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Book Review of The Alchemy of Murder (Nellie Bly, Bk 1)

The Alchemy of Murder (Nellie Bly, Bk 1)
perryfran avatar reviewed on + 1025 more book reviews

This novel is the first in a series featuring Nellie Bly. Bly is a real person who in 1885 began her reporting career at the Pittsburgh Dispatch. Then she travels to New York seeking a journalist spot at the New York World and finally lands a job after selling the idea of going undercover as a woman committed to the notorious Blackwell's Island Asylum for ten days to the newspaper mogul, Pulitzer. When she is committed to the asylum, she find out that a Dr. Blum is murdering prostitutes that were committed there. She is almost murdered herself when she discovers him in the act. After her release from the asylum and writing an exposé about her experiences, she learns of a serial killer in Whitechapel London using the name Jack and connects him to Dr. Blum. She goes to London after the Ripper but fails to catch him which then leads her to Paris on the trail of a similar slasher. In Paris, she meets Jules Verne, Oscar Wilde, Louis Pasteur and Toulouse-Lautrec who end up assisting her in her search for the slasher. The World's Fair with the Eiffel Tower is in progress while a black influenza is killing many of the poor in Paris. Overall, I thought this was a good historical mystery novel told by Bly as she hunts for a psychopathic killer on two continents. The novel also involves anarchists who are willing to take any steps for their cause of injustice to the downtrodden. The descriptions of Paris at the time are very well done and the reader gets a real feel for the city including the Moulin Rouge and the horrific conditions of the poor. This is the first in a series and I will probably seek out the next books.

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