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Murder on Sisters' Row

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It's no mystery why readers love Victoria Thompson's Edgar Award- nominated series. With the help of a charitable lady of means, midwife Sarah Brandt rescues a young woman and her newborn from the brothel where the mother was forced to prostitute herself. But their success comes at a high price when their benefactor is found murdered. Though the brothel's madam is immediat It's no mystery why readers love Victoria Thompson's Edgar Award- nominated series. With the help of a charitable lady of means, midwife Sarah Brandt rescues a young woman and her newborn from the brothel where the mother was forced to prostitute herself. But their success comes at a high price when their benefactor is found murdered. Though the brothel's madam is immediately considered a suspect, Sarah and Sergeant Frank Malloy investigate, uncovering some unpleasant truths about the victim and her charity-and the woman and child Sarah risked her own life to save.


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It's no mystery why readers love Victoria Thompson's Edgar Award- nominated series. With the help of a charitable lady of means, midwife Sarah Brandt rescues a young woman and her newborn from the brothel where the mother was forced to prostitute herself. But their success comes at a high price when their benefactor is found murdered. Though the brothel's madam is immediat It's no mystery why readers love Victoria Thompson's Edgar Award- nominated series. With the help of a charitable lady of means, midwife Sarah Brandt rescues a young woman and her newborn from the brothel where the mother was forced to prostitute herself. But their success comes at a high price when their benefactor is found murdered. Though the brothel's madam is immediately considered a suspect, Sarah and Sergeant Frank Malloy investigate, uncovering some unpleasant truths about the victim and her charity-and the woman and child Sarah risked her own life to save.

30 review for Murder on Sisters' Row

  1. 5 out of 5

    Melisa

    Fun fact: (actually not fun at all, pretty terrible if you ask me) in late 19th century New York, when charitable organizations really began to take off with society folk, there was a register in which your name was recorded if you received any charitable contributions from an organization so that you couldn’t receive it from any other. The leaders of these organizations believed that only the “worthy” poor should be eligible to receive assistance, and most were turned away due to something deem Fun fact: (actually not fun at all, pretty terrible if you ask me) in late 19th century New York, when charitable organizations really began to take off with society folk, there was a register in which your name was recorded if you received any charitable contributions from an organization so that you couldn’t receive it from any other. The leaders of these organizations believed that only the “worthy” poor should be eligible to receive assistance, and most were turned away due to something deemed inappropriate by the charities. These people believed that poorness bred laziness and if they were given assistance, they would lack the drive to work in order to better themselves. Meanwhile, people were working in factories for 12 hours a day and barely making enough to survive. This book highlights how many women turned to prostitution, not because of immorality, but because it came down to this: prostitution or starvation. And these women were turned away because they were seen to be unworthy. Victoria Thompson has once again done her research and it shows. In addition to another well-plotted mystery and whodunnit, she has once again managed to teach me something of these times.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Phrynne

    Another interesting and entertaining book in the Gaslight Mystery series. Author Victoria Thompson bases each of her books around a different little piece of New York social history and this one deals with the sorry state of the real poor in those times, especially women. Charities were set up to help but public opinion tended towards seeing the poor as lazy and not wanting to help themselves whereas the real case was that jobs did not pay enough for them to live. One result was that many women Another interesting and entertaining book in the Gaslight Mystery series. Author Victoria Thompson bases each of her books around a different little piece of New York social history and this one deals with the sorry state of the real poor in those times, especially women. Charities were set up to help but public opinion tended towards seeing the poor as lazy and not wanting to help themselves whereas the real case was that jobs did not pay enough for them to live. One result was that many women ended up selling themselves, and deluxe brothels for the very rich became a norm. Of course Sarah gets herself involved in helping a woman escape from such a brothel and the fun and the murders begin! I liked that Frank actually involved Sarah voluntarily this time but I think he maybe was not happy with the results. The last scene with the tea had me sitting on the edge of my seat! Anyway it was all good in the end and Sarah promises not to have anything to do with any murders in the future. We will see...…..

