cover image Murder on Sisters' Row: A Gaslight Mystery

Murder on Sisters' Row: A Gaslight Mystery

Victoria Thompson. Berkley Prime Crime, $24.95 (304p) ISBN 978-0-425-24115-8

Thompson's otherwise solid 13th whodunit set at the end of the 19th century in New York City (after 2010's Murder on Lexington Avenue) lags a bit until the appearance of a corpse. Sarah Brandt, an heiress who works by choice as a midwife, gets an urgent summons on behalf of a Mrs. Walker to assist a woman in labor at a house that Sarah belatedly learns is a brothel. After Sarah successfully delivers a baby boy, the terrified mother, Amy Cunningham, begs Sarah to help her escape the clutches of her madam, Rowena Walker. The midwife reaches out to a charitable organization, Rahab's Daughters, which specializes in rescuing fallen women in Amy's straits. When the charity's involvement leads to murder, Sarah's significant other, Det. Sgt. Frank Malloy, can't prevent her from investigating. Thompson does her usual persuasive job in recreating the past. (June)