Murder in the Bowery
Victoria Thompson     

Genre: Historical Cozy Mystery
Series: A Gaslight Mystery
Book: 19

The latest Gaslight Mystery from the bestselling author of Murder in Morningside Heights finds Sarah Brandt and Frank Malloy searching for a connection between a murdered newsie and a high society woman with dangerous habits.

Frank Malloy’s latest client is the well-dressed Will Bert. He’s searching for his brother, a newsboy named Freddie, so he can share his new financial good fortune. Frank makes quick work of the case and locates Freddie, but a happy reunion between brothers is not in the cards. 

When Will’s name is mentioned, Freddie runs off—only to be found dead a short time later. Suspicious, Frank tracks down Will who spins a tale of lust and deceit involving a young society woman, Estelle Longacre, also recently deceased.  Frank can’t be sure if Estelle’s risky behavior and the company she kept was to blame, or if her own ruthless family had a hand in her death.

Frank will need Sarah’s help to unearth the dark secrets of the wealthy Longacres and to discover if there is a connection between Estelle and Freddie’s death. Together they must navigate a perilous underground web of treachery to find the truth.

New York City police detective Frank Mallow and midwife Sarah Brandt were friends for many years and Frank appreciated the help with his cases that Sarah frequently gave him. They also had a mutual attraction that couldn’t be acted on because of class differences. However, a change in Frank’s financial circumstances finally allowed the two to get together, and they still make a great team working on cases together now that they are married and Frank is a private detective. Their newest case is the search for a newsboy named Freddie on behalf of the boy’s older brother. Soon Frank fins himself in the middle of two murder cases and needs Sarah’s help to get to the truth of both cases.

I have been a fan of Victoria Thompson’s Gaslight Mystery series for many years. I love the direction the series has taken and am glad to see Frank and Sarah finally married and Frank’s partner Gino and Sarah’s daughter’s nanny Maeve also joining in to solve cases. In this case, Frank, Gino, Sarah, and Maeve are all involved and are helpful in solving the cases, even though the murder of Estelle, a young woman from a wealthy family, involves sensitive issues and dangerous places like the Bowery that a typical “lady” of the times wouldn’t know about. Sarah isn’t embarrassed by Estelle’s shocking behavior and wants to see whoever killed the young woman is brought to justice. The parts of the book which follow Freddie and the other “newsies” are even more interesting because the information about their lives on the streets is based on facts.

Victoria Thompson has a talent of taking historical events and making them come alive. The novel is an easy and entertaining read, and I was kept guessing on both cases. If you’ve read some of the earlier books in this series, but have missed some of the latest books, you will be pleased in the developments in Sarah and Frank’s lives and the strong possibility of a future romance between Gino and Maeve. If you’re new to the series, but enjoy the books of Emily Brightwell or Anne Perry, I think you will be pleased with not only this book, but the entire series.

~ Christine