The Gods of Gotham by Lyndsay Faye

The Gods of Gotham - book cover

New York cops had to start out the hard way – murder, religion and politics.

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An older brother

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Valentine Wilde was a man of his times: politically astute with senses that needed assuaging. That part was easy. Drink was just a starter. French brandy by the barrel. Drugs did more – laudanum was the choice of the louche. Debauchery was the final lift, and readily available. Houses of pleasure and brothels provided services for every taste and palate, which if that failed to rouse him then there were men among his admirers who would happily oblige.

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He also had the rank of captain in the police force while his brother was lowly constable 107, assigned to the Sixth Ward. And that was where Timothy Wilde found himself, taking up lodgings with Mrs Boehm, a widow making her living from baking bread and letting rooms

Politically, Valentine Wilde stood for the Democrats against the Whigs but work was in short supply and the politics was fragile. Resentment from established New Yorkers was directed at the Irish immigrants and the Black population. No matter that they were starving and lived in abject squalor in the poorest parts of town, or that young children were on the streets earning a crust however they could. This was certainly not the time to let one unsolved death stir up trouble.