Set in late nineteenth century New York, SECOND STREET STATION centers on Mary Handley, a brilliant, beautiful, and daring young woman. Breaking from societal expectations for women during this time-period, Mary is a self-sufficient, independent thinker and wants to achieve more than just becoming some man’s wife. She has studied ju-jitsu and other forms of self-defense from when she was a young girl. At first, it was to avoid childhood bullies, but these skills have come in handy as she has grown to adulthood. Her dream is to be a detective, and in preparation for it, she has read every book she can find on the subject including ones about the emerging science of forensics. Mary gets a chance at that dream when she finds herself at the murder scene of Charles Goodrich, the brother of a prominent politician and former bookkeeper of Thomas Edison. When Mary proves her acumen as a sleuth, she is brought on by the Brooklyn police department—unofficially as the city’s first female detective—to solve the crime. The top brass of the department expect her to fail, but Mary is determined to prove them wrong and isn’t afraid to kick off her petticoats to chase a perpetrator. As she delves deep into the mystery of Goodrich’s death, she finds herself questioning the likes of J. P. Morgan, Thomas Edison, and Nikola Tesla. She must also protect herself from shadowy figures like The Bowler Hat, a trained killer. Mary soon discovers the key to solving the case goes well beyond finding a murderer; she must unearth the scheming of the city’s most prominent and respected public figures—men who will go to great lengths to protect their secrets—and expose them. At the same time, Mary falls in love with handsome southerner Charles Pemberton, the son of John Pemberton who has come to New York to meet with Edison about Pemberton’s new invention: the soft drink Coca-Cola. But as Mary learns about Charles’s life she’s less sure of their relationship. Not only does he have a secret addiction, but there’s a connection between his father and the prime suspects in the Goodrich murder.
While SECOND STREET STATION is historical fiction, the murder case is based on a true crime and Mary is based on real woman. In fact, many of the events in the novel actually happenedand Levy includes littleknown historical facts about Edison, Tesla, and Morgan. For instance, the feud between Edison and Tesla prevented them from receiving the Nobel Prize when they refused to share it with one another. Moreover, Edison enjoyed and endorsed a popular wine of the period called Vin Mariani that contained cocaine, as did Coca-Cola.
Much like Mr. Churchill’s Secretary and Maisie Dobbs, SECOND STREET STATION presents a portrait of a world plunging into modernity through the eyes of a clever female sleuth. Handley is an unforgettable protagonist whose humor and charm will delight readers until the very last page.
Meet the Author
Writers Guild Award winner and two-time Emmy nominee LAWRENCE H. LEVY is a highly regarded film and TV writer with over thirty-five years in the business. He has written for various hit television shows such as Seinfeld, Roseanne, Family Ties, and Saved by the Bell and uses this expertise to create the memorable, complex characters that inhabit his thrilling debut novel: SECOND STREET STATION: A Mary Handley Mystery (Broadway Books; June 9, 2015). He lives in Los Angeles.