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jonetta

    Midwife Sarah Brandt is taken to what she first believes is a boardinghouse for women to help with an imminent delivery for one of the residents. It soon dawns on her that the house is a brothel and her patient asks for her help to escape. She’s given the name of a woman known to help young women like her patient. Sarah agrees to do so and visits the woman, Vivian Van Orner, and gets in deeper than she’d envisioned, enough that she gets a visit from Detective Sergeant Frank Malloy. One of the st Midwife Sarah Brandt is taken to what she first believes is a boardinghouse for women to help with an imminent delivery for one of the residents. It soon dawns on her that the house is a brothel and her patient asks for her help to escape. She’s given the name of a woman known to help young women like her patient. Sarah agrees to do so and visits the woman, Vivian Van Orner, and gets in deeper than she’d envisioned, enough that she gets a visit from Detective Sergeant Frank Malloy. One of the staples of this series is the introduction of some new factoid, at least new to this reader. This time it’s seven houses on West 25th Street in New York City called Sisters’ Row, all brothels run by seven sisters and considered to be the most expensive bordellos in the city. One of these houses was the site of our fictional story. Another frequent reference was to the “Gibson Girl” look worn by one of the women. I’d heard of it before but wasn’t familiar with the look until I saw a representation (see below). The story itself was equally interesting, especially when Mrs. Van Orner ends up dead. There’s no shortage of suspects and I changed my pick several times, only to miss the true villain entirely. Sarah and Frank worked as a team, this time at his request! I liked how they planned out the investigation and assembled the clues to hone in on the killer. And, Sarah showed some real skills in this one. This series continues to keep me entertained and excited to start the next story.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Tamar...light at the end of the tunnel?

    I’m totally hooked on this series. I was pacing myself because I love it so much and I didn’t want to catch up and then have to wait each year for a new installment. (What was I thinking? – there are currently 24 books in the series, I could be dead before I finish!). But, THEN I read GRFriend Julie’s review of a later book in the series and I was off to the races (galloping noises). I read two books over the weekend and then a third and next a fourth!....All, so I could get to the “good stuff” I’m totally hooked on this series. I was pacing myself because I love it so much and I didn’t want to catch up and then have to wait each year for a new installment. (What was I thinking? – there are currently 24 books in the series, I could be dead before I finish!). But, THEN I read GRFriend Julie’s review of a later book in the series and I was off to the races (galloping noises). I read two books over the weekend and then a third and next a fourth!....All, so I could get to the “good stuff” I’ve been waiting for (view spoiler)[…there’s good stuff (hide spoiler)] . About the series... As any follower can tell you, our heroine, Sarah Brandt, abandoned her role as a Society debutante to marry an impoverished doctor and become a midwife. She was widowed after only four years of nuptial bliss, during which time she was estranged from her parents Felix and Elizabeth Decker. The Deckers were one of the most prominent and wealthy families in New York City at the end of the 19th Century, and daughters of their station married for mogul unions and not for love. Detective Sergeant Frank Malloy, an Irish cop and widower, crossed paths with Sarah in the first book of the series and quickly morphed from Malloy’s bane to the apple of his eye. There is much attraction between these two people who come from opposite ends of the social spectrum. Malloy is careful never to overstep his bounds, knowing that Sarah is above his pay grade, yet he is quickly and clearly besotted. What else is fun about this series? Sarah always seems to get mixed up or calls Frank into a murder investigation. Her visits to the police station to seek him out result in the knowing titters of his fellow officers. No matter how many times Sarah promises not to butt in, Frank ends up tripping over her while visiting a murder scene or the family of a victim. He is protective and fears for Sarah’s safety, and well he should, since she is nearly poisoned, stabbed, clubbed or otherwise threatened at least once or twice in most of the novels. Generally, several bodies will turn up before a mystery is solved, and just when you think you have figured out the motive and the culprit – a new twist gets thrown in your path. If you are absolutely certain you know who committed the crime/s, the rug gets yanked out from under your feet and your person of interest turns up dead! In almost every novel, the disgustingly rich either get murdered or become murder suspects. Frank knows that these people are untouchable – touch them, and you lose your job. Frank and Sarah manage to arrive at a satisfactory resolution to each of the mysteries (so far). Over the course of these books, the reader is introduced to the complicated relationships between Sarah and her parents, Sarah and her “daughter” Catherine and nanny Maeve, Sarah and her neighbor Mrs. Ellsworth, Frank and his mother, Frank and his son, everyone separately, and everyone together. All of the characters, especially Sarah and her mother Elizabeth, are interesting and have a sense of humor, except perhaps the fuddy-duddy, Felix Decker. In this story, Sarah is collected by carriage to attend a delivery in the Nun’s Quarter. Nunnery=Brothel…Sarah does not immediately know where she is, as she has never seen the inside of a brothel, but quickly figures things out, especially when she delivers the baby of a young girl, who begs her to contact a philanthropic do-gooder woman who orchestrates an 1890’s special op team that “kidnaps” prostitutes from their Madams and delivers them from their bondage. Not everything is as it seems, not everyone is as they seem. This is one of two novels in this series that I read last week where the only value the baby has for its mother, is the rich man who fathered the child. Did I forget to mention that the do-gooder woman is married to a frequenter of brothels? Whether or not there is a happy ending depends on your point of view. The endings are always good for Sarah, Frank, et al – not so good for all the murder victims.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    These books...I'm so torn on them. One the one hand, they're charming (though sometimes quite predictable) historical mysteries featuring a strong female lead character--a midwife who after her husband's murder chose not to return to her wealthy family to be taken care of, but instead to make her own way in the world--and as her counterpart, a good-hearted (if a bit gruff at times), uncorrupted NYC cop at a time when corruption was rampant in the police department. On the other hand, while it was These books...I'm so torn on them. One the one hand, they're charming (though sometimes quite predictable) historical mysteries featuring a strong female lead character--a midwife who after her husband's murder chose not to return to her wealthy family to be taken care of, but instead to make her own way in the world--and as her counterpart, a good-hearted (if a bit gruff at times), uncorrupted NYC cop at a time when corruption was rampant in the police department. On the other hand, while it was established early in the series that Sarah and Malloy are attracted to/care for each other, exactly nothing has been done about it, save for one kiss early in the series. I can totally understand it if the author doesn't want a romance between the two characters to take over the series, but giving us a little something wouldn't hurt, either. Also, there was very little in the way of character development for the supporting characters either--Maeve, Catherine, Mrs. Ellsworth, etc. I'm afraid the series is in danger of getting a bit stale in that regard. This particular book...was actually pretty good, mystery-wise. Though, I'd worked out who the killer was before the big reveal, it didn't lessen my enjoyment of the story at all. And I wasn't exactly right about the reason why, either. I just wish there'd been a bit...just a tiny bit or forward development between Sarah and Malloy...

