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Brooklyn on Fire

(A Mary Handley Mystery #2)

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  490 ratings  ·  172 reviews
Brooklyn’s most witty and daring detective risks everything to solve a dangerous triple-murder case

After closing a case with the Brooklyn Police Department, Mary Handley is determined to become an official detective in her own right. And when Emily Worsham shows up at her new office— convinced her uncle John Worsham was murdered and desperate for answers—Mary’s second ass
Paperback, 344 pages
Published January 19th 2016 by Broadway Books
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Average rating 3.80  · 
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 ·  490 ratings  ·  172 reviews

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Nov 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, contest
Brooklyn on Fire is a fun book filled with history, famous names and corruption. There is also Mary Handley. Mary is an officer with the Brooklyn Police Department and she has goals of becoming a detective.

When Mary is presented with a twenty year old mystery she sets about to determine exactly what happened. The truth is very well hidden and the facts are very confusing. Of course it all makes sense after a while, but it is a fun story of the olden days of New York.

I liked her relationship wi
I was looking for a little something different from my usual romantic suspenses and mysteries set in history. Most are from the same period and place. This one had the distinction of being set late in 19th century America amongst the hustle and bustle of New York City. Famous personages roaming freely amongst the author's original characters and a twisting mystery and a litle romance was just the thing.

This is the second book in the Mary Handley series. While there were several references to the
Jan 12, 2016 rated it did not like it
Single-word review: clunky.

Being me, I can never let it stand at one word.

The relationship between our heroine, Mary Handley, former sweatshop worker (as the reader is reminded over and over), and George Vanderbilt, of THOSE Vanderbilts, is … absurd. Is it impossible for a rich man to fall in love with a poor girl? Of course not. Is it feasible in – was this 1889 or 1890? Not really, no. Mary's reaction was believable - I love you but I'm not sure I trust your feelings, and can we really make
Empress Reece (Hooked on Books)
Moving On...

I ended up dnf'ing the first book in this series because it was incredibly boring but I won this second book, Brooklyn on Fire, before I started the first so I was hoping it would be better since Second Street Station was Levy's debut. Well unfortunately I didn't care for this one anymore then I did the first. It again was boring and the writing and story just didn't flow well to me in either book. I also felt absolutely nothing for any of the characters so I'm calling it a wrap and
Before I start my review, let me say that it is not imperative to have read the first book in the series to enjoy this one. Yes, there are tidbits of background information that you may have missed but Mr. Levy does an admirable job of imparting the important bits so that this can be a “stand alone” read.

With limited career options open to her as a female Mary has weighed out the pros and cons of various possible job choices. After helping solve the Goodrich case Mary has decided that she would
Jun 14, 2016 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sandra Guerfi
Jan 31, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery
This is the second book in a series based on Mary Handley, lady detective. Based in New York City and Brooklyn before they were consolidated, it surrounds a series of events that are both politically and personally motivated. Now, normally I would go ahead and describe some of the story as I had interpreted it, etc etc etc but quite frankly I don't want to. The author is quite capable of good writing obviously as this series has gotten good reviews from better readers than I, but I couldn't wait ...more
From the writer of "Second Street Station," comes a new adventure of Mary Handley who was the first female police officer in Brooklyn.

Mary wants to become an official detective instead of only being called on for certain cases. She gets her first case when Emily Wortham believes that her uncle was murdered and wants Mary to look into it.

Once again, the reader has the enjoyment of seeing Mary rub shoulders with such notables as John D. Rockefeller and Andrew Carnegie. She attends a lecture by Ben
Dec 21, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: arc, e-books
A historical mystery featuring Mary Handly as the protagonist. Mary is a trying to become a detective in Brooklyn in the 1800s. Emily Worsham asked her to investigate the death of her Uncle John Worsham as Emily feels it was murder. As Mary begins her case Emily is found murdered. There are two more murders, one of Mary's brother was arrested as the killer. In each, case a fire is set to burn the victim. John's background has ties to prominent Brooklyn politicians. Mary becomes romantically invo ...more
Mar 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Mary Handley is trying to get her consulting detective business going after helping the police solve a murder, so she's very excited when a woman comes in and asks for her help. She gets busy on the case, but there are some strange coincidences about it -- coincidences involving two other murders. And all of those murders are somehow connected to Mary herself. Needless to say, she needs to find out what's going on ... while simultaneously trying to keep her romance with wealth George Vanderbilt ...more
Victor Gentile
May 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
Lawrence H. Levy in his new book “Brooklyn On Fire” Book Two in the Mary Handley Mystery series published by Broadway Books gives us another adventure with Mary Handley.

