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Murder on Mulberry Bend [Mass Market Paperback]

Victoria Thompson
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
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Book Description

March 4 2003 Gaslight Mystery (Book 5)

Sarah Brandt, a midwife in turn-of-the-century New York City, has seen more than her share of joy and sorrow, birth and death. Now she will see for the first time how the squalor of the streets can breed madness and murder…


The Prodigal Son Mission on Mulberry Bend stands as a refuge for girls who otherwise would have to live by selling the only thing they have of value—themselves. The work being done there so impresses Sarah that she volunteers to help out however she can—with clothes, with medical assistance, with the organization of a benefit dinner. And when one of the girls is found dead and refused burial because of her former life, Sarah’s passion for justice is aroused.


Reluctantly, Sergeant Frank Malloy agrees to look into the death, if only to keep Sarah from endangering herself by pursuing the matter. But Sarah cannot be kept out of the investigation—and just as Malloy feared, her attempts to find the cause of the unfortunate girl’s death in the circumstances of her life put her in deadly danger—from an unexpected source…


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Product Description

About the Author

Victoria Thompson is the Edgar(r) Award-nominated author of the Gaslight mystery series and 20 additional historical novels. She lives in Pennsylvania with her family.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars MURDER SHE WROTE... Aug. 24 2010
By Lawyeraau TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is the fifth book in the Gaslight Mystery series by this author. Once again, it features the two main characters in the series, midwife Sarah Brandt and Detective Sergeant Frank Malloy. Those who follow the series know that Sarah is the daughter of one of the prominent Knickerbocker families of New York City, and Frank is a member of the New York City Police Department. Set in the very late eighteen-nineties, around the turn of the twentieth century, the book is rife with period details, and the actions of most of the characters are governed by the social mores and politics of the times.

After her husband Tom was murdered, Sarah Brandt, having turned her back on her former life as a socialite, has chosen to work as a midwife and lead an independent life, much to the consternation of her wealthy and socially prominent family. Frank Malloy works in the corrupt New York City Police Department, which is undergoing reforms under the leadership of Police Commissioner Theodore Roosevelt. Frank, too, is widowed, his wife having died giving birth to their only child, Brian, who was born deaf. Sarah and Frank have recently gotten to know each other through a series of murders that have taken place in which they have both collaborated in finding the murderers.

In this book, Sarah finds herself volunteering her time to work at the Prodigal Son Mission on Mulberry Bend, which is a refuge for young women who would otherwise find themselves living on the streets and surviving by whatever means necessary. When one of the girls is discovered dead on the streets of New York City, Sarah will not rest till justice is done.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Another Great Entry March 14 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is one of my favorite mystery series that is currently being published. While the mysteries themselves are interesting (although the culprit in this particular book was easier to figure out than usual), the relationships between the recurring characters is what makes me look forward to reading each book. The main characters, midwife Sarah Brandt and policeman Frank Malloy, are both likeable and the banter between them is fun without being obnoxious and adds some romance and lightness to the darker side of the books.
And there is indeed a dark side to this book. In addition to the murder of a young lady, there are vivid descriptions of what it was like to live in turn-of-the-century New York, particularly if you were an immigrant and/or poor. The lives of the immigrants was not a pleasant one and I have to wonder if the life in New York was better than what they had escaped.
There is also a big clue to the unsolved murder of Sarah Brandt's husband from three years previous and that clue is not going to lead to much happiness for anyone if it plays out the way it looks to be headed. Really looking forward to the next book, Murder on Marble Row.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A murder, a romance, and a clue Sept. 12 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
19th Century New York City, with its desperate poverty, dazzling excesses, corrupt administrations, and flood of immigrants has long been fertile ground for crime fiction. Like Caleb Carr and Jack Finney, Victoria Thompson is one of the few writers to successfully utilize and represent this world without imposing our 21st Century values on it.
Murder on Mulberry Bend, specifically, best captures this fascinating cityscape. The unlikely team of midwife Sarah Brandt and Detective Sergeant Frank Malloy is a pleasure to watch interact. The tensions between them--romantic and professional--really come to a crisis point here. The murder mystery element of the book is what we've come to expect from Ms. Thompson: twisting, suspenseful, and completely satisfying. But this story gives us an added bonus: we get a very compelling hint as to who may have murdered Sarah's beloved husband, Tom. Read it and enjoy!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Who killed the girl from the mission and why Aug. 16 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The time is the turn-of-the-century. Sarah Brandt, a New York midwife, accompanies her friend Richard Dennis to The Prodigal Son Mission. He wants to find out more about the work his late wife Helen did there. Sarah donates clothing to the mission.
Sergeant Frank Malloy is called to the scene of a dead woman in City Hall Park. He recognizes the hat as Sarah's and is convinced she is dead. He is quite relieved to find it was not her and agrees to investigate the death. Sarah is able to identify the woman as Emilia, a girl she met at the mission.
Sarah is so impressed with the work of the mission that she decides to volunteer her time and agrees to help host a dinner at her parents' house to raise money for the mission. She is also looking into Emilia's death. Frank has forbidden her to do this, but it doesn't seem to stop her.
Emilia's family is no help. Sarah begins to get an uneasy feeling at the mission. Could one of the girls killed Emilia out of jealousy? Could someone in Emilia's former life have caused her death? The Catholic church refuses to bury her due to her past. So many questions but as Sarah gets closer to the truth, she is put into danger just as Frank feared.
There are very few mysteries set back in history that I enjoy reading. This series is one. The characters and settings are so real and the lack of conveniences only enhances the story.
I really enjoy the relationship between Frank and Sarah, although I hope in the future that they get together. The tension does add to the story. Her neighbor Mrs. Ellsworth is a great character as well. She really adds character to the story.
I am always amazed by the immense poverty. This book brings a lot of that forward as the mission is a dangerous area of town as is Emilia's parents' apartment. Frank constantly travels through dangerous parts of town looking for Danny to get information.
I highly recommend this book and series.
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