When Assistant District Attorney Alex Cooper is summoned to Tina Barr’s apartment on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, she finds a neighbor convinced that the young woman was assaulted. But the terrified victim, a conservator of rare books and maps, refuses to cooperate with investigators. Then another woman is found murdered in that same apartment with an extremely valuable book, believed to have been stolen. As Alex pursues the murderer, she is drawn into the strange and privileged world of the Hunt family, major benefactors of the New York Public Library and passionate rare book collectors who may be willing to kill for their treasures.
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About the Author
Linda Fairstein, one of America’s foremost legal experts on crimes of sexual assault and domestic violence, ran the Sex Crimes Unit of the District Attorney’s Office in Manhattan for more than two decades. Her first novel, Final Jeopardy, which introduced the character of Alexandra Cooper, was published in 1996 to critical and commercial acclaim. Her nonfiction book, Sexual Violence, was a New York Times Notable Book in 1994. She lives with her husband in New York and on Martha’s Vineyard.
Hometown:New York, New York and Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts
Date of Birth:May 5, 1947
Place of Birth:Mount Vernon, New York
Education:B.A., Vassar College, 1969; J.D., University of Virginia School of Law, 1972
Read an Excerpt
"I want you to open the door for me."
"Look through the peephole," I said. "I'm not a cop. I'm an assistant district attorney."
I stepped back and squared off so the woman inside the basement apartment could check me out. The hallway and staircase had been cleared of men in uniform, including the detail from Emergency Services poised to knock down her door with a battering ram, who were there when I arrived at the scene a short while ago at one o'clock in the morning.
I didn't hear any sound from within. No sense of her movement.
"My name is Alexandra Cooper. You're Tina, aren't you? Tina Barr." I didn't say what my specialty was, that I was in charge of the DA's Office Sex Crimes Prosecution Unit. The police weren't certain she had been assaulted by the man who had earlier invaded her home, but several of them thought she might reveal those details to me if I could gain her confidence.
I moved in against the metal-clad door and pressed my ear to it, but heard nothing.
"Don't lose your touch now, Coop." Mike Chapman walked down the steps and handed a light bulb to the rookie who was holding a flashlight over my shoulder. "The money on the street's against you, but I'm counting on your golden tongue to talk the lady out so those guys can go home and catch some sleep."
The young cop passed the bulb to Mercer Wallace, the six-foot-six-inch-tall detective from the Special Victims Unit who had called me to the brownstone on the quiet block between Lexington and Third Avenues in the East 90's.
Mercer reached overhead and screwed it in, illuminating the drab, cracked paint on the ceiling and walls of the hallway. "Somebodymost likely the perpshattered the other one. There are slivers of glass everywhere."
"Thanks, kid," Mike said, dismissing the rookie. "No progress here, Detective Wallace?"
"We haven't got a homicide," I whispered to Mercer. "And they sell light bulbs at the bodega on Lex. I don't know why you think we needed Mike, but please get him off my back."
"Damn, I've listened to Blondie charm full-on perverts into boarding the bus for a twenty-five-to-life time share at Sing-Sing. I've seen her coax confessions from the lying lips of the deranged and demented. I've watched as weak-willed men"
Mercer put his finger to his lips and pointed at the staircase.
"Tina, these two detectives are my friends. I've worked with them for more than ten years." I paused to cough and clear my throat. There was still a bit of smoke wafting through the hallway. "Can you tell me why you don't want to open up? Why it is you won't trust us? We're worried about your safety, Tina. About your physical condition."
Mercer pulled at my elbow. "Let's go up for a break. Get some fresh air."
I stayed at the door for another few minutes and then followed Mike and Mercer to the small vestibule of the building and out onto the stoop. It was a mild October night, and neighbors returning to their homes, walking dogs, or hanging around the 'hood were checking on the police activity and trying to figure out what was wrong.
The uniformed sergeant from the 23rd Precinct whose team had been the first responders was on the sidewalk in front of the building, talking to Billy Schultz, the man who had called 911 an hour earlier.
