Lyndsay Faye's novel, The Gods of Gotham, is an excellent historical mystery set in a time and place not many fiction writers have ventured to date: New York City, circa 1845. On the surface, the year seems unremarkable - James Polk is President, and the American Civil War has yet to occur. However, Faye manages to capture the setting brilliantly, breathing life into the era, making it interesting and relevant to modern readers. She provides real insight into the tensions that permeated New York City during that period.
The mystery upon which the book is predicated is outstanding - well-reasoned and exceptionally complex. After a fire ravages Lower Manhattan, Timothy Wilde joins the newly-formed New York Police Department and, upon encountering a young girl covered in blood, finds himself on the trail of a killer. The author has constructed an intricate, entertaining puzzle that will...
New York City is popularly referred to by the nickname "Gotham City." The title was popularized by Bill Finger, the writer of the Batman comic books, starting in 1939, but the term originated much earlier. Washington Irving first used the sobriquet to refer to New York City in the November 11, 1807 issue of Salmagundi, a journal that satirized New York politics and culture. Irving borrowed the name from Gotham, a village in Nottinghamshire, England that was purportedly "inhabited by fools." According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, the village was originally called Gatham (1086), which meant "[an] enclosure (lit. 'homestead') where goats are kept."
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