Murder on Trinity Place
Gaslight Mystery #22
By Victoria Thompson
Author’s Website: victoriathompson.com
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Daniele
The year of 1899 is drawing to a close. Frank and Sarah Malloy are getting ready to celebrate the New Year at Trinity Church when they notice Mr. Pritchard, a relative of their neighbor’s behaving oddly and annoying the other revelers. Frank tries to convince Pritchard to return home with them, but the man refuses and Frank loses him in the crowd. The next morning Sarah and Frank are horrified to learn Pritchard was murdered sometime in the night, his body left on Trinity Place, the side street near the church.
The police aren’t too interested in the murder, and the family are concerned that the circumstances of the death will reflect badly on Pritchard’s reputation. To protect the family from scandal, Nelson asks Frank to investigate. Frank and Sarah delve into Pritchard’s past and realize there may have been a deadly side to the dawning of the new century.
I have enjoyed this series over the years, and the twenty-second installment Murder on Trinity Place is a pleasant, if slow moving, read. I am partial to the turn-of-the-century time period, and the recurring characters have become familiar, comfortable friends. I always appreciate the actual history that Thompson weaves throughout the books, and here she highlights the New York City “Milk Wars” and the staggering statistic of children’s deaths attributed to tainted milk.
When an acquaintance of Frank and Sarah Malloy is strangled on New Year’s Eve and the police are paid not to investigate, the victim’s daughter asks the sleuthing couple to find the real killer. This leads Frank into the gangster underbelly of the city, and the body count rises before Frank figures out the truth. There is also a small subplot featuring Jack Robinson (from Murder in the Bowery) that is fun but feels like filler.
I miss the earlier books in the series when Frank and Sarah really investigated together. Now, Sarah is almost an afterthought, concentrating more than ever on her women’s clinic, wishing for babies to deliver, and playing matchmaker. Perhaps she is bit bored as the wife of a millionaire instead of the wife of a policeman. Of course, the characters continue to be likable, and I still enjoy spending time with them, but everyone seems a bit complacent. The mystery has plenty of potential, and there are a couple of surprises along the way, but the killer is too easily identified way too early in the story. The investigation is full of lies that should provide twists and turns, but it is terribly repetitive, and I often found my attention wandering.
Overall, I did enjoy Murder on Trinity Place; it is just not my favorite of the series. Recommended to historical mystery readers and fans of the series.
*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*