MURDER ON SISTERS' ROW
The 13th installment of Thompson’s Gaslight Mystery series continues a fine tradition of meticulously researched period fiction written in an engaging cozy style. Clues are sprinkled liberally throughout the narrative, which takes some interesting twists just when the reader thinks they might have solved the case. Likable, relatable characters and a convincing portrait of a society still struggling with class and gender issues make this mystery a winner all around.
Nineteenth-century New York midwife Sarah Brandt is called to a high-end brothel on the street known as Sisters’ Row, where she encounters a young woman who claims she’s been forced into prostitution against her will. Sarah agrees to enlist the aid of society matron Vivian Van Orner, who runs a rescue operation for prostitutes. When Mrs. Van Orner is later found dead in her carriage, the brothel madam, angered by Amy’s rescue, is only one of many suspects for Sarah and Detective Sergeant Frank Mallory to investigate. (PRIME CRIME, Jun., 304 pp., $24.95)