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Murder on Sisters' Row (Gaslight Mystery #13)

3.91  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,668 Ratings  ·  152 Reviews
It's no mystery why readers love Victoria Thompson's Edgar Award- nominated series.

With the help of a charitable lady of means, midwife Sarah Brandt rescues a young woman and her newborn from the brothel where the mother was forced to prostitute herself. But their success comes at a high price when their benefactor is found murdered.

Though the brothel's madam is immediat
Hardcover, 292 pages
Published June 7th 2011 by Berkley
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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
392nd out of 1,243 books — 3,204 voters
Silent in the Grave by Deanna RaybournThe Anatomist's Wife by Anna Lee HuberAnd Only to Deceive by Tasha AlexanderCrocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth PetersMortal Arts by Anna Lee Huber
Victorian/Regency Female Sleuths/Mysteries
43rd out of 99 books — 59 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,570)
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These books...I'm so torn on them.

One the one hand, they're charming (though sometimes quite predictable) historical mysteries featuring a strong female lead character--a midwife who after her husband's murder chose not to return to her wealthy family to be taken care of, but instead to make her own way in the world--and as her counterpart, a good-hearted (if a bit gruff at times), uncorrupted NYC cop at a time when corruption was rampant in the police department.

On the other hand, while it was
The mystery aspect of Murder on Sisters’ Row was ok, but this series has kind of fallen into a rut at this point. There are still no new developments in the relationship between Sarah and Malloy, no new character development for any of the supporting characters. It has become rather repetitive. How many times can we read the scenario of Malloy visiting Sarah, being greeted by her with a smile and by Catherine with excitement as Malloy picks her up and says a few words to her before he is invited ...more
Nov 27, 2015 Mo rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Not Recommended
Shelves: mystery, 0-dl-tb, series, 2015
2 1/2 stars

This one did not hold my interest. It was nothing but repetitious dialog, wild conjectures, preachy sermonizing, and numerous red herrings that were completely unbelievable.
May 24, 2012 Debbie rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, historical
"Murder on Sisters' Row" is a historical mystery set in New York, New York in the late 1890's. This is the thirteenth book in the series, but you don't need to read the previous books to understand this one, and this one didn't spoil the previous mysteries.

There was a nice level of historical detail about the setting, social structure, etc., that brought the story alive in my imagination. I've read the first book in the series as well, and I've enjoyed learning more about NY at that time. I like
Jun 09, 2011 Tonya rated it really liked it
Victoria Thompson is one of a select few mystery writers I will read today. In my opinion many mysteries today seem to be cotton candy, all fluff and no substance, with easily identifiable ‘bad guys.’ Not so with Ms. Thompson’s Gaslight Mystery series.

I find Sarah Brandt a wonderful blend of naiveté regarding human nature and expertise on social inequalities prevalent in her time period.

Frank Malloy is my favorite of the two main characters; his cynicism and world weary attitude are very believ
Shirley Schwartz
Jul 04, 2011 Shirley Schwartz rated it liked it
Same old, I'm afraid. I too used to enjoy this series, but nothing seems to change from book to book. I found the plot for this book tiresome and it was easy to figure out who the killer actually was. That tells me that this series is getting too predictable. The characters don't seem to grow and change much either. I love the idea of this series, late 1800's in New York City. You can't get much more potential for history than that, but I find that the era isn't ever expanded on. I would love to ...more
Lynn Demsky
Jul 20, 2014 Lynn Demsky rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery
“Midwife Sarah Brandt braves the dangers of the tenements in nineteenth-century New York to help the impoverished and, with Detective Sergeant Frank Malloy, bring the guilty that prey on them to justice. Now, the latest novel in the Edgar-nominated series finds Sarah compelled to save an expectant mother from a fate worse than death…
Summoned to an elegant house to deliver a baby, Sarah finds her patient is actually in a brothel. The young woman in labor reveals she is being held against her w
Lisa C
Jan 04, 2015 Lisa C rated it liked it
It would be disingenuous of me to only give this book two stars, since I did stay up until almost two in the morning to listen to the final reveal, but I really can't recommend it. Thompson seems to think that her readers are as naive and frankly rather stupid as her characters. I suppose it is intended to come off as sheltered, protected ladies accidentally finding out about the real world, but at least in listening to the book, it's extremely trying. It seemed to take almost half an hour to ge ...more
Jul 20, 2015 Lynn rated it liked it
In Murder on Sisters' Row, midwife Sarah Brandt is called out to deliver a baby. Imagine her surprise when she finds out she's in a brothel. The baby is delivered without any problem, but his prostitute mother, Amy, is desperate to get out of her situation. She gives Sarah the name of a woman who runs a charity dedicated to the rescue of fallen women. Sarah helps Amy, but soon finds out her story is less than truthful. There is a murder, of course, and Sarah gets drawn into the investigation des ...more
Apr 25, 2014 Coleen rated it it was amazing
Saw this series of books recommended by Lane Library employees on the Lane Libraries (Oxford/Hamilton, Ohio) website a couple of years ago. Since then, Victoria Thompson has been my "go-to" author if I need a comfortable evening escape from the stress in my life. Is there nothing sweeter than going to bed with a paperback mystery?

