Murder in the Bowery (Gaslight Mystery)
by Victoria Thompson
Cover Artist: Karen Chandler
Review by Mel Jacob
Berkley Hardcover / eBook ISBN/ITEM#: 9781101987117
Date: 02 May 2017
This twentieth Gaslight Mystery, Murder in the Bowery set in 1899, centers on two murders. One is of a young socialite found in a trunk in a Bowery alley. No one appears to know her name or how she came to be there. The other death is of an orphan newsboy who discovered the body. However, after the murder of the homeless newsboy, private detective Frank Molloy believes the two murders are connected.
When a well-dressed young man seeks Frank's help to find his lost brother, Frank is not initially interested, but eventually agrees to take the case. His client claims he and his younger brother were sent west on the Orphan Train. The older boy was taken on by a small town store owner who eventually left the business to him. The boy lost track of his brother and now wants to find him and share his good fortune.
When Frank checks into the story, he finds the charity sponsoring the Orphan Trains has no record of either boy. Eventually, he locates the boy, but he runs away. Later, Frank learns he had discovered a dead young woman, making Frank wonder after the boy is killed what other connection the two people may have had. He feels he might have been responsible for the killer finding the boy and vows to find that person.
The woman had been strangled and left in a large trunk. She was well dressed and appeared to have come from a wealthy family. Frank learns she had made several forays on Bowery tours and was rumored to have formed a liaison with a tour guide. Initially, she had dressed as a man and been accompanied by a young man.
Eventually, he discovers the woman’s identity and the family history. With his wife Sarah's help and his assistant Geno, Frank doggedly persists in finding the murderer or murderers and gaining justice for the victims.
Thompson, a prolific author, is noted for the historical settings in her Gaslight Mystery series. She specializes in hidden family secrets and how they sometimes lead to murder. Her complex characters and vivid settings add to an enjoyable reading experience. She also has a series of western romances set in Texas.