Smart, savvy and solitary, bitter Civil War veteran Wilton McCleary saw the evil heart of man as a captive in the notorious Andersonville Prison. But the war has been over for nearly a decade. Now he walks the beat in Philadelphia as a city detective, protecting a great and growing town in the last years of the nineteenth century, using hard-won skill and courage to fight for justice his own way: alone.
First, a kidnapper holds a valuable champion dog for ransom. Then an innocent child is snatched. Beneath the horse-drawn carriages and street cars, the avenues of the corrupt Quaker City seem mired in Schuylkill sludge, and it will take a loner like Wilton McCleary - someone who can tell a useful informant from just another con on the take - to clean it up. But as the trail leads to heartbreak, blackmail and even murder, even the shrewd McCleary has something to learn: under the gaslights of Philadelphia, cruelty is cheap - and the secrets of the past are best left undisturbed.
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