City of Liars and Thieves

A Novel
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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.

Praise

“Gracefully written 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
 
“A tense, revelatory tale of a case lost to time, City of Liars and Thieves lifts the veil of a great city’s dark and intricate past and brings it to life for a new generation.”—Rebecca Coleman, author of The Kingdom of Childhood

City of Liars and Thieves is both a historical murder mystery and the tragic story of a vulnerable woman snared in the ambition of New York’s most powerful men. Eve 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, like the narrator, with the vertigo of disillusionment and a craving for justice.”—Maia Chance, author of Snow White Red-Handed

“In this absorbing tale of lust, greed, and scandal set in postcolonial 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

“Both suspenseful and emotional . . . Karlin does a great job weaving together her fictional accounts with actual historical ones.”—No More Grumpy Bookseller
 
“Precisely my sort of mystery: full of history and great writing . . . kept me on the edge of my seat . . . If you’re into history at all or love a great mystery, don’t pass up City of Liars and Thieves. You may know how it all ends, but what you find in the middle is definitely not to be missed!”—Bibliophilia, Please
 
City of Liars and Thieves is a well-researched, minutely plotted piece of work that will appeal to lovers of historical crime set in the New World. It offers a sharply focused sense of place and period and shines a spotlight on a dark and largely forgotten piece of New York history, making for a worthy debut.”Crime Fiction Lover
 
“[Karlin] brings to life the city and the age.”—Mystery Playground
 
“This is a fascinating story not only because of the mystery surrounding Elma’s death but also because it includes historical detail and struggles of an era of a very youthful America. . . . Much of the actual history is intact.  Much of the truth of that time surprised me.”—FictionZeal