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Second Street Station

(A Mary Handley Mystery #1)

3.46  ·  Rating details ·  1,012 ratings  ·  253 reviews
A historical mystery featuring the witty and wily Mary Handley, the first woman detective in Brooklyn, as she tries to prove herself in a man's world while solving a high profile murder.
Mary Handley is a not your typical late-nineteenth century lady. She's fiery, clever, daring—and she’s not about to conform to the gender norms of the day. Not long after being fired from
Paperback, 336 pages
Published June 9th 2015 by Broadway Books
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Lawrence H. Charles Goodrich was a real person who was murdered and was a landlord in Brooklyn. He also had a brother who was an assemblyman. He did not work for …moreCharles Goodrich was a real person who was murdered and was a landlord in Brooklyn. He also had a brother who was an assemblyman. He did not work for Edison. That is part of the fiction of the book. There is much evidence to prove that Edison did steal inventions, not necessarily the phonograph but the movie camera and others.(less)
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Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin

I thought this book was pretty good only because Mary Handley was an awesome character, especially since this is set in the 1880's.

She witnessed a murder when she was a young girl and right then she decided she wanted to solve murders. In that day and age women didn't have those luxuries.

When she got older her brother Sean is the one who became the cop and she worked in a sweatshop called the Lowry Hat Factory. They got paid hardly at all, they had to work i
May 12, 2015 rated it did not like it
I was very disappointed. Some scenes were incredibly unbelievable. The idea that she could remove her petticoats as she ran after a suspect and that she could watch bullets ricochet and dodge them and even rescue someone as she saw a ricochet going towards him were absurd. I found it difficult to believe that a woman in her position would use such words as sh*t and f**k. These things jerked me rudely out of the story. I had hoped for something with the depth of character we see in the Maisie Dob ...more
Aug 18, 2015 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: the gullible
The "research" performed for this book is dubious at best. The opening of Chapter Three reads:
"Morgan had first hired this telegraph boy turned inventor to put electric lights in to his Fifth Avenue mansion."

Compare this to:
"Morgan hires Thomas Edison, a telegraph boy turned inventor, to install electricity in his 5th avenue Manhattan mansion." This passage is from the History Channel's on-line bio of JP Morgan:

The main character, Mary Handley, is completely unbelievable as a woman of the late
Feb 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
The idea of a female detective on the streets of New York in the nineteenth century drew me to this series. Discovering that it weaved actual historical figures and events into the story was a bonus. It took some time to adjust between the lighter, humorous scenes with Mary to the dark and violent scenes of the killer (and other nefarious individuals), but once I got into the story, I found this less jarring. I loved Mary and her spunky personality, and I was more than happy to suspend disbelief ...more
I'm sure I won't be the only one who picks "Second Street Station," as one of the best mystery novels of the early part of this year. It really was a special story and I was sorry to see it end.

Mary Handley was only twelve-years-old when she comes upon a man who is murdered in his compartment of a railroad train as it headed from Greenpoint to New York City.

The official report was suicide but Mary attempts to tell the police about a man in a Bowler Hat took something from the man's compartment s
Feb 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Mary Handley is fiery, daring and cleaver & she's not going to conform to the gender norm of the late nineteenth century. When Mary proves her skills as a sleuth, she's hired by the Brooklyn Police Department-as the city's first policewomen-to solve a murder. As Mary delves into the murder of Charles Goodrich, the brother of a prominent alderman and former bookkeeper of Thomas Edison, she finds herself questioning J.P. Morgan, Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla. Mary discovers the key to solving the ...more
Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
Mary Hadley is hired by the Brooklyn police department to solve a murder, but they are expecting her to fail, but she is determined to prove them wrong. Charles Goodrich, the man that was killed used to work for Thomas Edison. Could Edison be involved with this murder or someone else as famous as him like J. P. Morgan or and Nikola Tesla? And, why would anyone murder  Charles Goodrich. Did he know something about Edison that could damage the man's reputation? 

This book was a pleasant surprise. I
Kitten Kisser
May 24, 2015 rated it it was ok
Despite having a list of amazing figures in history like Tesla, Thomas Edison, Goodrich, Earhart & more this novel fell flat. None of the characters are well developed. For the most part the book was rather boring & unbelievable. The author failed miserably in creating characters I could care about. Bad guy or good guy so what? They were totally flat & one dimensional. So much could have been done to make this into a great book. All the elements are there, but alas it's a dud. Mary's Jujutsu ski ...more
Book Club Mom
Jul 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
The future looks bleak when Mary Handley is fired from her sweatshop job in Brooklyn. She’d held her tongue long enough at the Lowry Hat Factory and finally gave her boss, the Widow Lowry, a piece of her mind. “After all, if you didn’t call a pig a pig, it might never know it was one,” she tells the widow. Now both poor and jobless, she shows up at her police officer brother’s Second Street Station, hoping for a meal.

