Murder on Bank Street: A Gaslight Mystery

Written by Victoria Thompson
Review by Nina de Angeli

New York City, 1897: Four years after her husband’s murder. Sarah Brandt still mourns him, using his medical bag and office in her practice as a midwife in the city’s slums, to the dismay of her patrician family. The unsolved murder and Sarah’s developing relationship with Detective Frank Malloy have been continuing sub-plots throughout this engaging series. Finally, Malloy tackles the Brandt murder case full time, using financial assistance from Sarah’s father to bring in the Pinkerton Agency. He even recruits Sarah’s young protégé Maeve, a rescued street urchin, as an apprentice sleuth.

Malloy has discovered that Dr. Brandt’s killer was one of three wealthy men, all fathers of mentally ill women Brandt had treated unsuccessfully for a sexual obsession then called Old Maids’ Disease. All three blamed the doctor for their daughters’ final breakdowns. But which father was driven to murder? All are wealthy, protected from investigation under normal police methods. Ignorance of modern psychology among police and the public at the time threatens to blacken Dr. Brandt’s reputation, even if Malloy finds the culprit. Fans of this series will be eager to learn the truth at last, enjoying Thompson’s usual warm-hearted character treatment and solid research. 10th in series.