Mysteries that take place in old New York City are pretty much catnip for me. If you add in an interesting and capable female lead, I’m pretty much all in. Naturally, The Impossible Girl by Lydia Kang roped me right in with both. Set in Manhattan in 1850, the book features a healthy dose of weird history, a mystery I only partially figured out and a protagonist with skill and grit that the author shows and doesn’t tell.
Before a change in legislation made it easier for aspiring doctors to obtain corpses for learning anatomy, they depended on grave robbers called “Resurrectionists” to supply them with fresh Corpses. Cora Lee is one of the most infamous in New York City, choosing to collect corpses with interesting physical anomalies which fetch a higher price. What no one who works with her has guessed is that she herself was born with two hearts, which makes her corpse very valuable. She has managed to keep this secret all her life until now. It seems as though someone has figured her out and she now has to scramble to figure out who knows her secret. At the same time, she has to earn a living so she’s not thrown out on the street. Her journey takes her from brothels in poverty and crime ridden neighborhoods to the sitting rooms of society’s elite. You might think you’ve guessed the ending, but you haven’t guessed all of it.