Resisting the deadening silence of his family home in the elegant yet stiflingly safe neighborhood of Gramercy Park, nine-year-old Roger Rosenblatt imagines himself a private eye in pursuit of criminals. With the dreamlike mystery of the city before him, he sets off alone into the streets of Manhattan, thrilling to a life of unsolved cases.
Six decades later, Rosenblatt finds himself again patrolling the territory of his youth. He investigates the lives of the writers who walked these streets before him, such as Poe and Melville; the great detectives of fiction and the essence of detective work; and the monuments of his childhood, such as the New York Public Library and the Empire State Building.
A masterly evocation of the city and a meditation on memory as an act of faith, suffused with a mixture of acute observation and bracing humor, lyricism, and wit, The Boy Detective treads the line between a novel and a poem, displaying a world at once dangerous and beautiful.