cover image Murder on Astor Place

Murder on Astor Place

Victoria Thompson, Author Berkley Prime Crime $7.99 (278p) ISBN 978-0-425-16896-7

Sprinkled with fascinating details of turn-of-the-century New York City, Thompson's old-fashioned mystery takes the reader from the mansions of Fifth Avenue to the flophouses of the Lower East Side. Sarah Brandt is a midwife who has been estranged from her wealthy family for years. When Alicia VanDamm, a young woman from a prominent family, is murdered, Sarah must return to the upper-class society she has scorned to find the killer. Haunted by her past and disgusted by police department corruption, Sarah takes it upon herself to avenge the girl's death. Annoyed at first by her interference, Detective Sergeant Frank Malloy asks for Sarah's help only when he has been taken off the case at the request of the victim's scandal-fearing family. The feisty midwife and the ambitious policeman grudgingly become allies in their search for justice. Sarah and Frank are appealing characters, and the author develops their rapport subtly and believably. In this first installment in a new series of historical mysteries, Thompson vividly re-creates the gas-lit world of old New York, concluding her mystery with revelations that will shock even 20th-century readers. (May)