31 Bond Street: A Novel (Paperback)

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“The skill with which Ellen Horan has braided true crime with thoughtful novelizing is pure pleasure. . . . Caleb Carr meets Scott Turow. What could possibly be better?” — Beverly Swerling, author of City of God

“An impressive blend of imagination and history as it vividly brings to life one of New York’s City’s most notorious crimes." — Ron Rash, New York Times bestselling author of Serena

At once a gripping mystery and a richly detailed excavation of a lost age, 31 Bond Street is a spellbinding tale of murder, sex, greed, and politics in 1857 New York. Author Ellen Horan interweaves fact and fiction—reimagining the sensational nineteenth-century brutal murder that rocked the city a few short years before the Civil War ripped through the fabric of the nation, while transporting readers back to a time that eerily echoes our own.

Though there are no clues to the slaying of wealthy Dr. Harvey Burdell, suspicion quickly falls on Emma Cunningham, the refined, pale-skinned widow who managed his house and servants. An ambitious district attorney seeks a swift conviction, but defense attorney Henry Clinton is a formidable obstacle—a man firmly committed to justice and the law, and to the cause of a frightened, vulnerable woman desperately trying to save herself from the gallows.

Fans of Caleb Carr’s The Alienist, Edith Wharton’s The House of Myrth, and John Berendt’s Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil will love the stunning prose and beautiful imagery of this riveting novel.

About the Author


Ellen Horan has worked as a studio artist and as a photo editor for magazines and books in New York City. She lives in downtown Manhattan, the setting of her first novel.

Praise For…


“31 BOND STREET is an impressive blend of imagination and history as it vividly brings to life one of New York’s City’s most notorious crimes. Ellen Horan has written a novel that, once begun, will be difficult for any reader to put down.” — Ron Rash, New York Times bestselling author of Serena

“Ask your local bookseller for a smart, well-crafted and sophisticated story. Then bring home your copy of 31 BOND STREET, a most-satisfying first novel by Ellen Horan. . . . Like E. L. Doctorow and Caleb Carr, Ms. Horan has written a fine, historical novel based on fact. . . . Ms. Horan deserves a following. You won’t regret any time spent in the easy chair reading this book. So, I repeat. Go visit your bookseller. Get 31 BOND STREET. Go now!” — GalleyCat

Scandal, social climbing, and corruption in Manhattan during the 1850s come alive in Horan’s historical mystery. . . . Horan’s characters, like Edith Wharton’s, are motivated by social class and survival in a world ruled by wealth and national uncertainty. This unique look at history and the private lives of those affected by it makes for captivating reading.” — Booklist (starred review)

“Opening 31 BOND STREET was like taking the lid off a box of chocolates. I found it impossible to resist the urge to read ‘just one more page,’ and devoured it in a couple of blissful sessions. The skill with which Ellen Horan has braided true crime with thoughtful novelizing is pure pleasure. The mystery tantalizes until that satisfying aha! moment, and the evocation of the period is breathtakingly immediate—Caleb Carr meets Scott Turow. What could possibly be better?” — Beverly Swerling, author of City of God

“Horan brings to life a sensational 19th-century New York City murder trial in which a woman is accused of viciously killing her husband. . . . An engaging mix of fact and fiction, with a juicy trial, sensationalistic reporters, and lots of local urban color.” — Kirkus Reviews

“A real-life New York City murder case provides the basis for Horan’s impressive fiction debut. . . . Horan alternates deftly between the present and flashbacks to Cunningham’s past, capturing both the complex inner lives of her characters and the feel of the times. She also creates exciting courtroom scenes.” — Publishers Weekly

“31 BOND STREET works as both historical fiction and courtroom drama. Add in the actuality of the event, and you have a trifecta of a historical crime story in the hands of a skilled writer.” — San Francisco Book Review

“Horan’s use of historical trial testimony and newspaper articles add a layer of depth to this thriller.” — More Magazine

“This thrilling book becomes not only a murder mystery, but a Wharton-esque examination of the mores and customs of antebellum New York society. . . . Rich with historical detail, 31 BOND STREET is one of the best debut novels in a long while.” — BookPage

“Horan’s novel is a fascinating look back at a forgotten time in history. Set in 1857 New York, it has historical detail that provides the perfect setting for a grisly murder and ensuing courtroom battle. Horan starts with the murder, then writes about the circumstances leading up to it. She keeps readers guessing as new clues and motives come to light.” — Romantic Times (Four Stars)

“Horan’s descriptive writing immerses the reader in mid-19th century New York. From descriptions of the harbor and chill, drab housing of the poor to the structure of an affluent home, Horan nails the details with a minimum of needless exposition. The gruesome murder of the dentist-owner of the house at 31 Bond Street propels the plot from the start. . . . Her fascinating glimpses into mid-19th century society and a few key characters keep the plot moving at a rapid enough pace to make 31 BOND STREET well worth the read.” — BlogCritics.org

“Horan painstakingly reconstructs the Manhattan murder case that saw Emma Cunningham go on trial for the murder of Dr. Harvey Burdell. The result is a novel that paints a vivid picture of a bustling port city awash with the currents of commerce and politics that presaged the Civil War, and of a society that hobbled women almost as much as it did black Americans, free or not. . . . The fully realized story makes for enthralling fiction.” — Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine

“Ellen Horan masterfully takes the reader back to mid-nineteenth century Manhattan with her rich details of the dichotomy between the wealthy and poor, government corruption and the impact of the Fugitive Slave Acts on the Underground Railroad. . . . Ellen Horan does an outstanding job weaving together historical facts with a dramatic legal thriller and murder mystery that I most highly recommend.” — New Mystery Reader

“The real main character here is the city itself, contradictory, infuriating, violent, striving, and endlessly fascinating, and Horan does very well by it.” — Reviewing the Evidence

“Gripping mystery is also a richly detailed excavation of a lost age. Horan vividly re-creates a tumultuous era characterized by a sensationalist press, aggressive new wealth, a booming real-estate market, corruption, racial conflict, economic inequality between men and women, and the erosion of the old codes of behavior. A tale of murder, sex, greed, and politics, this spellbinding narrative transports readers to a time that eerily echoes our own.” — Historical Fiction Online

“Part murder mystery, part courtroom drama, Horan’s novel whisks you back to old Manhattan and its colorful characters, high and low.” — Coastal Living Magazine

“Combining fact and fiction in a most engaging manner, Horan incorporates scenes and issues from historical New York to explore the law, politics, and society—both high and low—of the day. The result is a gripping legal thriller. . . . A most remarkable debut!” — Mystery Scene

“The story races along, shifting between the developments of the trial and revelations about the events leading up to it. It kept me in suspense right up to the end. . . . The many surprising revelations and the illustrations of intriguing historical figures make this book worth reading.” — The Book Book



Product Details
ISBN: 9780061773976
ISBN-10: 0061773972
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Publication Date: March 1st, 2011
Pages: 384
Language: English
Series: P.S.