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Murder on Astor Place (Gaslight Mystery, #1)
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Murder on Astor Place (Gaslight Mystery #1)

3.88  ·  Rating Details  ·  5,848 Ratings  ·  537 Reviews
As a midwife in turn-of-the-century New York, Sarah Brandt has seen pain and joy. Now she will work for something more--a search for justice--in a case of murder involving one of New York's richest families.
Mass Market Paperback, 278 pages
Published May 1st 1999 by Berkley Prime Crime
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Gretchen Smith Definitely Historical Mystery. The ending and actual crime are a little too dark for a cozy mystery. It is, however, a great read for rainy evenings…moreDefinitely Historical Mystery. The ending and actual crime are a little too dark for a cozy mystery. It is, however, a great read for rainy evenings with a cozy blanket and some tea!(less)
The Name of the Rose by Umberto EcoThe Alienist by Caleb CarrThe Historian by Elizabeth KostovaThe Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz ZafónMistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin
Best Historical Mystery
81st out of 1,288 books — 3,275 voters
Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth PetersThe Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan BradleyThe Beekeeper's Apprentice by Laurie R. KingMaisie Dobbs by Jacqueline WinspearMistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin
Favorite Historical Mystery Series
32nd out of 770 books — 864 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Mary Beth
Apr 21, 2016 Mary Beth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved it! It is a historical mystery and its a page turner. The story is really good straight from the beginning to the end. I loved the characters. Its an excellent story.
Jun 19, 2012 Diane rated it really liked it
I am a big fan of Jacqueline Winspear's Maisie Dobbs series, about a female private investigator/psychologist in post WWI London, having read all of the books. Chelsea Clinton is also a fan, posting on Facebook about her memories of reading the books with her grandmother. Chelsea asked if anyone had recommendations for books like Maisie, and someone posted about Victoria Thompson's Gaslight Mystery series, about Sarah Brandt, a midwife living in New York City around the turn of the 20th century. ...more
Apr 08, 2016 Melisa rated it really liked it
Aside from one of the main characters having the same name as an ex-boyfriend (eep!) which became a slight annoyance after reading it on over 200 pages, I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

I love reading about the Victorian times to learn more about the period, and this was a very well-researched book. The reveal was kind of disturbing but I have to admit I didn't see it coming. I'm looking forward to reading the other books in this series to see where it takes the main characters, both of which I b
Sarah Brandt, a widow, ex-socialite and midwife, was drawn into a murder-mystery when she glimpsed a young lady she thought she knew in the wrong place at the wrong time. She went head-to-head with the commoner Sergeant Detective Frank Mallory when he arrived at the scene of the crime. Over a period of weeks these two morph into a most unusual 'friendship' if I can use that word loosely. He doesn't appreciate her interference and she does not care for his bossiness; yet they help each other.

I en
Susanna - Censored by GoodReads
Setting: intriguing.
Writing: pedestrian.
Word Choices: occasionally extremely ahistorical.

For a further review: .
I've been needing another historical mystery series to add to my bag, and I believe I've found one in the Gaslight Mysteries. Murder on Astor Place is a solid start to a series set in early 20th Century New York. As usual with this type of mystery, getting to know - and liking - the sleuth and their world is the most important part. Here, the amateur sleuth is a midwife, but we discover that Sarah's social background is not cut-and-dry, and the reasons why she became a midwife add a lot of depth ...more
Dec 14, 2008 Jamie rated it liked it
A fairly competent little gas-light thriller set in Victorian era New York.
While not exactly a memorable entry in the genre in wasn't so bad that I couldn't finish it...I guess that's a recommendation of sorts;-)
While it was relatively inoffensive it wasn't good enough that I feel I *have* to read the rest of the series. Part of it may be that I've read some really excellent books lately and compared to them it just doesn't quite measure up.
Murder on Astor Place
4 Stars

As a midwife, Sarah Brandt is no stranger to the struggles of life and death. However, after attending a routine birth at a boarding house, Sarah is shocked to learn not only that one of the other guests has been murdered, but that the young woman is someone she knows. When the girl’s prominent family refuses to permit an investigation and the police appear to be just as disinclined, Sarah takes it upon herself to discover the truth.

A good mystery, but it is the dynam
Sep 05, 2009 X5-494 rated it it was amazing
I really loved the fact that this series takes place in New York, instead of in London like in most of these kinds of books. I loved the two main characters, I loved the dialogues, I loved the atmosphere, I loved the plot... Seriously, it couldn't get any better than that.

I read the first four books of this series in German as well as in English and I can only recommend that everybody, who's even a little bit capable of the English language, is better going to read these books in English.