  6. 5 out of 5

    Mark Baker

    Midwife Sarah Brandt’s latest client is a woman in an elegant house. However, over the course of her labor, Amy reveals that she is being held against her will by a madam. Sarah enlists some others to help her free Amy and her baby only for someone to turn up dead. With Frank Malloy assigned to the case, the duo finds themselves investigating another intriguing mystery. Can they figure out what happened? While the book delves into a serious subject, it does it without forcing the details on us, s Midwife Sarah Brandt’s latest client is a woman in an elegant house. However, over the course of her labor, Amy reveals that she is being held against her will by a madam. Sarah enlists some others to help her free Amy and her baby only for someone to turn up dead. With Frank Malloy assigned to the case, the duo finds themselves investigating another intriguing mystery. Can they figure out what happened? While the book delves into a serious subject, it does it without forcing the details on us, something I appreciated as I read. Instead it does an excellent job of bringing life in 1890’s New York City to life once again and shining the light on another part of society during the time. I love Sarah, Frank, and the rest of the gang. While all the characters shine, there isn’t any movement in the ongoing storylines, so you could jump in here without being too lost. The new characters represent a wide part of society, and they are all brought to life well. The plot kept me engaged. I was a step or two ahead of Sarah and Frank at times, at others I was heading in the wrong direction. Everything comes together for a page turning climax. I’m doing my best to catch up on this series. If you are as behind as I am, you’ll be delighted with this entry in the series. Read my full review at Carstairs Considers.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Piyangie

    This series seems to be becoming a little stagnated. Although I haven't read all the books in he series (due to my inability at finding some of them), I expected the main characters to move forward with their relationship after solving the murder-mystery of Sarah's late husband. But apparently that isn't the intention of the author. While I respect her wishes to keep Sarah's and Frank's relationship a slow developing one, after the thirteenth book of the series, it is pretty frustrating. :) Havin This series seems to be becoming a little stagnated. Although I haven't read all the books in he series (due to my inability at finding some of them), I expected the main characters to move forward with their relationship after solving the murder-mystery of Sarah's late husband. But apparently that isn't the intention of the author. While I respect her wishes to keep Sarah's and Frank's relationship a slow developing one, after the thirteenth book of the series, it is pretty frustrating. :) Having said that, the particular murder-mystery in this novel is quite a good one, although the motive behind the crimes was bit far fetched. However, the story progressed at a slow pace, and at times it felt bit boring. There was no action at all save except in the final chapter. I seriously feel that the series is losing some of its earlier charm. I hope the next installment will be more promising, for I still want to go through the rest of the series.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Lauren

    Murder on Sisters' Row 3 Stars Midwife Sarah Brandt is called to assist a young woman in labor at what turns out to be a high end brothel. When the new mother claims she is being held against her will, Sarah becomes involved with a charity that rescues prostitutes. But then the head of the organization is poisoned, and Sarah learns that there is more to the girl's story than meets the eye. While this installment is enjoyable overall with the informative historical tidbits and the immersive sense o Murder on Sisters' Row 3 Stars Midwife Sarah Brandt is called to assist a young woman in labor at what turns out to be a high end brothel. When the new mother claims she is being held against her will, Sarah becomes involved with a charity that rescues prostitutes. But then the head of the organization is poisoned, and Sarah learns that there is more to the girl's story than meets the eye. While this installment is enjoyable overall with the informative historical tidbits and the immersive sense of place, it also feels as if the series is stagnating. The cases are predictable and aside from the recurring cast, the characters are all so unpleasant and unlikable. Moreover, Sarah and Frank's romance has stalled, and something really needs to happen between them very soon to keep me interested.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Robin

