Murder on Pleasant Avenue
Gaslight Mystery #23
By Victoria Thompson
Author’s website: victoriathompson.com
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Daniele
A victim is found, brutally murdered and the police are certain they’ve caught the killer. Their only suspect: Gino Donatelli.
Frank and Sarah know Gino is innocent but the police have a one-track mind. Once Frank struck it rich and left their ranks taking Gino with him, there has been a simmering resentment in the department. And now, someone has pulled out all the stops to make it look like Gino is the only one who could have committed the crime.
With the clock ticking and evidence mounting against their friend, Sarah and Frank will try to unravel a treacherous plot before Gino is sent up the river for good.
Readers are drawn into Gino Donatelli’s world in Italian Harlem when his sister-in-law seeks his and Frank’s help in finding a settlement volunteer whom they think has been kidnapped by the Black Hand. Gino finds himself in the wrong place at the wrong time when the police discover him standing over the body of an Italian Harlem crime boss. As far as the police are concerned they have caught their killer, and Frank, Sarah, Maeve, and Gino do all they can to clear Gino’s name and break up the extortion ring.
I always enjoy my time with Frank and Sarah Malloy, but I really like this book’s greater emphasis on Gino and Maeve. It is so fun to get to know some of Gino’s family, and they provide comic relief to balance the heavy subjects of murder and women and children being kidnapped. Sarah is ahead of her time, but it seems appropriate for her character, and I appreciate Thompson’s acknowledgement of her unique position through the actions and attitudes of some of the other female characters. Gino and Maeve’s teasing and simmering relationship have been going on for quite a while now, and fans of the series should be pleased with them here.
The mystery is pretty straight forward and easy for readers to figure out even though it takes the protagonists much longer to get to the bottom of things. They get in their own way with assumptions, and uncooperative witnesses and suspects slow the investigation down. That said the pace is steady, and the story is engaging throughout. I can always count on Thompson to provide accurate historical tidbits without being tedious. I knew nothing of Italian Harlem, the volunteer programs to help immigrants, or the Black Hand before reading about them here. Interesting stuff.
Murder on Pleasant Avenue is a nice contribution to the long running Gaslight Mystery series sure to please series devotees and new readers alike.
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review as part of their ongoing blog tour*