City of Lies by Victoria Thompson
*ALERT* New series….new series alert!
I’m a big Thompson fan….her Gaslight Mystery series has been one of my favorites for a while, and there are ton of them to read. So when she announced a new series a couple of years ago at Malice Domestic I was intrigued. It’s finally out!
So, I like to think that I know my history. But the history of Women getting the “right to vote” isn’t something I remember learning all the much about in school. I don’t know if it was where I was living at the time, or if it’s something that most school’s don’t talk about. But it’s a fascinating subject. And the women who picketed, protested, and made their voices heard should be considered hero’s to the modern women’s movement. It’s hard to believe that it wasn’t that long ago in the grand scheme of things that women weren’t allowed to vote in a democracy.
So anyway, I digress…..but trust me, it has a lot to do with this book.
So the story centers on a “con” woman of the early 20th century. Unfortunately her team cons the wrong guy, and they are discovered. She takes cover at a Women’s suffrage protest at the White House. She gets arrested with the rest of the women, planning on staying in jail until she can get back to New York and safety. The only problem is this time, there is a conspiracy to break these women. They are shipped down to Occoquan Workhouse in Virginia. It is come to be known as the “Night of Terror”. The women are tortured, beaten, starved, and eventually they are force fed when they participate in hunger strikes. I had no idea that this happened! Even after lawyers from the National Women’s Party tried to see their clients, the superintendent of the workhouse disappeared along with his deputies. When the warrant is finally served to produce the women, some of them had to come to court on stretchers due to weakness.
Here is more information on that:
So anyway, back to the story. They are eventually released, and Elizabeth (Lizzie) the unfortunate con woman, is released with the group. While in custody, she made friends with two women who eventually take her in. Still trying to outrun her last mark, she follows the women to NYC and lives with them while trying to get enough of her money together to flee. There is an engagement of convenience with her new friend’s brother, and of course an unrequited interest in a young lawyer. He wants a strong woman like Lizzie and she just wants to try and be safe. There is another long con (which was really well written), and finally a somewhat resolved ending. I’m not sure where the series could go next, but I would love to get more involved in the woman’s suffrage movement. So we’ll see what Victoria Thompson does next!