In 'Disappearance at Mount Sinai, Detective Pat O'Malley is challenged to solve one of the biggest cases in his career. O'Malley is faced with solving the mystery of the kidnapping of a wealthy inventor and entrepreneur. The year is 1866 in New York City. The innovator, Dr. Mergenthaler, mysteriously disappears from the Mount Sinai Hospital. In his investigations, Pat O'Malley uncovers a sinister plot that may have worldwide repercussions. There is a conspiracy so complex and far reaching, involving politicians, high ranking military, and the President of the United States. Disguised as an English Professor from Oxford, the detective follows clues to Tennessee, the Deep South of America. O'Malley has to face racist and anti-Semitic groups in his inquiries and search for Dr. Mergenthaler.
The author, Jim Musgrave, has cleverly used historical fact, imaginative fiction, and suspense in the story. Jim enlightens the reader on the post-civil war era and the bigotry of the period through Detective Pat O'Malley's eyes. O'Malley is a character Jim introduced in his first book of the O'Malley mini-series and continues in future books. The detective is a logical man in his analysis and deductions of the facts surrounding the case. Yet the author has created a softer side to the detective’s personality. Madame Rebecca Charming and Dr. Mergenthaler's son Seth bring out a more tender part of O'Malley's personality. Musgrave keeps you turning the pages and guessing to the end of the book. The conclusion is surprising and dramatic.
A complex plot, mystery and suspense kept me reading. I found Pat O'Malley somewhat irritating at the beginning of the story. But I warmed to the detective as he continued his narration. Jim Musgrave has a way with words that created very colorful pictures in my mind. The historical events, racism and bigotry astutely woven into the story are both informative and interesting. The scenario of a worldwide eugenics group, and Jewish folklore of a mythical identity are an intriguing combination. Jim is a skilful writer and I will seek out more his books for my reading pleasure.
In 1866 Detective, and Civil War veteran, Pat O'Malley's returns to the Five Points neighborhood of New York City to investigate the biggest case of his career. O’Malley is hired to search for Dr. Arthur Mergenthaler, a wealthy Jewish inventor and entrepreneur, after he goes missing from a protected wing of Mount Sinai hospital but after a hidden passage is discovered and another body turns up O’Malley begins to understand this case runs far deeper than he had imagined. Surrounded by a culture of anti-Semitism and racism, O’Malley disguises himself as an Oxford England Professor to infiltrate the anti-Semite’s group and return to the deep South to solve the case and locate the missing doctor.
Disappearance at Mount Sinai is the second Pat O’Malley mystery by Jim Musgrave but it is easily read as a stand-alone book. Set in post-Civil War America during a time of rampant racism and anti-Semitism the Irish Detective O’Malley from the Five Points neighborhood is hired to investigate the disappearance of a wealthy Jewish doctor. Musgrave captures the intense conflict of faith, race and prejudice from this era in American history almost immediately and it never lets go. The underlying current of prejudice and hate is what makes this story so intoxicating.
There is little to criticize about Disappearance at Mount Sinai and Musgrave’s talent shined with this mystery novel. The characters were delightful despite being flawed and hateful. I especially enjoyed the conflict between Pat O’Malley and his father. Detective Pat O’Malley is everything his father is not. He is sober and tolerant of various races and cultures whereas his father owns and operates bar in a rough Irish neighborhood in Five Points all the while hating anyone who is different than his own Irish folks. Their strained and yet deeply involved relationship was one of my favorite character highlights of the book. When you add Rebecca Charming, Shannon O’Hare, the Mergenthaler family and the anti-Semite group the cast becomes colorful and beyond fascinating. Disappearance at Mount Sinai does occasionally reference previous character interaction from Musgrave’s first O’Malley mystery but it only serves to provide a glimpse at history, there are never any gaps in story because this is the second in a series.
With every turn of the page this mystery became more complex and more intense. As would be expected, O’Malley originally questions the hospital staff and the immediate family about the disappearance of Dr. Mergenthaler. A few interviews and a couple of visits later O’Malley understands that this mystery goes well beyond this simple family. This case will prove to require all of O’Malley’s detective skills as he goes undercover to pursue an investigation against the military and top-ranking politicians and officials. Every page is thrilling and curious as the complexity of the case grows and threatens to spin out of control.
Jim Musgrave is an award-winning author and it’s easy to see why. The characters are well-developed and feel authentic, he captures the essence of America’s reconstructive era perfectly and the pace of the story is steady. The mystery is complex and dramatic without being far-fetched or cliché. Musgrave even nailed the dialogue and interactions between such strongly divided cultures. The conclusion, just like the rest of the book, does not disappoint. Disappearance at Mount Sinai is absolutely a mystery worth reading.
A historical mystery novel is not something I come across with everyday. The Disappearance of Mount Sinai is an interesting story set in the latter half of the 1800s, centering on the disappearance of a wealthy Jewish inventor and businessman, Dr. Mergenthaler from which the protagonist, Detective Pat O'Malley was hired to solve. It is a complex story with numerous twists as well as faces a number of issues such as racism and anti-Semitism. It makes for a great read, especially if you are someone like me who enjoys both mystery and history. I didn't get to read the first mystery of the Pat O'Malley series, but thanks to this book, it is definitely on my to-do list!
Disappearance at Mount Sinai, along with the other three mysteries in the Detective Pat O'Malley series were chosen as featured selections in the Self-E Program by the Library Journal and Bibliofiles. See the acceptance letter below.