Having read the first book, "Murder on Astor Place", in this series of turn-of-the-twentieth century mysteries that take place in New York City, I was sufficiently intrigued to read others in the series. In this second book, the author does not disappoint. In fact, I enjoyed this one even more than the first. It is well-written and fast-paced with an interesting plot.
Sarah Brandt, society girl turned midwife, and New York City Police Department Detective Sergeant, Frank Malloy, are once again teamed up. When Sarah is summoned to the home of German immigrant, Agnes Otto, she goes, thinking that Agnes is about to have her baby. When she arrives she discovers Frank Malloy at the Otto home, because Gerda, Agnes's sixteen year old sister, caught up in a life of fast living, has met a most untimely end.
Since Gerda is no more than a recent immigrant, and the police department is still rife with corruption, despite Police Commissioner Teddy Roosevelt's ongoing efforts to root it out, no one really seems to care much about what has happened to Gerda except Sarah. What she discovers, however, is sufficient to persuade Frank Malloy into seeing that justice is done. Once again they join forces, and the two find themselves traversing the great social divide that exists in the city, from the teeming tenements of the poor to the magnificent mansions of the socially elite in pursuit of justice.
The two main characters continue to be fleshed out, as are the cast of reoccurring secondary characters. While the mystery is important to the book, so is the evolution of the characters. Once again, the author draws the reader in with her finely spun web of period details and the social mores of the times. The author captures the sights, sounds, and smells of a bygone era. Moreover, the lives of Sarah Brandt and Frank Malloy continue to cross paths in ways that, seemingly unbeknownst to them, seem to bind them together. This is a well written series of historical mysteries, and I look forward to reading the next one.