This series is absolutely one of the best historical mystery series around and Victoria Thompson has managed to eclipse herself with each book. This time, Sarah Brandt goes to deliver a "premature" baby in Victorian NYC's Little Italy to discover the first grandson of a strong Italian matriarch is full term and that the mother is an Irish dance hall girl who tricked the youngest son into marriage to cover an indiscretion. Things escalate when Tammany Hall goes up against the Black Hand in a terrific mystery set in a fascinating time period. Well drawn characters, great setting, solid plot. I was sure who the killer was rather earlier than usual, but the plot unfolded so beautifully, I didn't really care.
I have read this entire series and enjoyed it very much. I would recommend that you read them in order as the subplot is very sequential.
Really liked this book. Kept me guessing until the end.
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.
I hadn't read anything from the series before, but I am definitely hooked and you will be too once you read this one. The main character is a midwife, Sarah Brandt, who works in the tenements of New York City at the turn of the last century. In this story she is called on to attend a birth in Little Italy where she finds an Italian family anxious about the upcoming birth as the baby is coming too early, or so they think until the baby turns out to be a fat and healthy baby boy, definitely not premature. The family reacts angrily as this baby was definitely conceived even before its parents had met and while the matriarch of the family threatens to throw her deceiving and hated Irish daughter-in-law out, the girl reacts calmly and tells Sarah she has nothing to fear. The next morning Sarah returns to check on the new mother and finds her dead in her bed. The family insists that the death was from complications of childbirth but Sarah thinks the girl was murdered. Sarah's friend, Police Commissioner Roosevelt wants the murderer found before the Irish and Italian tenement dwellers tear the city apart.
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! :-)
These books are enjoyable historical mysteries with strong characters and interesting plots. Reading just one in this series is not enough. Every book provides insight to the characters' background and their continual development.
Every book is suspenseful and provides accurate detail of the places and characteristics of the time period in which it is set.
Another charmer in this series of the life of Sarah Brandt, midwife in NYC during the early part of the last century. A must read!
An outstanding historical series....In this addition Sarah Brandt is summoned to deliver a baby that is thought to be premature....In actuality the healthy baby boy is full term...the problem - the "father" cannot be the father....There are enough tensions and hatreds between the Irish mother and the Italian (supposed) father's relatives to fill Malloy's jail when the baby's mother is found dead the day after the delivery. She has, of course been murdered. Malloy is charged with solving this political hotbed PDQ....never mind that there are outside influences from Tammeney Hall...the "Black Hand" and riotous gangs....Malloy is also given permission by Commissioner Theodore Roosevelt to officially reopen the case of the murder of Dr. Thomas Brandt.....
great book as is all her books
Again, good mystery. in the back of your mind you think you know who did it. Then, you are thrown a curve. The setting in turn-of-the-century New York City gives a good view of the times without overpowering the story. The H/H are still testing their chemistry and how they could ever be a couple in these times with their different backgrounds. Still recommending.
Book is new, never read. Was a gift and I already had a copy.