I’m reading this series in one of my Goodreads groups and it’s one of our favorites. It’s set in turn-of-the-century (19th) New York City featuring midwife Sarah Brandt and Detective Sergeant Frank Malloy who often find themselves investigating murders together.
When NYPD Detective Sergeant Frank Malloy is summoned by Felix Decker to meet him at his Knickerbocker Club, he’s expecting the worst. So he’s quite surprised when Sarah Brandt’s father, a respected member of New York’s elite society, asks him to investigate the death of one of his friends and fellow club member. Chilton Devries died at the club and what was first thought to be a natural death was determined to be anything but. Decker wants the investigation done discreetly until they determine the killer. His (or her) identity will determine whether that person is brought to justice.
Throughout the series, justice is rarely meted out to the “haves” in the same manner as the “have nots.” This story puts that practice to the test superbly as the murder victim is determined to be everything but a gentleman. His group of detractors/enemies seemed endless and his true reputation was well earned, covered by the veneer of polite society. I loved how the Deckers were slowly exposed to his true nature, having to shift their thinking about the behaviors of their own class and challenging their beliefs. The biggest impact is on Felix Decker as those beliefs are shattered and he has to face the truths of his own daughter’s life choices.
I found the mystery challenging, not so much for the who but the how and where. Sometimes it took Frank and Sarah longer to catch up to what I’d solved but I was just as much in the dark about how everything had evolved. This was a masterfully told story in terms of the underlying themes and messages. And, having all of the Deckers involved in the investigation was just fun. Frank was put to a test by Felix and I’m still not clear as to the kind and the purpose. That’s a perfect setup for the next story. Still loving this series!
- Release Date: May 1, 2012
- Series: Gaslight Mystery #14
- Page Numbers: 300
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