“Engaging. . . . The 19th-century local color makes a good mystery even more enjoyable.”—Publishers Weekly
“A hell of a yarn that moves with the velocity of a newspaperman on a hot story.” —Michael Connelly
“Absorbing . . . puts modern-day urban scandals into perspective.”—The New York Times Book Review
“Fabulous.”—The Charlotte Observer
“A superb mystery.”—Mystery News
“Delightful. . . . This is the bawdy, seamy, ripe-for-reform Gotham City no reader would want to live in—The crooks! The corsets!—but any reader would enjoy visiting.”—Detroit Free Press
“A gritty and fascinating glimpse of New York in the late 19th century.”—San Francisco Chronicle
“Blaine is a wonderful tour guide of old New York.”—The Washington Post Book World
New York, 1893. Max Greengrass is an ex-pugilist turned space-rater for the New York Herald—he’s paid by the column inch. With no regular salary, Max must hustle for his stories. After a lucky night at the faro table, he nearly trips over his big scoop: four cats, killed and ritually arranged on a Greenwich Village sidewalk. Catricide! Max sells the story and pursues it, from low dives to posh mansions; from a proper, if eccentric, organization of respectable ladies, who are killing stray cats to “save” them; to a bizarre conspiracy of tenement landlords and insurance interests who are getting rich by exploiting the misery of the poorer elements of society.
At the heart of The Midnight Band of Mercy is a story too strange to be true, except most of it is. Based on actual events—actual crimes—that occurred in New York City in 1893, Michael Blaine’s brilliant historical novel re-creates an age when American belief in scientific progress led to the slaughter of innocents.