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Cleopatra's Dagger

Cleopatra's Dagger By Carole Lawrence Summary

Cleopatra's Dagger: New York, 1880. Elizabeth van den Broek is the only female reporter at the Herald, the city’s most popular newspaper. Then she and her bohemian friend Carlotta Ackerman find a woman’s body wrapped like a mummy in a freshly dug hole in Central Park—the intended site of an obelisk called Cleopatra’s Needle. The macabre discovery takes Elizabeth away from the society pages to follow an investigation into New York City’s darkest shadows.

When more bodies turn up, each tied to Egyptian lore, Elizabeth is onto a headline-making scoop more sinister than she could have imagined. Her reporting has readers spellbound, and each new clue implicates New York’s richest and most powerful citizens. And a serial killer is watching every headline.

Now a madman with an indecipherable motive is coming after Elizabeth and everyone she loves. She wants a good story? She may have to die to get it.

About the Author

Author Carole Lawrence is an award-winning novelist, poet, composer, and playwright. Among her published works are eleven novels, six novellas, and dozens of short stories, articles, and poems, many of which appear in translation internationally.

She is a two-time Pushcart Poetry Prize nominee and winner of the Euphoria Poetry Prize, the Eve of St. Agnes Poetry Award, the Maxim Mazumdar playwriting prize, the Jerry Jazz Musician award for short fiction, and the Chronogram Literary Fiction Award. Her plays and musicals have been produced in several countries as well as on NPR; her physics play Strings, nominated for an Innovative Theatre Award, was recently produced at the Kennedy Center.

A Hawthornden Fellow, she is on the faculty of NYU and Gotham Writers, as well as the Cape Cod and San Miguel Writers’ Conferences. She enjoys outdoor sports such as hiking, biking, and horseback riding, and you can often find her cooking and hunting for wild mushrooms. She also writes under the names C. E. Lawrence and Carole Buggé, and those books are also available here on Amazon.

Under the C. E. Lawrence marque, her five-novel “Silent” series centers on New York detective Lee Campbell, a psychologist-turned-criminal-profiler determined to keep working with the NYPD while enduring painful reminders of his past. As a police profiler, Campbell sees the gruesome handiwork of the most brilliant and deranged criminal minds in New York. Despite his own pain, he must match wits with the most diabolical of them and stop their heinous, bloody crimes.

Cleopatra's Dagger By Carole Lawrence Introduction

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Elizabeth van den Broek hurried from her apartment building on East Eighteenth Street, in such a rush she was halfway down the block before the heavy front door closed behind her. It was nearly eight o’clock, and she had overslept—again. It had been less than a week since she had taken up residence in the Stuyvesant, and she was up most nights unpacking and arranging her things.

She felt lucky having managed to secure a suite of rooms in the building, the first of its kind in New York. Built just a decade ago, in 1870, it was the first example of “French flats” in a city that previously had consisted of only tenements and townhouses. The Stuyvesant had a certain cachet, and Elizabeth’s status-conscious mother had pulled some strings to get her an apartment there.

A gust of wind caught Elizabeth’s hat and nearly swept it from her head. She clamped it back on with her free hand, the other clutching her precious briefcase. Her mother always chided her for not using enough hairpins to secure her auburn hair. Thick and coarse, with stubborn curls, it was difficult to manage at the best of times. This time, she reflected ruefully, her mother was right. Holding the hat onto her head, she scurried awkwardly down Irving Place toward the entrance to the Third Avenue “El,” the elevated train that would take her to her job at the New York Herald.

As the newspaper’s only female reporter, Elizabeth wanted desperately to make a good impression. Approaching the entrance to the El, she thought briefly about hailing a cab but reasoned that, at this hour, traffic would likely slow down even the fleetest of horses. And streetcars were notoriously prone to congestion. No, she thought, the train might be noisy and dirty and smelly, but she was better off aboveground during the city’s infamous rush hour.

Ahead of her, Fourteenth Street swarmed with activity. At this hour, the city was a symphony of movement. Pedestrians competed with cabs, carts, carriages, and horse-drawn trams running along east–west trolley lines. Small boys darted in front of oncoming vehicles with breathless daring as their mothers shouted unheeded words of caution to their reckless offspring.

Dogs barked; horses trotted; parents yelled at their children; well-heeled businessmen called for cabs; cart merchants hawked their wares with a variety of colorful phrases. City officials frowned upon street vendors, due to the city’s already excessive noise level, so they tended to cluster near certain train stations and ferry ports. The Fourteenth Street El station was a vendor gold mine, with thousands of potential customers passing through during rush hour. Oyster sellers competed with ragmen, corn vendors, and other merchants for the public’s attention.

Oyy-sters! Get cher fresh oyy-sters here!

Rags, rags, any old rags! Ol’ cloth! Old clo’! A-a-any old cloth!

A thin female voice piped up over the deeper male ones: “Hot corn, hot corn, all hot! Just came out of the boiling pot!

The smudge-faced girl selling corn was young—too young, Elizabeth reckoned. She could not have been more than ten. In spite of being late, Elizabeth pressed a nickel into the girl’s grimy hand. Brushing aside a strand of matted hair, the child stared at her, confused. “It’s two fer a penny, miss.

“I’ll take one.”

“But, miss—”

“Keep the change.”

The girl’s eyes widened in alarm as she handed Elizabeth an ear of roasted corn in its shaggy green husk.