It’s 1888 and a lot is going on in New York. Women are starting to demand their
Feb 02, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: bought-2016
In the end, I did enjoy seeing Mary work through this case and kick some butt while she was at it, however, the things that bothered me about this book will stay with me for a while.

I picked up this book because I received a copy of the second book in this series for review. I do not like to series out of order so I had to read this first. I had prepared myself before starting this for it's view on women due to the time in history where this story takes place. I hadn't prepared myself for it's s
David Johnston
Jan 10, 2018 rated it it was ok
Filled with implausibilities and shoddy research but not a total waste of time. But no, a 19th century police force would not give a woman a murder investigation, jujitisu is not a Chinese martial art, and you can't kill someone by throwing a playing card at them. Also I'm a bit uncomfortable with the portrayal of J.P. Morgan. He was a real person and portraying him as an employer of assassins without historical backing seems unfair even if he's safely long dead.
May 07, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery, cozies
A nonconforming woman in fin-de-siecle New York City, is given the chance to be a detective and solve a mystery. She talks to a bunch of important personages, and comes into conflict with Thomas Edison, who has become a real bogeyman of late.

May 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Second Street Station by Lawrence H. Levy is an engaging and unique historical mystery. It is the first book in the Mary Handley mystery series. In 1876 at the age of twelve, Mary Handley saw a Frenchman play an interesting instrument in his railroad compartment. Mary later went back for another look and saw a man with a bowler hat leave the compartment. Mary looked in and saw the Frenchman was dead. The instrument was also gone. The Frenchman’s death was ruled a suicide despite Mary. Mary tried ...more
Jul 03, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015-reads
When she was 12 years old Mary Handley witnessed a killer leaving the scene of a crime. The killer did not worry too much thinking Mary would scream at the sight of the body and who would believe the tale of a hysterical 12-year-old. He underestimated Mary. She was not a typical then and, considering it was the late 1800’s, did not grow into a typical young woman. Mary was smart, clever, well read and due to a very unfeminine (for the times) interest in science – had a sharp eye for details.

Aug 29, 2015 rated it it was ok
Good idea, poor execution
Mar 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A young woman in the New York City of Thomas Edison, J. P. Morgan, Tesla and others, solves a case for the NYPD and is invited to join the force. I liked this tale of a young woman using her wits to battle criminals and the sexism of the NYPD. Reminded me of the Maisie Dobbs series, at least in her method to investigating. Will listen to more of this series, ably read by Cassandra Campbell.
May 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What a surprisingly nice read! Recommended by a friend, I'm so glad I listened because this is a very entertaining story about a woman ahead of her time! Mary Handley will surprise you and make you root for her!
Avid Series Reader
Second Street Station by Lawrence Levy is the first book of the Mary Handley mystery series set in early 20th century NYC. Mary Handley is an intelligent young woman, unwilling to be the meek helpmate and breeder expected of young women in society. She has dreamed of becoming a detective, since age 12 when she witnessed a crime. Political shenanigans result in her appointment as a detective on a murder case.

Famous US history-book-heroes are portrayed as villains: Thomas Edison steals original in
Oct 12, 2018 rated it it was ok
It is becoming like torture to read this book, not because the writing is poor. The author is very skilled. But there are too many characters given center stage in turn and at 70 pages in I hardly know the heroine at all. And when she does appear, she flits thru her scenes with hardly a ripple then disappears, ceding the floor to every other character in the book one after the other. If it wasn't called 'a Mary Handley mystery' right on the cover I'd begin to wonder who was the lead character. E ...more
Tammy Dodge
Apr 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I found this book so interesting. A fictional book with real life characters from early 1900’s like Thomas Edison, JP Morgan, Tesla, Coca Cola creator John Pemberton. Author used real life events during a fictional Story about a murder mystery. I am planning on reading more by this author.
This is an enjoyable listen, somewhat marred by a historical anachronism early in the story and a heavy dose of coincidence throughout. Mary is an interesting heroine in a fascinating time period, though I shook my head many times at how naively she wandered into dangerous situations with no weapon or backup. Despite those minor flaws, I look forward to reading the next book in the series.
Karyn Niedert
VIA: NetGalley

Book Title and Author: Second Street Station by Lawrence H. Levy

RELEASE DATE: June 9th, 2015

RATING: 3 Stars Worth requesting at library or buying in paperback

GENRE: Mystery / Historical Fiction

AUDIENCE: Fans of Jacquiline Winspear, Anne Perry, and Susan Elia MacNeal may enjoy this book.

