This was a fun book! I've never read something that's considered a "cozy mystery" until now, and I REALLY enjoyed it! So much so that I had to go to the library to get the first two in the series. Luckily with this series, it seems like you can pick it up almost anywhere and you'll be fine as Thompson does fill you in on the necessary details from past stories to help you follow along, but without getting bogged down too much. The main character, Sarah Brandt, is a midwife in NYC near the turn-of-the-century. From what I can tell Thompson did a great job developing her character as she is interesting and you care about her throughout the story. She is called to "Little Italy" to help deliver the baby of a restaurant owner's youngest son's Irish wife. The next day, the wife is dead. Sarah must investigate to find out if it's something that she did or if it's an unknown complication (or murder, but she keeps that in the back of her mind at first). Her friend, Detective Sergeant Frank Malloy, gets roped into Sarah's investigation and with the help of a young Italian police officer (to help appease the family since Frank is Irish), they try to solve what happened. We also get a glimpse at Sarah's personal life at home as well as an ongoing investigation into the death of her husband (which occurred years before this story takes place). I'm guessing that's a common theme throughout the series, much as Monk's wife's murder is a common reoccurring theme on the TV series Monk). Thompson does a GREAT job bringing you into this time period. It feels like she really did the leg-work to make sure facts/ people were accurate to their portrayals. You get a real sense of what NYC must have been like during this era, but without it getting thrown into your face every five seconds. Anyway, I highly recommend this book if you are looking for a fun, relatively light read! :-)
This takes place when Teddy Roosevelt was Commissioner of the New York Police Department, and his friend, Mrs. Brandt, a midwife, has to go her patients in a horse drawn wagon. Mrs. Brandt's friend, Malloy, of the police department, has been put in charge of solving a murder that was discovered by Mrs. Brandt, after her delivering the victim of a child. Despite the supposed tension between the Italian Black Hand mob and the Irish Tammany Hall, there is still a rather homey quality to the story. It has the ambiance of an old cofmnirtable shoe. Nice read.
Really liked this book. Kept me guessing until the end.