IF th
Ann Rufo
Jun 24, 2013 Ann Rufo rated it really liked it
I started this series because it had all of my weaknesses - a cozyish mystery story, a confident and competent female lead character, and a Victorian-era setting. I have since been blowing through this series, from this, the first book, all the way, some 15 books later, to the end. They are wonderfully devoured like particularly good cake with atypically complicated taste combinations like cayenne and chocolate cake or carrot ginger scones. Set at the turn of the century in New York, a midwife f ...more
Jul 18, 2009 AM rated it it was ok
A bit of a disappointment, although I should have realized from the beginning that there was no way this book could compare to the likes of Caleb Carr. Sort of a cheap imitation.
It was a good "vacation read," easy to digest and not very deep at all. There was a serious lack of detail which I had been looking forward to. Instead of explaining the vast differences in the classes, the author just keeps repeating the fact that there WERE differences. Of course there were differences! Tell me more ab
Kimberly Yates
Apr 14, 2016 Kimberly Yates rated it really liked it
A really great start to the Gaslight Mysteries! Id been wanting to start this series for over a year and finally sat down to take it on. I wish I hadn't waited so long.

Though I have a long way to go to catch up with the newer released books in this series, its a great thing. I can just binge read, back to back, knowing the stories will keep on rolling.

I thought the author did wonderfully in describing the people and times during the Victorian period. I felt like I could see, smell, hear it all
May 27, 2009 Yune rated it it was ok
I'm trying to branch into mysteries. This is not the direction to go in.

A midwife gets caught up in a murder -- of good breeding, she's now a working woman, and the discovery that the victim too was of a well-to-do family, but that the crime will be hushed up to preserve their reputation draws her in.

Lots of family sordidness (although dealt with in a non-sordid manner, if that makes sense; some authors revel in that sort of thing but here Thompson makes it clear that the people who were involve
Four stars worth of love for the idea - a born-wealthy-but-disowned widow works as a midwife and comes across a girl who looks like an old school acquaintance. The girl is murdered and our heroine Sarah is drawn into the investigation by our police-detective hero Frank. Characterization is a little flat but the history is very interesting, especially because we're firmly in Victorian...New York City. Some overdone coincidences and a definitely predictable creepyfactor ending but overall I can't ...more
Jul 19, 2014 Ally rated it really liked it
This is my kind of book! Murder; horror, mystery, and a little romance! I wonder when Sarah and Mr. Malloy will fall in love.
Wow. Just, wow. Great mystery, superb characters, and tightly paced to boot. It was all I ever wanted out of a historical mystery! There were plentiful red herrings that served to narrow down the pool of suspects as the case progressed, and it only added to the fun of determining the real killer. Just when I thought I had it all figured out, Thompson still had one last trick up her sleeve. I love this genre so much, and I'm so excited that I found it through Goodreads. I'd never heard of this se ...more
Dec 28, 2008 Jennifer rated it really liked it
The first in the Gaslight Mystery series.

This book takes place in New York City at the turn of the 20th century. Our heroine is Sarah Brandt a midwife and widow who was brought up in upper society but married a doctor - and eschewed the life she lived for that with the man she loved. As a result she walks rather freely in all circles of society - which helps when she ends up involved in a mystery.

While helping to deliver a baby at a rooming house Sarah see's a girl that looks very like an old
Jul 11, 2012 Rebeka rated it it was amazing
I finished this book in less than 12 hours and I probably would have finished it much faster except I made myself put it down for a while in order to finish another book... Needless to say, I loved it! Sarah Brandt and Frank Malloy are fascinating, wonderful, and deliciously flawed characters. Yes, I said flawed. And I love them all the more for their flaws. They have faced many challenges in their lives and come from completely different worlds, so naturally one would assume they shouldn't see ...more
Kathy Martin
Jun 29, 2015 Kathy Martin rated it really liked it
Set firmly in New York City 1895, this mystery tells the story of the murder of a young socialite who has run away from home. Sarah Brandt, a socialite herself who left her family after her husband's death, is working as a midwife. While attending to the routine birth of a boarding house owner's sixth child, she sees a young woman who reminds her of one of her childhood acquaintances. When she visits the mother and baby the next day, she learns that the young girl was murdered. And she meets Pol ...more
May 31, 2015 QNPoohBear rated it it was ok
Sarah Brandt, widow and midwife is called out one night to a routine birth at a boarding house in Astor Place. She's surprised to catch a brief glimpse of a girl who looks remarkably like someone she once knew. Detective Sargent Frank Malloy is called out to the very safe boarding house the next day to investigate a murder. He has little hope of finding out who killed the girl but if he solves the case, he could get a promotion without having to bribe someone. Despite reforms by Police Commissio ...more
Tony Hisgett
Apr 22, 2016 Tony Hisgett rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery, historical
There are hundreds of historical mysteries out there, so to stand out from the crowd Sarah needs to be different in some way. Initially it would appear that Sarah might just be interesting enough to make her special, she is not a standard sleuth, in fact her normal occupation is as midwife. She also has an interesting back-story that includes estranged wealthy but selfish parents and the loss of her husband.

Right from the beginning it is clear she is principled and not easily intimidated so I l
Felicia J.
Jul 06, 2014 Felicia J. rated it it was ok
I initially wrote a more positive review for this first book in the
Gaslight Mysteries, set in turn-of-the-century New York City. My first impression was of a solidly plotted & readable tale that kept my interest, although I wasn't breathlessly turning pages to get to the end. The writing was too simplistic & matter-of-fact, stifling suspense & excitement, and it was easy to figure out major plot twists just before the characters did.

