Albemarle Street

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Historical Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Timothy Flynn crouches in the attic of a Baltimore rowhouse in 1845. In his right hand he clenches a brick, and waits for the old woman. He rationalizes his decision to commit murder, but the real incentive is the $50 offered for a fresh tubercular corpse by Dr. Vinup, who teaches anatomy at the nearby Maryland Medical College. Vinup's medical legacy is at stake.
The story flashes back to Flynn's arrival in 1840, sent by a Dublin judge as a A redemptioner, his only other option imprisonment after a life of petty crime. Flynn has a sister in Baltimore, married to a wheelwright, and he ends up in her household. A free black woman, Sarah Bayley, and her young daughter live with the family as domestics. Sarah is intent on freeing her enslaved husband, and Flynn is drawn into their company. His attachment, never consummated, is as confusing as it is rewarding. There are more free blacks in Baltimore than slaves in 1840. Should he support the abolitionists, as Irish nationalists preach, or do free blacks threaten Irish jobs in America as Flynn's barroom friends say? What's the difference between black and white? Slave and free? Does it even matter? "I'm one of the niggers of Europe," he concludes. An unnerving visit to a slave auction does not help him figure out life in America.
In her growing desperation, Sarah comes to see Flynn as a confidante, though never realizes the extent of his ardor. He, however, faced with life choices, makes one cowardly and bad decision after another. His loose lip and his aptitude as a public house storyteller get him into trouble. He is kidnapped to work an oysterboat, is caught up in graverobbing, and the characters who cross his path - Dr. Vinup, the larcenous oysterman, his drunken pub cronies, his deranged sister - conspire with his confusion until he does about the worst thing one can do: He commits murder for money. Then he does something even worse.

Table of Contents

Submitted: March 17, 2009

Albemarle Street By Ron Pilling PIGTOWN Early Spring,1845 Timothy Flynn had no difficulty choosing a weapon. “Damn city... Read Chapter

Submitted: March 23, 2009

FELLS POINT Summer, 1840 Rocking painfully at her berth at Donnell’s Wharf, The Everhard Haake was clearly a ship of last resor... Read Chapter

Submitted: March 23, 2009

ALBEMARLE STREET, Chapter 3 A round of weak but appreciative applause, mugs clattered against oak, the odd “Huzzah”, signaled the... Read Chapter

Submitted: March 23, 2009

ALBEMARLE STREET, Chapter 4 Ascending the stairs Flynn palmed the wall with his left hand, leaving darkened prints in the red dust al... Read Chapter