31 Bond Street, By Ellen Horan

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The Independent Culture

On one of the coldest nights in 1857, a prosperous dentist, Harvey Burdell, is found stabbed to death in his Lower Manhattan townhouse. There are no witnesses to the crime but Emma Cunningham, Burdell's attractive housekeeper, is charged with murder.

In a gripping recreation of this true-life crime, Ellen Horan places Emma's burgeoning relationship with her brilliant defence lawyer, Henry Clinton, centre-stage. What really brings the novel to life is Horan's descriptions of the rapidly expanding city.

Manhattan's wealthy are only just starting their progress uptown, leaving the orchards and woods of Greenwich Village behind. Native Americans are being moved on to make way for the riverside factories and warehouses.