Murder in Murray Hill: A Gaslight Mystery

Victoria Thompson. Berkley Prime Crime, $25.95 (304p) ISBN 978-0-425-26042-5

Thompson convincingly portrays late-19th-century New York City in her 16th Gaslight mystery, but she has put her male lead, NYPD Det. Sgt. Frank Malloy, into an awkward spot. Toward the end of the previous entry, 2013’s Murder in Chelsea, Malloy learned that he was going to inherit a fortune. Once word reaches Malloy’s police colleagues of his imminent windfall, he realizes his job is on the line. At police headquarters, Chief O’Brien fires him, saying, “You’re a good man, but millionaires aren’t cops.” Malloy, who was in the midst of a missing-persons case involving women who answered a personal ad in the newspaper, manages to keep his hand in as a private investigator. While Malloy may be on track to follow this new career path in future installments, Thompson will have some work to do to make this scenario plausible. Agent: Nancy Yost, Nancy Yost Literary Agency. (May)