"What's the situation behind the house?" Mike asked Mercer, as I caught up with them, on their way down the front steps.
"Two cops stationed there. Small common garden for the tenants. Back doors from both the first floor and Barr's basement apartment, but no one has moved since they've been on site."
"What do you know about the girl?"
"Not much. Nobody seems to," Mercer said. He turned to the man standing with the sergeant, whom I guessed to be about forty, several years older than Mike and I. "This is Mike Chapman, Billy. He's assigned to Night Watch."
Mike worked in Manhattan North Homicide, which helped staff the Night Watch unit, an elite squad of detectives on call between midnight and eight a.m., when precinct squads were most understaffed, to respond all over Manhattan to murders and situations like this one that the department referred towith gross understatementas "unusuals."
"Billy lives on the first floor," Mercer said. "He's the guy who called 911."
"Good to meet you," Mike said. He turned to me. "What's her name?"
"She your friend?" he said to Billy.
"We chat at the mailboxes occasionally. She's a quiet girl. Keeps to herself. Spent a lot of time gardening on weekends in the summer, so I ran into her out back every now and then, but I haven't seen her much since."
"Lived here long?"
"Me? Eighteen years?"
"Tina sublets. A year, maybe more."
Mike ran his fingers through his thick black hair, looking from Billy to me. "You sure she's in there?"
"I could hear a woman crying when I first got here," I said. Whimpering was a more accurate word.
"Tina was sobbing when I knocked on her door," Billy said.
"But she wouldn't open up for you?"
Billy Schultz adjusted his glasses on the bridge of his nose while Mike scrutinized him. "No, sir."
"Why were you knocking? What made you call 911?"
"Mercer gave us all this, Mike. Let me get back inside."
He held his arm out at me, palm perpendicular like a stop sign. "Don't you want the chronology from the horse's mouth? Primary source. Catch me up, Billy."
I had one hand on the wrought-iron railing but stopped to listen.
"I'm a graphic designer, detective. Worked late, stopped off for a burger and a couple of beers on my way home," Billy said. He was dressed in jeans and a sweatshirt. There were smudges of ink or paint on his jeans, too dark in color to be blood, I thought. "It was about 12:30 when I got near the building. That's when I saw this guy come tearing out the front door, down the steps."
"What guy? Someone you know?"
Billy Schultz shook his head. "Nope. The fireman."
Mike looked to Mercer. "Nobody told me about that. The fire department got here first?"
"Not for real," Mercer said.
"I mean I assumed he was a fireman. He was dressed in all the gearcoat, boots, hateven had a protective mask of some kind on. That's why I couldn't see his face."
"Did you stop him? Did he talk to you?"
"He flew by me, like there was a forest fire on Lexington Avenue he had to get to. Almost took me out. Even that didn't seem odd until I looked up the street for his truck, but there wasn't one around. Just weird."
"What did you do then?"
"I unlocked the door to the vestibule, and as soon as I got inside, I could smell smoke. I could see little waves of it sort of spiraling upward from the basement," Billy said. "We don't have a super who lives in the building, so there was no one for me to call. I figured whatever happened had been resolved. By the guy I thought was a fireman. But I wanted to check it out, make sure there was nothing still burning."
"Sarge, you want to get me that mask?" Mercer said.
The older man walked to the nearest squad car and reached in for a paper bag while Billy Schultz talked.
"I went downstairs first. It was pretty dark, but I could make out a small pile of rubble in the corner of the hallway, a couple of feet from Tina's door. Nothing was burningno flamesbut it was still smoldering. Kicking off a lot of smoke. That's when I knocked on her door."
"Did she answer?" Mike asked.
"No. Not then. I didn't hear anything. I figured maybe she wasn't home. I ran up to my apartment, filled a pitcher with water and came back down to douse whatever was still smoking. Figured the other firemen must have gone off to a bigger job and that the last onethe guy who almost plowed me downwas trying to catch up with them."
The sergeant passed the bag to Mercer, who put on a pair of latex gloves from his pocket before opening it.
"It's when I went downstairs the second time that I heard Tina."
