Manhattan

THE MANHATTAN ISLAND CLUBS

In the summer of 1906, a distinguished member of one of New York's most prestigious and powerful men's clubs - the Metropolitan Club - is found with his throat slashed, murdered within the club's walls. By all eyewitness accounts, the murder is another member - a man who, in actuality, wasn't there that night and, in fact, was across town in plain view of a hundred witnesses who can attest to his innocence. To J. P. Morgan, founding member of the Metropolitan Club, there is only one man to which he can trust with the swift and proper resolution of this impossible crime - his one-time nemesis, Sheriff John Le Brun of Jekyl Island, Georgia.

Le Brun, a rough-hewn but brilliant man, is lured to turn of the century New York City by both his own curiosity about the city itself as well as the puzzle of the crime. Thrust in the midst of the cream of Manhattan society and intelligentsia, the elite and the powerful - including actor William Gillette, newspaperman Joseph Pulitzer, architect Stanford White, and financial colossal J. P. Morgan himself - Le Brun finds himself in a deadly struggle and race against time with an unseen foe, a mind perhaps as nimble as his own.

Upon submitting the manuscript for The Sceptred Isle Club, I sent an e-mail to my editor saying that I hoped it did half as well as The Jekyl Island Club, because I had an idea for a third novel in the series. This third novel, which would take place in New York City, would reunite the curmudgeonly J. P. Morgan and the wicked-tongued, irascible Joseph Pulitzer. Not only was I given a contract within that same week, but I was also told that I had to have the full plot ready within six weeks. It was a very nerve-wracking period; but I ironed out the wrinkles, and it turned out to be very satisfying. One reader who personally contacted me thought it was "one of the most elegantly plotted murder mysteries I ever read."

LeBrun falls in love with a Southern chatelaine of an NYC mansion, which adds a racy element to the tale. Among the true events falling within the story is the spectacular murder of architect Stanford White by millionaire playboy Harry Thaw over White's dalliances with Thaw's gorgeous model/chorine wife Evelyn Nesbit.

The clubs covered in this novel are the Metropolitan Club, the Manhattan Club and the Players Club. The staff of the Players Club were very gracious to me (unlike the still-snooty Metropolitan Club). The artwork shows LeBrun standing in front of the façade of The Players Club, which was before that Edwin Booth's residence (and still has his rooms preserved). If you walk through "chi chi" Gramercy Park, you will recognize that it still looks the same.

Critical praise for The Manhattan Island Clubs:

"Monahan stokes the story with authentic period detail…and pulls everything together in spectacular fashion. An enthralling peek at mayhem among Manhattan's ruling class." Publisher's Weekly

"Facts, artifacts, and personalities…are written into vivid life by Monahan's measured yet colorful prose." San Antonio Express-News

"A locked-room mystery is always fun to read, especially when it is constructed as well as it is in THE MANHATTAN ISLAND CLUBS using places and people who actually lived during the time and setting of this book. Brent Monahan takes his audience behind the scenes of the so-called Gilded Age and shows that the period was corrupt and narcissistic. Readers will adore the brilliant hero who gets heart broken by a damsel in distress." Allreaders.com