In the winter of 1897, 17-year-old Jemima McBustle tricked her way into a job at the St. Louis Illuminator. She embraced just one burning desire--to follow in Nelly Bly's footsteps. Since blind luck landed Jemmy her first breakthrough, she didn't have the vaguest idea of how to become a "Stunt Reporter" like Nelly. As the six months she'd been given to prove herself raced past, desperation settled in. She could think of nothing better than to go where only Nelly had dared to go before--to an insane asylum--a "Madhouse" as such places were called a century ago.
Jemmy couldn't risk letting herself be committed as Nelly had. Mother McBustle expected her four daughters home every night--no excuses--no exceptions.
Perhaps she could apply for work. To be convincing, Jemmy needed help. Who could better give it than Gerta, the cook at Mother McBustle's boarding house? And what better bribe could Jemmy offer than a bucket of beer? The jolly German transformed Jemmy into a suitable employee at prestigious Lyman Sanitarium for the Care of Ladies Afflicted with Nervous Mental Disorders.
Jemmy arrived just in time to witness a monstrous turmoil caused by the death of long-time inmate Violet Rosebrough. Apparently the poor woman tried to escape but got only as far as the fire escape.
Jemmy reaps a story much bigger than she imagined. A murder to solve--and something more sinister--something secret--something terrifying--something about the devilishly handsome Dr. Lyman himself.
Confusion reigns not just in the asylum but also in Jemmy's life as new puzzles pop up like dandelions in spring.
Worse yet, her newspaper editor Suetonius Hamm saddled her with gangly red-haired photographer Hal and his chartreuse tandem bike. Adding to the chaos, Aunt Delilah McBustle demanded that Jemmy make her grand debut into society at the elegant Oracle Ball that selfsame week. Piling horror upon horror, her escort turned out to be her young cousin Horrible Heathcliff the Hellion, the piss alley boy of Laclede's Landing.
Is Jemmy in over her head? Find the answer in See President McKinley or Die Trying.
For Ladies of the Nineteenth Century, A Trip to the Funny Farm Was No Laughing Matter