From the back cover: Brooklyn’s most witty and daring detective risks everything to solve a dangerous triple-murder case

After closing a case with the Brooklyn Police Department, Mary Handley is determined to become an official detective in her own right. And when Emily Worsham shows up at her new office— convinced her uncle John
Merry Miller moon
Nov 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
I received a free advanced copy of this book-I won it here from Goodreads. Thank you Goodreads and thank you Penguin Random House!!! :) This is apparently the second book in a series of books. I had never heard of this series before, and thus this was the first book I read. It is a 'Mary Handley Mystery'. Mary Handley is the main character, she is extremely beautiful, smart and witty. She works as a detective and sets up her office in the back room of Lazlo's Bookstore. Lazlo is a friend of hers ...more
Book Club Mom
Jul 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
Mary Handley, New York’s first female detective is on the case again in Brooklyn on Fire, the second of Lawrence H. Levy’s Mary Handley Mysteries. This fun and intriguing historical mystery is set in 1890s Brooklyn and includes many of the movers and shakers of that time period: railroad magnate Collis Huntington, New York city planner Andrew Haswell Green and Hugh McLaughlin, head of the city’s Democratic Party. Rounding out the crowd are the ultra-rich and powerful Vanderbilts, Rockefellers an ...more
Dec 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone that loves the Kitty Weeks Mystery Series by Radha Vatsal.
On reading “Second Street Station,” I was captivated by the lead character, Mary Handley. Mary Handley is one of those characters that after you close the back cover of the book, the reader may pause with hopes that he/she could go the nearest bookstore or coffee shop and meet Mary in person. I was thrilled to learn that this character would evolve in a series. I also found myself comparing my thoughts of wishes to the first read of meeting Kinsey Millhone in The Alphabet Series by Sue Grafton. ...more
Mar 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
A Victorian Era Mystery with a Lady Detective

After being let go by the New York Metropolitan Police Department when she successfully solved the Goodrich murder (first book in the series), Mary Handley decides to become a detective. With the help of her friend and employer, Lazlo, she sets up shop in a back room of Lazlo's book store where she works. Both she and Lazlo are pleased and surprised when a young woman comes into the store and hires Mary to find out what happened to her uncle who she b
This is a wonderful book for historical fiction lovers and mystery lovers. I missed reading the first book in series but am still hoping that I will receive it. I had no trouble in picking up the story and toughly enjoyed all the detail about the infamous Long Island Water Scandal, the historical figures involved and other well-known people in history. Such people as Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller and Cornelius and George Vanderbilt are in this mystery. Even the character, Mary Handley was ...more
Jan 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
This was my first book by this author and I really liked it a lot. The main character was just so down to earth and so likable. I could hang out with Mary all day. She was my kind of girl. I really liked the historical part of it and the hanging out with the Carnegie's, the Vanderbilt's, and the Rockefeller's.

The best part was the fact that the woman solved the murders that the police department could not. (Yay, go females!!)

This was quite the cozy little mystery with a little history, (some fac
On the heels of assisting the Brooklyn Police Department in solving a very notable case, Mary Handley is hoping that the case would launch her career as a detective. Yet she's finding that isn't the case. When Emily Worsham shows up at Mary's office saying that her uncle has been murdered, Mary takes the case. As she investigates, she soon finds herself in the midst of a series of interconnected murders, a high stakes family scandal, and more. Yet danger is still lurking with each new clue that ...more
Kate Baxter
Author Lawrence H. Levy has masterfully done it again! His command and understanding of New York City of the late 19th century is displayed in vivid technicolor through his portrayal of the famous wheelers and dealers of the time. He deftly weaves his fictional threads through the factual and delivers a fast-paced, suspense-filled mystery where innocent lives hang in the balance. This is the second book of Levy's Mary Handley Mystery series and it's even better than the first which was also quit ...more
Hallie Szott
Feb 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-for-review
This review is also posted on Book by Book.

