Victoria Thompson's third Gaslight Mystery, Murder on Grammercy Park, once again plunges the reader into life in turn-of-the-century New York City. Midwife Sarah Brandt and Police Detective Frank Malloy team up once more to solve a murder. The victim is a healer, Edmund Blackwell, whose clients number many of the city's elite. But who wanted him dead and why?
Ms. Thompson weaves a credible plot, replete with interesting characters, assorted motives and the requisite red herring. The historical background is both rich and accurate, yet never takes away from the mystery. Sarah and Malloy share the detective duties equally, combining their particular talents to piece together the puzzle of Blackwell's death. Their romance continues to blossom amid all the skullduggery.
This reviewer will admit, however, that she did strongly suspect the murderer's identity by the midpoint of the story. Overall, though, this novel is a highly entertaining and well-executed piece of historical detective fiction.
© Teresa Basinski Eckford 2001
This review first appeared in the August 2001 issue of The Historical Novels Review