    Midwife Sarah Brandt is called upon to deliver a baby in a brothel. The mother is a prostitute named Amy who tells Sarah that she is being held against her will. Sarah agrees to help her and contacts Mrs. Vivian Van Orner, a woman who oversees a charity that helps get prostitutes off of the street. In a matter of days, Mrs. Van Orner's group has taken Amy and her baby from the brothel and placed them in a safe house. But soon after, Mrs. Van Orner is found murdered. Detective Sergeant Frank Mall Midwife Sarah Brandt is called upon to deliver a baby in a brothel. The mother is a prostitute named Amy who tells Sarah that she is being held against her will. Sarah agrees to help her and contacts Mrs. Vivian Van Orner, a woman who oversees a charity that helps get prostitutes off of the street. In a matter of days, Mrs. Van Orner's group has taken Amy and her baby from the brothel and placed them in a safe house. But soon after, Mrs. Van Orner is found murdered. Detective Sergeant Frank Malloy reluctantly asks Sarah to help him solve this case. The thirteenth book in the Gaslight Mystery series is a good one. There were several viable suspects in this story. I thought I had it figured out; but was surprised to find out I was wrong. I highly recommend this book (and the whole series). My rating: 5 Stars.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Mei

    Well, this was interesting because of the charitable organizations and specifically on prostitutes. 3.5 stars rounded higher only for that! But the reason for the killing(s) was not strong enough... I was like "What???!!! That's it???!!!"... I hope the next will be better... Well, this was interesting because of the charitable organizations and specifically on prostitutes. 3.5 stars rounded higher only for that! But the reason for the killing(s) was not strong enough... I was like "What???!!! That's it???!!!"... I hope the next will be better...

  11. 5 out of 5

    Lata

    How does Sarah Brandt remain so naïve even after being involved in multiple murder cases?….. After helping a young woman deliver her baby, Sarah discovers she’s (horrors!) in a brothel. The young mother desperately begs Sarah to contact a woman who helps prostitutes escape from their madams and pimps, which Sarah does. Sarah quickly learns of the less than charitable outlook the charities have for the people they help. As it’s all rich women and men, who, at heart, believe the poor are lazy, lacki How does Sarah Brandt remain so naïve even after being involved in multiple murder cases?….. After helping a young woman deliver her baby, Sarah discovers she’s (horrors!) in a brothel. The young mother desperately begs Sarah to contact a woman who helps prostitutes escape from their madams and pimps, which Sarah does. Sarah quickly learns of the less than charitable outlook the charities have for the people they help. As it’s all rich women and men, who, at heart, believe the poor are lazy, lacking morals, and are probably degenerate, it’s no surprise that the attitudes of the primarily rich women Sarah encounters in this case lack compassion. Or any real understanding of why a woman might become a prostitute. Even the kindly Mrs Dekker gets a little education from Sarah about poor women and their inability to earn a living wage at a factory or other job. Thankfully, Sarah does show a little less naïveté than I expected when the murderer reveals themselves to her. This instalment was enjoyable, in a series that remains entertaining.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Tammie

    With the help of a charitable lady of means, midwife Sarah Brandt rescues a young woman and her newborn from the brothel where the mother was forced to prostitute herself. But their success comes at a high price when their benefactor is found murdered. 3.5 stars. The mystery aspect of Murder on Sisters’ Row was just ok. I feel like it took a step back from the two previous books. Also this series has fallen into a rut at this point. There are still no new developments in the relationship betwee With the help of a charitable lady of means, midwife Sarah Brandt rescues a young woman and her newborn from the brothel where the mother was forced to prostitute herself. But their success comes at a high price when their benefactor is found murdered. 3.5 stars. The mystery aspect of Murder on Sisters’ Row was just ok. I feel like it took a step back from the two previous books. Also this series has fallen into a rut at this point. There are still no new developments in the relationship between Sarah and Malloy, no new character development for any of the supporting characters. It has become rather repetitive. How many times can we read the scenario of Malloy visiting Sarah, being greeted by her with a smile and by Catherine with excitement as Malloy picks her up and says a few words to her before he is invited to eat with them and then one of them asking Maeve to take Catherine into the other room so they can talk? It's the same thing over and over, this scenario happened at least three times in this book. But that wasn't the only repetition in this book, there were other instances as well where it repeated things unnecessarily. There also isn't much conversation between the Sarah and Malloy that doesn't involve the investigations, which is disappointing. In past books we got a bit more than that. Another thing that sort of annoyed me about this book was that it seemed like the reasoning behind prostitution and the poor was too black and white. The book seemed to be saying that all women at least in the beginning, were forced into prostitution out of desperation; and the wrongful thinking being that they did it because they enjoyed it. In regards to the poor, the book seemed to be saying that they were all hard working and down-trodden individuals who were stuck in a system that was broken; and the wrongful thinking being that the poor were poor because they were lazy, and expected handouts. In reality it is a bit of each instance regarding both of these issues, not one or the other. Women become prostitutes for different reasons and people are poor for different reasons too. There is never one same answer for everyone. I still like this series and I hope that it gets back some of that spark that has made me love it so much. Some people may quit at this point but I'm going to keep going with the series in hopes that it improves soon. Review also posted at Writings of a Reader

