“Like the best noir practitioners, Murphy uses the mystery as scaffolding to assemble a world of fallen dreams and doom-bitten characters . . . Murphy’s hard-boiled rendering of the city is nothing short of exquisite . . . For anyone who wants a portrait of this New York, few recent books have conjured it so vividly.” —The New York Times Book Review, Editors’ Choice
A sharp and stylish debut from the editor-in-chief of CrimeReads in which an unwitting private eye gets caught up in a crime of obsession between a reclusive literary superstar and her bookseller husband, paying homage to the noir genre just as smartly as it reinvents it
After leaving behind the comforts and the shackles of a prestigious law firm, a restless attorney makes ends meet in mid-2000s Brooklyn by picking up odd jobs from a colorful assortment of clients. When a mysterious woman named Anna Reddick turns up at his apartment with ten thousand dollars in cash and asks him to track down her missing husband Newton, an antiquarian bookseller who she believes has been pilfering rare true crime volumes from her collection, he trusts it will be a quick and easy case. But when the real Anna Reddick—a magnetic but unpredictable literary prodigy—lands on his doorstep with a few bones to pick, he finds himself out of his depth, drawn into a series of deceptions involving Joseph Conrad novels, unscrupulous booksellers, aspiring flâneurs, and seedy real estate developers.
Set against the backdrop of New York at the tail end of the analog era and immersed in the worlds of literature and bookselling, An Honest Living is a gripping story of artistic ambition, obsession, and the small crimes we commit against one another every day.