Murder in Morningside Heights (Gaslight Mystery #19) by Victoria Thompson (Berkley Prime Crime hardcover, 3 May 2016).
Sometimes, I feel the need to read a historical mystery, and Victoria Thompson's latest Gaslight Mystery fit the bill. Even though I haven't read any of the previous books in the series, the bones of the story were pretty easy to pick up.
Our protagonists are former midwife Sarah Brandt Malloy and former New York City Detective Sergeant Frank Malloy. Recently married, they've moved into a mansion that Frank built with funds from a large inheritance he recently received. Now that Frank is a man of means, he's started detective agency.
He and his assistant, Gino Donatelli, are visited by a Mr. and Mrs. Northrup of Tarrytown (about 25 miles north of Manhattan), who hire him to look into the murder of their daughter Abigail.
Abigail Northrup's parents had sent her to the Normal School of Education, a women's college, and upon graduation, had been hired as a teacher there, against her parents wishes. Her body was found in a gazebo on the grounds of the college, stabbed through the eye with a screwdriver.
Although Frank doesn't quite understand the "New Woman" (his wife notwithstanding), he finds Abigail's murder quite a puzzle, and agrees to take the case. As he begins his investigation, he realizes that he knows next to nothing about institutions of higher learning. He also realizes that he'll have to involve his wife in the investigation, as she knows much more about the behavior of the wealthy socialites than he.
Thompson writes in a charmingly formal style that could easily flow from the pen of an author in the 19th Century. The mystery is gripping, and there are enough possible culprits to make it a real whodunit.
I'm intrigued enough to want to read the previous 18 books in the series, (I really want to know how Sarah and Frank met, and where Frank's inheritance came from) and looking forward to immersing myself in them soon.
The publisher has generously offered a copy of Murder in Morningside Heights to one of my readers. Please comment below by 12:01 a.m. on Monday, May 23rd. Please don't forget to include an email address where I can contact you if you win. Entries from the U.S. only, please.
FTC Full Disclosure: Many thanks to the publisher for sending me a review copy of the book.