"What did you hear, exactly?" I asked.
Billy cocked his head and answered. "I knocked again, just because I was worried that the firemen might have left her there even though there was still something smoldering in the hallway. She was weeping loudly, then pausing, like to inhale."
"Words," Mike said. "Did she speak any words?"
"No, but I did. I told Tina it was me, asked her if she was alright. I was coughing myself from the smoke. I told her she could come up to my apartment."
"Did she answer you?"
"No. She just cried."
"How do you know it's Tina Barr you were talking to?" Mike asked.
Billy hesitated. "Well, at that pointI, uhI just assumed it, detective. She lives there alone."
"I went home to get a bucket and broom. Swept some of the trash into the bucket to throw out on the street"
Mike glanced at the sergeant. "Yeah, we got it, Chapman. Looks like amateur smoke bombs."
"The sobbing was so bad by then I called 911, from my cell. Maybe she was sick, overcome by the smoke. I waited out here on the stoop till the officers came. Three minutes. Not much longer. That's when Tina went berserk. That's when I knew it was her, for sure. I recognized her voice, when she was yelling at the cops."
Mercer removed a large black object from the bag and dangled it in front of us.
"Yeah," Billy said. "That's what the fireman had on his face."
"Found it halfway up the block," the sergeant said. "Right in the perp's flight path."
"That's not department gear," Mike said. "It's a gas mask. Military style."
It was a black rubber helmet, with two holes for the eyes, and a broad snout-like respirator that would fit over the mouth, with a long hose attached.
"Couldn't see a damn thing," Billy said. "It covered his entire face."
"What did the cops do?" Mike asked.
"I led them down to the basement. They knocked on Tina's door and one of them identified himself, said they were police. That's when she started yelling at them to leave her alone. I mean screaming at them. Freaked out. Sounded like she collapsedmaybe fell onto the floorcrying the whole time."
"What makes you think she's alone in there?"
"We're guessing," Mercer said. "She's the only one to make a soundno scuffling, no struggling, no other voices. But that's another reason ESU won't leave."
Mike started up the front steps toward me and prodded my side with his fingers. I went back in the vestibule toward the basement staircase.
"One of the cops told Tina he just wanted to make sure that the fire hadn't affected her," Billy said, drawing a handkerchief from his pocket to wipe his smoke-fogged glasses. "Asked her if she could stand up and look through the peephole at his badge, for identification. She went wild."
"What do you mean?" Mike asked.
"Tina screamed at the cop. Told him that's how the guy got in. The fireman. That he showed her his badge and she opened the door."
"It was the fireman who was inside her apartment? You knew, Coop?"
"That's why Mercer called me. We don't know who the man was, why he was using such an elaborate disguise, why he went inside, and what he did to this woman. Okay? Don't come any closer, Mike. Let me talk to her."
I walked the short corridor to the rear of the hallway, glass crunching under the soles of my shoes.
"Tina? It's Alex Cooper. We're all still here. The police officers won't leave until I convince them that you're unharmed. I'll keep them outside the building if you'll let me in for just a few minutes."
"I'd rank that a toss up," Mike said. "Ten minutes with you or the quick punch of a battering ram? Tough call."
"You think this helps? You think she can't hear you?" I threw up my arms in frustration as I turned to Mike. "Mercer, please take him upstairs."
The men marched back to the first floor as I made another attempt to convince Tina Barr to let me in.
"I'm the only one in the basement now, Tina. The men are all outside. I don't want them to break down your door any more than you do. But they're worried that you've been injured. There was a lot of smoke down here. Can you just tell me if you're hurt?"
There was no answer for more than a minute. Then a soft voice spoke a word or two, that sounded as though the woman was still sitting or lying on the floor inside. I couldn't understand her, so I crouched beside the door and put my ear against it.
"Sorry. What did you say?"
"Not hurt. I'll be okay."
She spoke haltingly, her words caught in her throat.
"Tina, are you having trouble breathing?"
"We can give you oxygen, Tina. Is it the smoke? Is there still smoke in your apartment?"
