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Murder on Sisters' Row [Hardcover]

Victoria Thompson
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

June 7 2011 Gaslight Mystery (Book 13)
It's no mystery why readers love Victoria Thompson's Edgar Award- nominated series.

With the help of a charitable lady of means, midwife Sarah Brandt rescues a young woman and her newborn from the brothel where the mother was forced to prostitute herself. But their success comes at a high price when their benefactor is found murdered.

Though the brothel's madam is immediately considered a suspect, Sarah and Sergeant Frank Malloy investigate, uncovering some unpleasant truths about the victim and her charity-and the woman and child Sarah risked her own life to save.

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Product Description


“A cleverly written Victorian mystery with a bombshell ending.”—Fresh Fiction

“Enjoyable.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Engaging…A wonderful read.”—Genre Go Round Reviews
--This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

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.
--This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Victorian Mystery Series Aug. 4 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I've read practically all of the series, and thoroughly enjoyed them. I found interesting references to Sir Conan Doyle and the (then) Prince of Wales I liked the character "Kate" very much, and plan to finish the series.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Murder on Sister's Row Sept. 27 2012
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book was a delight. One of Ms. Thompson's best. I could not put it down! I would highly recommend it to mystery readers.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.3 out of 5 stars  51 reviews
28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I used to love this series but I am getting very frustrated. June 22 2011
By Bookie - Published on
The mystery in this book is fine and I enjoyed revisiting the characters but I am very frustrated that there has been no movement in the Sarah-Malloy relationship. These books only come out once a year and there is no development so it is getting frustrating. I feel that things have actually slowed down since the book where Sarah discovered who killed her husband. I understand that authors can write whatever they want so I can't tell this author how to write her books but I may be done with the series.
23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Time for Romance Now! June 29 2011
By D. Sutter - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I've enjoyed this mystery series from the first book because of the historical period and the richness of her main characters. But, as other readers have stated, I am getting frustrated at the lack of romance between Sarah and Malloy, hence the four star rating. Hopefully, Ms. Thompson will read some of her reviews and incorporate more personal scenes for the two lead characters in future books. It's past time! Still, I recommend this one and her past books highly.
41 of 47 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Same story no character progress June 13 2011
By Amazon Customer - Published on
This was a strong wonderfull series that I had truly enjoyed. The pairing of Sarah and Malloy provided a great addition of humor and sexual tension and is one of the best sleuth teams I have ever had the pleasure to read. But ever since Murder in Chinatown it seems that Ms Thompson is tired and just waiting out her contract to expire. First is only a book a year ( only about 300p or less) which is fine BUT after a year I want progress not the same story with different bookcover.
Sarah and Malloy are completely stuck, is ok if the author feels they cant be togeter yet but in 13 years one kiss? hello! Sarah is now an independent working class woman so I dont think she cares a bit what every one thinks if she sleeps with Malloy. Malloy do cares about her and how a relationship with him will affect her but I feel Ill be 60 before I see this romance blossom. The author have said to enjoy the journey, they are stuck they are not moving in any type of journey.
Read the earlier installments in the series. They are great.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well-written historical mystery - frustrating romance June 21 2011
By CJ-MO - Published on
One beautiful fall morning, Sarah Brandt, a 19th century New York City midwife, is asked to deliver a baby in a nearby neighborhood. While that's not unusual, Sarah is shocked when the young mother, Amy, claims the home is really a brothel and she is being forced to work as a prostitute. Amy tells Sarah it would be deadly for Sarah to try to help her alone, but begs her to get word to Mrs. Gregory Van Orner, a known rescuer of young women in Amy's situation.

Although Sarah's friend Detective Sergeant Frank Malloy warns Sarah not to get involved, Sarah just can't turn her back on someone in need. She not only contacts Mrs. Van Orner, but assists her in rescuing Amy and the newborn baby. Both Sarah and Vivian Van Orner make enemies of the madam, Mrs. Walker, who complains to the police that they've kidnapped one of her girls. When Vivian is later murdered, Sarah and Malloy end up right in the middle of a very dangerous case where nothing is as it seems.

