Murder In Chelsea(A Gaslight Mystery) by Victoria Thompson(4 out of 5)

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Right off the bat, for those who haven’t read Victoria Thompson, you will need to read from the first book. It’s a series. And the way this one plays out, if you get to the end, you’re going “What the hell?”. So do yourself a favor and read all of them. Sarah Brandt is a widowed mid-wife who helps any and all, no matter what the income classification is(In Victorian New York, it was a big deal back then). She has an uncanny habit of stumbling onto murders and finds herself often in the company of one Detective Sargeant Frank Malloy. Sarah also is legal guardian to one Catherine, a young child who is left at a mission by her parent(s) and has no one to raise her. That’s from the beginning of the series, but this is the book where that’s finally addressed. Sarah confronts Anne Murphy, who claims to have been a young Catherine’s nanny and that Catherine’s parents are finally ready to reclaim their child. Naturally, as any parent would be, Sarah is appalled and scared. Some investigative work reveals that her mother is a traveling stage actress and her father a wealthy conglomerate who’s dying from cancer and wants to spend his last days with his child. Sarah shares all this information with Malloy, who smells a rat and goes to confront Anne Murphy, only to find her murdered. That’s where the fun(sarcasm, kids) really begins. Where’s Catherine’s mother? Why has she been gone all these years? Will she be reunited with her father? Who murdered Anne? Will Sarah lose her child forever? Will Malloy admit he has a thing for Sarah?

What a tangled web is woven here. It’s got more twists and turns than I’ve been used to with Victoria Thompson, but you almost feel a sense of completion here. I hope that doesn’t mean that the series is drawing to a close, but if so, Victoria has wrapped it up in fine fashion. The only reason I didn’t rate this a 5 was because the ending was so sweet it made my old Capricorn bones ache. We ask for, and fans will receive. I’m also the sort who believes things are too good to be true, and that almost feels the case with the end. Not saying I didn’t dig it- I did!- but it was almost too..well..good to be true. We’ll see next spring when and if Thompson continues the series. It’ll be a damn shame if she doesn’t. 

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~ by generationgbooks on May 10, 2013.

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