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Murder on Astor Place: A Gaslight Mystery (Gaslight Mysteries) Paperback – September 1, 2009

4.3 out of 5 stars 214 customer reviews
Book 1 of 17 in the Gaslight Mysteries Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Sprinkled with fascinating details of turn-of-the-century New York City, Thompson's old-fashioned mystery takes the reader from the mansions of Fifth Avenue to the flophouses of the Lower East Side. Sarah Brandt is a midwife who has been estranged from her wealthy family for years. When Alicia VanDamm, a young woman from a prominent family, is murdered, Sarah must return to the upper-class society she has scorned to find the killer. Haunted by her past and disgusted by police department corruption, Sarah takes it upon herself to avenge the girl's death. Annoyed at first by her interference, Detective Sergeant Frank Malloy asks for Sarah's help only when he has been taken off the case at the request of the victim's scandal-fearing family. The feisty midwife and the ambitious policeman grudgingly become allies in their search for justice. Sarah and Frank are appealing characters, and the author develops their rapport subtly and believably. In this first installment in a new series of historical mysteries, Thompson vividly re-creates the gas-lit world of old New York, concluding her mystery with revelations that will shock even 20th-century readers.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

Review

"Thompson vividly re-creates the gas-lit world of old New York, concluding her mystery with revelations that will shock even 20th-century readers." ---Publishers Weekly --This text refers to the MP3 CD edition.
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Product Details

  • Series: Gaslight Mysteries
  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley; Reprint edition (September 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425229726
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425229729
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (214 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #497,924 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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.
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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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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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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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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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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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