It is the winter of 1808. Thomas Jefferson is President. John Tonneman, the young physician whose involvement with murder was the basis for Maan Meyers's previous mystery, The Kingsbridge Plot, is now past sixty. Surely this should be a time to contemplate retirement and enjoy the pleasures of life with his beloved wife, Mariana, and their three children.
But Mariana is unaccountably angry and irritable, and their eldest, Peter, is restless, rebellious, and drinking too much. Then a corpse is discovered in the Collect—the pond that had for so long delivered fresh, sweet water to the residents of New-York. Peter's boss, the Controller of the Collect Company, has disappeared, as has Peter himself. And there's cash missing as well.
The corpse, fear for his son, and a long-buried skull draw John Tonneman into another murder, as he joins his friend Jake Hays, High Constable of the City of New-York, in trying to track down the killer—or killers.
What begins as a potential tragedy for the Tonneman family ultimately draws them closer together: young Peter finds his true calling in police work and his true love in Jake Hays's lovely widowed cousin; John finds the solution to a pair of murders more than thirty years old; and Mariana and John rediscover one another.
The High Constable delivers not only an intricately plotted mystery but also a vivid glimpse of historical New-York and a fully drawn portrait of complex family relationships.
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