"The man who was dressed like a fireman, did you let him come into your apartment?"
She was crying again as she tried to speak. "No, no I didn't let him in."
"But you told the police officer that"
"I only opened the door because he showed me a gold badge and told me there was a fire. I could smell the smoke and then saw it. I believed him." Tina Barr's words came out phrase by phrase, embedded in sobs. "He forced his way inside. I didn't let him in."
"You can trust us, Tina. Now you know that man wasn't actually a fireman. His badge wasn't real." Mercer had already checked that with the department, and had been telling that to Barr before I got there. "The cops think the man started the fire himself in order to break in to your apartment."
She was taking deep breaths on the other side of the door.
I took one, too, and tried to get at what had so far been unspoken. "I work with victims of sex crimes, Tina. That's all I do. It's why the police thought I might be able to help. I deal with the most sensitive cases you can imagine," I said, closing my eyes, which burned from the lingering smoke. "Did this man assault you tonight?"
She coughed again.
I didn't know how long he'd been within the apartment before Billy Schultz saw him running from the building at 12:30 in the morning.
"Did he awaken you when he knocked, Tina?"
"Do you know what time it was when you first went to the door?"
"Five," she said.
"Five o'clock in the afternoon?" She must have been confused. "Look, I'm going to have to let the police work on your door, or the back window in your kitchen, Tina. You may be a little woozy. He couldn't have been inside there that long."
There was a noise before Tina Barr spoke next, as though she shifted her position. She had gotten to her feet, perhaps angered by my comment. I stood up, too, as she pounded on the door. "I know exactly what time it was when the man knocked, do you understand? It wasn't the middle of the night, Ms. Cooper. It was five o'clock."
All the cops and I had assumed the events had occurred within minutes of Schultz's arrival home. Fast, like most break-ins, and while the smoke bombs were steaming. We were wrong.
"I apologize, Tina. That's even more reason for me to know what he did to you." I didn't want to suggest the word 'rape' to her. I needed her to reveal to me what had occurred.
"I don't want to talk to any cops, Ms. Cooper. I'll tell you what happened if that will make them go away."
"I'm alone down here now. The men won't come in." I paused before I spoke again. "I give you my word."
Tina Barr sniffled, then was quiet. I heard the deadbolt turn.
Reading Group Guide
“Fairstein . . . makes the legal issues more exciting than any high-speed chase." —The New York Times
The introduction, questions, and suggestions for further reading that follow are designed to enhance your group’s discussion of Linda Fairstein's dazzling thriller Lethal Legacy.
1. What makes this an ideal case for Alex, Mike, and Mercer? How do their special skills help them to navigate the world of the Hunts? What makes the Hunt family different from any other suspects they have encountered?
2. How did you interpret Tina Barr’s cryptic description of her work? If you were in her position, would you have gone to the police after the first attack?
3. How did your impressions of Minerva Hunt change throughout the novel? Did you trust Karla? What was your theory about why she was found with the jewel-encrusted copy of the Bay Psalm Book?
4. Discuss the different motivations of the collectors portrayed in Lethal Legacy, from Jonah Krauss to Alger Herrick. What makes them covet particular objects?
5. Why is it important to preserve early volumes such as the Bay Psalm Book? In a digital age, why do printed books matter? What did you learn about the history of book printing and mapmaking by reading Lethal Legacy?
6. Though Lethal Legacy is entirely a work of fiction, in 2006 a real-life map thief admitted to stealing dozens of valuable specimens, targeting institutions ranging from the New York Public Library to Yale’s Beinecke Library. In your opinion, what (and who) drives the high market value of centuries-old maps? What value, besides a financial one, do these artifacts have in Lethal Legacy?
7. Most of Linda Fairstein’s fans know that she worked in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office for more than twenty years. But not many fans know that she collects rare books. How does it affect your reading to know that Fairstein is a rare-book lover herself?
8. What was the legacy of the Jasper Hunt in emotional terms? Was Jasper Junior mad or brilliant? Or both? Is he solely responsible for the feuds between the Hunt siblings?
