Murder on Wall Street (A Gaslight Mystery)

Written by Victoria Thompson
Review by Trish MacEnulty

Fans of Victoria Thompson’s Gaslight Mystery series will be delighted to learn that the author has brought back the charming ex-gangster Jack Robinson and his beloved wife, Jocelyn, in her latest mystery. In fact, this time they’re having a baby, and Sarah Malloy, the midwife/sleuth, is on hand to deliver the baby and to help find out who murdered Jocelyn’s rapist so that Jack, who is a likely suspect, doesn’t get accused. Sarah and her husband, private investigator Frank Malloy, even enlist Sarah’s socialite parents in the hunt, which takes them into the world of high-stakes investment banking as well as the opium dens of old New York. The novel also explores the little-known phenomenon of Chinese-Irish marriages, which came about because only Chinese men were allowed to immigrate into the United States.

Readers will be intrigued by the history, but they’ll keep reading because of the compelling characters. The murdered Hayden Norcross is as villainous as one could hope for: selfish, mendacious, and cruel. Sarah and Frank’s loving and respectful partnership is endearing, but the scene-stealers are Sarah’s aristocratic parents, who gleefully join in. The dialogue is also superb, a good thing since the book is rather dialogue-heavy. When Sarah’s mother learns of Hayden Norcross’s murder, she responds, “Such an unpleasant young man. It’s a wonder someone hasn’t shot him long before.” Sarah’s stodgy father, Felix, is sure that “the mania for motorcars” won’t last long. “Nothing will ever replace horses,” he says.

Murder on Wall Street delves into the dark topics of rape, murder, and addiction, but it’s a fun read, and the ending is effective and unpredictable.