SERIES: Standalone-may possibly become a series but Google search didn’t turn up any evidence of this as fact.

SUMMARY: Blurb from NetGalley:
“ A historical mystery featuring the witty and wily Mary H
Sep 12, 2015 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: historical mystery fans
Recommended to Skjam! by: Blogging for Books
The “historical mystery” sub-genre is the intersection of the mystery and historical fiction genres. Pick a time period in the past (there’s no minimum gap requirement, but it’s best to pick one far enough back that everyone involved is conveniently dead), research it, stir some real life people and events into a fictional murder, and voila! Many such have become well-loved mystery series.

This particular volume is set in Brooklyn (still a separate city from New York at the time) in the 1880s. Th
May 09, 2015 rated it really liked it


Lawrence Levy

Broadway Books
June 2015

Mary Handley was twelve in 1876 when she witnessed a murder. The victim was a Frenchman that was playing a machine in his train compartment that made such pleasant sounds; he closed door in her face. Mary slipped back a little later hoping to hear more of those magical sounds, but she saw a big man in a bowler hat leaving the Frenchman’s cabin with the deceased’s luggage. The Frenchman’s death looked
Zeb Kantrowitz
Mary Handley has wanted to be a detective since she was a little girl, ever since she saw a man murdered on a train, and no one could give the Police a description of the man. She could but no one paid any attention to a 10 year old girl. In the late nineteenth century (between 1876 and 1899) woman was brought up to be wives and mothers not professionals and not police.

When she is in her twenties, she’s still unmarried to her mother’s disgust, and the only job she can find is working in a hat f
Jan 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016-books-read
AUTHOR: Levy, Lawrence H.
TITLE: Second Street Station
DATE READ: 02/02/16
RATING: 4.5/ B+
GENRE/PUB DATE/PUBLISHER/# OF PGS Crime Fiction / 2015 / Broadway Books / 309 pgs
CHARACTERS Mary Handley / 1st female detective in Brooklyn, NY
TIME/PLACE: Late 1880's/ Brooklyn NY
FIRST LINES What could Senator Conkling have possibly been thinking? The Blizzard of 1888 struck in March and had brought the entire Eastern Seaboard to a virtual standstill.
COMMENTS: This is a b
Jan 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
I received this book in a give-away through

This was a good read. While there were a mix of historical and fictional characters, they were blended well with few rough edges.

No one listened to Mary when, as a young girl, she saw the murderer of a man on a train, so the murder went unsolved. In the meantime, Mary grew up questioning how women were treated and criticized by her mother. While her brother became a policeman, Mary had to work other jobs. Her firing and the chief being pr
Sep 30, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mary Handley and the novel Second Street Station took me by surprise. I am a huge fan of historical fiction featuring female detective novels and Mary is unlike any of the usual lady protagonists. She swears, she knows and uses jujitsu (her childhood best friend was Chinese), and she lives alone in an apartment in 1888 New York City. She's not an upperclass woman who takes on mysteries and murders as a hobby. She's a strong woman with ever stronger opinions.

Mary is intelligent and feisty and ref
May 21, 2015 rated it it was ok
She's poor, has a mother that insists she "marry up", and is smarter than most people of the period feel comfortable with. And then, in a twist of fate, she ends up as the first paid female policewoman for the Brooklyn Police Department. Mary Handley is clever, strong, and stubborn, and determined to be successful in a job she has dreamed about.

I am a huge Maisie Dobbs fan - the series has roped me in, and even if I sometimes think it has gone off the rails a little bit, I still reach for the ne
Jun 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
In 1888, in New York City, Mary Handley gets fired from her sweatshop job just in time to get appointed as a detective on the New York police force- the first woman to be on the force. Given the attitudes of the time, she is harassed by the men on the force and hounded by the press. But she’s determined to solve the murder of Charles Goodrich, barely retired accountant for Thomas Edison and fiancé of her friend. Through the course of Mary’s investigation, she meets Edison, J.P. Morgan, Nikola Te ...more
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LAWRENCE H. LEVY is a highly regarded film and TV writer who is a Writers Guild Award winner and a two-time Emmy nominee. He has written for various hit TV shows such as Family Ties, Saved by the Bell, Roseanne, and Seinfeld. Last Stop in Brooklyn is his third novel in the Mary Handley Mystery series.

Other books in the series

A Mary Handley Mystery (4 books)
  • Brooklyn on Fire (A Mary Handley Mystery, #2)
  • Last Stop in Brooklyn (Mary Handley, #3)
  • Near Prospect Park

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