  13. 5 out of 5

    Mo

    2 1/2 stars This one did not hold my interest. It was nothing but repetitious dialog, wild conjectures, preachy sermonizing, and numerous red herrings that were completely unbelievable.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Kat

    It was a nice read even though I expected a much more impressive conclusion in the part of who done it and why! Thought it would be more complicated! I wish Sarah's dream would be acknowledged some how but a person more familiar to her would be needed for that! It was sweet though all the same! I didn't like any of the characters Malloy and Sarah investigated this time and didn't felt any sympathy for their problems! It's always a pleasure though to read about Frank and Sarah's interactions with e It was a nice read even though I expected a much more impressive conclusion in the part of who done it and why! Thought it would be more complicated! I wish Sarah's dream would be acknowledged some how but a person more familiar to her would be needed for that! It was sweet though all the same! I didn't like any of the characters Malloy and Sarah investigated this time and didn't felt any sympathy for their problems! It's always a pleasure though to read about Frank and Sarah's interactions with each other and with the people they love and follow their investigations! Enjoyed this instalment of the Gaslight mystery series!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Tonya

    Victoria Thompson is one of a select few mystery writers I will read today. In my opinion many mysteries today seem to be cotton candy, all fluff and no substance, with easily identifiable ‘bad guys.’ Not so with Ms. Thompson’s Gaslight Mystery series. I find Sarah Brandt a wonderful blend of naiveté regarding human nature and expertise on social inequalities prevalent in her time period. Frank Malloy is my favorite of the two main characters; his cynicism and world weary attitude are very believ Victoria Thompson is one of a select few mystery writers I will read today. In my opinion many mysteries today seem to be cotton candy, all fluff and no substance, with easily identifiable ‘bad guys.’ Not so with Ms. Thompson’s Gaslight Mystery series. I find Sarah Brandt a wonderful blend of naiveté regarding human nature and expertise on social inequalities prevalent in her time period. Frank Malloy is my favorite of the two main characters; his cynicism and world weary attitude are very believable for a man of his age and station in life. One of my first thoughts at the beginning of the series was it would be ruined by an overwhelming romance between Sarah and Frank but so far this is not the case each book focuses on the mystery with Sarah and Frank’s possible romance as background to the mysteries. Few mysteries keep my attention due to what I see in my mind as the flashing neon arrow pointing to the bad guy throughout the narrative. The Gaslight Mysteries tend to keep you thinking, you may figure it out midway through but until the end you generally second guess yourself.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Allison

    This felt like a re-run to me. Maybe I'm reading these too close together, but that's because I'm still waiting for something more to happen between Malloy and Sarah than them being absurdly pleased to see each other. This felt like a re-run to me. Maybe I'm reading these too close together, but that's because I'm still waiting for something more to happen between Malloy and Sarah than them being absurdly pleased to see each other.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Natalie