Thank you,” Elizabeth said. She knew better than to give the girl more—any excess money would likely end up in the pockets of her “handler,” anyway. The hot-corn girls differed from prostitutes only in that they were usually younger and (hopefully) not sexually available. Otherwise, their lives were similar—in the thrall of a husband or pimp of some kind, too desperate and poor to hope for a better life.

Stepping carefully over a pile of horse manure, Elizabeth shouldered her way through the crowd toward the Third Avenue station. Several cabs lined up in front of the entrance, the drivers in long dark coats and top hats. Driving a hack—named after the high-stepping Hackney horse bred for such work—was hard, cold work, especially in bad weather.

Hansoms, by far the most popular type of cab, required the operator to perch above the carriage, exposed to the elements, while his passengers enjoyed the comfort of the cozy—if somewhat cramped—interior. Elizabeth glanced at the sky, the sun already obscured by threatening clouds. It was a warm day, but the cabbies would soon need their long coats if the glowering thunderclouds delivered the downpour they portended.

As she passed, the hack drivers advertised their services in hoarse voices coarsened by weather and drink: “Cab, cab, cab!

One of them caught Elizabeth’s eye and tipped his hat, smiling broadly. His teeth were the color of overcooked liver, stained gray, probably from years of cheap cigarettes. He wore tattered cloth gloves with the fingers cut off, making it easier for him to produce change when his customers paid him.

Keb, miss?” he said, bowing slightly. His pronunciation of the word left no doubt about his working-class origins. New York liked to advertise itself as the city of opportunity, but one had only to spend a day there to know that was a lie.

Not today, thank you,” she said, looking away. Her mother was forever cautioning her to “behave like a lady,” and ladies did not return glances from strange men, even if they were trying to sell her something. She certainly did not stare at them—though Elizabeth, possessed of an insatiable curiosity, often ignored this rule, especially when her mother was not around to correct her. Now, as a journalist, Elizabeth considered it her job to follow her curiosity wherever it led her—and if that involved staring at strange men, so be it.

As she climbed the stairs to the train platform, tightly bundled among the crowd surging up the steps with her, Elizabeth smiled to think how her mother would much prefer she take a cab—another reason she enjoyed using public transportation. Stepping onto the platform amid her fellow citizens, she could hear her mother’s protests: “It’s ridiculous. Your father can afford it, you know. You’re just being stubborn.

Stuffed into the third car of the El, sandwiched between law clerks, office boys, and retail workers, Elizabeth momentarily regretted resisting her mother’s will so doggedly. She held her breath as a whiff of garlic sausage assailed her nostrils, no doubt coming from the bulky fellow to her left. The nicks and cuts on his fingers revealed his profession of butcher as surely as the aroma of beef tallow and lamb fat emanating from his rumpled jacket.

On her other side, a thin, pinch-faced woman of middle years squirmed to avoid touching the stocky, leering lad next to her. Clad in coarse wool trousers and a worn jacket, his face and hands browned by the sun, he could be a bootblack or an errand boy for one of the many shops lining Lower Broadway. He tried to catch Elizabeth’s eye, but she looked away, aware of his gaze on the back of her neck. Her mother would be horrified that she was crammed in among such unsavory types, but Elizabeth had full confidence in her ability to look after herself.

The train lurched and swayed along its narrow trestle, belching black soot and smoke into the air, a great gray beast chugging its way past tenement buildings and shops, churches and brothels. The train afforded a view into the third floor of the buildings it passed, which must have shocked the occupants when it was first opened two years earlier. Suddenly their privacy was shattered—the only way to maintain some semblance of discretion was to cover their windows, shutting out light and air, precious commodities in an overcrowded city.

Yet Elizabeth was always amazed at how many people seemed indifferent to the passengers’ curious gazes. It was as if they refused to accept the new reality of their situation, ignoring the thousands of strangers staring into their living space. Perhaps they believed the glimpse afforded by the rapidly moving train was hardly worth bothering about—and some, she was convinced, derived a thrill from being observed by strangers. Anna Brodigen, her first roommate at Vassar, was like that, flaunting her body in public, feeding on the attention of men. Elizabeth was just the opposite, modest and shy about such things, and viewed Anna’s shenanigans with a combination of aversion and fascination.

As the train passed the Cooper Union, the northernmost point of the Bowery before it split into Third and Fourth Avenues, Elizabeth spied a pair of drunks loitering outside McSorley’s Ale House. It was not an unusual sight, even at this hour, she reflected as the train continued its southern journey on the Bowery, the street most associated with all that was wicked, degraded, and vile. The avenue possessed a dizzying number of saloons, taverns (licensed and unlicensed), flophouses, brothels, and gambling establishments, and was the entertainment center for New York’s more impoverished citizens.

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Cleopatra's Dagger

Cleopatra's Dagger PDF

Product details:

EditionInternational Edition
ISBN1542014301, 978-1542014304
Posted onApril 1, 2022
Page Count364 pages
AuthorCarole Lawrence

Cleopatra's Dagger By Carole Lawrence PDF Free Download - HUB PDF

Cleopatra's Dagger: New York, 1880. Elizabeth van den Broek is the only female reporter at the Herald, the city’s most popular newspaper. Then she and her bohemian friend Carlotta Ackerman find a woman’s body wrapped like a mummy in a freshly dug hole in Central Park—the intended site of an obelisk called Cleopatra’s Needle. The macabre discovery takes Elizabeth away from the society pages to follow an investigation into New York City’s darkest shadows.


Author: Carole Lawrence

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