The everlasting lure of the Big Apple

February 14, 2021 | By Jim Stovall | Filed in: fiction, journalism, writing.

Author Stacie Murphy, who grew up in Nashville and currently lives in Virginia, can’t get New York off her mind.

She wouldn’t want to live there — too big, crowded, and overwhelming, she says — but still, she finds the place irresistible. As she writes in a recent article:

And so from the moment I began working on my debut novel, A Deadly Fortune, there was never any question about where I would set it. New York City—specifically the late-19th century New York of Caroline Astor and Paul Kelly, of 5th Avenue and Five Points—wasthe only place for the story of Amelia Matthew, a young psychic who finds herself trapped in an insane asylum after a head injury dramatically enhances her gift. Source: Ten Historical Crime Novels That Trace the History of New York City ‹ CrimeReads

Murphy continues on in her article to lose some of her favorite crime novels that are set in New York City. They all conjure up part of the history abet magical municipality, the first on her list being set in the early 18th century. The list is an interesting and enlightening one, and anyone who has felt the luster of New York City will want to take a look at this article.

I know what she means about the magic of New York. Many years ago when I was serving in the United States Navy and stationed in Washington DC, I would make regular trips to New York City on the Metroliner, Amtrack’s hourly service between those two places. Back then, the Soldiers & Sailors home what’s located on Lexington Avenue, and an active duty serviceman could stay there for about $3 a night.

That was coupled with the fact that you could get half-priced tickets to many of the Broadway shows on the day of the performance for the small price of standing in line for a few minutes. During the day, I would visit an art museum or some other location that I had heard or read about. I even once took the Staten Island Ferry. It cost me a dime.

During those visits and on many occasions when I have visited there since then, I simply soaked in the city.

One of the things that a fiction writer is supposed to pay great attention to is that a place. New York City is a ready-made place. It was, of course, like no other place on earth, and I know about the magic that Murphy feels.



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