Oh my it’s good to be back to a little light-weight, almost cozy, mystery. I’ve read the first two in the “Gaslight Murders” series, Murder on Astor Place (#1) and Murder on St. Mark’s Place (#2) so it looks like I’ll continue. There are 21 in the series (to date). That ought to keep me busy. LOL!
Murder on Gramercy Park
by Victoria Thompson
read by Callie Beaulieu
rating A / historical mystery
(#3 in the Gaslight Murders series)
We’re still in New York circa 1895-96, when life may have been gilded for Mrs Astor’s 400, but quite rough for the immigrants. The cops were crooked (everyone knew that), but Teddy Roosevelt was Police Commissioner so things might change.
Sarah Brandt is the young widow of a very good hearted doctor who was murdered. She’d come down from the upper classes to marry him and has no intention of going back. She now works as a midwife and in the course of doing that job comes across murders which Detective Frank Malloy investigates, with Sarah’s help, of course. Frank is a widower with a young, deaf and club-footed son. He lives with his very judgmental mother who helps with the child. These are the overarching plots which the reader follows while reading the series.
I love the characters and their development over time because they’re good honest compassionate and likable people. And their sense of humor is often on display. That’s probably the biggest reason for continuing with this series – the crimes and solutions are quite good though.
This time, after a high-tension Prologue in which it seems as though a woman is struggling with life/death and addiction, Chapter 1 opens with Frank going to investigate an apparent suicide and discovers there is a woman in labor also in the house. Furthermore, the dead man is/was the woman’s husband and doctor. Frank calls Sarah to help deliver the baby.
There are plenty of twists and bodies with a wee bit of history, including the timing of the development of “chiropractic” and only the tiniest dash of romance – flirting. I’m not sure if a woman in Sarah’s 19th century position would actually speak to a guy like Frank in such a forward manner but … it works.