Murder on Astor Place by Victoria Thompson

Murder on Astor PlaceFans of Anne Perry’s Charlotte and Thomas Pitt series should also enjoy this mystery series, called the Gaslight Mysteries. Author Victoria Thompson places her historical mysteries in New York City in the early 1900s, when Theodore Roosevelt had just become the chief of police.

The main character, Sarah Brandt, is a woman who was raised among the social elite. But Sarah is estranged from her wealthy family. As a young woman she had fallen in love with a doctor who was very far below her social status. She had a major break with her family when she married this doctor and became a midwife. Now a widow, she is still practicing the trade of midwife and it is while visiting a patient that she sees a young woman who looks very familiar, and who is found murdered the next day. It turns out that this woman is a member of a high-society family that Sarah used to know. Besides wondering why the victim was staying in a boardinghouse in a cheap neighborhood, Sarah also wants to see the killer brought to justice, and so she gets involved.

As with many mystery series of this type, the amateur detective has a partner of sorts who is a professional. In this case the professional is Detective Sergeant Frank Malloy. He is a man of his time and certainly does not appreciate Sarah’s efforts to help him. Only gradually does he come to value her assistance as she is able to talk to people in high society in ways that he cannot.

Thompson has certainly done her research on the place and time. For example, Malloy is saving up money for the bribe he will need to become a captain. Roosevelt has vowed to clean up this kind of corruption, but Malloy has no faith in that just yet. In fact, he considers giving up on this case early on because he can see that there will be no money in it for him. But his deep desire for justice keeps him searching for the killer.
If you’re looking for a new mystery series to try, the Gaslight Mystery series already has 16 titles. Begin at the beginning with this one.
Find and reserve this book in our catalog.

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