9. Does Jane Eliot appreciate rare books in a way that is different from the other characters? How was her childhood enhanced by life in the New York Public Library?
10. Jonah Krauss describes how his life changed after he bought an early edition of The Great Gatsby. If you could pay any price, which rare book would you most want to own?
11. In chapter five, Alex fights for access to California’s DNA database, trying to clinch her case against Jamal Griggs. DNA evidence also affects the Hunt family tree. Should America adopt Britain’s Police and Justice Act, which allows police to collect and retain DNA from anyone who is arrested?
12. Alex has a harrowing cab ride on her way to meet Luc for dinner. How does that evening capture the two sides of her life: the gritty, constant threat of retaliation and an evening with a man who loves to surround her with luxury? What makes Luc the perfect antidote to her stressful job?
13. How did Travis Forbes become powerful? How is his power different from the Hunt family’s?
14. Discuss the New York Public Library’s role as a character in the novel. What did you discover about its unique history? What has helped this landmark endure into the twenty-first century?
15. Alex has encountered many criminal minds since her debut in Final Jeopardy. Do all perps, including the ones in Lethal Legacy, share a common weakness?
“Fairstein . . . makes the legal issues more exciting than any high-speed chase." —The New York Times
The introduction, questions, and suggestions for further reading that follow are designed to enhance your group’s discussion of Linda Fairstein's dazzling thriller Lethal Legacy.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I like Linda Fairstein, she is what I consider an easy read. Just once though I would like to see a story where Alex Cooper doesn't get caught by the bad guys, or something different happens in one of these books. I like the characters, I enjoy the stories. I really enjoy the history and research that goes into each story. If you like Fairstein, you'll enjoy this book. If you have not read Fairsten and you like the murder mystery type novel, you'll lilke this book. You do not have to worry about this being a series, you can pick up this series anywhere in any of the books and not be lost.
I'm apologizing right now for being lengthy. When I opened the pages of Lethal Legacy I expected Alex our heroine to be armpit deep in the how's and why's of another sexual predator case, but to my great pleasure I found instead a story equal if not better that any one by Agatha Crhristie or Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. As Alex and her cohorts Mike Chapman and Mercer Wallace rush to solve a murder we readers are introduced to the larger than life behind the scenes of the New York Public Library and it's benefactors and employees as it becomes obvious that the crime revolves around an eccentric donor and a rare map of the world. The book has everything a who done it lover could want, great writing, excellent story line/plot, nail biting, kept me on the edge of my seat, terror filled suspense. And as always the sexual tension between Alex and Mike. Now if I could only convince Ms. Fairstein to make Alex and Mike see the light and team up in life as well as at work. But alas she is a writer of crime and mystery and rarely do we see happily ever afters there. I predict a number one on the NY Times Best Seller list.
It was a good read. I liked the idea that the New York Public library was part of the mystery. It was interesting to read about how the library got started and about the people involved. It was like a history lesson with a bit of a twist.
I bought this book because it was written by Linda Fairstein and I have always enjoyed her work. This is a major disappointment. The book did give information about the New York Public Library which was very interesting. The problem was with the huge focus on the different families and their collections of books, maps and artwork donated to the library. They did not only concentrate on the current family but went into length about the past several generations of each family. Needless to say, some points of this book were extremely dull. The mystery got lost between all the tangents about the collections and all the different characters. Definitely going into the donation pile.
Linda Fairstein is a good detective writer but in this case I had to force myself to read the book. And if I buy em I read em. When I want to read a good dectective story I dont want to be bored to death reading three quarters of the book on cartography. I got the point. I understood but she wouldn't let go of the map. Hate to say where that one is going to get filed.
I found this book disappointing. Dubious justification for Cooper's involvement. Largely unsympathetic and annoying characters (a few additional murders to cull the cast might have helped). Sadly, the most interesting thing about this book was the education into the workings and functions of a library such as the NYPL as compared to a neighborhood branch library.
