Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Strong characters and mystery
The Bottom Line:
An office bombing
Is our portal back in time
Frank and Sarah have an Explosive New Case
I'm seriously still kicking myself for not starting the Gaslight Mysteries sooner. Of course, the upside of that is that I can indulge in a trip back in time whenever the mood strikes (and my to be read pile allows). I was certainly glad to be back to return for Murder on Marble Row, and the book was over all too soon.
When a bomb goes off, killing wealthy businessman Gregory Van Dyke, Detective Sergeant Frank Malloy is surprised to find himself put on the case. He's even more surprised to find out that Felix Decker, Sarah Brandt's father, has specifically requested that Frank handle the case. He's afraid he is being set up to fail, but he is going to do his best to learn the truth. Everyone thinks it is anarchists, but is it that simple?
Meanwhile, midwife Sarah Brandt is shocked to hear the news when returning home after a late-night delivery. Since the Van Dykes have been family friends for generations, she immediately goes to offer her condolences. Naturally, Frank isn't happy to see her, and he's even less happy when he finds Sarah working her way into his investigation. Will he figure out what really happened? Will Sarah's friendship with the family be a help or a hindrance?
One reason I love these books is how quickly they pull you into another time and place. I always have to take a few minutes to adjust to modern life again when I set a book in this series down, and this book is no exception. I feel like I am in New York City in late 1896 as I read.
The plot also helps the pages fly by. I never want to put the book down since it seems like something is always happening. This includes updates on some on-going stories involving Sarah's late husband's murder and Frank's son. I am as invested in these stories at this point as I am the current murder.
And I was very impressed with the mystery presented here. I was only a page or two ahead of Frank and Sarah as they pieced things together, and there were plenty of twists and red herrings to keep me guessing.
It certainly helps that I love the characters. Frank and Sarah spend equal time as our third person narrators, and both are strong characters. The usual supporting characters put in at least one appearance over the course of the book. Sarah gets a surprising sidekick for a portion of the book – her mother. Those scenes were lots of fun. The suspects are just as real, with plenty of secrets to flesh them out and confuse us until the very end.
Just how hooked was I on this book? I stayed up late to finish this book instead of waiting until the next day to finish it, something I never do.
I'm already plotting when I can visit Sarah and Frank again and get the next chapter in their lives. Whether you jump in here or go back to the beginning, you'll get lost in time while reading Murder on Marble Row.
Looking for more trips back in time? Here are the rest of the Gaslight Mysteries.
This book is part of this week’s Friday’s Forgotten Books.