Sunday, November 6, 2011

Murder on Astor Place by Victoria Thompson

book cover

Murder on Astor Place
by Victoria Thompson

ISBN-13: 9780425168967
Mass Market Paperback: 278 pages
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
Released: May 1, 1999

Source: Borrowed from the library.

Book Description from Back Cover:
As a midwife in the turn-of-the-century tenements of New York City, Sarah Brandt has seen birth and death, suffering and joy. Now she is about to take part in something more unusual in the crime-ridden streets of the teeming city--a search for justice...

After a routine delivery, Sarah visits her patient in a rooming house--and discovers that another boarder, a young girl, has been killed. At the request of Sergeant Frank Malloy, she searches the girl's room. She discovers that the victim is from one of the most prominent families in New York--and the sister of an old friend. The powerful family, fearful of scandal, refuses to permit an investigation. But with Malloy's help, Sarah begins a dangerous quest to bring the killer to justice--before death claims another victim...

My Review:
Murder on Astor Place is a historical mystery set in or a little after 1895 in New York City. Vivid historical details were woven into the story to bring it alive in my imagination. The characters were also a product of their time. The author clearly did her homework in researching this information, but she only wove in what was relevant so that the pacing didn't slow.

As for the mystery, I predicted some of where it was going long before the heroine and detective thought of it. However, it was understandable that they didn't guess it. Also, the whodunit wasn't who I expected, though whodunit made good sense. Very clever.

The suspense was created by potential physical danger to Sarah and the threat of losing a very needed job for the Sergeant. Both had good reasons to wish to investigate and find the killer. The characters were varied and complex with realistic reactions to events.

There was some explicit bad language. There were no sex scenes. Overall, I'd highly recommend this well-written historical mystery.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt: Read chapter one using Google Preview.

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