Sara Brandt, a midwife who lives in New York, is engaged
to former detective sergeant Frank Malloy. Their marriage
is on hold until the home Frank is building is completed,
but overseeing that construction has Frank listless. When
Sara and her mother visit an old family friend whose son has
just died from a mysterious disease, the father asks for Frank’s
help in determining the true cause of his son’s death.
Frank quickly agrees to investigate. After Sara learns that
the son died of arsenic poisoning, it’s clear that the
murderer was someone in the family’s home. Could it
be the deceased’s wife? After all, she refused to sleep
with her husband. Or perhaps it was one of the servants?
I truly love historical mysteries, and Victoria Thompson’s
Gaslight Mystery series is one of my favorites. Murder on
Amsterdam Avenue is the 17th release in the series, and while
readers would benefit from reading the series from the beginning,
there is sufficient back information and intrigue in this
release to keep a newbie to the series intrigued and happy.
The author stays true to the period of early nineteenth-century
New York City, making her descriptions of the city and its
people, both rich and poor, come to life for me. The romance
between Sara and Frank is a bit subdued, since the mystery
focuses on lingering Civil War animosity and racial prejudices.
Familiar secondary characters include Gino, who left the force
to join Teddy Roosevelt in Cuba. When he returns, Frank hires
him to help with the investigation. Gino is sweet on Maeve,
Sara’s daughter’s nursemaid, and their romance
has wonderful potential. I can’t wait for the next release,
which will have Maeve and Gino helping a woman falsely accused
of murder while Sara and Frank are on their honeymoon.
Reviews of other titles in this series
Murder on Astor Place, No 1 [review]
Murder on Lenox Hill, No 7 [review]
Murder on Sisters' Row, No 13 [review]
Murder on Fifth Avenue, No 14 [review]
Murder in Chelsea, No 15 [ review
Murder in Murray Hill, No 16 [ review
Victoria Thompson is the Edgar® and Agatha award–nominated
author of the Gaslight Mysteries.