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Murder On Waverly Place [Hardcover]

Victoria Thompson
2.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

June 2 2009 Gaslight Mysteries
Turn-of-the-century New York City shines in the Gaslight mystery series.

Midwife and sleuth Sarah Brandt and Detective Sergeant Frank Malloy must protect Sarah's mother from scandal after she tries to contact her dead daughter during a séance that sends one of the attendees into the afterlife. But first, they have to determine how the woman was murdered in the pitch dark when all the suspects were holding hands.

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

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

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Customer Reviews

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars THE THRILL IS GONE... Aug. 24 2010
By Lawyeraau TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is the eleventh book in the Gaslight Mystery series of books by this author. Those who are familiar with the series know that they take place in New York City in the late eighteen nineties and feature two main characters, Sarah Brandt, a widow and midwife from a socially prominent family, and Irishman Frank Malloy, a Detective Sergeant with the New York City Police Department.

Sarah is asked by her mother, Mrs. Decker, to attend a séance in a townhouse on Waverly Place with her with her. Sarah does so to appease her mother, but advises her mother that she should refrain from attending any more of these séances. Unfortunately, Sarah's mother is hooked and goes again. This time, someone is murdered during the séance, and Sarah is drawn into the matter, as is Malloy.

Having read all of the books in this series to date, this is the only one that has been a disappointment. Sarah seems to have taken a backseat to her foster daughter's nanny and her mother in the investigatory department, and the change is not one for the better. Moreover, the synergy between Sarah and Malloy seems to be missing.

The dialogue is not as crisp, and, at times, the plot seems somewhat silly and not all that interesting. Still, fans of the series will manage to derive a modicum of enjoyment from this book.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Just did not work for me Aug. 4 2010
By L. J. Roberts TOP 100 REVIEWER
First Sentence: With a weary sigh, Sarah Brandt pushed open the front door of her house.

Turn-of-the-century midwife Sarah Brandt is surprised when her very proper mother wishes Sarah to accompany her to a spiritualist. Her mother still feels guilt over the estrangement and eventual death of Sarah's sister. When her mother returns for a second visit, it is the death of one of the other clients which leads Sarah and her friend, Det. Sgt. Frank Malloy to find the killer and shield Sarah's mother from scandal.

The more I read, the more important to me becomes an author's voice. Unfortunately, and perhaps unfairly, after finishing books by Louise Penny and Imogen Robertson, Ms. Thompson's voice came through to me almost as if the story were written for young adult readers. It just didn't have the depth or richness that compelled me to read beyond the first 35 pages of the book. I have read some of Ms. Thompson's previous books and enjoyed them, but this did not work for me now.

MURDER ON WAVERLY PLACE (Hist Mys-Sarah Brandt-NYC-Edwardian) ' DNS
Thompson, Victoria ' 11th in series
Berkeley Prime Crime, ©2009, US Hardcover ' ISBN: 9780425227756
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars No surprise July 30 2009
Having read all Victoria Thomson books, I see that she's exploiting a recipe that works. Her characters have become flat, one characterictic or two at the most. Reading has been boring. Too bad. Everything was predictable.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.8 out of 5 stars  49 reviews
34 of 34 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Good Read, But.... June 3 2009
By L. Veid - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Victoria Thompson gives us another trip through New York in the gaslight era. This time her heroine, midwife Sarah Brandt, is caught up in a murder that involves her mother, her nursemaid Maeve, and a crooked spiritualist operation. We have the usual convoluted twists and insight into a bygone era coming together for an entertaining mystery read. Unfortunately, I saw the solution to this one coming from a mile away.

The characterizations that make this series so compelling are slighted this time. Sarah's midwife duties disappear after the opening pages and she seems secondary or tertiary in much of the action. The usually volcanic detective Frank Malloy is entirely too calm and polite when dealing with Sarah, her mother, Maeve and the various other females who interfere in his investigation. Worst of all is that there is almost no sign of the developing romance (or whatever) between Sarah and Malloy.

Are we seeing signs of the publisher rushing the author? If so, back off and let the lady write!
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another Great Read! June 2 2009
By B. K. Walker - Published on
Sarah finds herself pulled into the murky, late-Victorian world of questionable but fashionable spiritism when her mother, Mrs. Felix Decker, requests Sarah attend a seance with her in order to contact the spirit of Sarah's late sister, Maggie.

While seemingly unexplainable events transpire at the seance at Waverly Place, Sarah isn't buying any of it and discourages her mother from attending any future events.

Shortly thereafter, however, Sarah is summoned to the house on Waverly Place by Detective Sergeant Frank Malloy at the behest of her mother, who just happened to be attending a seance where a murder has just taken place of the woman who hosted the event; a woman, apparently, not well liked by anyone.

Suspects abound despite the fact that all evidence points to the lover of the young spiritist, Madame Saraphina, except for one slight problem: the boy wasn't in the room at the time.

Sarah, being the girl she is, immediately champions the young spiritist and her lover in an attempt to clear his name and Frank, being the guy he is (and the fact he's crazy about Sarah) proceeds with as much investigation as he dares, given that the clients who were involved in the seance are all members of society's upper crust.

Sarah and Frank discover nothing is quite as it seems as they carefully navigate the investigation and slowly unravel the secrets of the Privileged and the Parlor Snakes. The problem is, it's difficult to tell who belongs to which group.

The only 'negative' and disappointing aspect of this book, and why I didn't rate it with 5 stars, is the complete lack of romantic interaction between Frank and Sarah. Yes, we all like a well-crafted murder mystery - but the romantic element, which provides necessary texture to what is otherwise just another 'whodunit' is, for all intents and purposes, completely absent and I think was a disservice to the story as well as to the characters.

All in all, a cozy read, and I look forward to the next installment, provided we see some growth in Frank and Sarah's relationship. Two other endearing characters who did not make an appearance in this book were Frank's mother and Frank's son. I look forward to seeing more of them in the next books to come.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars What a Disappointment! July 21 2009
By N. M. Bischoff - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I have read all of the author's Gaslight Mysteries, and looked forward to yet another when I ordered this book. It was a real disappointment. In fact, I found myself simply turning pages, just to get to the end.

Entirely too talky! On and on and on about seances and vapid clues, page after page. I had hoped there would be secondary and maybe even tertiary plot lines to liven up the action a little, but no -- not a chance! If I could give the book LESS than one star, I would.

Maybe the author should finally give up on the series. She seems to have run out of all creativity.
18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Zzzz June 3 2009
By BC - Published on
Over the years, Victoria Thompson has written some very lovely and compelling books featuring midwife Sarah Brandt and Detective Molloy. Her books have been atmospheric and her characters were thoughtfully and lovingly portrayed. Not so, this time. In fact, "Murder on Waverly Place" feels very convoluted and very rushed. Sarah and Molloy seem like they are mere shadows of their original characters just going through the motions to solve a not so compelling murder at a seance. I wish that I could say something positive about this book, but I can't think of a single thing except that I learned an abbreviated history of the flash light. I hope this is a momentary speedbump in what has been up until now a great series.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A disappointing read July 25 2009
By Shellie Lewis - Published on
The other ' Gaslight Mystery' books have been pretty good. This one is not. It was boring, didn't have much of a mystery, and the characters weren't interesting. Sarah's mother being taken in by a medium wasn't written very well. I thought she would be shocked and angry at the tricks of the seance, but, she and Sarah kept mooning over the medium as if she were the victim. This book was a page turner for me-I kept scanning every page and turning very quickly to get to the end. Bad book!
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