Peng Shepherd, "The Cartographers" (William Morrow, 2021)


Nell Young, a dedicated cartographer, once had it all—a dream job in the New York Public Library, a stylish boyfriend, Felix, who understood her obsession with maps, and a good salary as a researcher. Then she and her father, Dr. Young, the top scholar at NYPL had a fight about the importance of find she discovered in the basement, and her dreams came crashing down. She lost Felix when her father fired him, along with her.

Seven years later, Nell is frumpy and depressed, working well below her aptitude, when news arrives of her father’s unexpected death at the Library. While in his office, she comes across his secret hiding place for treasured items and is amazed to find one of the maps included in the box that provoked the fight. It’s not one of the rare expensive maps, but rather a cheap common map from the thirties. It’s not until she enters her find into the database that she realizes she may have the only surviving map of this edition. The others have all mysteriously disappeared. Soon she begins to wonder if her father might have been murdered over this cheap map?

Much as Nell would like to solve this all by herself, she’s forced to reach out for help. Could her parent’s former friends and her estranged boyfriend, Felix, help her solve the mystery? Or will her questions draw the killer nearer and put her new comrades in danger?

The Cartographers (William Morrow, 2021) will acquaint you with the real-world concept of a phantom settlement and make you see the New York Public Library in a new light.

Peng Sheperd was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona, where she rode horses and trained in classical ballet. She’s lived in Beijing, Kuala Lumpur, London, Los Angeles, Washington DC and New York. Up next is Mexico City.

Her first novel, The Book of M, won the 2019 Neukom Institute for Literary Arts Award for Debit Speculative Fiction, as well as many other accolades.

Fun fact: Peng has never been stung by a bee.

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