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.
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