The more I thought about the mystery's resolution,
Mar 01, 2015 Kristen rated it did not like it
This book had a number of things I usually like, but I just couldn't get into it and did not finish this one.

I usually like 1800's London, I like strong female characters and I like people who fight against social structures that are stupid or unfair. This book had all of these, so I'm not entirely sure why it didn't grab me.

I did find the way Sarah just barged right back into the social strata that she had previously rejected somewhat implausible. I also felt like the way she went about trying
I could've overlooked the unimaginative writing skills, which produced poorly developed characters and a boring plot line, if this haden't turned out to be such a repulsive story. I find it quite difficult to understand why it's got so many good reviews.

*Spoiler Alert*

Young, affluent, teenage girl found dead & determined, upon autopsy, to be six months pregnant. Sound like a so-so mystery but, I gave it the benefit of the doubt & continued reading. Many, many bland & only mildly int
Jun 16, 2010 Keri rated it really liked it
I saw an ad for Victoria Thompson in the back of one of the recent Christie novels I read, so when I was at the bookstore, I picked up her first one. I wasn't disappointed.

Her use of the turn-of-the-century New York City made me smile first off. It was such an interesting time period (and I have a fondness for Teddy Roosevelt, I won't lie) and I've lived in NY my whole life. So to read about my "backyard", so to speak, was nice.

Characters first: We have Sarah Brandt, a midwife with a past that i
CJ -Doctor can you help me, 'cause somethin' don't feel right
This book is actually a 3.7.

New York City is the real main character here, which is a bonus to me as I'm a New Yorker, but this isn't the NYC that tourists know. This is the NYC of old. Crime, corruption, dirt, whores, rape, murder - this is the NYC that is trying to turn seedy into livable.

It's 1895, Teddy Roosevelt is President of the NYC Police Commissioners. He is cleaning up the city by trying to make the police department less corrupt. Sgt. Det. Frank Malloy is a widowed cop with a few tr
Feb 04, 2008 Bridget rated it liked it
Recommends it for: mystery lovers
The first in a series, I enjoyed this for its historical setting in New York and its "independent" heroine, a midwife in New York City.

I've read all the gaslight mysteries so far, and my major complaint with them is that while the characters are interesting and the plots viable, for some reason I think they're actually too *short,* and could be beefed up with more in depth descriptions of the characters, as well as their motivations.

Granted, I *do* enjoy the series, but I think it could be so
Feb 24, 2013 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cozy-mystery
This is the first book in Victoria Thompson's Gaslight Mystery series. The main characters are Sarah Brandt, a widowed midwife, and Frank Malloy, a widowed cop. The setting is the early 1900's in New York City when the cops were crooked, and class divisions were very much the norm. Sarah is from one of New York's most prominent families but had been shunned when she married a physician who was not from a prominent family. Then when he dies and she becomes a nurse and midwife she has basically cu ...more
A new author for me, this is the first book in the Gaslight mystery series. I enjoyed this very much. I liked the setting, New York city when Teddy Roosevelt was trying to improve the police force. The story resolves around mid-wife, Sarah Brandt, a widow, and Police Sgt Frank Malloy. Malloy asks her help to go through the effects of a young woman murdered in a flat in a house where Sarah has gone to perform her mid-wife duties. Almost against his will, Frank finds himself getting more assistanc ...more
Sep 28, 2011 Paula rated it liked it
A good Victorian mystery about a widow, Sarah who is now a midwife. She comes from an upper crust family but has been estranged from them since the murder of her husband.

While attending the delivery of a baby in a boarding house, she sees a young girl who looks a lot like someone Sarah knew while in school. She realizes that it is the sister of someone she went to school with. She believes Alicia is pregnant but not quite sure because she only had a fleeting glance while delivering.

A couple of
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Historical Myster...: Gaslight Mysteries by Victoria Thompson 17 31 12 hours, 27 min ago  
Madison Mega-Mara...: Murder on Astor Place 1 4 Nov 04, 2012 07:21PM  
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Victoria Thompson is the author of the Edgar and Agatha nominated Gaslight Mystery series. She was nominated for an Edgar Allen Poe Award from Mystery Writers of America in 2001, and in 2012 she received a Career Achievement Award in Mystery Writing from RT Magazine. Her last four books were nominated for an Agatha Award. She also contributed to the award winning writing textbook MANY GENRES/ONE C ...more
More about Victoria Thompson...

Other Books in the Series

Gaslight Mystery (1 - 10 of 19 books)
  • Murder on St. Mark's Place (Gaslight Mystery, #2)
  • Murder on Gramercy Park (Gaslight Mystery, #3)
  • Murder on Washington Square (Gaslight Mystery, #4)
  • Murder on Mulberry Bend (Gaslight Mystery, #5)
  • Murder on Marble Row (Gaslight Mystery, #6)
  • Murder on Lenox Hill (Gaslight Mystery, #7)
  • Murder in Little Italy (Gaslight Mystery, #8)
  • Murder in Chinatown (Gaslight Mystery, #9)
  • Murder on Bank Street (Gaslight Mystery, #10)
  • Murder on Waverly Place (Gaslight Mystery, #11)

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