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50 of 50 people found the following review helpful
Format: Mass Market Paperback
In the 1st book in the Gaslight Mystery series, readers find themselves transported back in time to the early 1900's. Sarah Brandt, a widow who makes a living in New York as a midwife, came from a privileged background and now finds herself helping all economic classes deliver their babies. One evening while delivering a baby at a rooming house, Sarah notices a young woman that she mistakes for an old friend from school. When she goes back to check on the new mother and baby, she discovers that the young woman had been murdered. She also discovers that the victim was the younger sister of her friend from school. The family is quite wealthy and powerful, and Sarah finds it odd that the victim would be staying in such a neighborhood. Determining to look into the murder, Sarah finds herself at odds with the police sergeant in charge of the case, Frank Malloy. After she provides several pertinent clues to him, Malloy grudgingly allows Sarah to help. And when Malloy is thrown off the case at the request of his corrupt police department, Sarah must take on a killer without becoming the latest victim.

I had put off reading this series for several years even though it came highly recommended to me. Normally, I do not read many "historical" cozies, except the Mrs. Jeffries series (which is no comparison to this fascinating series). But these books kept catching my eye, and finally, I gave in and picked up this book. I loved it, and am annoyed with myself for waiting so long to delve into this superb series! I couldn't put the book down, and loved the vivid setting and fascinating characters. The ending to the mystery was haunting, and I could not stop thinking about it for several days.

Overall, I felt like I had stepped back into time, to an intriguing period in American history, and cannot wait to visit turn-of-the-century New York City with Sarah again! The characters were just as wonderful as the mystery was compelling, and I look forward to reading this series for years to come.

The next book in this series is "Murder on St. Mark's Place". Enjoy!
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Format: Mass Market Paperback
A good read with a familiar feel. I think historical readers have a new series to look forward to.
Sarah Brandt is a midwife at the turn-of -the-century. When a young girl boarding at Sara's patients home is murdered Sarah's lack of faith in the NYC Police Department compels her to try and solve the murder herself. Frank Malloy is a tough cop with ambitions to move up. Sarah wonders if he will consider the case worth his time and Frank wonders if she will ever go away.
Victoria Thompson's first historical is a hit as far as I'm concerned. The mystery was well done and the historical jargon is clear without being overwhelming. I think it helps the reader sometimes to know what certain historical terms are and Ms Thompson was successful in explaining them without distracting from the story.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on October 15, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
If the purpose of a murder mystery is to surprise the reader with the identity of the killer and the how and why it was done, this book didn't pass the test. I saw the ending coming like a T-Rex down Broadway. On the other hand, as a novel, it satisfied me enough. The characters and their situations were well-drawn, and intriguing. While you knew the relationship between Sarah and Frank would intensify, it was fun watching it develop. I liked the book well enough, but the ending let me down.
Rocco Dormarunno, author of The Five Points
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on May 15, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is a new historical "amateur sleuth with a hook" book that has real potential as a series. If you read Anne Perry, this is the closest anyone has come to the antagonistic yet attracted relationship in the early Inspector Monk books that I've seen. It's set in turn-of-the-century New York and deals with a midwife and a police detective. The police of that time were horribly corrupt - it's just the way business was done - and our hero works within the rules of his world. The murder story was not as interesting as the glimpses into the society of the time, but the author gives you a well-rounded view of both the top and bottom segments of New York. If the author is able to maintain the detective's conflicted nature in future books, this could be a long-term winner for me.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Format: Mass Market Paperback
If you like historical mysteries (Anne Perry, etc.), you'll be delighted with this book, that takes place in New York City at the turn-of-the-century. Sara Brandt is a midwife who involves herself in solving the murder of a young, beautiful, wealthy girl, who is found murdered in a less-than-savory boarding house. Descriptions of the class distinctions, the Police Department, and the Medical Profession of Old New York make you thankful we live in more enlightened times. A great read - I highly recommend it!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on October 18, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I picked up this book on a whim and i must say that it was everything I had hoped for and more. I just love the historical aspects to the book, they seem very accurate and give the book a different aspect than the more modern mysteries such as Sue Grafton, etc. It's nice to dive into a world that's unfamiliar and where the detective work is done the hard way, on foot and by talking to people and not by using the newest electronic gadgets.
Sarah is a delightful character and I think the bit of mystery about her is wonderful. She is exciting, certainly smart, independent person that's very refreshing and her dealings with Det. MAlloy are fun and exciting. I am looking forward to buying the next book in this series and hope that she writes more quickly.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on July 9, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I'm a fan of historical mysteries and I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It's easy to read and the pace moves fast enough without excessive dialogue and characters. I liked the way she weaved details about life in that era and of course, the love-hate chemistry between Sarah and Frank. I was dying to read her other books and to my utmost disappointment, the libraries in Singapore only have this one. I'm gng to buy the rest of the books and add them to my book collection!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on June 28, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I have to admit that I enjoy a mystery which requires smarts and finese as opposed to computors and DNA. I just started this book and feel I have found a gem of a series of mysteries. Sarah Brandt and Frank Malloy are likeable, if not an unlikely pair to coroborate in solving a mystery. Take a chance and I am sure you will find this book and enjoyable read.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on July 30, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I have been anxious to begin this "Gaslight Series" set in turn of the century New York for awhile and this book did not disappoint. Even though I had figured out the murderer and the motive before the end of the book it did not detract from Ms. Thompson's strong storyline and even stronger characters. Sarah Brandt is going to be a great heroine, especially backed by Sergeant Frank Malloy. Ms. Thompson takes on this genre head-on, and her descriptions of early New York life are wonderful. The book held my interest throughout, and I can't wait to read the next book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Murder on Astor Place by Victoria Thompson is the first Gaslight Mystery featuring midwife Sarah Brandt. Sarah has given up her wealth and prestige as part of one of the Knickerbocker famlies in Victorian New York to work as a midwife. The pain of her past losses keeps her working with the poor and desperate. When Detective Sergeant Frank Malloy investigates a murder of a young pregnant woman at a boarding house, he uses Sarah's skills to help him build his case. The rules for police procedure are nothing like those of today, a sergeant needs to have a bribe in hand in order to complete a case, but this death haunts Malloy until he feels compelled to solve it, and he needs Sarah to do it. The atmospheric details in this book are nice. Thompson does a good job of helping the reader feel a part of the scene. My one complaint about that is she never gives us an actual year. Yes, I could pull out a history book and find out when Rooseveldt took over the NYPD, but I'd much rather that Thompson had simply told me. Malloy's internal dialogue occasionally has a ring of Sam Spade to it, and Sarah often seems too good to be true. I'd like to see her cut loose her intelligent tongue on some worthy subject. The mystery moves along quickly, and although the solution can be figured out, how Malloy will handle it is the true mystery. The final climactic scene is a bit hard to follow, although that may have been intentional. The final contact between father and daughter is truly shocking. Sorry couldn't help myself. I do look forward to reading the next book in the series.
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