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.
Detective Sergeant Frank Malloy is still reeling from recent life changing events, wondering when (not if) his new circumstances will affect his career as a policeman when he’s assigned the case to find Grace Livingston, the missing daughter of an affluent businessman. She’d left on errands and never returned. Frank soon determines that she’d answered a “lonely hearts” ad and fears Grace may have met up with an impostor.
I so enjoyed this story as not only is the case highly engaging but Frank and Sarah are now coming to terms with all the considerations of merging their families. Their grappling with these issues was equally as interesting as the missing persons case. I’d heard of mail order brides during this era but was unaware of lonely hearts scams dating back this far. In this story, plain and unmarriageable women were specifically targeted, making this even more insidious and heartbreaking.
The case took a really sharp turn with the discovery of the “lair” of the man who placed the ad. The whole situation highlighted the powerlessness of women in a world where they had virtually no control over their futures. As usual, the author presents another historical factoid that was enlightening. The outcome of the case was extraordinary, probably more fictional than true to life but I needed that. I also delighted in Frank and Sarah’s new relationship, providing some balance to a story that needed that sunshine. I loved it.
- Release Date: May 6, 2014
- Series: Gaslight Mystery #16
- Page Numbers: 306
- Publisher: Berkley
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