I have always loved Linda Fairstein's novels but this was a disappointment. Her stories are always exciting and it's fun to 'solve' them with her and her crew. But the interesting parts are all the history she gives you about New York City. NYC has always been part of my life growing up but most of the history she gives are things I have never heard about. This story about the Public Library at 5th Avenue and it's history was just boring. I found myself skipping paragraphs and even sections to get on with the story and skip the history. Just not up to her usual standard.
The story in this novel was interesting, but I just feel that the author didn't do a very good job of telling this story. It seemed to me to be a rather elementary writing effort. I gave this book three stars, but I would rather have given it two and a half. It was not a terrible book, and if you enjoy books about art and maps, or a murder mystery, it could be worth your time, but this book is not going to find a permanent spot on my bookshelf.
If you are a fan of Linda Fairstein as I am you will want to read this latest in the Alex Cooper series. Most of the novel revolves around the NYC Public Library. As always there is interesting history of the city woven into her books. "Lethal Legacy" is entertaining but not one of her best since it drags along in places. Personally I would like to see more development in Alex's personal life. Relationships have been status quo for so long is getting old. A good book for a plane ride or sitting by the pool.
Fairstein's Alex Cooper series usually gives us tight, tautly plotted legal/crime thrillers, but "Lethal Legacy" is the exception that proves the rule.
The story starts out very promisingly with an assault victim who's not cooperative with Cooper and her cohorts, raising the question of "what's going on here?" - but quickly goes downhill from there.
A couple of dead bodies later, and things become as murky as mud: an eccentric family of wealthy museum benefactors; the operation and setting of a New York museum; collections of rare books and maps; a completely irrelevant second criminal proceeding that's thrown in for no discernible reason at all; a visit from her paramour that lands with a thud in the middle of the whole thing.
I couldn't make heads or tails of what was going on. The benefactor family was a confusing mess; there was FAR too much time spent on the arcana of the museum and its operations; the ancient map (which was the "mulligan" of the piece), though interesting, was given too much space in the story. This read more like a detailed scavenger hunt than a murder mystery.
Traditionally, Fairstein weaves interesting and unique New York locales into her narratives, but at heart they remain murder mysteries. Not the case in this book; the whole concept is turned completely upside down, with the murders playing second fiddle to the search for a map. An unhappy mating of Alexandra Cooper and "National Treasure".
My two stars are generous.
This book, a further installment in the Alexandra Cooper series, centers around the New York City Public Library. A Conservator of rare books who is possibly sexually assaulted disappears after refusing to cooperate with an investigation. Alex's boss urges her to find the victim, Alex does just that but dead in the park.The hunt that follows, leads Alex with her police comrades, Mike and Mercer, through the halls of the NY Public Library where a treasure hunt appears to be at the center of the murder. The investigation points to a special map of great historical significance. Anyone interested in in cartography and especially in the theft of maps from archives would be enthralled in this mystery.Ms Fairstein focuses so much of story around the library and library procedures as well as the history of the NY Public Library. It was extremely enlightening for someone who loves to read but is not a librarian. It was a delight to have this story with the characters we have grown to understand and care about show that even the quiet halls of the Public Library can turn deadly.
Alex Cooper, the Assistant District Attorney of New York had no idea what she would be drawn into when she was called to an apartment on Manhattan's Upper East Side. It was the middle of the night and someone believes that their neighbor has been sexually assaulted. But A;ex has a problem, the victim swears she hasn't been assaulted or raped and will not cooperate further.Several days later the police are called to a homicide at the same apartment. It turns out to be a female, but not the same female as the first call. The woman found has a small book clutched under her body, the [Bay Psalm Book]. The book was covered in precious jewels and was the first book printed in North America and dated 1604. This book will take Alex and the cops of New York City all over the city, into the lives of serious book collectors, to the New York Public Library and places both above and below ground that most people don't know exist.Although I had trouble "getting into" this book at first, I soon found myself ensconced in the world of the bibliophile. Being that I have loved books from a very early age it is not hard to understand the collectors mind. Mrs. Fairstein surrounds this hobby with intrigue, mystery, truth and fiction. I found myself at my computer on several occasions looking up books and maps mentioned. This is a good read and you'll find that not only are you getting a good book, you are getting mystery and murder with some enthralling book history on the side.
