Murder on Astor Place by Victoria Thompson (Gaslight Mystery #1)

Publication Info: Published May 1, 1999 by Berkley Prime Crime. I read the paperback edition, purchased through Thrift Books. Other editions available.

Summary: Sarah Brandt is a widow working as a midwife in late Victorian era New York. While she was born into wealth, she became estranged from her family for following her heart, rather than social norms. Her physician husband’s death still weighs heavily in her memory.

While on a call at a boarding house, Sarah sees a distressed young girl in that reminds her so much of an old school friend that she calls out her old friend’s name. Startled, the girl flees from the doorway. Two days later, when she returned to check on the woman who just gave birth, Sarah learns that the girl was found murdered. Because of the dead girl’s resemblance to her old friend, Sarah is able to identify her as her friend’s younger sister. But what was an upper class girl doing living in a shoddy boarding house?

In an era of extreme police corruption, Sarah knows that few crimes get solved unless the investigation is greased with cash. Sarah takes it upon herself to find out who murdered the girl and why.

Comments: I happily settled into this book with its strong female character, historical setting and grisly murder accompanied by a cup of hot tea and a blanket. I enjoyed every minute of this mystery. The Gaslight series has been on my wish list for several years and. I liked plucky Sarah Brandt and even the gruff Detective showed himself to be more complex than he first appeared. Murder on Astor Place is the first in a series of twenty-three titles. I’m putting the second book, Murder on St. Mark’s Place on my to read list as soon as I hit the publish button on my blog!

Recommended for readers of mysteries, especially historical mysteries.

My rating: 4 STARS

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