Glittering Gilded-Age New York holds its lavish charms--and a litany of deadly sins--as intrepid reporter Genevieve Stewart uncovers a trail of corruption and murder.
As a chill sets in on New York City in the winter of 1888, a jewel thief dubbed the "Robin Hood of the Lower East Side" has been stealing from the city's wealthiest and giving to the poor. Genevieve Stewart--a young woman whose family is part of Mrs. Astor's famed 400 but who has forged a life of her own as a reporter--decides to chase the story, but gets more than she bargained for: a murder victim sprawled in a dark alley in the dangerous Five Points neighborhood.
A handsome neighborhood tough comes to her rescue--but when she encounters the same man at a glamorous ball a few nights later, she realizes he's society scion Daniel McCaffrey. Could this be her Robin Hood? When two more murders rock the Knickerbocker world, it becomes apparent that something much more sinister is afoot than a few stolen diamond necklaces. Genevieve is determined to prove that Daniel is Robin Hood--but she's loath to believe he is a killer as well. From the glittering lights of Fifth Avenue to the sordid back alleys of Five Points, the truth is just one murder away.
Set in 1888 New York City, Belli's underwhelming debut and series launch introduces Genevieve Stewart, a reporter for the New York City Globe. Genevieve is on the trail of a vigilante criminal known as Robin Hood, who has committed three burglaries and then written to the Globe explaining why his victims were selected. In addition to their greed, Robin Hood has targeted them for such additional sins as, in the case of a railroad magnate, running a prostitution ring. Genevieve's digging takes her to the Bowery, where she encounters "one of the most handsome men she'd ever seen" in suspicious proximity to a corpse. She later learns that the hunk is Daniel McCaffrey, heir to a vast fortune and the focal point of numerous rumors. Genevieve's search for evidence that Daniel might be Robin Hood unfolds predictably, as does her attraction to him, and in general Belli telegraphs major plot developments. Those seeking a more plausible female sleuth in the same place and period should check out Lawrence H. Levy's Mary Handley mysteries.