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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Didn't put it down ...
I read this novel from start to finish in one sitting.

A wealthy dentist is murdered in his home in 1850s New York, and the coroner's suspicion falls on the young widow who lives in the upstairs rooms and keeps house for him. She is vilified by the press but she insists to her lawyer that she is innocent and that all the claims in the newspapers are lies. The...
Published on 2 Sep 2010 by Cee-Gee

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Many twists and turns
OK but hard going at times to work out what was going on. Needs to be read in larger chunks than just bedtime reading
Published 14 months ago by Renee Davies


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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Didn't put it down ..., 2 Sep 2010
By 
Cee-Gee (Northants, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: 31 Bond Street (Paperback)
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I read this novel from start to finish in one sitting.

A wealthy dentist is murdered in his home in 1850s New York, and the coroner's suspicion falls on the young widow who lives in the upstairs rooms and keeps house for him. She is vilified by the press but she insists to her lawyer that she is innocent and that all the claims in the newspapers are lies. The novel explores the widow's character, her relationship with the dentist and the motives of those involved in her prosecution.

I loved it - scandal, intrigue and greed in a well written historical fiction. The characters are well written, there are certainly a lot of sides to the young widow's character and people are not often who they seem to be. Even the historical background of life in 1850s America is well worth reading. Definitely recommended!
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Real Excellent Real Story, 7 Sep 2010
By 
Mr. D. J. Brindle (Prestwick, Scotland.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: 31 Bond Street (Paperback)
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This novel is based upon a real life case from 1857 when the author came across an old newspaper sketch depicting a NY townhouse laid siege by reporters after the brutal murder of the owner in his very own bedroom.

The author paints a fine picture of life in New York in the late 1850's, of societal values, of racial tensions and slavery, of the divisions of the North and good ol' South and perhaps most strikingly, the geographical lay of the land when one could escape to north of 16th St and find nothing but farmlands and fields. The media circus around the case infuses the story and you get a real sense of the suffocating intensity being suffered by the characters in the spotlight.

Its only flaw is from having a range of main characters who aren't given quite enough back story to be as fully fleshed out as the New York City circa 1857 is around them. Emma Cunningham, at the centre of the investigation, fares the best and is by the far the most rounded character here.

Nonetheless it is a very good read and benefits greatly from a final piece by the author explaining the origins of the the story and what was real and what is fiction. It is a nice touch and all books on based factual events should have similar.

It is a fine atmospheric piece and any fans of either historic novels or mysteries will undoubtedly enjoy this.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read, 14 Sep 2010
By 
George Rodger - See all my reviews
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This review is from: 31 Bond Street (Paperback)
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I enjoyed this fact-based novel set in pre-Civil War New York, dealing with the mysterious murder of wealthy dentist Dr. Harvey Burdell, a famous case at the time. The author has a a great grasp of the period, with nice little details that really help to set the scene.
However, it is a first novel, and there are weaknesses in terms of making the characters live for the reader, and it lacks a bit of the pace and tension you'd expect from a courtroom drama. I should say though that unlike some other reviewers, I found that the flashback format really worked, and teasingly gave you just a little bit more information each time - very effective.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing, 15 Aug 2010
By 
Donald Thompson "waldo357" (Belfast N Ireland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: 31 Bond Street (Paperback)
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Taking as its starting point a real life murder in 1857 New York Ellen Horan weaves a tightly scripted mystery tale of love, revenge, social climbing, criminal activity and court room drama. With a little artistic license, and judicious editing it gives one a sense of the mores of pre civil war New York. Then a much smaller place with unpolluted rivers and polluted politics. Bringing in the prospect of the corruption to come and the intolerance then at play in a city about to explode across the pages of history the book walks a fine line between morality tale and crime mystery. It almost pulls it off as well. With only a slight worry about character development, the story moves nicely, its real pluses being the descriptions of a city lost in time and history.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating and well written., 4 Aug 2010
By 
Amazoniac (Norwich) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: 31 Bond Street (Paperback)
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31 Bond Street is based on a true story concerning the murder of a well to do dentist in New York during the time just before the civil war.
The tale is convincingly told, and manages to weave together the fact and the fiction very well. The picture of the city is painted well, and the mixture of wealth and poverty, racial prejudice and naked political ambition (regardless of the cost to innocent bystanders) is entirely believable.
The story does have quite a shocking ending, for not all turns out rosy and neatly tied up. Some people do quite well out of the affair, but others suffer quite unfairly.
It certainly is a page turner, and the author draws you through the story in a fluid and well connected narrative.
A good read and recommended for anyone who likes murder/mystery, historical fiction or docu/drama stories.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A worthy costume whodunnit, 8 July 2010
By 
Angela Lovelace "Angela" (Essex) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: 31 Bond Street (Paperback)
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It was interesting to read the author's notes at the end of the story, to see how from an old newspaper she created the tale around which this real life event was written.

