Murder On Waverly Place Hardcover – Jun 2 2009
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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.
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
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!
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.