A tantalizing drama pulled from New York's gritty past, TAKERS MAD guides listeners down a shadowy path to explore a true crime that haunted the Gilded Age.
As newspapers reported in the 1890s, a woman dubbed 'Shakespeare' was found dead in a seedy hotel along the waterfront by Manhattan's South Street Seaport. The chilling scene recalled for press and police alike Jack the Ripper's victims in London. Panicked New Yorkers worked feverishly to halt that maniac's spree from expanding across the Atlantic. The city only sighed relief after detectives abruptly arrested a traveling Algerian ex-soldier for the crime.
In this reimagining, our narrator Flora – an aspiring pulp writer who grew up worlds away from Manhattan – arrives at the story over a decade later, after her dreams of a perfect wedding are dashed. It turns out Jacob Riis, the disapproving father of Flora's new groom, and America's most famous muckraker, played an unexpected role in this mystery earlier in his career.
As Flora digs into the case, more questions about what really happened in the hotel on that monstrous night begin to reveal themselves. Did the police scapegoat the man arrested for the crime? What about the blood that detectives found? Or did authorities actually let Jack the Ripper walk free? Flora hopes if she unlocks these puzzles it might win over her father-in-law, plus grant the entrance to New York publishing she craves.
Based on historical research and fresh findings in a real-life case that dominated headlines before the turn of the century, TAKERS MAD is a ruminative, atmospheric, and sometimes morbidly funny work of literary suspense that follows one of the most memorable heroines in recent crime fiction as she stalks Gotham, confronts corruption, and delves into who really murdered 'Shakespeare.'