Lawrence H. Levy’s Brooklyn on Fire is the second novel starring female detective Mary Handley (yet can easily be read as a standalone) and offers a compelling and gripping mystery. Wanting to build her business as a detective, Mary jumps at the chance to investigate when her first client arrives and finds herself drawn into a case involving politics, murder, and scandal. Astutely she puts together the pieces that connect multiple murders and handles he
Nov 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
Mary Handley has determination, a small but adequate office and a new case, a case that will lead Mary into the underhanded dealings of the rich and powerful, the deceitfulness of political office, and murder for hire. Even her friends and family are not safe from harm when Mary starts to get too close to the truth. But Mary will not give up just because danger threatens. Catching the eye of another well-to-do gentleman, Mary not only has an ersatz assistant, she may have found love at last. The ...more
Dec 19, 2015 rated it liked it
After solving a case for the Brooklyn Police Department, Mary Handley is determined to become a private detective. Investigating a suspicious death leads Mary into society's upper crust, rubbing elbows with the Vanderbilts, Carnegies, and Rockefellers.

Mary is a thoroughly modern girl in a world where very few people, especially her mother, appreciate investigative and physical skills in a woman. Lawrence Levy incorporates historical figures and detail but sometimes the facts seem forced rather
Debbie Maskus
Oct 13, 2015 rated it liked it
The Mary Handley series capture an independent woman attempting to eke a living in a male dominated world. Many times, Mary walks on too many feet for a woman in New York in the 1890's. Mary reminds the reader of the Gaslight Series also set in New York about a midwife. Both woman hobnob with the elite of New York society. I enjoy the way the Lawrence H Levy interweaves fiction and nonfiction within his story. I felt that one part of the story a little confusing, when Shorty kills a prostitute, ...more
C.E. Dimond
Feb 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
When I saw this book I knew that it would be right up my alley. A perfect combination of Nancy Drew and Murdoch Mysteries, it’s a fun, intriguing historical fiction. I love that the protagonist is fearless in her ventures and will not back down. Emily Worsham approaches Mary directly asking her to assist with the investigation of her Uncle’s murder and two more murders draw Mary into a compromising position.

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Oct 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I don't believe this book didn't get better reviews. I like the way it started, I never would have guessed about Vicky and Albert.(what their characters were about.) I love mysteries and I felt this was a good mystery. I will be looking for more of Lawrence H. Levy books. It kept me in suspense and I didn't guess who was responsible for paying for the murders until almost the end of the book. ...more
Jul 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
I love this series! This is the second book, and I think it's even stronger than the first. It has all the qualities of a great, historical, cozy mystery, but with a fresh edge to it. Can't wait for more! ...more
Apr 25, 2016 rated it did not like it
After the first few pages the story got choppy and began to disintegrate. I couldn't care about anyone and the plot flitted around from this person to that without giving the feel for the correct era or environment. Terrible advancement of plot and choppy writing. ...more
Jun 19, 2016 rated it liked it
This book was a fun read, but lacked in some places. I also found that the ending was very unsatisfying, but maybe that was just me. Though I usually am a fan of multi-perspective books, this book switched so frequently and a lot of times it was a little confusing.
Alexis Shumate
Aug 26, 2017 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: YA and Adults
Recommended to Alexis by: My aunt
Shelves: 2017-reading
The plot of this book was very intricate, and I liked all the different mysteries I was introduced to. But, I found it hard to follow all of the different narratives. It seemed like with all the new mysteries, a new character's narrative came in which made it confusing. I also felt like the author used complicated words in place of the actual language that would've been used back in this time period. It's very tricky to write historical fiction, and I think he did okay. The historical references ...more
Aug 10, 2017 rated it liked it
Author Lawrence Levy puts readers square in the middle of 1890s New York, with scenes ranging from Brooklyn tenements to upper crust mansions. People with historic figures like Cornelius Vanderbilt and Andrew Carnegie. Mary Handley has few tools available to her but solves mysteries with her wits. I enjoyed the beginning of the book more. At first I thought that I would read the other books in the series, but have decided against it. The author takes the social norms of today and transposes them ...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)
  • Second Street Station (A Mary Handley Mystery, #1)
  • Last Stop in Brooklyn (Mary Handley, #3)
  • Near Prospect Park

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