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Showing posts by: Con Lehane click to see Con Lehane's profile
Nov 21 2017 2:00pm

Setting a Mystery Series at New York City’s 42nd Street Library

Read Con Lehane's guest post about setting his mystery series in the iconic 42nd Street Library, then make sure you're signed in and comment below for a chance to win a copy of Murder in the Manuscript Room!

Murder in the Manuscript Room—the second book in my 42nd Street Library series—is out today, and I’ve been asked how it came about that I set a mystery series at New York City’s public library’s main branch, the iconic Stephen A. Schwarzman Building at the corner of 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue.

The simple answer is in the mid-2000s, I’d published three mysteries—variously described as hardboiled or noir—featuring the New York City bartender and man-about-the-mean-streets, Brian McNulty. But despite some kind reviews, the sales of the books chronicling McNulty’s adventures were not what my publisher had hoped for. 

When the publisher canceled the series, my editor, Marcia Markland at St. Martin’s Press, suggested I think about setting a story at the 42nd Street Library. She thought a book set in New York City with a different cast of characters and setting might work better than a book set in the city’s barrooms. I don’t remember if she suggested using a librarian as the detective. The outline she provided was sparse: “Write a book set at the 42nd Street Library.”

[Read more from Con Lehane!]

Nov 14 2017 11:00am

Con Lehane Excerpt: Murder in the Manuscript Room

Con Lehane

Murder in the Manuscript Room by Con Lehane is the second book in the 42nd Street Library mystery series—a smart, compelling mystery in which the characters themselves are at least as interesting as the striking sleuthing (available November 21, 2017).

Take a visual tour of Murder in the Manuscript Room with GIFnotes!

When a murder desecrates the somber, book-lined halls of New York City’s iconic 42nd Street Library, Raymond Ambler, the library’s curator of crime fiction, has a personal interest in solving the crime. His quest to solve the murder is complicated by personal entanglements involving his friend―or perhaps more-than-friend―Adele Morgan. Not only does Adele’s relationship with the young woman staffer who was murdered get in the way of Ambler’s investigation, more disturbing for him is Adele’s growing interest in a darkly handsome Islamic scholar.

Soon the Intelligence Division of the New York Police Department takes over the case from NYPD homicide detective Mike Cosgrove, Ambler’s friend and sometimes partner-in-crime-solving. Ambler suspects that the murder of the young woman, who’d been working at the library under an assumed name and the curious intervention of NYPD’s intelligence division are connected. The trail of intrigue leads to a seemingly unrelated murder in an upstate prison and a long-ago murder of a trade union reformer.

No one else sees the connections Ambler is sure are there―not an unusual state of affairs for Ambler. But with the city’s law enforcement establishment determined to stop his investigation, the inquisitive and intrepid librarian faces challenges that may put his very life at risk.

[Read an excerpt from Murder in the Manuscript Room...]

Apr 25 2016 3:00pm

The Wonders of the 42nd Street Library

Read this exclusive guest post about the wonders of the 42nd Street Library by Con Lehane, author of Murder at the 42nd Street Library, and then make sure you're signed in and comment for a chance to win a copy of the book!

The New York Public Library’s flagship building at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street, now known as the Schwarzman Building, houses the NYPL’s Humanities and Social Sciences Library. To millions of New Yorkers, it’s known as the 42nd Street Library, as surely as The Avenue of the Americas is Sixth Avenue.

The magnificent beaux arts edifice, carved out of 530,000 cubic feet of white Vermont marble, sits atop of what was once the Croton Reservoir. The library came about when one-time New York governor Samuel J. Tilden (1814-1886) bequeathed the bulk of his fortune to "establish and maintain a free library and reading room in the city of New York.” In the early 1890s, a Tilden trustee devised a plan to combine two existing private libraries—those of John Jacob Astor and James Lenox—and the Tilden Trust to form The New York Public Library. The deal was signed and agreed upon on May 23, 1895.

[Find out more about the amazing 42nd Street Library]

Apr 20 2016 11:08am

Murder at the 42nd Street Library: New Excerpt

Con Lehane

Murder at the 42nd Street Library: A Mystery by Con LehaneThis first book in an irresistible new series introduces librarian and reluctant sleuth Raymond Ambler, a doggedly curious fellow who uncovers murderous secrets hidden behind the majestic marble façade of New York City’s landmark 42nd Street Library (Available April 26, 2016).

Murder at the 42nd Street Library follows Ambler and his partners in crime-solving as they track down a killer, shining a light on the dark deeds and secret relationships that are hidden deep inside the famous flagship building at the corner of 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue.

In their search for the reasons behind the murder, Ambler and his crew uncover sinister, and profoundly disturbing, relationships among the scholars studying in the iconic library. Included among the players are a celebrated mystery writer who has donated his papers to the library’s crime fiction collection; that writer’s long-missing daughter, a prominent New York society woman with a hidden past, and more than one of Ambler’s colleagues at the library. Shocking revelations lead inexorably to the traumatic events that follow—the reading room will never be the same.

Chapter 1

The morning was chilly, damp, and gray, an April Friday morning in a Brooklyn cemetery. Early April shouldn’t be so cold, but such cruel days descended on New York almost every spring. The damp, chilly air, portending rain, reminded Raymond Ambler of playing baseball as a boy on such a day, the grass recently starting to grow in green, forsythia bright yellow against the dull gray of the day, daffodils bobbing in the cold wind in the yards of row houses across the street from the parade grounds in Windsor Terrace. Your hand stung if you caught a line drive and both hands stung unmercifully if you held the bat too loosely when you hit the ball.

[Read an excerpt of Murder at the 42nd Street Library here...]