This is an interesting novel about crime in New York in 1896. Theodore Roosevelt is a police commissioner at that time and JP Morgan, the "nose", rules the city.
The novel tells the story about series of violent crimes committed against juvenile boys prostitutes who represent underbelly of the city. New York's society does not even recognize their existence and crimes against them are not considered worthy of police investigation.
Criminology is in its infancy at this stage. However, using then newly developed science of psychoanalysis (people who practiced it were called alienists), novel's protagonists try to "reverse" investigate the crime and to come up with the psychological profile of the suspect.
posted by David