Thursday, May 5, 2011

Murder on Sisters' Row-Victoria Thompson

Murder on Sisters' Row
Victoria Thompson
Berkley, Jun 7 2011, $24.95
ISBN 9780425241158

In Manhattan Mrs. Walker asks affluent midwife Sarah Brandt to help a pregnant woman about to give birth. Sarah rushes over to assist frightened Amy Cunningham give birth to a boy. Afterward the still scared new mom asks Sarah to help her leave the brothel as she is fearful of her madam, Rowena Walker.

Sarah turns to Mrs. Vivian Van Orner of the charity organization Rahab's Daughters that helps the mother and her newborn; as she and her group assist fallen women. However, soon after Rahab’s Daughters’ involvement in the Cunningham mother and baby assistance, someone murders Van Orner. Sarah's lover NYPD Detective Sergeant Frank Malloy investigates as does Brandt. They soon move from the brothel to the charity as inconvenient truths begin to arise.

This is an engaging Gaslight Mystery (see Murder on Waverly Place and Murder on Lexington Avenue) that transports armchair travelers to late nineteenth century Manhattan. The story line initially focuses on the Cunningham duo, but accelerates into a fast-paced investigation once Van Orner’s body is found. As is the case with this terrific historical, the cast and the New York setting make for a wonderful read.

Harriet Klausner

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