The Toltec Cup

A Novel of Old New York

By Nym Crinkle
Introduction by Erick Kelemen

Subjects: New York/regional, Fiction, General Interest, American History
Series: Excelsior Editions, New York Classics
Imprint: Excelsior Editions
Hardcover : 9781438488899, 592 pages, June 2022
Paperback : 9781438488882, 592 pages, December 2022

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Table of contents

New Introduction
Erick Kelemen


1. The Advertisement in the Herald

2. O'Reardon's Terrace

3. "What is that Woman Afraid of?"

4. John Wilder Stumbles on the First Fact

5. Wilder Stumbles on the First Clue

6. The Ghost in the Shrubbery

7. Mr. Seymour is Nonplussed

8. Therese Thibeaudeau's Story

9. Within an Inch of the Cup

10. Mr. Plonski Shakes Hands with Himself

11. "'Twixt the Cup and the Lip"

12. The Arrest of Manuella

13. A Return from the Dead

14. Mr. Plonski Outwits Wilder

15. Mr. Carteret becomes a Knight

16. It Must Be One of those Magical Cups

17. Off with the Old and on with the New

18. "But What Did You Do with the Cup, Grandpa?"

19. The Responsibilities of a Brother

20. Rosamond Goes into Art, too

21. Love Searches for the Cup

22. Miss Enniston has a Spasm

23. Carteret goes to the Opera

24. Love Tracks the Cup to the Silversmith's

25. Love in the Park

26. Mrs. Follen Sanger Gets a Shock

27. Rose Enniston Goes on the Warpath

28. A Premonition of the Riots

29. Love takes to the Country

30. The Abduction of Manuella

31. Carteret Starts in Search

32. The Descent into Hell

33. Mr. Manser Opens the Water Gate

34. Officer Wilder Reaches the End of His Rope

35. O, Colin, Colin, this is not like you

36. On the Edge of the Mystery

37. Captain Job Ackerman's Narrative

38. A Paper Hunt

39. Wilder Takes His Life in His Hands

40. Love Passes Under a Cloud

41. An Encounter in the Academy

42. McCune is Hunted like a Rat

43. Resolution Ends in Rhyme

44. Mr. Burton Takes a Hand

45. Plonski Falls into the Trap

46. Dr. Ferris Looks into a Heart

47. The Return of the Princess

48. Miramon Comes on the Scene

49. Love Ends in Despair

50. Just Before Easter

51. Love Opens a Correspondence

52. The Conspirators Disagree

53. Kiss and Make up

54. Mr. Stonybrook is Rejected

55. Sowing the Whirlwind

56. The Last Desperate Attempt

57. The Recovery of the Cup

58. Murder Most Foul

59. Hours of Terror and Dismay

60. Mr. Plonski's Final Triumph

61. Plonski Makes Off with the Cup

62. Love Lies Bleeding

63. Mr. Kleinbacker turns out to be a Good Angel


A gripping tale of conspiracy and a love triangle set against the background of 19th century New York City.


The Toltec Cup was published in 1890 by A. C. Wheeler under the pseudonym of "Nym Crinkle." A tale of conspiracy and love triangles, the novel centers on a mysterious silver cup covered in hieroglyphs that goes missing just days after its owner's death. New York Police Inspector John Wilder grows suspicious when someone offers a huge reward for the cup's return. Wilder traces the reward to Colin Carteret, an artist engaged to the murdered man's daughter, who swears he did not know of the cup before the reward appeared in the newspaper. Together, the two men follow a trail of clues that lead them to New York City slums, a beautiful young woman named Manuella Castleton, and a syndicate that believes that the cup will lead to an extraordinary buried treasure.

Contemporary readers will enjoy the novel's remarkable depictions of mid-nineteenth-century New York City. Roaming the Gas House District, the Bowery, Union Square, Harlem, and the Meatpacking District, The Toltec Cup explores a dynamic landscape and diverse peoples. This new edition revives a forgotten world for a new generation of readers.

Erick Kelemen is the author of Textual Editing and Criticism: An Introduction and has published on textual matters in early English literature in ELH: English Literary History, ANQ, and The Library. He has taught textual editing and criticism to undergraduate and graduate students at several colleges and universities, most recently at Fordham University.