Book: The Black Maria

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The Black Maria: A Mystery of Old Philadelphia

Author: Mark Graham
Publisher: Avon

Captured at Gettysburg, imprisoned in Andersonville, Wilton McCleary lost his innocence in the Civil War. But on the streets of Philadelphia he’s found a home—as a grizzled city detective facing squalor and pathos every day on the beat. Now the whole world is celebrating a glorious future at the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia. But on the fringes of this massive exposition, McCleary wades into a drowning pool of murder, depravity, and deception that can only end with a dark ride on…THE BLACK MARIA.

While countries from around the world display their gleaming new inventions in the Centennial, nearby is a labyrinth of festering streets called Shantyville, with its opium dens, criminals, and freak shows. Here, Wilton McCleary comes across the butchered body of a girl. As McCleary grapples with a killing his own police superiors want to ignore, he realizes that he had come face to face with the girl’s killer, and that the young man is linked to the family of a powerful industrialist, his callow son, and his beautiful, high-strung daughter. Suddenly a murder investigation takes McCleary into a family’s private madness and a web of blackmail and revenge that will force him to solve a series of unspeakable crimes—or commit one of his own.

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