Wells, bestselling author of Come Dancing

"An absorbing tale of lust, greed, and scandal set in post-colonial New York City. Eve Karlin is as adept at conjuring the yellow-fever-ridden streets of eighteenth century Manhattan as she is at creating characters whose motives and yearnings feel timeless. I couldn't tear myself away."
—Suzanne Chazin, author of Land of Careful Shadows

Love, death, and Manhattan's first great murder mystery

A crime that rocked a city. A case that stunned a nation. Based on the United States' first recorded murder trial, Eve Karlin's spellbinding debut novel re-creates early nineteenth-century New York City, where a love affair ends in a brutal murder and a conspiracy involving Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr erupts in shattering violence.

It is high time to tell the truth. Time for justice. . . . How she was murdered and why she haunts me. It is not only Elma's story, it's mine.

On the bustling docks of the Hudson River, Catherine Ring waits with her husband and children for the ship carrying her cousin, Elma Sands. Their Greenwich Street boardinghouse becomes a haven for Elma, who has at last escaped the stifling confines of her small hometown and the shameful circumstances of her birth. But in the summer of 1799, Manhattan remains a teeming cesspool of stagnant swamps and polluted rivers. The city is desperate for clean water as fires wreak devastation and the death toll from yellow fever surges.

Political tensions are rising, too. It's an election year, and Alexander Hamilton is hungry for power. So is his rival, Aaron Burr, who has announced the formation of the Manhattan Water Company. But their private struggle becomes very public when the body of Elma Sands is found at the bottom of a city well built by Burr's company.

Resolved to see justice done, Catherine becomes both witness and avenger. She soon finds, however, that the shocking truth behind this trial has nothing to do with guilt or innocence.


  • GIFTED HISTORICAL MYSTERY AUTHOR: This impressive debut is the result of years of research. Using court transcripts and contemporaneous news reports, Karlin has turned up amazing details that few others have reported on.
  • MOST SPINE-TINGLINGLY: Five years before their infamous duel, Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr teamed up to defend an accused killer, and the victim's cousin—our narrator—cursed them both: "If thee dies a natural death, I shall think there is no justice in heaven!"
  • SECOND MOST SPINE-TINGLINGLY: At twenty-two, the same age Elma Sands was when she was murdered, Karlin lived on Spring Street steps away from the well in which Elma Sands drowned.
  • AMAZING CONTEMPORARY IMPLICATIONS: Burr's Manhattan Water Company, which owned the well that was the site of Elma Sands' brutal murder, was established not to bring water to a parched city, as Burr claimed, but to funnel money to Republican candidates for the 1800 election. It was soon reincorporated as the Manhattan Company to compete with Alexander Hamilton's Bank of New York, and was the earliest of the institutions that eventually formed the current JPMorgan Chase & Co.
  • LITTLE KNOWN FACT: Many believe that the Chase logo represents a cross-section of pipes from Burr’s original water company.
  • A GHOST STORY WITH A TWIST: City of Liars and Thieves is based on a true story, and Elma's well still exists in the basement of 129 Spring Street, which is said to be haunted by her ghost. It regularly appears on lists of the top haunted sites in New York.

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