This novel is a historical fiction taking place back in 1843 in New York City. The main character, Walt Whitman, a journalist, gets involved in a mystery involving dissections of the dead. Back in 1843, a rarity has just been founded, a medical school for women. In order to learn about the body, they need cadavers as examples. Where they got these bodies is a bit unsettling. The Black Market has dealings in dead bodies. They have men who dig up bodies of those who have recently passed. They dig them up and then sell them to the school for a nice little extra. Walt Whitman wants to take these men to justice. Will he be able to do it?
I enjoyed the author's description of New York back in the days. The author writes of a topic not usually written of, Body Snatching. The author gave the reader an easy pace, easy to read historical murder mystery. It was interesting, just not my cup of tea.
Speakers of the Dead is a mystery novel centering around the investigative exploits of a young Walt Whitman, in which the reporter-cum-poet navigates the seedy underbelly of New York City's body-snatching industry in an attempt to exonerate his friend of a wrongful murder charge.
The year is 1843; the place: New York City. Aurora reporter Walt Whitman arrives at the Tombs prison yard where his friend Lena Stowe is scheduled to hang for the murder of her husband, Abraham. Walt intends to present evidence on Lena's behalf, but Sheriff Harris turns him away. Lena drops to her death, and Walt vows to posthumously exonerate her.
Walt's estranged boyfriend, Henry Saunders, returns to New York, and the two men uncover a link between body-snatching and Abraham's murder: a man named Samuel Clement. To get to Clement, Walt and Henry descend into a dangerous underworld where resurrection men steal the bodies of the recently deceased and sell them to medical colleges. With no legal means to acquire cadavers, medical students rely on these criminals, and Abraham's involvement with the Bone Bill—legislation that would put the resurrection men out of business—seems to have led to his and Lena's deaths.
Fast-paced and gripping, Speakers of the Dead is a vibrant reimagining of one of America's most beloved literary figures.