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Thursday, May 26, 2016

Review - Murder on Amersterdam Avenue

 I had forgotten how much I enjoyed the novel in this series that I read a few years ago, #12 Murder on Lexington Avenue (click here for review). I decided to get back into this series with this offering.  This is the seventeenth book in the series, and let's see how well these characters have stood the test of time.

Author: Victoria Thompson

Copyright: May 2016 (Berkley) 304 pgs

Series: 17th in Gaslight Mystery series

Sensuality: Mild

Mystery Sub-genre: Historical Cozy

Main Character:  Midwife Sarah Brandt

Setting:  Victorian New York City

Obtained Through: Publisher for honest review

"In the midst of Sarah and Frank’s wedding preparations, Sarah accompanies her mother on a condolence call to the Upper West Side, where Charles Oakes, the son of family friends, has died unexpectedly after suffering from a mysterious disease. But Charles’s father believes his son was poisoned, and would like Sarah and Frank to look into the matter with the utmost discretion.

Putting off their own personal affairs, Sarah and Frank soon learn that not everyone wants to know more about Charles’s death, particularly if he was murdered. As they unravel secrets that reach back to the Civil War, they also discover that they are in the company of a very present danger."

Sarah Brandt is being compelled back into society by her mother inspite attempts to thwart her. 
Frank Malloy has come into substantial money and had to leave the police force.  I need to find the book where his luck so drastically changes and read it pronto.  He is trying to adjust and finding it difficult.  Their children: Sarah's daughter and Frank's deaf son get a little more page time and I love them both.  Maeve and Gino have a slow burn attraction developing that gets to simmer a bit this outing.  Gino is back from the war and unsure about returning to the police station so he helps Frank out on the case.

The setting of New York city is given a different illumination on its culture and citizens in light of the Civil War tie-in.  What you find is a northern city that was filled with prejudice despite what you might think.  It is natural to the story and not forced, but certainly does provide prime conditions for murder.

The plot is somebody, likely close to the young Charles, poisoned him over a few days with Arsenic.  Probably somebody in the family.  Charles is the son of a northern man who took in a southern bell who had lost her family and plantation, had married her and sent her north to his family.  There is plenty of animosity in the family back and forth even thirty years later, but the puzzle of just who was poisoning him...and why is hard to see. 

The killer reveal is a bit startling in the manner it occurs.  The story wraps up wonderfully and shows that Sarah and Frank will be around for more adventures as a private investigator now. 

The series is still going strong with clever plots and realistic characters you want to spend more time with.  I have to go back and start reading the series from the beginning I am so won over.

 Rating:  Near Perfect - Buy two copies: one for you and one for a friend.

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Mystica said...

I've never heard of this series but will be keeping an eye out for it now. Thanks for the post.

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