Murder on Sisters' Row by Victoria Thompson
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Gaslight Mysteries book 13:
With the help of a charitable lady of means, midwife Sarah Brandt rescues a young woman and her newborn from the brothel where the mother was forced to prostitute herself. But their success comes at a high price when their benefactor is found murdered.
The mystery aspect of Murder on Sisters’ Row was just ok. I feel like it took a step back from the two previous books. Also this series has fallen into a rut at this point. There are still no new developments in the relationship between Sarah and Malloy, no new character development for any of the supporting characters. It has become rather repetitive. How many times can we read the scenario of Malloy visiting Sarah, being greeted by her with a smile and by Catherine with excitement as Malloy picks her up and says a few words to her before he is invited to eat with them and then one of them asking Maeve to take Catherine into the other room so they can talk? It's the same thing over and over, this scenario happened at least three times in this book. But that wasn't the only repetition in this book, there were other instances as well where it repeated things unnecessarily. There also isn't much conversation between the Sarah and Malloy that doesn't involve the investigations, which is disappointing. In past books we got a bit more than that.
Another thing that sort of annoyed me about this book was that it seemed like the reasoning behind prostitution and the poor was too black and white. The book seemed to be saying that all women at least in the beginning, were forced into prostitution out of desperation; and the wrongful thinking being that they did it because they enjoyed it. In regards to the poor, the book seemed to be saying that they were all hard working and down-trodden individuals who were stuck in a system that was broken; and the wrongful thinking being that the poor were poor because they were lazy, and expected handouts. In reality it is a bit of each instance regarding both of these issues, not one or the other. Women become prostitutes for different reasons and people are poor for different reasons too. There is never one same answer for everyone.
I still like this series and I hope that it gets back some of that spark that has made me love it so much. Some people may quit at this point but I'm going to keep going with the series in hopes that it improves soon.
Murder on Fifth Avenue by Victoria Thompson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Gaslight Mysteries book 14:
Sarah Brandt’s family is one of the oldest in New York City, and her father, Felix Decker, takes his position in society very seriously. He still refuses to resign himself to his daughter being involved with an Irish Catholic police detective. But when a member of his private club—the very exclusive Knickerbocker—is murdered, Decker forms an uneasy alliance with Detective Sergeant Frank Malloy to solve the crime as discreetly as possible.
Murder on Fifth Avenue was better than the previous book. This one kept me guessing, the characters also didn't feel so stale, and it wasn't as repetitious. Mr. and Mrs. Decker where involved in this one and I can see that the author might be moving the characters towards a relationship resolution in the next few books. She has stated that she now knows how she is going to make a relationship work between Sarah and Malloy and it shows in this book. Everything felt fresh again which is what the series desperately needed.
Murder in Chelsea by Victoria Thompson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Gaslight Mysteries book 15:
Sarah Brandt is shattered when she learns that a woman has inquired at Hope’s Daughters Mission for Catherine, the abandoned child she has taken as her daughter. The woman claims she was Catherine’s nursemaid, now acting on behalf of the girl’s mother to reunite them.
Finally after 15 books a certain thing happens that we've all been waiting for. The mystery was easy to figure out but I didn't care because I'm so happy about the other development. I liked that we discovered a lot about Catherine's background. Any time this series puts the focus on it's recurring characters it's a real treat for me. I'm looking forward to reading the next book.
Murder in Murray Hill by Victoria Thompson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Gaslight Mysteries book 16:
When facing injustice, the residents of nineteenth-century New York City’s tenements turn to midwife Sarah Brandt and Detective Sergeant Frank Malloy to protect their rights. Now the two must track down a cruel criminal preying on the hopes and dreams of innocent women…
Murder on Murray hill is definitely the darkest book of the Gaslight series so far, while somehow still being a light pleasant read. I'm not sure how that is, but it's true. It's impossible not to be a bit dark considering the subject matter. This book reminded me more of an Anne Perry novel because of the nature of the crime. Amongst the crime solving and the dark mystery here, I enjoyed seeing Frank trying to adjust to his new life, and also hide his good fortune and his relationship with Sarah for the time being. He truly is like a fish out of water.