    Sarah is called out to deliver a baby at a brothel. The mother begs Sarah to get help from a local agency that rescues prostitutes. This leads Sarah to Mrs. Van Orner. They rescue the mother and soon after Mrs. Van Orner is murdered. Sarah and Frank have to work together to figure out who would want Mrs. Van Orner dead. Meanwhile, their number on suspect, the rescued mother, has disappeared with her baby. I enjoyed the mystery in this book and as usual Thompson did fantastic job with the setting Sarah is called out to deliver a baby at a brothel. The mother begs Sarah to get help from a local agency that rescues prostitutes. This leads Sarah to Mrs. Van Orner. They rescue the mother and soon after Mrs. Van Orner is murdered. Sarah and Frank have to work together to figure out who would want Mrs. Van Orner dead. Meanwhile, their number on suspect, the rescued mother, has disappeared with her baby. I enjoyed the mystery in this book and as usual Thompson did fantastic job with the setting and her research. Alas, though, I'm sad to say that the characters are growing a bit stale. What really attracted me to this series was the budding relationship between Frank and Sarah, but there doesn't seem to be any forward movement in the last 4-5 books. And I feel that Sarah is kind of boring now. Ever since she adopted Catherine, that's her big focus and how she needs to stay out of trouble for Catherine's sake and half the book is Catherine being sad when Sarah has to leave, and putting Catherine to bed, and talking about how much she loves Catherine...you get the point. It's more realistic, but does not make for thrilling reading. Meanwhile Frank seems to have gotten more annoying and controlling. He tells Sarah ad nauseum to not get involved and stay out of it, knowing full well she won't. I'd rather they just worked together. I actually loved the book where we got to see Mauve investigating. It was way more exciting and I wouldn't mind if the whole series switched to her maybe being a private detective or something like the lady she met. That would be much more interesting for me. I'm also sick to death of Mrs. Ellsworth and her superstitions and her just "happening" over when Frank comes. It's super annoying. I loved this series so much when I started but my enthusiasm is waning. I'm still going to keep reading and hope that it will improve from here.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    3.5 STARS Another entertaining installment in the series. I always enjoy the historical information weaved into the storyline. However, I wish more would happen with the secondary characters and the development of Malloy and Sarah's relationship. 3.5 STARS Another entertaining installment in the series. I always enjoy the historical information weaved into the storyline. However, I wish more would happen with the secondary characters and the development of Malloy and Sarah's relationship.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Danielle Gonzalez

    This was another great Gaslight Mystery. A carriage arrives at Sarah's house to take her to a woman about to give birth. She takes a short nap in the carriage and arrives at an unfamiliar house. As she attends to the pregnant woman, she slowly realizes she is in a house of ill repute. It made me think about the trust Sarah puts in the people who ask for her help. She could be taken to a bad situation, which was what this seemed. The pregnant girl tells Sarah she is there against her will and ask This was another great Gaslight Mystery. A carriage arrives at Sarah's house to take her to a woman about to give birth. She takes a short nap in the carriage and arrives at an unfamiliar house. As she attends to the pregnant woman, she slowly realizes she is in a house of ill repute. It made me think about the trust Sarah puts in the people who ask for her help. She could be taken to a bad situation, which was what this seemed. The pregnant girl tells Sarah she is there against her will and asks Sarah to find a woman named Mrs. Van Orsen. Van Orsen helps prostitutes leave the life. When Sarah finds Mrs. Van Orsen, she thinks she is doing something helpful for the girl. However, it turns into quite a story. This story, as many of the others in this series, really focuses on the difficulties young women have without the support of family or a man. It was ultimately impossible for a female to be self-sufficient. I like how the author takes the reader into the time period and really makes you feel that you are there.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Ella

    I can't say that the book wasn't good, but I wish it hadn't dragged on so. The cast of characters did little more than repeat themselves over and over. Sarah once again proved not to be as smart as people think she is. I do have to say that the author seems obsessed with women breastfeeding and their breasts and bodies in general. Every female's figure has to be dissected, especially if it's curvy, it doesn't even matter if it's a 13-year-old girl! I'm sick of that. This series can be very trying I can't say that the book wasn't good, but I wish it hadn't dragged on so. The cast of characters did little more than repeat themselves over and over. Sarah once again proved not to be as smart as people think she is. I do have to say that the author seems obsessed with women breastfeeding and their breasts and bodies in general. Every female's figure has to be dissected, especially if it's curvy, it doesn't even matter if it's a 13-year-old girl! I'm sick of that. This series can be very trying at times. In this book a brothel owner considered one of the girls her property, and a man considered a girl his property. There was talk of how sad it was when women can't fulfill their purpose in life, which is having a child. I take offense to comments like that. My purpose in life is not to have children because I'm a female. I consider that to be a choice, but I suppose we are talking about a story taking place in 1897 or so. I find it astonishing that this series had been around for 12 years by the time we got to book number 13, which is Murder on Sister's Row, and Frank and Sarah were no closer to getting together than they were in book 3! It won't be long before I've reached the end of what is already published, I'm hoping that by then Frank will at least be courting Sarah. I'm reading the series back-to-back over a short period of time, so I can imagine how those who have been reading about 1 book per year feel. There is a 2014 3-star review that wonders why there was no mention of Miss Yingling's last name, and her possible Asian ancestry. Yingling is A German last name, not Asian. I guess the Ying and the Ling caused confusion. Another variation of the name is Yuengling, which means youthful.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Debbie