I like the combination of the historical setting of this book and the unique character of Sarah. She is an unconventional woman who leads a life that is very different from her contemporaries. Sarah comes from a wealthy family, but chooses to support herself and her foster daughter as a midwife. She still has a friendly relationship with her society mother, which under the circumstances is unexpected and nice to see.

Sarah Brandt and Frank Malloy make a great detective team. While Malloy doesn't want her involved in anything that could be dangerous, he is forced to accept her help because some of the female witnesses that must be questioned are staying in a home where men are not admitted. This sets up the premise of Sarah's involvement in the investigation perfectly since it's not usual that a woman of her time would assist in a police investigation. Agreeing to help question witnesses is another example of Sarah's determination to help others regardless of how other people will react.

Besides their professional relationship, Sarah and Frank also have a special friendship. They care about each other and enjoy spending time together. Society's constraints keep them at arm's length, and they can only admit to a casual professional acquaintance in public. While Sarah's friend and frequent visitor Mrs. Ellsworth encourages their friendship, Malloy tries to keep it a secret from his co-workers because they wouldn't approve. It's also mentioned that Malloy's mother does not think the two should spend be socializing. A reason isn't given, so while readers familiar with the series may know the backstory, others will be left confused. While realistic for the times, it's frustrating to hope for a romance between Sarah and Frank when they can't even admit they're friends. These two great characters deserve happiness, and it's difficult to see them acting so cautious when spending even the most innocent moments together.

In addition to the wonderful setting and characters, Victoria Thompson's "Murder on Sisters' Row" also has an interesting and suspenseful plot that keeps you guessing to the very end. Readers who enjoy the historical mysteries of Anne Perry will like this latest adventure in the long-running Gaslight Mystery series.

This review originally appeared in The Season E-Zine. I received a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable entry in a sometimes uneven series June 11 2011
By NC Reader - Published on
I've read every one of the books in this sometimes uneven series set in nineteenth-century New York City, but this latest one is a winner. Thompson gives us a good mystery and keeps up an exciting pace - in some past entries it felt as if midwife Sarah Brandt and Detective Frank Malloy spent half the book drinking coffee around Sarah's kitchen table trying to stretch the story out as the plot dragged in places. Not here - this case opens briskly as Sarah is called out to assist at a birth at what she thinks is just an elegant home, but she soon realizes the new mother is a prostitute and the house is a brothel. The woman claims she is being kept against her will and begs Sarah to help her escape by contacting a Mrs. Van Orner, who runs a charity that rescues prostitutes. Once the woman is taken from the brothel and placed in a safe house Sarah thinks all is well - until Mrs. Van Orner is murdered.

Once again Sarah and Malloy join forces to solve a sordid mystery among New York's upper classes where scandals ruin lives, fortunes and reputations. Although there doesn't seem to be much forward momentum in the romantic relationship between Sarah and Frank - a personal bone of contention for me after twelve books in the series - the pace of the story made it less annoying than in previous books. Thompson makes excellent use of the wonderful supporting characters she has created, especially Maeve, nosy but caring neighbor Mrs. Ellsworth, and Sarah's charming, well-connected and hilarious mother, Elizabeth Decker; I sometimes felt in past books as if scenes with these characters were thrown in to pad the page count or keep Sarah and Frank from being alone together, but not here. They mull over developments in the case with Frank and Sarah (admittedly over countless cups of coffee and slices of cake around Sarah's kitchen table, but to good effect), and Mrs. Decker gets to help interrogate a few potential suspects - always enjoyable for her and the reader! Maeve, nursemaid to Sarah's adopted daughter, has been coming into her own in the last few books and serves as a welcome source of dry humor and worldly-wise balance to Sarah's sometimes naive approach to life working among New York's tenement poor.

I would recommend this series to any fan of historical mysteries and look forward to the next entry in the series.
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