This is the ninth entry in the Gaslight Mystery series by Victoria Thompson. These mysteries are set in turn-of-the-century New York City and feature the crime-solving team of widowed midwife Sarah Brandt and NYPD Detective Sergeant Frank Malloy. In this story, the two investigate the murder of Angel Lee, a young Chinese/Irish girl who was promised in marriage to an older Chinese man. To avoid the marriage arranged by her father, Angel runs off and marries an Irish boy, and then is discovered murdered outside of her new home. This story focuses a lot on the prejudices which the Chinese immigrants living in New York City faced at this time. I enjoyed learning the details about New York's turn-of-the-century Chinatown which author Thompson gives in this story.
However, I was a little disappointed in the lack of development of the series' main characters, the midwife Sarah Brandt and the NYPD Detective Sergeant Frank Malloy. This book was not as good as the others in this series, but still a very good mystery.
It really says something about a series when a somewhat weaker entry is still an outstanding book. The latest in the Gaslight mysteries is set in the world of Victorian NYC Chinatown and delves into the interracial marriages of Chinese men and Irish women, the prejudices of the time and the "underside" of a generally romanticized era. The plot was quite good, though at times the clues were laid down a bit heavy-handed and I would have liked to see more character development in the personal arc. Still, one of the best mystery series around - and not just in the subgenre of historicals.
This is the 9th book in Victoria Thompson's Gaslight Mysteries series. Midwife Sarah Brandt is called to deliver a baby in Chinatown. While there, she encounters the woman's niece, Angel Lee, who is half Chinese and half Irish (as many children in Chinatown were at this time since Chinese women were not allowed to enter the USA at this point). Angel is upset because her father wants to marry her off to a much older, wealthy, Chinese man. Not long after, Angel runs away with her secret lover, a young, poor Irish man. Her family is unable to convince her to return home, and not long after that, Angel turns up dead. Detective Sergeant Frank Malloy is brought in at Sarah Brandt's request to investigate the case. This particular book gives the reader an interesting look at the prejudices faced by both the Irish and the Chinese in NYC at this time. These prejudices aid in clouding the facts of the case, especially when two of the lead suspects are the men mentioned before. Angel's relatives would like to see her young Irish lover be the guilty one, and her husband's family would like to see Angel's Chinese intended be guilty of the crime. I personally felt Thompson did a great job of building the plot to help the reader figure out just before the end "whodunit" and the twist that goes with it!
My only complaint is similar to the one I made in my review of Murder on Lenox Hill, that the Malloy-Brandt relationship needs to step it up a notch! It's apparent that they care for each other, but neither is willing to admit it, making their interactions with each other frustrating for the reader at times. Also, in this book you do get to see a little bit more a Maeve's personality than you did in most of the previous books she appeared in.
The next addition in the wonderful series featuring Sarah Brandt, nurse-midwife and Detective Francis Malloy during the turn of the century , centers around the bigotry toward the Chinese in New York City. Angel Lee, a half Chinese and half Irish teenager is promised in marriage to a rich forty year old Chinese man who is a friend of her father. She refuses to marry him and elopes with the man she loves, a handsome Irishman, whose family does not approve of the union any more than hers does. Her family tries to lure her home, but she refuses.....Instead she is found dead in an alley...strangled. In this book we learn much of the Chinese culture and mores....Excellent.... Love this series
Birth, death and everything in between - midwife Sarah Brandt has seen it all. In the tenaments of New York, Sarah helps out where she can. Now in the latest of the Edgar Award nominated novels, she ventures to an exotic land, less than a mile away...
In Chinatown to deliver a baby, Sarah meets a group of women she might otherwise never have come across: Irish girls, who, after alighting on Ellis Island alone, have married Chinese men in the same predicament. But faced with bigotry in New York from every side, their mixed-race children are often treated badly, by the Irish, the Chinese - even the police...
When the new mother's half-Chinese and half-Irish fifteen year old niece goes missing,
Sarah knows that alerting the constables would prove futile. So she turns to Detective Sergeant Frank Malloy - and together they begin to search for her themselves. And after they find the girl, dead in an alley, Sarah and Malloy have ample suspects from both sides of Canal Street.
This is a good read - great historical references and setting, great characters and the author's plot line is well thought out.
In Chinatown to deliver a baby, midwife Sarah Brandt learns that the mother's mixed-race niece is missing, and she enlists Sergeant Malloy's help. But after they find the girl dead in an alley, there are ample suspects?from both sides of Canal Street.