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Murder on Sisters' Row
Gaslight Mystery # 13
Victoria Thompson

June 7, 2011/ ISBN 0425241157
Historical Mystery

Reviewed by Brenda Weeaks

Sarah Brandt is once again rescuing the unfortunate, this time with the help of the NY COS (New York Charity Organization Society) and Rahab's Daughters (a charity that rescues prostitutes). Sarah is taken to Sisters' Row, an infamous group of seven houses named after seven New England sisters who each ran a bordello catering to the rich. She delivers a baby for a young woman named Amy. Amy wants to be rescued before the madam takes her baby away. Sarah tells Amy where to get help. Right after Amy is rescued a member of the charity is murdered. Sarah seems stunned, but Detective Sargent Malloy isn't. He warned Sarah the rich bordellos were protected by the police and the rich of New York. Malloy continues to avoid his personal feelings for Sarah, but does show his frustration concerning the case and her luck with murders. The two follow their own avenues of clues and Malloy warns Sarah to protect herself. But does she listen?

Murder on Sisters' Row is quite the puzzler. The mystery and the scenes move back and forth between various suspects, as well as Sarah and Malloy. The two make a great tag team when investigating. The culprit is a well-kept secret until the very end. Thanks to Sarah's late husband, a doctor, she makes a living as a midwife and lives in the real world. Sarah can't say the same for her parents, but she's determined to enlighten her mother and other wealthy people on the plight of the poor and unemployed. Sarah has two girls to take care of and she, too, continues to hide her feelings for Malloy. And Malloy is on his own now because his mother and deaf son are living at the School for the Deaf. His son does make a brief appearance.

It was nice to be back in Sarah's world; I haven't kept up with the Gaslight Mystery series, but I do remember its beginning. Thompson continues to draw out the best in her characters. The mid-century atmosphere is flawless, yet sad as it moves from the wealthy, closed-minded class to the bare existence of the poor. The Gaslight Mystery series continues to entertain historical mystery readers. Still Highly Recommended.

Reviews of other titles in this series

Murder on Astor Place #1 [review]
Murder on St Mark's Place #2 [review]
Murder on Lenox Hill #7 [review]
Murder on Sisters' Row #13 [review]
Murder on Fifth Avenue #14 [review]
Murder in Chelsea #15 [review]
Murder in Murray Hill #16 [review]
Murder on Amsterdam Avenue #17 [review]
Murder in the Bowery #20 [review]

Reviewer's Note: Edgar Award- nominated series
Reviewed 2011