With her Gaslight Mysteries, Edgar Award finalist Victoria Thompson colorfully evokes the crowded, lamp-lit world of turn-of-the century New York City. In this 12th entry, philosophical conflicts within the deaf community reap a tragic harvest.
After Nehemiah Wooten, a polarizing figure among the hearing impaired, turns up dead, NYPD Detective Sergeant Frank Malloy begins to investigate. While interviewing Nehemiah’s wife Valora, he’s surprised when the not-so-grieving widow—hiding a secret pregnancy—goes into labor. Summoning his midwife friend Sarah Brandt, Frank learns from her of the eugenics views that kept Nehemiah from Valora’s bed ever since the birth of their deaf daughter Electra—now suspiciously joyful at her dad’s death. As more information comes to light, Frank and Sarah must ferret out the killer from a growing list of suspects. In this revealing portrait of a bygone day, Suzanne Toren’s splendid narration brilliantly distinguishes each character and helps build tension through the novel’s stunning conclusion.
©2010 Victoria Thompson (P)2010 Recorded Books, LLC
Love books! Classics and lighter fiction, mysteries (not too violent please :-). And selective non-fiction--whatever takes my fancy.
I like this series about Sarah Brandt, who is a midwife in early 1900's New York City, and her friend, detective Frank Malloy. It is well written, usually historically informative and always has a good mystery.
This time, Victoria Thompson took on a controversial issue at the time, whether it was more helpful to teach deaf children to sign or read lips and speak. I do not know very much about it, except to say it evokes a great deal of compassion in me, trying to think through what I would want for my own child or family member. Thompson has handled this topic in a way that provided a lot of information about the issues concerned, or at least how it might have been viewed then, and combined it with some insight into the very ugly topic of of eugenics. The story and mystery are good, as usual, but I was fascinated by the topic. It really left me with a lot of things to think about.
Sadly, I felt the narration detracted from the otherwise very good story. Often reading too slowly, sometimes just the voice quality was off-putting. Since I liked the book so much, I would tell others to get it and listen to it. It is worth the credit despite the less than stellar narration.
The narrator was god-awful. Half the time, she sounded like she was doing Munchkin impressions. Frank talked painfully slow and came off as sleazy. And the vocal fries!!!!! Terrible.
About as impressed as the beginning.
Most any other professional voice talent would probably suffice.
Not without heavy rewrite. Most of the book takes place in a couple of rooms. The stars should be actors trying to branch out from sitcoms.
A man who faints upon learning that his mother had an affair. A detective who speculates to a family member who the culprit might be. A midwife and a mother who abandons her practice and her child to spend days with a pampered rich woman. What's not to like?
As always Ms. Thompson gives us an excellent mystery while evolving these characters that we love to keep an eye on like a daytime soap opera. My only problem is with the new narrator, every time she takes a breath it sounds like a gasp. Very annoying, I will read the rest of chapters two through sixteen because of this narration.
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