Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Murder on Bank Street-Sarah Brandt

Murder on Bank Street
Sarah Brandt
Berkley, Jun 2008, $23.95
ISBN: 9780425221518

In 1893 New York City, widow Sarah Brandt still hopes to learn who murdered her husband Dr. Tom Brandt four years ago although she knows the case is cold as so much time has elapsed. Back when Tom was killed, the police refused to investigate because they only handled cases when they were paid to do so. However, with Police Commissioner Theodore Roosevelt’s approval, Detective Sergeant Frank Malloy has conducted some inquiries mostly because he is attracted to Sarah and admires her courage and intelligence; she has worked with him on his investigations.

Frank visits Sarah to allegedly update her on his investigation, but he knows he just wants to see her even with her two “chaperones”, her “adopted” daughter Catherine and teenage nanny Maeve Smith. He thinks the motive has to do with Dr. Brandt treating young women; but hides the fact that one of their fathers believes the saintly doctor seduced his offspring; he probably killed Tom in a rage. He fears his progress will emotionally hurt Sarah, who has the late Tom standing on a pedestal and devastate his hopes for a romantic relationship with her. However, he also knows if she learns the truth from another source, he will be kicked to the curb.

Fans of the Gaslight Mystery series have waited a long time to learn who killed Dr. Tom and why; MURDER ON BANK STREET answers these questions and much more as readers will agree the wait was worth it. The story line is fast-paced especially the last quarter while also providing insight to 1890s New York. Fascinatingly Maeve plays a much greater role in this novel and brings youthful freshness to the mix. A terrific entry, fans will want to know if Frank solves the case as to who and why and if so will he tell Sarah.

Harriet Klausner