Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Book Review: Murder in Murray Hill by Victoria Thompson (Gaslight Mysteries #16)

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Twisty plot and characters we love
Cons: Dark subject matter (but handled delicately)
The Bottom Line:
Missing young woman
As Frank and Sarah’s lives change
Always engrossing

Investigating a Murder as Life Changes

I’ve finally gotten to the point in the Gaslight Mysteries where everything changes for our heroes, midwife Sarah Brandt and Detective Sergeant Frank Malloy.  Those changes started at the end of the last book, so I was interested to see just how that would play out with Murder in Murray Hill.

That also means that the rest of this review will have spoilers for the events of the previous book in the series.  If you are further behind than I am and don’t want to have the twists their personal lives are taking spoiled for you, stop now.  Know that I found this book darker than normal for the series but still compelling.

All good?  Then let’s get to it.

This book opens just days after the previous book ended.  Frank is still trying to wrap his head around the changes his sudden inheritance is going to mean for his life.  The one he is looking forward to is his upcoming marriage to Sarah.  He also figures this will mean the end of his career with the police, but before that happens, he gets one last case.

Henry Livingston has come to New York City’s police headquarters to report his daughter Grace is missing.  He has no clue where Grace might have gone, but Frank quickly figures out that she has been responding to lonely hearts ads in the newspaper trying to find herself a husband.  While she might have eloped with someone, all signs point to something much worse.  Is Grace still alive?  Can Frank and Sarah find her?

This series has included more serious subjects in the past.  These subjects are always handled as delicately as possible, with details we need, but no extra details.  That’s the case again here.  This is the darkest book in the series I’ve read to date, but it still could have delved into more details.  I’m glad it didn’t.  Be prepared for that going into the book and you’ll be fine.

Balancing out the darkness are the plans that Frank and Sarah are beginning to make for their new lives together.  That includes figuring out where to live and who will make up their new household.  These scenes and sub-plots definitely lighten to the tone of the book (I may have laughed at one or two of them, in fact), and fans will be thrilled to see what is in store for these characters we love.

Because, let’s be honest, we wouldn’t be reading book sixteen in a series if we didn’t love the characters.  I’m actually finding that I am missing them between books, and it takes all my self-control (and the fact that I’ve agreed to review other books) to keep from binging the rest of the series so I can get caught up.  These characters can make me laugh and tear up, and I am so glad I finally started the series after considering it for so many years.

And yes, the plot once again is wonderful.  I thought I had an idea where the story was going a time or two, but it would almost immediately twist off in a way I didn’t expect.  It’s hard to say I was enjoying a story with this subject matter, but I was certainly engrossed.  The characters we met as part of this investigation were just as real as the series regular characters are.

If you aren’t familiar with the series, it takes place in the 1890’s in New York City.  As always, that location and time are brought to vivid life, and it is amazing how that is accomplished without once slowing down the story.

Fans of the series will once again turn pages as quickly as possible until they’ve reached the end.  If you haven’t started the Gaslight Mysteries today, I highly recommend you do so.  Start at the beginning so you’ll more fully enjoy the events of Murder in Murray Hill.

Here are the rest of the Gaslight Mysteries in order.

1 comment:

  1. I absolutely love this series though I haven't gone back and read the earlier books. This one sounds especially good.