This is the ninth book in the engaging and enjoyable Gaslight Mystery series of books by this author. Set against a backdrop of turn of the twentieth century New York City life that encompasses the teeming tenements of the poor and the stately homes of the wealthy, these books are replete with period detail that is often fascinating. They chronicle the investigatory adventures of Sarah Brandt, a former socialite turned midwife, and Detective Sergeant Frank Malloy of the New York City Police Department. As these books are part of a series, it is strongly recommended that they be read in the order in which they were written.
When Sarah Brandt is called to Chinatown to deliver a baby, she encounters Irish women who have married Chinese men. In reading the book, I had not realized that, for a time, Chinese women were not allowed to immigrate here. Consequently, what were the men to do, if they were interested in having families but did not wish to return to China? This book answers that question, and the answer is also is a natural segue to the mystery at hand.
When fifteen year old Angel Lee, who is biracial, goes missing, everyone knows that it is fruitless to report it to the police, as bigotry is rampant in New York City. Sarah, however, feels differently, and she enlists the aid of Detective Sergeant Malloy in investigating Angel's whereabouts. When Angel eventually turns up dead in an alley, things may not be as they seem.
The main characters are well-developed, and the dialogue is credible, moving the story along at a brisk pace. With each book, the backdrop stories of the lives of the main characters are fleshed out just a little more. At the core of it all is the evolving relationship between Sarah and Malloy, a relationship that is constrained by the social mores of the time. While the mysteries are intriguing, they are the framework around which the characters evolve. Those who like historical fiction and mysteries will enjoy this well-written series of books.
This is set in New York around the turn of the nineteenth/twentieth century. A midwife called Sarah is called out to deliver a baby from an Irish woman married to a Chinese man. Only men from China were allowed to immigrate to America, the Americans wrongly assuming that they would have to go home when they wanted to marry. The hardworking Chinese invested in businesses and became comparatively wealthy, so poor Irish women found this a good inducement to marry them. However the families then tried to marry their daughters to other Chinese men, keeping businesses in the family. One young girl is rebelling against this fate and disappears, so Sarah tries to find her. But she turns up strangled. Sarah knows that even apart from prejudice among the police, a 'reward' needs to be offered before the underpaid police will investigate killings. However she has a friend who is a detective and can't resist her pleas for aid.
This is ninth in the Gaslight Mystery series but while the progression of the lives of the main characters and their children is followed through the series, the mystery itself is easily read as a standalone, so don't feel you need to read all the others first. The atmosphere of teeming New York is well brought to life and we see culture contrast as well as differences in wealth among differing populations.
I did enjoy this which is very informative as well as entertaining.