The attention to detail of 19th century New York and its surrounding areas had you living the time. The murder of Dr Burdell was a vicious one, but you do not have sympathy for the victim, as the story unfolds. There are many fictional characters living along side real people from the actual case, but none seem out of place.

There was enough twists and turns and clues thrown into the chapters to either keep you guessing or realising very early on who had murdered the dentist. There are many victims in this story, not least of which are the poor widow Emma Cunningham, who is considered the prime suspect from the onset.

Henry Clinton makes an interesting character and a lawyer worthy of a modern day John Grisham novel. The writing is tight and never over sentimental and it is a very promising first novel for the writer.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars ENTERTAINING, 1 July 2010
By 
A Happy Chappie (Surrey England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: 31 Bond Street (Paperback)
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An interesting `novel' based upon a real event, the murder of a Dr Burdell in America a few years before the start of the American civil war. Not quite a straightforward detective novel then, the chief character is a defence lawyer, Henry Clinton, but it reads a lot like one. Though the majority of the characters in the book existed it is a work of fiction. I don't want to spoil it for anyone who may read the book by going into too much detail so I will simply say it's a pretty good read,not brilliant but certainly pretty good. Ms Horan writes fluently and entertainingly. Personally, I would have preferred a little more of the factual back ground in the authors notes because that's the way I am, I like to `know' what's fiction and what's not :-)
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a fascinating blend of fact and fiction, 3 April 2010
By 
Gail Cooke (TX, USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: 31 Bond Street (Hardcover)
A totally absorbing blend of fact and fiction is found in Ellen Horan's stellar debut 31 BOND STREET. Basing her story on what the 19th century called the crime of the century Horan competently moves between past and present to draw deft pictures of the individuals involved in a trial that held not only New York City but the entire world in thrall.

It was February of 1857 that brought "the worst, the very worst, wintry gale ever experienced in the city..." It was also when a young hired boy found the body of Dr. Harvey Burdell. The doctor's throat had been so viciously slashed that his head was almost severed from his body.

In that day and time it was not uncommon for a bachelor such as Dr. Burdell to lease the upper part of his commodious townhouse to a widow who would see to the management of the house and servants. In this case Dr. Burdell had chosen Emma Cunningham, a comely woman of 36 with teenage daughters, Helen and Augusta. But more than leasing a portion of the home Emma evidently believed she would receive Burdell's marriage proposal.

After Dr. Burdell's killing Emma becomes the prime suspect and embarks on a struggle to save her very life with the assistance of attorney, Henry Clinton. With judicious use of historical records Horan brings the ensuing trial to compelling life. She also reminds us of the figures and elements affecting so many at that time - Tammany Hall, widespread corruption, the Fugitive Slave Acts. Horan's narrative is so skillful that it's as if curtains had been drawn and we see Manhattan in 1857, and are witnesses to the events of that time.

- Gail Cooke
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning historical fiction, 7 Jun 2010
By 
Sally Zigmond (Yorkshire, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: 31 Bond Street (Paperback)
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This is a fictionalised account of the murder of Dr Burdell, a dentist, who was brutally murdered in his own home in New York in 1857 and the subsequent trial in which his housekeeper/mistress was the defendant--and acquitted.

Horan has created a plausible solution from the available facts. But this novel is far, far more than a historical whodunit. Anyone who knows New York as it is now cannot fail to be captivated by the city as it was then and Horan is brilliant at conjuring both its squalor and its delights; the foetid docks, the heat of summer and the bitter cold of winter, the poverty, the dope-dens as well as its high-class restaurants, the blossoming apple trees, the busy streets, the bird-filled creeks and marshes of the shoreline where Indians once collected shells and revered the memory of their ancestors. New York is a city on the verge of greatness, although it is riddled with corruption and tainted by the slave-trade which is still booming in the South and supported and encouraged in some quarters of the city. This is America on the brink of Civil War and nothing will be the same again.

But it is in the portrayal of Emma Cunningham that this novel triumphs for me. Horan invents her as a woman, both naive and calculating, whose personal ambitions and those for her daughters collide with municipal corruption, politics and greed. When she loses her grip on reality through drugs, we are never certain whether to condemn or pity her.

I look forward to more fiction of this calibre from Ellen Horan. Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars sweet tail, 26 Feb 2013
By 
Fletch-a-sketch "Fletch" (Wiltshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: 31 Bond Street (Paperback)
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The synopsis covers the gist of the story in the book, so what kind of read is it well my daughter in the target audience for this book has concluded that it's a `pretty neat' story, and that the writing is `good' and `keeps you reading'. She gives the book 4 stars for writing style presentation and general enjoyment. So that is what I have put.
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31 Bond Street
31 Bond Street by Ellen Horan (Paperback - 27 May 2010)
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