A Deadly Affection: Book One in the Dr. Genevieve Summerford Mystery Series
Cuyler Overholt, Sourcebooks, 2016, $15.99, pb, 448pp, 9781492637363
New York City, 1907
Genevieve Summerford, MD, having spurned a position at a prestigious New York City hospital, is about to embark on a research study in the Yorkville tenement district. Her hypothesis: if women with psychosomatic pain can identify the trauma at its root, they can free themselves from it.
In her first session, Summerford’s patient Eliza Miner discloses that she was once forced to give up her illegitimate baby. Still grieving eighteen years later, Eliza wants only to know the girl’s whereabouts. Summerford encourages Eliza to face Dr. Hauptfurer, the prominent physician who arranged the adoption, and demand the information.
The next morning, Summerford sees Eliza Miner, dazed and covered in blood, being escorted by police from Hauptfurer’s office. While Detective Sergeant Maloney works to establish that it was Eliza who slit the doctor’s throat, Summerford investigates Hauptfurer’s many shady adoptions, homing in on one of the city’s wealthiest families, whose daughter, Summerford learns, was adopted only days after Eliza’s baby was born.
Genevieve Summerford, young and inexperienced, with a tendency to act without thinking, has her own ghosts to exorcise, as do most of the characters in a cast that spans the spectrum of New York society. Author Cuyler Overholt peels back the skin of this hierarchy, deftly revealing the kind of secrets that pervade every societal level and that link the unlikeliest members of each.
Rather than exploit New York’s vast cityscape to evoke atmosphere, Overholt goes intimate in this medical thriller, bringing Summerford and her suspects together in tight spaces—a drawing room, a railroad car, a back bedroom—where conversation becomes conflict and tension boils over into turmoil.
A well-researched, entertaining mystery with conclusions you’ll never see coming, A Deadly Affection is an exciting start to what promises to be an addictive mystery series.
Originally published in Historical Novels Review, Online Issue 78, November, 2016.
Citation: Kightlinger, Rebecca. "A Deadly Affection: Book One in the Dr. Genevieve Summerford Mystery Series". Historical Novels Review (Nov 2016).
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