In 1880's New York City, the ballrooms of the wealthy are warm and fragrant with the mingled scents of hothouse flowers and expensive perfumes and filled with bejeweled ladies in silks and velvets. But there is another side to the city. Here the poor are crowded into filthy tenements. Crime flourishes in the brothels, "concert saloons" and alleys of the Five Points and the Bowery. When Amanda Whitney, well-born, independent society reporter for the Ladies Gazette, is given her first important assignment, covering the wedding of the daughter of one of New York's wealthiest families, she is determined to succeed. The bride-to-be disappears. Her body, clad in her bridal gown and strangled with her own wreath, is found in an alley next to one of the most expensive brothels on the Ladies Mile. Bent on avoiding a scandal, her father hires Ross Buchanan, a private detective, to find the murderer before the police do. Buchanan and Amanda clash when she insists on helping him with the investigation. Then, two more strangled women in bridal attire are found and panic grips the city. Demands for the capture of the "Ladies Mile Maniac" reach a fever pitch. As Ross and Amanda move toward the solution of the case, she does not know that she has been targeted as the murderer's next victim.
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