I found Linda Fairstein¿s Lethal Legacy to be an absorbing mystery.The setting of this book is what first attracted me. As a teenager, I had spent many hours at the main branch of the New York Public Library and I was delighted with the opportunity to ¿visit¿ once again. I enjoyed the fictional journey down into the bowels of New York Public (where I had never been in real life), while learning quite a bit about antique maps and rare books (two things I love). This is the first Alexandra Copper mystery I¿ve read. Although I was unfamiliar with the characters who had been introduced in earlier in the series, I had no difficulty jumping in and enjoying this story. I was hooked from beginning to end.
Lethal Legacy begins and ends with suspense and mystery. It's just the pages in between that seem to plod on endlessly. If you enjoy all things maps -- the history, the artwork, the cartography -- then you might like this book. Otherwise avoid at all costs.
Murder over antique books and maps and mistaken identity is the basis of this book. The interesting background material on the New York Public Library and Bryant Park was what kept me interested. The reader was excellent in this audio book.
This my first experience with Linda Fairstein, and to be completely honest, I probably will not return to her. Considering the vessels of story delivery, books and murder, I thought I would enjoy Lethal Legacy with gusto. Despite the plot's great potential it fell flat. The characters, though well developed, were hard to get to know. ADA Alex Cooper is almost a cliche.There were interesting details and histories, particularly relating to books and maps, but in the end Lethal Legacy was not worth the read for me.
I like Linda Fairstein's books, even though I don't always like elements of her characters & stories - sometimes Mike's snarkiness is just snarky & not a cute element of character & most times I don't care how rich & blondely feminine & delicate Alexandra is. Having said all of that, her books just about always deliver in terms of a good quick entertaining read - mind candy at its best.One of the things I really like about these books is that Fairstein just about always uses them to explore some part of New York. Consequently I know something about both Roosevelt Island & Plum Island that I never would have known otherwise. This made for a cool mind connection when I read Anthony Bourdain's book on Typhoid Mary (Typhoid Mary: An Urban Historical).I also respect Fairstein's history as a pioneering prosecuting attorney of sex crimes. Her non-fiction work, Sexual Violence, is considered a classic.This time the setting is the New York Public Library & the world of collectors of rare books & maps. As the child of a retired library director I revere & adore libraries & books. The information in this one made me want to go find a history of the New York Public Library which sounds like an amazing & fascinating place. The plot is workable & the setting made it an entertaining read.
The most recent Alex Cooper novel was particularly resonant for me: it deals with books and libraries, but we don't discover this until a few chapters into the story.A refresher: Alex is an ADA attached to the NYPD sex crimes unit. She works primarily with Detective Mike Chapman, who just might harbour an unrequited love for her.Alex and Mike are summoned to an apartment building on Manhattan's Upper East Side by a resident who fears that his neighbour may have been assaulted. But the young woman, Tina Barr, refuses to co-operate. The next day, a dead body is found in Tina's apartment, and Tina has disappeared. Then the investigators learn that Tina is a freelance rare book conservator who once worked at the New York Public Library.A jewel-encrusted prayer book is found with the body, who turns out to be the assistant of heiress Minerva Hunt, whose wealthy family have a collection of rare books and maps, some of which have been donated to the Library. It's at this point that the plot becomes a bit serpentine: Alex's crew suddenly need to find an old map which will give them a clue to the identity of the murderer. Their search leads them to interview book experts, old and young, rich and poor, honest and deceitful.There's a lot of interesting information here about the New York Public Library, about rare books and maps, about their history, conservation and storage. Fairstein's research is, as usual, impeccable.To a bibliophile like me, this story was fascinating, but I recommend it not only to other bibliophiles, but mystery and thriller lovers as well.I'd like to thank LibraryThing for sending me this book as part of their Early Reviewers program!