    "Murder on Sisters' Row" is a historical mystery set in New York, New York in the late 1890's. This is the thirteenth book in the series, but you don't need to read the previous books to understand this one, and this one didn't spoil the previous mysteries. There was a nice level of historical detail about the setting, social structure, etc., that brought the story alive in my imagination. I've read the first book in the series as well, and I've enjoyed learning more about NY at that time. I like "Murder on Sisters' Row" is a historical mystery set in New York, New York in the late 1890's. This is the thirteenth book in the series, but you don't need to read the previous books to understand this one, and this one didn't spoil the previous mysteries. There was a nice level of historical detail about the setting, social structure, etc., that brought the story alive in my imagination. I've read the first book in the series as well, and I've enjoyed learning more about NY at that time. I like how the author weaves the information into the story so it doesn't slow the pacing or come across as a lecture. The characters were complex and reacted realistically to the situations, though none of the not-reoccurring-characters were particularly likable. I like Sarah, but I was a bit frustrated when she was all, "I'm not going to tell you were the girl is or anything that will help you find her!" and then gives the madam a whole bunch of information that could put people's lives in danger. And she didn't even realize her mistake until much later. It's realistic, but the scene was....frustrating. The mystery was basically gathering clues until they all fit together to solve the puzzle. I strongly suspected two people, and I was fairly certain which was whodunit before the reveal, though it wasn't for the reason I'd come up with. The clues and gathering of clues kept my interest. Suspense was created by some potential physical danger to Sarah and from wondering whodunit. There was a minor amount of explicit bad language. There was no sex. Overall, I'd recommend this interesting historical mystery. I received this book as a review copy from the publisher.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Lynne Tull

    I read this book out of sequence, but it didn't matter. The mystery was complicated and I got an education on the plight of women in the workforce during that era. I like Ms. Thompson's mysteries because she lays out clues that help the reader figure out who 'done it'. Of course, I was not sure until the bitter end. Some of the education part could have been left out, but I didn't find myself skipping over very much. Recommending I read this book out of sequence, but it didn't matter. The mystery was complicated and I got an education on the plight of women in the workforce during that era. I like Ms. Thompson's mysteries because she lays out clues that help the reader figure out who 'done it'. Of course, I was not sure until the bitter end. Some of the education part could have been left out, but I didn't find myself skipping over very much. Recommending

  23. 5 out of 5

    Connie

    I was happy to be back in New York during this time period. Mrs. Brandt and Frank Malloy did not disappoint. It always amazes me how Ms. Thompson writes and how you feel like you are right there in that time period. Mrs. Decker was not in this one too much, it was mostly Sarah Brandt and the list of possible killers. I thought I had it figured out, but was a little surprised when it was revealed. Great mystery and great depiction of the times. 5 out of 5 stars for me.

  24. 4 out of 5

    A.M.G. ☮Hippie/Fantasia☮

    Rating: 3.2 / 5 To be honest, I got really tired really fast with this one, and skipped through maybe half of it just to get to the ending. In my review for Book 12, I mentioned how the format of the stories was starting to get formulaic, but how I could still cope with that okay, since at least the people involved both in solving the murder and who were a part of it were interesting to read about. However, that interest does not carry on into this book, for reasons that I'll briefly outline below Rating: 3.2 / 5 To be honest, I got really tired really fast with this one, and skipped through maybe half of it just to get to the ending. In my review for Book 12, I mentioned how the format of the stories was starting to get formulaic, but how I could still cope with that okay, since at least the people involved both in solving the murder and who were a part of it were interesting to read about. However, that interest does not carry on into this book, for reasons that I'll briefly outline below: - The characters for this specific mystery (i.e. not Frank or Sarah) were not interesting. I didn't feel that they were fleshed out very well as characters, but instead functioned as archetypes in the setup of a story. I didn't care about who got murdered, I couldn't picture the characters in general too clearly, and I really wasn't invested in the historical context of what happened, either. - Frank and Sarah's relationship is still static. *grumbles in annoyance* Okay, they're happy to see each other, but it doesn't make sense for them to still be so informal and just "going through the motions" of things after they've already hugged several times, kissed, and called each other by their first names--all signs of courting, by the way! So, I really don't know what the heck the author was thinking in this book. The "tension" of their romance is virtually nonexistent and, consequently, not engaging. - The motive for the murder at the end was pretty stupid, and the murderer's revelation and what follows, while full of action, is entirely too random and just another excuse to put Sarah in a dangerous situation. I get that she has a disregard for her own safety and whatnot, but making someone go randomly crazy and try to kill her is not a good plot device to prove this point. So, in short, whatever I loved about the charm of this series just wasn't present in this novel. I don't know if Ms. Thompson was just feeling lazy this year or if she'd perhaps gotten writer's block and didn't know what to do with her characters or the world she'd created, but in any case it shows in her work. From what I've read of reviews, everything does get better in the next book though, so for now I'll assume that this is ultimately the low point of this series, the one "not so good" novel that perhaps every long series has, so I'll skip over it in my consideration of the series as a whole.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Lori

