When police discover the dead body of Lizzie Sullivan, a nineteen-year-old showgirl, apparently shot to death, Dr. Sarah Kennecott, who is working for the Pinkerton National Detective Agency, is brought in to assist with the autopsy. Faced with prejudice for being a woman, Dr. Kennecott’s findings on the true cause of the young girl’s murder are dismissed. But Sarah is determined to uncover the truth. Meanwhile Jack, a down and out private detective who suffers from blackouts and hears voices is recruited by the Pinkerton agency to investigate. With police fingering an aspiring Baltimore Mayoral candidate as their prime suspect in Lizzie’s murder, Sarah and Jack become embroiled in local politics and intrigue
Bill LeFurgy’s INTO THE SUFFERING CITY: A Novel of Baltimore, is a world of corrupt cops and city officials, where bribery, prostitution and violence run rampant and Sarah and Jack make a peculiar but effective oddball team seeking justice. Blocked at every turn, the motives of local officials, wealthy and influential private citizens as well as Lizzie’s family, friends and acquaintances grow increasingly suspect. Details of Sarah and Jack’s difficult pasts are revealed: Sarah has undiagnosed autism spectrum disorder. Although she has a brilliant mind, she shrinks from physical contact and social niceties while struggling to process the emotional impact of mysterious deaths of her father and sister, which still haunt her. Jack’s family, a “cowardly father, sickly mother, and powerfully unhinged sister,” as well as his time serving in the army, have also left him with deep psychological scars.
Yet as Sarah and Jack become closer to each other and their hunt for Lizzie’s true killer intensifies, their idiosyncrasies are exactly the qualities that drive them to see clues and seek justice where others have failed. With vivid detail, Lefurgy brings the past to life, plunging readers into a harshly beautiful bygone world of railroads and steam engines, horse drawn carriages and the rise of the city of Baltimore. But this world is also full of racism and sexism, anti-union sentiment, widespread corruption, and a murderer who feels they can pick off the weak with impunity.
INTO THE SUFFERING CITY: A Novel of Baltimore is a thrillingly suspenseful, superbly written historical murder mystery which dives deep into the seamy underbelly of Baltimore, circa 1909.
~Royal Young for IndieReader