Historical Fiction

Murder on Amsterdam Avenue by Victoria Thompson

Murder on Amsterdam Avenue


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.

Book Info

  • Release Date: May 5, 2015
  • Series: Gaslight Mystery #17
  • Page Numbers: 294
  • Publisher: Penguin


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34 thoughts on “Murder on Amsterdam Avenue by Victoria Thompson”

  1. # 17!! Sigh…I have the first 7 or 8 in this series sitting on my bookshelf. I have yet to crack one open. Someday!! I wonder if I can find them on audio. Do you think they would make good audiobooks?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If listened to a sample of the audio and liked it. I’d already collected the books so just stuck with that. The series group read (started last year) has helped me make such progress. Granted, though, we read this first at the beginning of the month because we can’t wait to get to it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I will put it in the running for my next audiobook series. So many series, so little time!
        I can see how reading a series as a group would really help keep you going!!
        If you join any other GR groups to conquer a series I would love to know. It is such a good idea!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Actually, this is a group I moderate and the sole objective is to make a dent in series reading. Our next one just started. We voted on Lucy Kincaid by Allison Brennan but realized the character is introduced in the No Evil Trilogy so we started with the first book in that series this month (I’m reading it now). I’ve collected all but two of the audiobooks for Lucy Kincaid.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. I have never heard of this author. I just looked her up and they look good, but I don’t think I will join in on this one. I would however love to be in the loop for future reads!

          Liked by 1 person

        3. She writes romantic suspense but the Lucy Kincaid series is more in the vein of Karin Slaughter…mystery with romantic elements.

          If you join the group, you’ll get the broadcast messages (of which there are few) when we open nominations for our next series and the voting. The only other time I send out messages is at the beginning of the year for the new threads.


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