Murder on Amsterdam Avenue (Gaslight Mystery)
by Victoria Thompson
Cover Artist: Karen Chandler
Review by Mel Jacob
Berkley Mass Market Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780425260487
Date: 03 May 2016 List Price $7.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Gerald Oakes, the head of a once wealthy family, asks Frank Malloy to investigate the sudden death of his son after an unexpected illness. He wants the killer found and punished, but the killer is determined to remain hidden. Suspects abound from his wife, to a maid or a mad woman. The seeds of the present lay in the past, but Frank is unable to ferret them out before more deaths occur.
The young man had recently taken a job at the Manhattan State Hospital, an asylum for the insane, as an administrator, but spent little time at his job. Most days he spent at his club drinking. He had had a bout of illness, but then recovered only to be taken sick again.
A strange woman comes to the funeral and claims Charles, the dead man loved her. Wealthy, she had been an inmate at the asylum and Charles had signed her release papers. She is the niece of a thuggish man Frank does not trust. He suspects the man plans to obtain control over her estate.
Charles' wife Hannah is certain the black maid, Daisy, killed him. Daisy cared for him during his last illness and was with him when he died. His mother defends the maid. She had known her when a child in the South, but had not seen her for years.
Gerald met his wife Jenny when his unit attacked her parents' plantation. The rest of the family had died and only Jenny and a few slaves survived. He became enamored of Jenny and married her. Society reluctantly accepted the marriage although his mother never liked Jenny.
Frank and Sarah Brandt are waiting for the home to be refurbished before marrying, an event anxiously awaited by both of them. They along with Maeve and Gino pursue the clues to unmask the killer. Sarah's medical training helps her save lives of others stricken by the same illness that killed Charles Oakes.
Thompson is a prolific author with eighteen Gaslight Mysteries and a variety of romance novels to her credit. Her characters are likable and the mysteries interesting. Although the ending has a bit of twist, it's not so surprising. Astute readers will probably work out the killer well before the end.