FROM HERE TO FOURTEENTH STREET is the love story of Irish cop
Tom McGlory and Italian immigrant Vita Caputo. On the Lower East
Side, immigrants were forced to suffer in crowded tenements with
unsanitary conditions amidst hardships and prejudices. But Vita
fights her way out of the slums to become a successful reformer and
emerges as an admirable romantic heroine.
The conflicts arise out of Tom and Vita’s different
upbringings and values. Vita advances from a sweatshop laborer to a
clerk in the respected New York Bank & Trust, and becomes active in
local politics, helping William Strong get elected mayor and beat
the Tammany machine.
Through these ordeals, Tom and Vita know that their love can
survive poverty, hatred, prejudice, and corruption.
Tom and Vita become embroiled in a murder mystery that nearly
tears them apart. Tom's cousin Mike, a fellow cop who is closer than
a brother, is shot and left for dead—in front of 124 Mott Street,
Vita's tenement. Vita’s father and brother are arrested for the
murder. In the Caputos' tenement, the police find Mike's shoes,
jacket and nightstick. They conclude that the Caputos killed Mike
out of revenge. Vita is convinced it's a setup. But he takes her to
the station for questioning. Tom’s heart is torn; he has to do his
job, yet he wants to support Vita every way he can. As far as the
police are concerned, it's a closed case and the Caputos are the
accused. If the cops aren't going to do anything to find the real
killers, he is. If they really are innocent, the killers are still
out there. So he's going to try and find them.
In the heat of summer, he and Vita do the necessary detective work
to find his cousin’s real killer and clear the Caputos.
Vita is based on my great grandmother, who left third grade
to become a self-made businesswoman and politician, wife and mother.
This is the first of a trilogy about the McGlory family. The
second book, Bootleg Broadway, is set during Prohibition, and the
third, From Here to Camelot, centers on the assassination plot of
President Kennedy. However, each book stands alone.
As Vita gathered her soap and towel, Madame Branchard tapped on her
door. "You have a gentleman caller, Vita. A policeman."
"Tom?" His name lingered on her lips as she repeated it. She dropped
her things and crossed the room.
"No, hon, not him. Another policeman. Theodore something, I think he
No. There can't be anything wrong.
"Thanks," she whispered,
nudging Madame Branchard aside. She descended the steps, gripping
the banister to support her wobbly legs.
Stay calm! she warned
herself. But of course it was no use; staying calm just wasn't her
“Theodore something” stood before the closed parlor door.
He’s a policeman? She looked him up and down with curious intent.
Tall and hefty, a bold pink shirt peeking out of a buttoned
waistcoat and fitted jacket, he looked way out of place against the
dainty patterned wallpaper.
He removed his hat. "Miss Caputo." He strained to keep his voice
soft as he held out a piece of paper. “I’m police commissioner
"Yes?" Her voice shook.
"I have a summons for you, Miss Caputo." He held it out to her. But
she stood rooted to that spot.
He stepped closer and she took it from him, unfolding it with icy
fingers. Why would she be served with a summons? Was someone
arresting her now for something she didn't do?
A shot of anger tore through her at this system, at everything she
wanted to change. It eclipsed her fear, making her blood boil. She
flipped it open and saw the word "Summons" in fancy script at the
top. Her eyes widened with each sentence as she read. “I can’t
believe what I’m seeing.”
I hereby order Miss Vita Caputo to enter into holy matrimony with
Mr. Thomas McGlory immediately following service of this summons.
Signed and witnessed, it looked very official. She looked up at
Theodore. He flashed her a toothy smile.
pazzo, he's just
nuts!" She read it again and again, laughing, her eyes filled with
tears of relief and happiness.
“Deeee-lightful, isn’t it, Miss Caputo?” The door opened and he
stepped aside. There stood Tom in the doorway. Teddy Roosevelt
cuffed him on the chin and vanished.
"I would have arrested you, but I was afraid you would resist." He
gave her a playful grin.
She leapt forward and embraced him with every bit of strength she
had left, crushing the paper between them.
"You are just crazy!" was all she could think to say. Still dizzy
from the shock, the fright, and the anger that blanketed it all, she
juggled a new jumble of titillating emotions.
"You're the one who should be crazy, crazy enough to marry me, that
All her doubts vanished at that instant. “Oh, yes, together we are
stronger than any force that would dare keep us apart.”
In a guarded tone she asked, "You don't mean tonight, do you?"
Jadwiga's one-word suggestion flashed through her mind. “Elope.” She
wondered if the two of them had planned a slick coup. Was a priest
in the parlor waiting to officiate?
He laughed, a halo around his head from the lamp’s glow. "Any night
you want. Tonight, tomorrow, next week, just don't make me wait too
"How long were you sitting in there?"
"A few hours. I figured you were with your family. Your landlady was
nice enough to let me wait. I told her I wanted to surprise you, and
I think she figured out what it was. So she didn't interfere. Teddy
there, who considerately left us alone, is our commish, and the
jokester on the force. He'd have to be, to have gone along with
They went into the parlor and she closed the door, quivering in
naughty delight. As she sat on the sofa, he dropped to one knee. He
slid his hand into his pocket and brought out a sparkling ring, took
her hand and slipped it onto the third finger of her left hand.
“Vita, will you marry me?”
“Oh, Tom…” She held it at arm's length, turning her hand this way
and that. It glittered in the lamp’s glow.
She would have eloped with him at this minute if he’d asked. If a
priest stood in this room, they would have been married by now. She
threw her arms around his neck, dizzy with happiness, dizzily in
love. “Of course I’ll marry you! Tonight, tomorrow, whenever you
want! Oh, how I love you!”
He sat beside her and she pulled the pins from her bun.
Her hair tumbled to her waist, and he stroked it lovingly as she
nestled against his chest. Their lips met and parted. Her mind raced
. . . we need to set a date!