Murder in the Bowery: A Gaslight Mystery

Victoria Thompson. Berkley Prime Crime, $26 (304p) ISBN 978-1-101-98711-7

Edgar-finalist Thompson’s entertaining 20th mystery set in gaslight-era New York City (after 2016’s Murder in Morningside Heights) finds private detective Frank Malloy looking for a missing newsie, one of the street urchins that hawk papers. Known on the street as Freddie Two Toes, the 13-year-old boy disappeared during the famous newsboys’ strike against Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst in the summer of 1899. In his search for Freddie, Frank comes across the body of socialite Estelle Longacre, who apparently had a taste for the seedier side of New York. Unfortunately, Freddie’s body turns up, too, and Frank, along with his wife, Sarah Brandt, and other allies follow a trail that leads to Bowery crime boss Black Jack Robinson. Along the way, they uncover a cesspool of greed, selfishness, and incest within one of the city’s wealthiest families. Though the more astute will figure out the guilty party early on, the process of elimination, with missteps here and there, will keep readers turning the pages. Agent: Nancy Yost, Nancy Yost Literary Agency. (May)
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