Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Brings characters and setting to life with page turning mystery
Cons: Mystery could be a little more complex
The Bottom Line:
Neighbor in danger
In page turning mystery
You won’t want to end
Another Outstanding Trip Back in Time
I hadn’t realized just how much I’ve already come to love the Gaslight Mysteries by Victoria Thompson until I picked up Murder on Washington Square, the fourth in the series. Within pages, I was smiling at once again being in the presence of midwife Sarah Brandt and Detective Sergeant Frank Malloy as they deal with another murder in 1890’s New York City.
This book actually starts with a note – a note that Sarah receives from Nelson Ellsworth, the son of her nosey neighbor Mrs. Ellsworth. Intrigued, she agrees to meet him that evening in Washington Square. There, she learns that Nelson has accidentally fallen for a woman, Anna, and impregnated her. However, Nelson wants to do the right thing and marry her, only Anna is refusing to marry him. Nelson is asking Sarah in her role as midwife to look at Anna. Sarah agrees, but Anna refuses to let Sarah examine her. Something seems off about their encounter, but Sarah can’t quite figure out what it is.
36 hours later, Sarah is shocked to learn that Anna has been murdered and Nelson has been arrested for the crime. Since things don’t add up for Sarah, she enlists the help of Frank Malloy to figure out what really happened. Even though it isn’t Frank’s case, he agrees. But can they clear Nelson?
As I already stated, I love these characters. Sarah and Frank are both extremely bright and do a good job of investigating the case, sharing information to build a complete picture of what happened. Oh, don’t get me wrong, they still bicker a bit, but you can see the respect they have for each other in the very slow burn romance.
While these two are the star of the show, they don’t overshadow the rest of the cast. The few other series regulars get a moment to show off as well, and we see different sides of a few of them. The new characters are strong and definitely hold their own in this strong cast.
While this isn’t a historical novel centered on certain events, New York City of the 1890’s is really another character. We get a feel for what life was like back then on every page of the book. And a few real people do make cameos, which is fun.
Yet none of this gets in the way of the story. Yes, I had parts of the solution figured out before I reached the end, but there was still a twist or two that surprised me, and there were enough complications along the way to keep me turning pages. I never wanted to put the book down, and finished it as quickly as I could.
With how this book ends, I am definitely looking forward to seeing where things go next for Sarah and Frank. If you’ve missed this series, you’ll want to fix that right away. You’ll be up to Murder on Washington Square before you know it.
Needing more? Here are the rest of the Gaslight Mysteries in order.
This review is part of this week’s Friday’s Forgotten Books.