Pros: Characters and changes in their lives
Cons: Plot is predictable
The Bottom Line:
Still good to see characters
Mixed book overall
My First Disappointment in This Series
Over the last couple of years, I’ve gotten very hooked on the Gaslight Mystery by Victoria Thompson. Each book is usually a fun trip back in time to 1890’s New York City, and the leads are wonderful characters. It’s been a few months since I was last able to visit them, so I was really looking forward to reading Murder on Lenox Hill. Sadly, it was the first true stumble for the series.
It’s a cold winter’s day when midwife Sarah Brandt is summoned to the Linton home. When she arrives, it is to discovered they are worried about their daughter Grace. While biologically almost a young woman, mentally she is still a child. And yet, her parents think she is pregnant. Sarah’s examination confirms their suspicions, but Grace never leaves them. How could this have happened to her? Who would take advantage of her like that?
Meanwhile, Detective Sergeant Frank Malloy has been summoned to see Sarah’s father. Mr. Decker wants Frank to work further on his investigation into the murder of Sarah’s husband, Tom. Decker insists that Tom was not that man that Sarah thought he was, and he is certain that this investigation will help Sarah learn the truth. Is Decker correct? Can Frank find the truth while sparing Sarah from any pain?
You’ll noticed I didn’t mention anything about a current murder in my teaser. Yes, we do get a dead body before the book is over, but it comes very late in the proceedings. However, there is plenty of mystery and story before that happens, and it does a good job of setting up suspects, so we are able to jump right in.
Unfortunately, I found the plot fairly predictable. I am often a plot point ahead of Sarah and Frank as I read these books, but this one was fairly obvious from the start.
However, the characters were definitely a redeeming feature of the book for me. Tom Brandt’s murder has been an on-going storyline since the series began, and we definitely got some interesting twists to the story here. While the romance between Frank and Sarah continues to be a very slow burn, there are some interesting developments in other areas. In fact, that final scene will have fan scrambling to find the next book in the series to find out what happens next.
As you’ve probably guessed, there are some more delicate things usually avoided in the cozies I read that are part of the story here. Given the characters involved, they are still handled without getting into any details. Just know there are some sensitive subjects discussed here and you should be fine.
Fans will need to read Murder on Lenox Hill to find out what is happening in the lives of these characters. But if you are new to the series, definitely don’t pick up this book since it would be a very disappointing introduction to a usually fine series.
Looking for more books in the series? Here are the rest of the Gaslight Mysteries.
This book is part of this week's Friday's Forgotten Books.