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Murder on Fifth Avenue
Gaslight Mystery, No 14
Victoria Thompson

May 1, 2012 / ISBN: 0425247414
Historical Mystery / Victorian/ Turn of the Century / New York / Female Protagonist /

Reviewed by Brenda Weeaks

The infamous Knickerbocker Club (men's social club) is located on the southeast corner of Fifth Avenue. A murder victim is found at the Knickerbocker, and it's Sarah Brandt's father who calls Sergeant Frank Malloy to the scene. Felix Decker believes his wealth and social status put him in charge, so he expects Malloy to solve the murder quietly and report back to him. When Malloy and Decker deliver the bad news to the victim's family, Malloy learns Chilton Devries (Chilly) was not a liked man. Surprisingly, Malloy and Decker request Sarah and her mother join the case. Does that mean Mr Decker is ready to recognize women as intellectual beings? Malloy follows up with everyone Chilly met that day, including his young mistress and an Italian thug. And Sarah - with her mother - visits Chilly's family in the hopes of gathering more leads. Malloy delves into wealthy, lower class and criminal lives of New York once again and there's nothing romantic about it at all.

Murder on Fifth Avenue is an interesting look into the Knickerbocker club and the social classes (rich & criminals) who rule New York. Thompson uses this mystery to expose abuse in social classes. Her followers hope Sarah's family and Malloy are finally drawn together. The conclusion of the mystery and the main characters' relationship is not what I expected, but I had no problem in accepting it. Thompson's presentation of the period and dialogue is spot on to the point of emotional. But it's also satisfactory in that the mystery is well thought out and certainly keeps the pages turning.

Thompson creates titles after historical New York streets and areas. Her series is a unique mix of fictional characters, crime, and society during a notable era. Thompson's Gaslight Series is one of the most popular historical mystery series on the shelf. 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®-nominated series
Reviewed 2012