In the summer of 1906, a distinguished member of one of New York's most prestigious and powerful men's clubs - the Metropolitan Club - is found with his throat slashed, murdered within the club's walls. By all eyewitness accounts, the murder is another member - a man who, in actuality, wasn't there that night and, in fact, was across town in plain view of a hundred witnesses who can attest to his innocence.
To J. P. Morgan, founding member of the Metropolitan Club, there is only one man to which he can trust with the swift and proper resolution of this impossible crime - his one-time nemesis, Sheriff John Le Brun of Jekyl Island, Georgia. Le Brun, a rough-hewn but brilliant man, is lured to turn of the century New York City by both his own curiosity about the city itself as well as the puzzle of the crime.
Thrust in the midst of the cream of Manhattan society and intelligentsia, the elite and the powerful - including actor William Gillette, newspaperman Joseph Pulitzer, architect Stanford White, and financial colossal J. P. Morgan himself - Le Brun finds himself in a deadly struggle and race against time with an unseen foe, a mind perhaps as nimble as his own.
Retired Georgia sheriff John Le Brun, last seen in Monahan's The Sceptered Isle Club (2002), comes to New York in 1906 to investigate the murder of Edmund Pinckney, slain at the exclusive Metropolitan Club, in this enthralling peek at mayhem among Manhattan's ruling class. How could one club member have slashed the throat of another when so many witnesses saw the accused on the other side of the city at the time? The dogged Le Brun needs all his resources to outwit and outmaneuver the diabolical schemer behind the baffling crime. Joseph Pulitzer, blind but still in control of his publishing empire, provides staff support and urges him on. A poor Pinckney relation with Southern roots, housekeeper Lordis Goode stirs more than just professional interest in the widowed Le Brun. Monahan stokes the story with authentic period detail, with many scenes set at actual clubs, such as the Manhattan opposite Madison Square Garden and the Players on Gramercy Park, haven for such illustrious theatrical figures of the day as William Gillette. Monahan pulls everything together in spectacular fashion, at the end sending Le Brun off on J.P. Morgan's yacht to ponder chess and the possibility of settling in New York.