Murder on St. Nicholas Avenue by Victoria Thompson (3 out of 5)

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I was excited to see another Gaslight Mystery in under a year from Victoria Thompson. This is the 18th one; yes, I’ve read them all. I thought this was more of a holiday themed one, partially due to the cover and partially due to the timing of the release. It was not. I’m not sure if it would have made a difference in my overall impression anyhow! I really wanted to like this one more. Not saying it was all bad; not at all. The usual main characters; Frank and Sarah Malloy are not present until the last chapter; they’re honeymooning in Europe. The primary characters in this one are Maeve, the nanny, and Gino, her friend and cop who’s crushing on her. They’ve assisted Frank and Sarah in books previous; so it was a nice progression that they get a case on their own and get to investigate it. Sarah’s parents Mr. and Mrs. Decker end up helping with the case, which I also thought was a nice progression, as in previous books, they had been opposed to their daughter helping Malloy with his investigations. The problem was the case, the accused, the other suspects, and ultimately, the conclusion to the case. I knew about 68 pages into this book who did it. The part that sucked? I got it right. That almost automatically kills my jones for a good mystery. Una, the woman accused of killing her husband, the wealthy and shady Randolph Pollock, is a piece of work. A nasty little piece of work. Pollock is bludgeoned to death, and the house staff and cops find Una with his bloodied head in her lap. She remembers nothing (or claims to) and is mute as a result. Her panicked mother summons help, and Maeve and Gino end up taking on the majority of the case, along with help from the Deckers. The more they investigate, the more it appears that Pollock was a piece of work himself, extorting funds for a Panamanian railroad that’s already been built years before (playing on the not great educational system and those who weren’t aware of that), so he has a trail of investors whose savings he has squandered. So, no shortage of suspects. The resolution to the case ends up feeling forced. The path of intellect and careful questioning of multiple suspects to establish motive and opportunity is a good one; all angles and avenues examined by the four parties investigating are carefully examined and thought through. The problem doesn’t lie there. It lies with the reveal of the killer and those who assisted in the cover-up. This one could have taken a couple of different ways, but it went down the wrong avenue.

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~ by generationgbooks on November 8, 2015.

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