The selection for our mystery group discussion in August is called "Murder on Astor Place" by Victoria Thompson. When I looked at the cover prior to reading it, I had some reservations about the book. The cover says "First In The Historical MysterySeries" and translated to me it means it is a period piece. One thing my wife knows is that if a show on tv is a period piece, I will fall asleep. You might be able to see the reason I was concerned. But let me spill it here - I did NOT get bored or fall asleep. Every month we cast our vote for the book our group read so I will go ahead and cast my vote - thumbs up. Following is a very sketchy review of this first book of the series.
In this "Gaslight Mystery", our two sleuths meet at the scene of a murder. They are Sergeant Frank Malloy of the New york City Police and Sarah Brandt - a midwife. Their meeting is not a pleasant one. And when Sarah realizes the young lady who was murdered is the sister of an old friend, she becomes determined to see to it that the case is solved. Apparently she does not trust the police to do the job. We learn she is a widow whose husband was murdered and the police never completed the investigation into his murder.
Our police sergeant does not exactly trust her either. She could be a suspect, or a meddling old lady (even though she is not old), and because she is a midwife. Now how does being a midwife contribute to his feelings towards her? Well..., he is a widower and his wife died in childbirth - with a midwife involved. And his son born at the time will never be able to grow up normal.
Initially prompted to followup on this case by Sarah, Frank Malloy becomes more interested in solving this case when he is taken off of it. He helps Sarah (who can not be thrown off the case) by confirming some of the actions she takes throught her investigation. Through each one of their unofficial investigations, they both wind up at the murderer's house. The suspect is the father of the murder victim who got his younger daughter pregnant. But when they confront him, he denies murdering his own daughter. Instead it was the sister who murdered her - and she is really the mother. She wanted her father back to herself.
When the book leaves off, we find Sarah and Frank have a better understanding of each other. Will it lead anywhere? Who knows? Stay tuned. There are nine more books in the series. Of course you may want to check them out for yourself.
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