Friday, November 6, 2020

Book Review: Murder on Fifth Avenue by Victoria Thompson (Gaslight Mysteries #14)

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Strong characters and plot, bits of humor
Cons: A few predictable twists (but many that I didn’t expect)
The Bottom Line:
Body at a club
Must solve the who, why, and how
Page turning again

Death at a Gentlemen’s Club

It is always a pleasure to return to the 1890’s via Victoria Thompson’s Gaslight Mysteries.  In fact, the further I get into the series, the more anxious I am to find out what is going to happen next to the characters, so I was smiling when I picked up Murder on Fifth Avenue.

When a member of the Knickerbocker club dies one afternoon, everyone assumes it was a heart attack – until they move the body and discover that he had been bleeding.  Midwife Sarah Brandt’s father, Felix Decker, is a member of the club, so he immediately calls Detective Sergeant Frank Malloy to investigate.  He knows that Frank will be thorough and as discrete as possible.

The victim was Chilton Devries, the head of a wealthy family.  However, Frank soon learns that Chilton was not a well-liked man.  With Sarah using her status in society to gain access to the family, the two begin to gain a long list of suspects.  But who actually killed the man?

One thing I love about the series is the inventive murder methods.  The how becomes as big a puzzle as the who and the why here, and I loved that.  It’s just one more thing to draw me into the story.

And this book definitely drew me in.  I devoured it, reading much too late two nights in a row to finish it faster than I had planned.  I just had to know what was going to happen next.

I often say that I spread out authors because I begin to notice tricks and themes, which make me see some of the twists in a story coming early.  I do think that is the case here because I figured a couple of things out before Frank and Sarah did.  However, there was still plenty that stumped me, and I was confused up until they pieced things together.  The suspects are all strong and are very much a part of what drew me into the story.

As I hinted at the beginning, I love these characters.  It’s always great to pop in and see what they are up to and get the latest in their lives.  Because we know the characters so well by this point, I found some of the interactions in this book laugh out loud funny.  Overall, the tone is still the same – more on the serious side – but there are scenes, especially involving Sarah and her parents, that are very funny.

The book ends on a bit of a small cliffhanger, more of a tease, really.  I hadn’t been planning on returning to the series until after the first of the year, but that seems like a long time to wait to find out what is going to happen next.  (And that’s even with suspecting I know what is going to happen next.)

I’m so glad I started the Gaslight Mysteries.  These trips back in time are always a delight, and Murder on Fifth Avenue is another wonderful entry in the series.

Be sure to check out the rest of the Gaslight Mysteries.

This review is part of this week's Friday's Forgotten Books.

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