    A man turns up at Sarah Brandt's home needing her services to deliver a baby. Until she gets there, she is not aware she is at a brothel on Sisters Row. Her patient Amy seems earnest in her efforts to get away from the house of ill repute where she is being held against her will. She tells Sarah about Mrs. Jeffrey VanOrner's rescue efforts, pleading with Sarah to plead with the woman to rescue her. Sarah locates the woman, and a rescue is scheduled. After Amy is at the safe house, Mrs. Van Orner A man turns up at Sarah Brandt's home needing her services to deliver a baby. Until she gets there, she is not aware she is at a brothel on Sisters Row. Her patient Amy seems earnest in her efforts to get away from the house of ill repute where she is being held against her will. She tells Sarah about Mrs. Jeffrey VanOrner's rescue efforts, pleading with Sarah to plead with the woman to rescue her. Sarah locates the woman, and a rescue is scheduled. After Amy is at the safe house, Mrs. Van Orner is found dead in her carriage following a visit. Soon afterwards, Amy leaves the safe house with her baby. Detective Frank Malloy is impeded in what he can do because of the "protection money" paid by wealthy New Yorkers who frequent the brothels. He does, however, receive the go-ahead from Jeffrey Van Orner to investigate his wife's murder. Although I really don't enjoy reading about the seedy side of society, Thompson created an interesting puzzle. Although I suspected the murderer's identity, her red herrings left me with enough doubt to keep me engaged. I'm interested in learning a bit more about the Charity Organization Society which inspired this installment. The author included a little about it, but I'd like to find additional information. Similar organizations exist today although they do not attempt to be as controlling of whether another can assist a person and usually they only serve to inform charities about what assistance was received. Many times the persons at such organizations today know whether or not the person is playing the system and truly in need. Although they don't usually comment, many times they will tell the calling charity when they know a person to truly be in need.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Noninuna

    I started reading this book in the middle of last year and at last, I finished it! There's a problem with a long series. Main plot that continues from book to book, building up tension & anticipation & when it's done, there will be this feeling 'ok, it's settle. no more mystery', hence the lack of interest. And after back tracking, I saw the problem started after book #10. Then, I got spoiled by an online bookstore a few days ago, now, I don't think the main plot is done after all. After leaving I started reading this book in the middle of last year and at last, I finished it! There's a problem with a long series. Main plot that continues from book to book, building up tension & anticipation & when it's done, there will be this feeling 'ok, it's settle. no more mystery', hence the lack of interest. And after back tracking, I saw the problem started after book #10. Then, I got spoiled by an online bookstore a few days ago, now, I don't think the main plot is done after all. After leaving it so long, I kinda missed it. I missed Sarah & Frank and their little adventure & investigation. Of all cozy mysteries that I read so far (I've not read that many tho), Victoria Thompson is, in my opinion, a great mystery author. There's always hints here and there but you can't really tell, you'll kept guessing, strategizing but meh, I mostly got it wrong. And I've learned a lot about 1890's New York & how was it like, life back then. The social issues, discrimination towards minorities & women particularly. I truly enjoy the series & there's no mystery whether I'm continuing on or not.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Ruth Ellen

    Sarah is summoned to a birth in a brothel. The girl says she is being held against her will. She asks Sarah to contact Mrs. Van Onder who helps people like her get out of her situation. The girl is rescued but sometime afterwards Van Onder is poisoned. Sarah and Malloy must figure out who the guilty party is and why. Read and see if they do.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jenny

    Mystery-wise this installment wasn't great. I may be getting better at figuring out the clues to these mysteries, but this particular killer was obvious to me from the beginning. I'm continuing on with this series mostly because a co-worker told me about something that happens in future books that, after a dozen of these, I feel I've earned the right to read. Listened to the audio. Mystery-wise this installment wasn't great. I may be getting better at figuring out the clues to these mysteries, but this particular killer was obvious to me from the beginning. I'm continuing on with this series mostly because a co-worker told me about something that happens in future books that, after a dozen of these, I feel I've earned the right to read. Listened to the audio.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Paraphrodite

    3.5 stars. It's so strange to read that not only do brothels pay the police for protection, they actually expect the police to help them get back the girls that ran away from them! Again, I went down the wrong path with this one. But have got to say, Sarah must be using up her nine lives! I wish that the narrator would modify Frank's voice, it's just so very unattractive. 3.5 stars. It's so strange to read that not only do brothels pay the police for protection, they actually expect the police to help them get back the girls that ran away from them! Again, I went down the wrong path with this one. But have got to say, Sarah must be using up her nine lives! I wish that the narrator would modify Frank's voice, it's just so very unattractive.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Liz

    It's been a hot minute since I picked up a book in this series and I loved this one. I need to get back to it! Everyone was back and it was like hanging with friends! Plus murder and brothels! It's been a hot minute since I picked up a book in this series and I loved this one. I need to get back to it! Everyone was back and it was like hanging with friends! Plus murder and brothels!

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