Cover image for The gilded cage
The gilded cage
Soos, Troy, 1957-
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Publication Information:
New York : Kensington, [2002]

Physical Description:
266 pages ; 24 cm
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After New York's horrific cholera epidemic in 1893, the shaky economy negatively impacts Rebecca Davies' shelter for abused and abandoned women. When a helpful banker friend is found dead, Rebecca is joined by writer Marshall Webb in an investigation that leads to a massive cover-up that reaches from the Bowery to Broadway.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

New York City in 1893 is battling a cholera epidemic and a financial depression. While the immigrants are being forced into quarantine, jobs are becoming scarcer, and the poor are getting poorer. Rebecca Davies (introduced in Soos' Island of Tears [BKL O 1 01]) is having trouble keeping her shelter for battered and abandoned women operating. Taking her small inheritance to a banker to invest, she hopes to create an income for the shelter. However, the ambitious banker dies mysteriously, and Rebecca cannot recover her money. She turns to her friend, Marshall Webb, a writer and reporter, for help. Together they discover a scheme that leads from the Bowery to Tammany Hall to Broadway. As interesting a historical vignette as it is a mystery, this novel brings to light the tarnished side of the turn of the last century. Soos has done his research well, but the book is not all history lesson. He has created a well-plotted mystery, with a touch of romance, to keep the reader nicely entertained. Elizabeth Dickie.

Publisher's Weekly Review

New York City in 1893 comes to vivid life in Soos's second engrossing historical (after 2001's Island of Tears) to feature Rebecca Davies, a child of privilege who's chosen to devote herself to financing and running a home for desperate women with nowhere else to turn, and her beau, Marshall Webb, a freelance reporter for Harper's Weekly who secretly pens dime novels. Davies is an especially sympathetic figure whose empathy for her charges is matched by a steely pragmatism. Two mysteries engage their attention after a young woman turns up at Davies's door, apparently the victim of arsenic poisoning, and Lyman Sinclair, the banker to whom Davies entrusted most of the home's funds, apparently kills himself amid rumors of investment chicanery. Davies enlists the help of Webb, who has been conducting an independent effort to expose the corruption of a post-Boss Tweed Tammany Hall. Webb uncovers a possible link between the banker's death and the omnipresent political machine that governs the city through voter fraud and multiple extortion and bribery schemes. While there are a number of suspects in Sinclair's death, including an acclaimed music hall performer and two of the city's wealthiest and most influential men, the anticlimactic solution is apt to disappoint crime fans. Although this entertaining, fast-paced novel doesn't probe the psychology of late-19th-century murderers as Caleb Carr does, it should appeal to much the same audience as Carr's. Agent, Meredith Bernstein. (Oct.) FYI: Soos is also the author of Murder at Ebbets Field and other titles in the Mickey Rawlings baseball mysteries series. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Adult/High School-Marshall Webb, writer for Harper's Weekly, determinedly investigates the corrupt practices used by Tammany Hall to run New York City. To please his girlfriend, Rebecca Davies, he also undertakes ferreting out information about the death of a young banker. Rebecca, who continually seeks financial aid for the home for battered women that she runs, asks for help from her brother-in-law, Jacob Updegraff, president of a successful bank. The plots mix together as Webb ends up digging into the sale of Fire Island, once used for the quarantine of the 1893 cholera epidemic, and he pieces together the underhanded practices common to business and banking during the era. He solves the murder, compiles information on Tammany Hall, and pursues his interest in Rebecca even as he negotiates writing another dime novel. Soos immerses readers in the events, lifestyles, and environment of the city with details ranging from dinner menus to styles of shoes, etiquette, morals, and cultural influences. Intermingling of the plots emphasizes the plight of the poor as well as the intensity of the rampant corruption. The romantic tie between Webb and Davies provides a pleasant diversion from the murder and business practices. Soos offers an astute look at the historical, political, and social issues of New York during the Gilded Age, and an intriguing mystery.-Pam Johnson, Fairfax County Public Library, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.