Murder on Marble Row is the sixth book in Victoria Thompson’s Gaslight Mystery series. It continues to follow the life of Sarah Brandt, a midwife and Detective Sergeant Frank Malloy, an Irish Catholic cop living in New York City in the 1890s. They are an unconventional crime-solving duo. The more I read this series the more I enjoy spending time with this coup.
Gregory Van Dyke is a wealthy family friend from Sarah’s past. So is the Police Commissioner, Teddy Roosevelt. When Gregory van Dyke is killed in an explosion at his company, Commissioner Roosevelt asks Frank Malloy to solve the murder. Malloy has a reputation for being tenacious when it comes to solving a murder. It isn’t long before Sarah surprises Frank’ when she shows up at Van Dyke’s home when he is interviewing the family. Frank continues to demand that Sarah stay out of the detective business. However, Sarah has a knack for talking to the key players and getting information that Frank can’t.
What I enjoy most about this series is that Frank and Sarah have feelings for each other, but they don’t know how to deal with their feelings for one another. They were both married before and their spouses died. Their relationship grows with each book. If it weren’t for the class structure of the time, Frank would make a move.
One of my favorite aspects of this series is that Sarah is a true main character, not an extension of Frank the male lead. I love when authors are successful creating a female character as an independent entity. It is also a valid portrayal of life in the late 1800s. The character’s traits and actions are appropriate for the time. Sarah pays a price for breaking with her wealthy family. She is independent for that time. I love when she needs to leave messages for Frank. If she stops by the station, his fellow cops tease him. If she stops by his home, his mother makes Sarah feel inappropriate.
It is difficult to solve crime one-hundred years ago. The technology we know today isn’t available to Frank. It is fun to see how he works through the clues. I love so much about this series, that I must continue. Victoria Thompson is keeping me interested in her characters’ development, the history of the time, and the procedural. A must-read for fans of historical crime novels.