This one weaves together two stories, from two women, both related to the same building at 11 Christopher St. in New York City. And there’s the same clever writing I’ve come to expect from Williams.
In the 1990s 30 year old Ella Gilbert, a successful forensic accountant, with a knack for sniffing out financial wrongdoing on Wall Street, has recently separated from her successful but cheating husband. To reassess her life and marriage, she moves into her own apartment. An apartment that happens to be in a building that housed a popular speakeasy downstairs during the Prohibition era and now houses a good-looking musician upstairs.
Back in the 1920s Geneva Kelley works in a typing pool by day but at night is drawn to that very same speakeasy — listening to hot jazz and looking for Mr. Right. Also, occasionally posing for risqué photographs to earn some extra cash.
How these two stories intersect is a slow reveal. But along the way, you meet a group of interesting characters including an abusive stepfather running a successful moonshine trade, a couple of privileged Princeton grads, and a quirky female FBI agent. There’s a chase, lots of suspense, and a few murders. Plus, along the way, you’ll learn about how the business of bootleg liquor operated during Prohibition. And of course, you will run into a few Schuylers — the family that ties all of Williams’ novels together.