This series is on the cusp of some overdue changes and I cannot wait for them to take place. I hope the changes end up satisfying.
Murder on Amsterdam Avenue by Victoria Thompson
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Gaslight Mysteries book 17:
In the midst of Sarah and Frank’s wedding preparations, Sarah accompanies her mother on a condolence call to the Upper West Side, where Charles Fairfax, the son of family friends, has died unexpectedly after suffering from a mysterious disease. It is a tragic and all too common story—or so it seems.
This would get 4 stars if I were rating it based solely on the fact that Sarah and Malloy finally get married. It would only get 3 stars for the mystery. The mystery was easy to figure out and it was blatantly obvious by a certain point who the killer was, but of course Sarah and Malloy still didn't know, which annoyed me.
This book felt a little different than the other books in the series, probably because there is a lot of transition happening now that Sarah and Malloy are going to be married and their households are merging. Mostly I didn't mind those changes, but Mrs. Ellsworth was glaringly absent for more than half the book. I missed her being the nosy neighbor and I hope she has more of a presence again in future books. This series is still an automatic read for me and I'm looking forward to the next book in November.
Murder on St. Nicholas Avenue by Victoria Thompson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Gaslight Mysteries book 18:
Family friend Mrs. O’Neill was delighted when her daughter Una wed the seemingly wealthy and charming Randolph Pollock. She didn’t wonder why such an affluent man would want to marry a poor Irish girl, no matter how pretty she was. But now Mrs. O’Neill has a problem...
Murder on St. Nicholas Avenue was a fun read. It takes place just before Christmas while Sarah and Frank are still honeymooning. While I missed Sarah and Frank I was glad for the change of pace and the opportunity for some of the supporting characters to shine. This book features Maeve and Gino and also Sarah's parents, the Deckers, and Mrs. Malloy a little as well.
When I first met Sarah's parents many books ago I never would have thought I would come to enjoy reading about them so much. They weren't all that likable in the beginning, but they have changed a lot and now I love it when they get involved in cases. The way some of the characters have evolved is one thing that I've really come to like about this series. Even Mrs. Malloy, who in the beginning was a grumpy old woman who was hard to like has begun to soften and even get along with Mrs. Decker. I loved how they bonded over their grandchildren.
Maeve gets a lot of the spotlight in this book, and I love her. I'm also very happy to see the tiniest bit of movement in her relationship with Gino. I was hoping for more, but didn't really expect it because this author likes to move the relationships along very, very slowly. We did get inside Gino's head a bit though and we know for sure how he feels about Maeve, and it's obvious that Maeve feels the same way about him, but just doesn't want to admit it.
The mystery part of this story was pretty good. It was kind of obvious after a little while who was involved, but it was still enjoyable and I didn't figure out all of the nuts and bolts of it until the end. However I did feel like the best part of the book wasn't the mystery at all, but everything I mentioned above about the different supporting characters.
Murder in Morningside Heights by Victoria Thompson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Gaslight Mysteries book 19:
Abigail Northrup of Tarrytown, New York, was her parents’ pride and joy. After graduating from a prestigious women’s college in Morningside Heights, she took a job there as an instructor. She also joined the ranks of the New Women, ladies planning for a life without a husband in which they make their own decisions and make a difference in the world. Unfortunately, her murder ended all that.
I always enjoy visiting Sarah and Malloy. Now that they are married the books have taken a slightly different tone. I'm not sure how I feel about some of the changes. I'm not used to reading about Malloy and Sarah being wealthy and living in a mansion and part of me wishes that they weren't. I think they make a cute couple, but I personally would have liked to see more romantic chemistry between them now that they are married, maybe more flirting and talk of romantic things happening off the page.
For the most part I thought Murder in Morningside Heights was a bit on the dull side compared to some of the other books in the series. As usual it wasn't too difficult to figure out the mystery side of the book. And as usual Sarah and Malloy are slow in figuring things out, only this time it was even worse than normal, and I did not think it could ever get worse. I mean come on, there were several answers staring them in the face!
I liked the idea Malloy has for Sarah at the end of the book and am looking forward to seeing how that plays into the series. I think it will make the future books feel more like past ones in the series as Sarah will be doing what she loves to do.
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