Linda Fairstein's Alexandra Cooper series is one of the best mystery series around. Fairstein writes what she knows, having been assistant DA in New York, like her character. Fairstein also seems to have undertaken to educate the world about the city of New York, as most books in the series are about major features of the city. In this volume, the focal point is the New York Public Library, and during the course of the book one finds out a lot about that institution.and about historical maps. A woman was killed and the clues point to a library connection.Good book in an excellent series.
Lethal Legacy brought together two of my favorite things - libraries and mysteries. Alex Cooper, ADA, finds herself mixed up in a scheme involving the uber-wealthy and the New York Public Library. It's fast-paced, with short chapters that make it perfect for commuter reading. Because this is the middle of the series, the character development was minimal, though I had little difficulty keeping track of them all. I now feel like I have to go re-acquaint myself with the library - though I am a resident of NYC, I've only been once. Fairstein's descriptions are delicious, and now I want to go explore all the settings for myself. The prose isn't magnificent, but it works for a detective novel. I thought a few plot elements could have been thought through more thoroughly as well, but I loved Shalik's involvement.
What bibliophile could not like this mystery story set in the New York Public Library? Enjoyed the information about old books and their history and restoration. The rich collectors/donors were classic. Alex is OK even is she is a lawyer, not really interested in her love life. Mike and Mercer were great. The villains were as bad as to be expected. The kid at the end was a comic relief.
The novel is based in the New York Public Library and there are lots of interesting details about the building as well as interesting information about old book volumes. Sometimes, the plot dragged because of all the information on the old books. Some characters appeared late in the novel for my taste. Overall, it was a standard mystery novel.
I am not a mystery fan, but I do enjoy libraries and the law. This was the first book by Ms. Fairstein I've read, and I may look for others by her.In some ways, the mystery part of this book was almost a distraction for me, as I was getting more interested in the history and internal running of the New York Public Library. I greatly enjoyed character of Bea.The wrap up seemed a bit rushed to me, not sure if that's standard mystery stuff or not.
This is my first Linda Fairstein mystery, but it wasn't difficult to get up to speed on the characters. Overall, I enjoyed the novel. I am fascinated by old books, I have a reproduction of a 1655 map of Ireland on my wall, and I never miss the Antiquarian Book Fair. The history of the Library and its collections was fascinating, probably more fascinating than the mystery itself. The dialogue was very awkward in places, and there was a subplot about a familial DNA search that seemed to serve no purpose and was never resolved. If you're willing to overlook some flaws, this is a very enjoyable read.
Lethal Legacy by Linda Fairstein takes an interesting foray into the depths of the New York Public Library. Assistant D.A., Alex Cooper is called to the apartment of an assault victim, Tina Barr. Barr, who is a conservator of rare books, won¿t cooperate with the D.A. or the police. No one thinks this is anything more than a typical home invasion assault, until a dead body shows up in Barr¿s apartment shortly after the assault. Tina Barr disappears, and we are taken on an adventure involving the world of rare books and maps. This is only the second Alex Cooper book I¿ve read. I sort of feel like to give the book justice; I should have read the preceding novels. There seems to be quite a history between the characters, and sometimes I felt sort of like the kid on the playground who didn¿t get the inside jokes. However, I don¿t think the author should have put more background in the book. She added enough background to help this reader see the basics of the relationships, without making it a complete re-read of the previous novels. As a reader of many series, that is a pet peeve of mine. Instead, my interest was piqued, and I¿ll probably take the time to read the series someday. I found the inner workings of the NY Public Library fascinating in this book. The story about the family living within it was especially interesting. I¿ve been wondering if that part of the novel is true. Yes, I¿ve googled it and No, I can¿t find anything. Sigh¿.disappointment¿. I¿m not terribly fond of the main character¿s love interest, a gentleman named Luc. I didn¿t read the novel where this character was introduced, so I¿m sure I¿m just missing something. To this casual reader, he seemed a bit¿. Well¿. smarmy. I found him to be a distraction from the novel, not a welcome addition. If you¿re a fan of the Alex Cooper series, you should pick up this novel and give it a read. And if you¿re a fan of libraries in general, you should as well.