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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)
List Price: CDN$ 10.99
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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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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 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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5.0 out of 5 stars Dear God, I'm Addicted... March 10 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Another stunner from Victoria Thompson! Ever since I first picked up "Murder on Astor Place", I haven't been able to get quite my fair share of this series! If you love gothic mysteries with character depth and a heady atmosphere, I think you soon will share my fate as well...
The fifth in the Gaslight Series, this one involves the unusual murder of a former prostitute who at the time of her death was residing in the Prodigal Son Mission (I do agree with Frank, the name is rather hypocritical), a combination of Protestant finishing school and settlement house on Mulberry Bend, located in the slums of Little Italy and nearby the police headquarters. An acquaintance of our heroine, midwife and sometime-detective Sarah Brandt, her murder doesn't sit well with our Sarah, and thus she feels compelled to bring the killer to justice, even if it means dragging her grumbling Detective Sergeant friend, Frank Malloy, along for the ride. And so, our two investigators trek through the tragic and unsavory districts of Old New York, only to discover their murderer to be closer than they had ever thought. Little side-note: if you've read Anne Perry's "The Cater Street Hangman", it may not come as quite a shocker...
Even as intriguing as the mystery itself, okay, perhaps a tiny bit more, is the ever-developing personal trauma of our characters. Be delighted with the progress of Malloy's son, Brian, and watch the internal battles for Sarah between said Malloy and her new friend, Richard Dennis. And for all those wondering about Sarah's late husband's death, there too you'll find heartbreak! Also, I must warn you, the end is extremely maddening, and I'll be on the most painful assortment of pins and needles until the next in the series.
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4.0 out of 5 stars engaging amateur sleuth tale March 6 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Around 1900, midwife Sarah Brandt escorts Richard Dennis through the lower Manhattan slums to the Prodigal Son Mission where his deceased wife voluntarily worked before dying because he needs to understand why Hazel found solace at this safe place for girls. The wealthy Richard is overwhelmed with what he sees on his "hellish" tour, but at the mission, Mrs. Wells provides kindness to the guilt laden Richard. Sarah gifts clothing for the misfortunate.
Not long afterward, Detective Sergeant Frank Malloy is stunned when he recognizes the ugly hat of a murder victim. He thinks Sarah, who he cares deeply for, is dead. However, the corpse is someone else who later Sarah identifies as Emilia, a person she met at the Prodigal Son Mission. Over Frank's objections, Sarah begins her own inquiries that will place her in danger from a serial killer whose previous homicides have been ignored because the victims were humanity's forgotten.
The fifth Brand gaslight mystery is an engaging amateur sleuth tale though the killer seems somewhat obvious early on even with clever twists and turns to obscure the culprit's identity. The story line is loaded with action and strong characters, but what makes the tale is the vivid description of Manhattan at the turn of the century. Readers feel the awe and fear of Dennis making his first sojourn on the train and into the slums; the audience senses the miracle of the successful surgery performed on the foot of Frank's son (commonplace today). Victoria Thompson writes another delectable historical mystery that will provide plenty of pleasure for her fans and send newcomers seeking the previous "Murder on..." novels.
Harriet Klausner
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