Murder on Amsterdam Avenue

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Murder on Amsterdam Avenue

Gaslight Mystery, #17

This is another compelling mystery in the Gaslight Series by Victoria Thompson. As I have noted before, I love historical mysteries and this series is very hard to beat.

In this seventeen installment we learn Frank, after receiving a large inheritance, is no longer a cop, but he still does freelance work from time to time especially when a family might not want the cops and the press digging up old family secrets. So, when Sarah's mother entreats her to attend the funeral of an old family friend, she reluctantly agrees. However, she finds the deceased man's father is convinced his son did not die of a sudden illness, but was poisoned. Naturally, the family would like to keep this on the down low, making Frank the obvious choice to lead the inquiry. Sarah will help him as usual, as do the other secondary characters we have come to know and love.

This story deals with an upper crust family, once quite wealthy, now having to actually maintain gainful employment. (Gasp!) When Charles is given what more or less amounted to an administrative position at an “insane asylum”, his young bride, Hannah, is mortified. Their relationship was strained to say the least, but would she murder her husband in order to free herself from a disappointing marriage?

What about the servants? There was one new arrival who seemed to really hit it off with Charles. Was she the one who brought him the tainted milk?

While this is most certainly a puzzling whodunit, the author once more adds thought provoking commentary on issues we still grapple with today. In this case, the civil war and the prejudices between the north and the south and between the races is in the forefront of a sad, sad, sad case. There were lots of twist and turns and old family secrets that come to light which had me totally immersed in the story.

Also, on tap for the longtime fans of the series are some really big developments between Sarah and Frank and this just might be the installment you have all been eagerly waiting for.

Sarah is adjusting to once more having money and the pressure to realign herself with those in polite society, while Frank is adjusting to his new found wealth and trying to keep himself busy. This case will certainly keep his investigative skills sharp!

I am sure it is difficult at times to write a long running series and keep it fresh, but the author certainly did a good job with this one. The story was thought provoking, and totally absorbing. The series does move the characters forward which keeps the dynamic between them sharp and alive. I am really excited about the direction the series is taking and I think some very interesting changes will be on the horizon for Frank and Sarah. I can't wait for the next book to come out!

Book Blurb for Murder on Amsterdam Avenue

In this Gaslight Mystery from the national bestselling author of Murder in Murray Hill, midwife Sarah Brandt and Detective Sergeant Frank Malloy investigate foul play in the secretive high-society world of nineteenth-century New York City…

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 Fairfax, the son of family friends, has died unexpectedly after suffering from a mysterious disease. It is a tragic and all too common story—or so it seems. Charles’s father asks to speak with Sarah privately. He believes his son was poisoned and would like Sarah and Frank to look into the matter with the utmost discretion.  

Putting their own personal affairs on hold, 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 War Between the States, they also discover that they are in the company of a very present danger…

Night Owl Reviews May, 2015 4.00