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.
Sarah Brandt accompanies her mother on a condolence call to a family friend whose son died inexplicably after being ill for only a few days. The father, Gerald Oakes, takes them aside and asks Sarah if she’ll arrange to have Frank meet with him as he fears his son may have been poisoned. Frank does some investigating and quickly learns that Gerald has every right to be suspicious. In the meantime, Sarah and Frank’s wedding plans are on hold until the house renovations are complete and there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight.
There seemed to be an unending list of suspects in this story, all problematic when considering motive and opportunity. I got brain cramps at times trying to keep up with all the details, which included a lot of red herrings. The Oakes were a dysfunctional family to say the least but one of the more interesting ones to explore. I liked that Gino Donatelli and Maeve had significant roles in helping Frank and Sarah, perhaps a good sign of future stories to come. There was also some comic relief around Frank and his house renovations.
The story also illustrated the prejudices against Blacks and residual attitudes about Southerners who were on the wrong side of the Civil War. Some I knew about, others were enlightening. I can always count on this series to provide educational elements that broaden my historical knowledge, no matter how repugnant the facts. It’s a good story that kept me interested and on my toes. And, there’s a lovely payoff at the end.
- Release Date: May 5, 2015
- Series: Gaslight Mystery #17
- Page Numbers: 294
- Publisher: Penguin
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