The character profiles for John Schuyler Moore and Stevie Taggert have now been added to the main characters page of the full character list. This means that the only remaining main character who lacks a character profile on the full character list is Dr. Laszlo Kreizler, and I expect this profile will be added later this month. In the meantime, a copy of Stevie’s profile can be viewed below.
Taggert, Master Stevie
Appears in The Alienist and The Angel of Darkness
Stevie Taggert, Dr. Laszlo Kreizler’s loyal ward and part-time driver, provides ancillary assistance to the investigation in The Alienist before graduating to the role of narrator in The Angel of Darkness. Although Stevie is only in his early teens during the novels, he is unusually bright for his age and demonstrates a high degree of emotional maturity that allows him to provide insight into the actions and motivations of the killers pursued in both novels that other team members occasionally overlook. These aspects of his character, along with his bravery and resilience, are likely to have originated in Stevie’s early youth spent fending for himself on the streets of the Lower East Side.
Stevie started his life in a one-room rear tenement flat near the Five Points district, and learnt to pickpocket from an early age in order to support his mother’s drinking habits. Growing tired of the “string of men” his mother would bring home to the flat, as well as her transition from alcohol to opium, Stevie left home at the age of eight to sleep on the streets with a gang of street arabs. During this time, Stevie became notorious as a “banco feeler, pickpocket, and general criminal handyman” (AoD 58) and was approached by Crazy Butch from Monk Eastman’s gang to work for the kids auxiliary of the gang. After a short time with the gang, Stevie was apprehended for breaking a store owner’s leg during a theft and was sentenced to two years at the Boys’ House of Refuge on Randalls Island. Returning to court three months later after attacking a guard who had attempted to molest him, Stevie was given an opportunity to be interviewed by Dr. Kreizler who recommended that he be entrusted to his care for rehabilitation rather than being returned to a correctional facility.
Stevie’s role in The Alienist primarily relates to his occupation as part-time driver for Dr. Kreizler, although he does take an active part in a few key areas of the investigation such as the stakeout atop disorderly houses. He also demonstrates his bravery during the novel by rescuing John Schuyler Moore early in the story from the Paresis Hall where the latter had been drugged, and by refusing to reveal the whereabouts of Dr. Kreizler and John Moore when the doctor’s home is invaded; an action that results in him nearly being killed.
Stevie’s role as narrator in The Angel of Darkness ensures that his involvement in the Libby Hatch case is considerably larger. He takes part in nearly all aspects of the investigation, frequently accompanying Dr. Kreizler or Sara Howard on important interviews, and his skills in breaking and entering are invaluable when the team need to secretly enter Libby Hatch’s home to search for Ana Linares. Stevie’s street contacts also prove essential to the success of the investigation, with his love interest, Kat Devlin, able to provide the team with critical evidence that Ana Linares is in Libby’s possession, while an old friend, Hickie the Hun, loans the team his trained ferret to help scent Ana Linares in Libby Hatch’s home. Finally, it is through Stevie’s open-mindedness in accepting and befriending the Filipino pygmy, El Niño, that the team are not defeated by Libby Hatch in their final confrontation at the conclusion of the novel.