Thursday, May 30, 2013

Book Review: Murder in Chelsea by Victoria Thompson

Soak in the historical atmosphere of New York City 100 years ago and enjoy a good mystery at the same time. This is exactly what Victoria Thompson provides with her Gaslight Mystery series. I should add as a disclaimer that I love Anne Perry mysteries and so after reading a couple of pages, I was hooked. I would not call either author a copycat of the other, the storylines are too different and the settings are unique to each author. But both authors share the ability to show strong women as heroes in solving mysteries at a time when women were supposed to dutifully wait for their husbands at home and worry about what to serve for dinner.

Victoria Thompson has Sarah Brandt and her friend Det. Sergeant Frank Malloy that pair up to solve crimes and mysteries. In this book, Sara Brandt feels her family happiness threatened when a mysterious woman appears and lays claim to her "adopted" daughter Catherine. Knowing that as a single woman, she will never be able to legally adopt Catherine, Sarah is determined to find out who this mystery woman is and hopefully in the process solve the mystery of who abandoned Catherine in the first place. 

Sarah and Frank embark on a journey that takes them to through turn of the century New York City, visiting houses of the very rich and also seeing the stark poverty of the tenement houses. Victoria Thompson is able to draw the scenery of New York City and its inhabitants in great detail, breathing life into the society and its norms and showing convincingly how Sarah and Frank must function within the restraints of that society, while fighting against it at the same time. If you like historical mysteries, this author to me was a real discovery and I am happy to see that the Gaslight Mystery series has several issues already, all of which I intend to catch up on now.

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