Blog Tour, Historical Mystery

Blog Tour: Murder on Bedford Street by Victoria Thompson @gaslightvt @Berkley

the setup…
Private investigator Frank Malloy has a new client, one he doesn’t particularly like but the case is intriguing. Hugh Breedlove has just returned with his family from England with the intention of introducing his daughter to society. However, he’s learned that his niece has been unfairly committed to an insane asylum by her philandering husband. He wants Frank’s help to get his niece released before the news of her commitment becomes public and ruins his daughter’s chances for a successful debut. With the help of his team, which includes his wife Sarah, Frank has his work cut out for him as he enters into unfamiliar territory.

the heart of the story…
I love being back in Frank and Sarah’s world! This case was peculiar and I learned a lot about how mental illness was treated (or not) at the turn of the 20th century. It was particularly troublesome for women as their spouses need only declare they were insane to have them permanently institutionalized. The issue for the team was to find out who from Julia’s servant staff might have witnessed her husband’s bad behavior that might sway the doctor and a judge. Investigating her husband Chet posed some difficulties, too, as he was unwilling to cooperate. But the biggest challenge was assessing Julia’s competency…was she or wasn’t she? And who was responsible for other disappearances from that house?

the bottom line…
The true mystery was whether or not Julia was mentally ill and it wasn’t as easy to figure out as one might think. I vacillated over the answer but eventually landed in the right place. It was also a bleak reminder of how women were treated more like chattel in that era rather than having basic human rights. It was wonderful reconnecting with the recurring characters, especially Maeve who balances her work as a nanny for Frank and Sarah’s children with side work for Frank’s PI firm. She’s really good as an investigator and her relationship with Frank’s partner Gino inches closer to something more romantic. This continues to be one of my favorite historical mystery series.

Book Info

  • Release Date: April 25, 2023
  • Series: Gaslight Mystery #26
  • Page Numbers: 336
  • Publisher: Berkley




Nobody could accuse Frank Malloy of being a snob. As an Irish Catholic and a former policeman, he was, in fact, the kind of person snobs usually looked down on. He might be a millionaire now, but lots of people still looked down on him because he’d always be Irish no matter how much money he had. This was why he felt a little guilty about feeling snobbish about the prospective client who had just been escorted into his office.

Hugh Breedlove, according to his calling card, was not Irish or poor and would have been shocked to learn Frank had already developed a bad opinion of him. His tailor-made suit spoke of wealth, as did his bright gold watch chain and the large ruby ring on his hand. He was an imposing man with silver hair pomaded into place and a neatly trimmed beard. His expression ruined the effect, though. His frown spoke of contempt as he glanced around and saw nothing that apparently pleased him, including Frank himself.

Breedlove stopped his critical perusal of Frank’s modest office only when Frank’s secretary, Maeve, announced him. From the twinkle in her eye, she knew Frank’s opinion of Mr. Breedlove, who might well be the biggest snob Frank had met in his life so far, and he had met a few.

“Nice to meet you, Mr. Breedlove,” Frank said with a professional smile. He’d risen from his desk chair and reached across his desk to shake Breedlove’s hand.

Breedlove seemed to hesitate before accepting the handshake, but luckily for him-if he really needed the services of Frank’s private detective agency-he finally did. Then he gave Maeve one of his disapproving looks, as if to ask why she was still in the room.

He obviously didn’t know he couldn’t possibly intimidate Maeve Smith. “Do you want me to take notes, Mr. Malloy?” she asked, her eyes still twinkling.

“I have a matter of the utmost delicacy to discuss,” Breedlove informed them both haughtily.

Frank could have told him that all of his clients did, but he said, “I’ll call you if I need you, Maeve.”

She gave him a mischievous grin before closing the door behind her, and Frank somehow managed not to roll his eyes. “Please sit down, Mr. Breedlove, and tell me how I can help you.” Frank motioned to the wooden client chairs that sat in front of his desk.

Breedlove didn’t actually take out his handkerchief and wipe off the seat before he sat on it, but he looked as if he would have liked to. Frank’s opinion of him did not improve.

“You come highly recommended, Mr. Malloy,” Breedlove said doubtfully, glancing around the utilitarian office again.

“May I ask who recommended me?” Frank thought he might want to take some revenge.

Breedlove mentioned the names of two wealthy gentlemen whom Frank had assisted in the past. “They said you could be very discreet.”

“They were right, and anything you tell me will be confidential, even if you don’t hire me, Mr. Breedlove.”

Breedlove seemed to relax a little at that, but only a little. “If I have your word, then . . .”

“Of course. Now why don’t you tell me why you need my help?”

Breedlove sighed and folded his well-tended hands in his lap. “My family and I have spent the past five years in London, and we just returned to New York a few weeks ago.”

“What took you to London?”

“My work. I’m a partner in an investment bank, and I went over to manage our office there.”

“I see. And what brought you back to New York?”

He seemed to brighten at this. “My daughter. You see, she’s eighteen now, and we wanted to bring her out in society here in America. I know it’s all the fashion to marry a British aristocrat, but we didn’t want that for our girl.”

Or maybe they didn’t have a big enough fortune to attract a British aristocrat, but Frank didn’t mention this. He just nodded his understanding.

“As you can imagine, things have changed a lot in the five years we’ve been gone. Old friends have . . . Well, we were depending on my sister-in-law to help ease us back into society. My brother died while we were away, you see, but I assumed she would still be available. And her daughter had married well, or so we were led to believe. Between the two of them, we expected . . .”

To Frank’s surprise, Breedlove’s gaze dropped to his folded hands, and he looked almost embarrassed.

“You expected they would sponsor your daughter?” Frank guessed.

Breedlove looked up in obvious surprise. “You know how a young lady is introduced to society?”

Frank tried not to feel offended. That would be petty. “My wife was a debutante.”

Plainly, Breedlove was shocked, but he managed to say, “Oh well, I suppose you’d know then.”

“Yes. Now you were saying about your niece and your sister-in-law . . . ?”

“Uh, yes, I was. Ellie, my brother’s widow, has left the city, it seems. She moved to the country somewhere and no one seems to know where.”

That did seem strange, but perhaps Ellie had her reasons. “And your niece?”

“Julia. As I said, we heard she’d married well. Chet Longly, you know.”

Frank didn’t know, but he nodded to encourage Breedlove to keep talking.

“When we went to call on her, Longly told us . . .” Once again, he dropped his gaze to his folded hands, and for the first time Frank understood that he really did have something painful to tell Frank.

Frank instantly regretted his hasty judgment of Breedlove and leaned forward to indicate his concern. “Has something happened to Julia?”

“Yes, she . . . Longly has put her in an insane asylum.”

Excerpted from Murder on Bedford Street by Victoria Thompson Copyright © 2023 by Victoria Thompson. Excerpted by permission of Berkley. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.


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About the Author

Monica Z. Photography

Victoria Thompson
 is the Edgar® and Agatha Award–nominated author of the Gaslight Mysteries, the Counterfeit Lady series, and numerous historical novels. She lives in the Chicago area with her family.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads 

(Thanks to NetGalley and Berkley for my complimentary copy. All opinions are my own.)

14 thoughts on “Blog Tour: Murder on Bedford Street by Victoria Thompson @gaslightvt @Berkley”

  1. Wonderful review, Jo. The way mental health was treated was terrible and the number of girls and women committed on a man’s say so was unbelievable. We’ve come a long way baby. Glad this series gets better all the time.

    Liked by 1 person

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