Opium and Absinthe by Lydia Kang
English | 2020 | Mystery & Thriller | ePUB | 3.1 MB
Lydia Kang is an author and internal medicine physician. She is a graduate of Columbia University and New York University School of Medicine, and completed her training at Bellevue Hospital in New York City. She lives with her family in the midwest.
From the bestselling author of A Beautiful Poison comes another spellbinding historical novel full of intrigue, occult mystery, and unexpected twists.
New York City, 1899. Tillie Pembroke’s sister lies dead, her body drained of blood and with two puncture wounds on her neck. Bram Stoker’s new novel, Dracula, has just been published, and Tillie’s imagination leaps to the impossible: the murderer is a vampire. But it can’t be—can it?
A ravenous reader and researcher, Tillie has something of an addiction to truth, and she won’t rest until she unravels the mystery of her sister’s death. Unfortunately, Tillie’s addicted to more than just truth; to ease the pain from a recent injury, she’s taking more and more laudanum…and some in her immediate circle are happy to keep her well supplied.
Tillie can’t bring herself to believe vampires exist. But with the hysteria surrounding her sister’s death, the continued vampiric slayings, and the opium swirling through her body, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for a girl who relies on facts and figures to know what’s real—or whether she can trust those closest to her.
Roderick helped hoist her into the saddle. She hooked her right knee around the pommel, nestled her other knee under the leaping head, and fit her left foot into the single stirrup. The groom tightened the girths and balance strap, the latter to keep the saddle from sagging on the more burdened left side, and offered her the cane for her right hand.
“Your sandwich box is filled, and there’s a flask of tea in there as well.”
Tillie unbuckled the leather box, pulled out the linen-wrapped sliced-cheese-and-lettuce sandwich, and gobbled half of it.
“But that is for during the hunt, Miss!”
“Oh. I’m sorry. I’m hungry when I’m nervous,” Tillie said, delicately wiping her mouth with a handkerchief. She returned the rest of the sandwich to the box.
The food helped, but her heart was quivering like a cold chicken jelly. There were several jumps today that demanded confidence. Roderick advised her as he led Queenie out of the stable.
“Be careful of the rabbit holes in the north paddock. Remember, a lady must keep a clear head when the fox breaks cover. Keep within sight of the hounds. And for God’s sake, if you aren’t perfectly certain you can make a jump . . . do. Not. Jump. It’s better to be a coward than a corpse.”
Tillie inhaled as deeply as her corset would allow, a mere cupful of air. “I’m ready.”
No sooner had she said the words than Queenie rapidly entered a trot, wishing to catch up to the group of twelve riders ahead. Warm, wet air rose from the turf after the deep rainfall the day before, and it felt thick in Tillie’s chest as she breathed. The oak and maple trees surrounding the barn seemed to curl, clawlike, toward their party. Dorothy, who’d been riding alongside a gentleman, slowed her horse, and together they brought up the rear of the company. The other riders in their scarlet riding coats shone like poppies against the greenery. Tillie’s underarms were already swampy, and her drawers stuck to her thighs like wet paper.
“They’re going to the field just north of here,” Dorothy said.
“Yes.” The less Tillie said, the less likely she would say something inappropriate.
“We are greatly looking forward to your sister’s wedding. Only one more month! Have you seen her wedding gown yet? Did she order it from Paris, like Eleanor Van der Wiel did?” Dorothy was dangerously close to reaching old maid status. At the mention of weddings, her eyes widened with hunger. Despite Dorothy’s having a shoddyite father who gathered his money from shipping, Tillie liked her. Dorothy was equally friendly with Tillie and Lucy, whereas most people simply ignored Tillie.