Thursday, May 31, 2012

Review and Giveaway: Murder on Sisters Row

Murder on Sisters Row (Gaslight Mystery - Book 13) by Victoria Thompson

Publication Date: May 1, 2012
Publisher: Penguin USA
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Pages: Paperback, 304pp.
ISBN-13: 978-0425248003
ISBN: 0425248003

(Received for an honest review from Berkley Prime Crime)

Victoria Thompson on the WEB: Webpage, Facebook

Books In The Series: Murder on Astor Place (1999), Murder at St. Mark's Place (2000), Murder on Gramercy Park (2001), Murder on Washington Square (2002), Murder on Mulberry Bend (2003), Murder on Marble Row (2004), Murder on Lenox Hill (2005), Murder in Little Italy (2006), Murder In Chinatown (2007), Murder On Bank Street (2008), Murder On Waverly Place (2009), Murder on Lexington Avenue (2010), Murder on Sisters' Row (2012), Murder on Fifth Avenue (2012)

Coverart: Click on the image for a clearer,larger picture of the books in this series.

Excerpt from Murder on Sisters Row Courtesy Of Amazon's Inside look Feature


Midwife Sarah Brandt braves the dangers of the tenements in nineteenth-century New York to help the impoverished and, with Detective Sergeant Frank Malloy, bring the guilty that prey on them to justice. Now, the latest novel in the Edgar-nominated series finds Sarah compelled to save an expectant mother from a fate worse than death…

Summoned to an elegant house to deliver a baby, Sarah finds her patient is actually in a brothel. The young woman in labor reveals she is being held against her will and forced to prostitute herself—and that the madam intends to get rid of the baby.  

To rescue the new mother and her infant, Sarah secures the assistance of Mrs. Vivian Van Orner, a woman of means known for her charitable work. But their success comes at a high price when Mrs.Van Orner is found murdered.

With Malloy’s help, Sarah’s investigation uncovers some unpleasant truths about the victim and her charity—as well as the woman and child Sarah risked her own life to save…


Set a the turn of the 20th century, in Victorian New York, Victoria Thompson's thirteenth Gaslight mystery, Murder on Sisters Row is full of murder and mayhem. Thompson's use of historical reference and setting is well done and easily transports the reader back in time. The investigating duo of an heiress turned midwife and a detective is believable and entertaining. Thompson's characters are a blend of Victorian sensibilities and curiosity that could kill. An excellent addition to a series that has stood the test of time.

This is admittedly my first Gaslight Mystery. To be honest I'm not sure how I let this series slip through the cracks. it is very well written and uses history and mystery well together. Thompson obviously has an affinity for this time period, it's customs and it's nuances. The setting was authentic and set the series off well. Not having read the previous books was somewhat of a hindrance because I believe there was a great deal of backstory and general relationships that I was unfamiliar with. The book can be read as a stand alone easy enough, but it's also easy to see the wisdom in reading what has come before.

Sarah Brandt is an exceptional character. Sometimes I think authors make a mistake when they decide their heroes and heroines must come from wealth but not be fond of what that wealth can do for them. Thompson writes Brandt with such a sense of concern and honest belief that she can make a difference that it doesn't come across as cheesy or over the top, as often happens. Sarah is an unconventional woman in a time when women were not supposed to be curious. She investigates with a sense of awe and leaves the reader believing that Sarah is completely invested in what's going on. It comes across very believable. She is an awesome character to read and her relationship with Malloy is confusing but also ingenious. 

Apparently from what I read Sarah and Malloy have been attracted to each other for quite some time, but there are hindrances to their relationship. But an investigating duo they are magnificent. These characters play well off each other and bring out both strengths and vulnerabilities in each other. Their investigating style is smooth and non-confrontational. I liked the way they worked together to solve the crime and still kept a bit of an edge in their own relationship. There was definitely some tension brewing.

The mystery aspect of the book started out a little slow, but once the murder occurred the pace picked up and flowed much more evenly. I'm not exactly sure this type of cozy would be best for younger readers, just because of the adult themes involved. Brothels and unwed pregnancy aside there were still some issues that may be more suitable for adults. But remembering that this book is set in the Victorian era, readers will understand that it is still very constrained and does not get very graphic. 

Overall I really enjoyed the book and plan to read others in the series. I want to know what went on with these two up til now. What's the real story with Brandt and Malloy. Plus there are so many books in the series. I love a long drawn out series, where the reader gets a chance to see the characters change and grow and I expect this one will be right up my alley!

Murder on Sisters Row is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag!

Edgar Nominated author Victoria Thompson writes the Gaslight Mystery Series, set in turn-of-the-century New York City and featuring midwife Sarah Brandt. Her latest is MURDER ON FIFTH AVENUE. She also contributed to the award winning writing textbook MANY GENRES/ONE CRAFT. A popular speaker, Victoria teaches in the Seton Hill University master's program in writing popular fiction. She lives in Central PA with her husband and a very spoiled little dog.


The publisher is sponsoring a giveaway of one copy of  Murder on Sisters Row by Victoria Thompson.

~You must be a GFC follow or an E-mail subscriber to participate.
~U.S. addresses only.
~Deadline to enter this giveaway is Midnight EST June 14th.

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Josephine said...

I just finished the author's book Murder at Gremacy Park. Really enjoyed the story. I know I am going to read more from this author.
jplungas at gmail dot com

mamabunny13 said...

This does sound like a great series! I love historicals.

Karen B said...

Another series that I've missed and must try. Yay for "history and mystery!"

NoraA said...

I actually enjoy gaslight era mysteries. I've read a few by other authors. I haven't read any of Victoria's books, and would love to win this one as an entry into her series.

Renee said...

I haven't read this series either and can't wait to try it. I love the idea of Victorian New York, so picturesque.

AnnaZed said...

Oh how marvelous, and I had never heard of this book. I love my Victoriana!

Martha Lawson said...

This sounds like a really great book! Can't wait to read it..

Theresa N. said...

sounds great I love reading about strong women.
Thersa N

Angela - Bookaunt said...

Thank you for the chance to win this cozy.

Sue Farrell said...

I enjoy a good historical cozy so I must get started reading this series.

Linda Kish said...

It is different but definitely interesting. I haven't read any of this series before.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

cyn209 said...

already on my TBR list!! can't wait to read it!!!

thank you for the giveaway!!!

bn100 said...

These sound like interesting characters.

Carol M said...

I like books set in this time period. I'm sure I would enjoy this series! It sounds good!