Murder on Amsterdam Avenue by Victoria Thompson (3 out of 5)


This is the 17th book in the “Gaslight Mystery” series that Thompson has penned. And yes, before you ask, you have to read them in order. And yes, before you ask a second time, I have read them all. If you like spunky heroines, this is the one series to consider. If you like 19th century New York City, that’s your setting. Sarah Brandt may be a midwife, but she’s also not taking any crap. Neither is former police detective Joe Malloy, now her fiancé and in charge of getting their house in order in time for their wedding. That isn’t going well, and things don’t get better when Sarah reluctantly agrees to pay a condolence call to the family of one of her former society acquaintances who just passed away from a mysterious virus. Sarah and her mother are stunned that Charles’ widow seems more annoyed than grief stricken by his passing. His own mother doesn’t offer much in the way of answers, and when Sarah and her mom go to leave, Charles father asks to speak with her in private. He then tells her he wants her fiancé to investigate Charles’ death; he believes his son was poisoned. Sarah relays the message to Frank, and with the help of Gino and Sarah herself, Frank gets cracking at the case. Things are REALLY not as they seem here. At the funeral, a woman who appears to be of questionable character goes haywire at the funeral. She is escorted out by some shady characters. Things get whack the deeper Joe and Gino get in their investigation of Charles’ death. Secrets stretch all the way back to The War Between The States in this one, and there are multiple surprises uncovered along the way. The mystery gets solved, but does it end with Sarah and Joe’s lives, not to mention the wedding, in jeopardy?

As always, I enjoyed Victoria’s book. However, this one seemed forced at parts. The wedding was barely mentioned, barely any private romantic moments between Sarah and Joe, which is kind of ridiculous, as they are engaged and ready to be married at any time. So that rang a bit hollow. The house being redone and how aggravating it is, seems to be a huge deal in the first four chapters, then it’s abruptly dropped. You ever have your house redecorated or redone? It’s not a subject easily dropped, or easily fixed. Yet is. The wife being a suspect right off the bat? Contrived. The way it ends? I knew a third of the way in who did it, and that takes a lot of the fun out of it for me. Unfortunately, I was right in who did it, but the consequences leading up to those actions? Wouldn’t have imagined it, so I was glad to see at least part of the overall culprit made some sense on paper. When Joe and Sarah do get married, it’s such a quickly written affair in the book that you feel let down. At least have some reflection in the vows. Something- this IS the 17th book in the series! So those things all led up to me being a bit let down by this one. I still enjoy the characters and the rapport between Joe and Sarah, when there is actual rapport. In this title, not so much of it at all. This felt like a quick whodunit and although all dots were connected, parts of it just were too disconnected to spark a fuse. Thompson’s next book in the series is out in November, 2015.

~ by generationgbooks on June 6, 2015.

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