This series of books, which is really a historical mystery series, has just the right touch of romance/sexual tension between Sarah Brandt, the mid-wife and Frank Mollo
Sep 02, 2011 Inez rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorite-books
I love this series. It's a nice cozy, that intertwines the central mystery with events in the everyday lives of its two protagonists, so that you can't help but want to read more. There's mystery and romance set against a Victorian background. What more could you want?

This book was ok, great characters and setting. But the story itself was disappointing, there was no real justice for three of the most disgusting characters in the book. Mrs. Walker the whorehouse madam who "let" girls work for her and tried to use her influence to have Sarah arrested. Ms. Yingling who slutted it up with her kindly benefactor's husband. And Mr. Van Orner, a disgusting man who bought a girl to be his mistress then gave her to Mrs. Walker's whorehouse when he got tire
Apr 04, 2015 Diana rated it liked it
Sarah is a midwife during the late 1800’s in New York City. She is called to assist in a birth, not realizing the house is actually a brothel. Mrs. Van Orner, a wealthy woman, strives to save women from prostitution. Sarah indirectly helps rescue the new mother and baby from the brothel. Then, Mrs. Van Orner dies under mysterious circumstances. When the police discover it was murder, Sarah and her mother indirectly try to discover why Mrs. Van Orner was murdered and by whom. Sarah’s friend, Dete ...more
Tad Richards
Apr 08, 2014 Tad Richards rated it liked it
This is part of a series - fairly deep into the series, at #13 - about a midwife who doubles as a detective. In the beginning of the book she goes to deliver a baby in what it takes her a long chapter, laden with the broadest hints imaginable, to figure out is a brothel. The unraveling of the mystery couldn't be more telegraphed if a gorilla and a stripper had delivered it.
But in between, nicely readable, good period stuff -- including the interesting perception that it was particularly hard t
Dec 31, 2015 Linda rated it it was amazing
Victoria Thompson is one of my favorite authors for historical fiction. She never disappoints!

Sarah Brandt and Detective Frank Malloy work together to find out who murdered a woman who saves prostitutes from the streets and brothels that they can never leave. As they delve into the life of the latest rescued prostitute, her baby and the organization that saved her they find so many secrets they don't even know in what direction their investigation should go.

Not only is the rescued prostitute a s
I could not have written anything better than Jennifer's July/2011, 3-star review.

I still enjoy the historical mystery element but I am anxiously waiting for the main characters' relationship to evolve.
Aug 01, 2011 Elisabeth rated it it was ok
I really like Victoria Thompson's Gaslight series, and I really like the characters. And, as usual, I was excited for the latest installment in the series. I also really liked the plot of this book. However, with this latest installment, Ms. Thompson is beginning to seriously test my willing suspension of disbelief. There were just too many scenes and conversations where you just had to wonder why no one was asking/stating the obvious. (or catching on to the obvious--Sarah, this means you)

I'd li
May 01, 2013 X5-494 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

This is book 13 of Victoria Thompson’s “Gaslight Mysteries” and it’s still not boring. On the contrary. I’m still not able to put the book away once I’ve started.

Okay, I really think that Frank should seriously stop wondering how Sarah becomes involved in his cases in pretty much every single chapter and just accept that that’s the way it’s gonna be, b
Jan 10, 2013 Barbara rated it really liked it
Oh, I am enjoying this series so much. Sarah Brandt, a midwife in the late 1800s in New York City, is a daughter of one of the wealthy, original Knickerbocker families (early Dutch settlers). She married outside her class and was estranged from her family for many years; just recently re-approaching and reconciling with them - especially her mother.

When her husband, a doctor, was killed a few years ago, she did not turn to her family for support or to rejoin them until she married, again. Inste
Cheryl A
Jan 06, 2012 Cheryl A rated it liked it
Shelves: historical-cozy
This latest installment continues Victoria Thompson's predictible series, sending midwife Sarah Brandt stumbling into situations where no decent former society lady would even find herself - involved with murder and in this case, brothels and prostitutes.

Called upon to deliver a child, Sarah quickly discovers that the richly furnished home is not a boarding home for unwed mother, but a brothel. When begged by the new mother to help her escape, Sarah contacts a charity organization who rescues p
Jun 11, 2011 Susan rated it really liked it
I've read every one of the books in this sometimes uneven series set in nineteenth-century New York City, but this latest one is a winner. Thompson gives us a good mystery and keeps up an exciting pace - in some past entries it felt as if midwife Sarah Brandt and Detective Frank Malloy spent half the book drinking coffee around Sarah's kitchen table trying to stretch the story out to meet a page quota! In this case Sarah has been called out to assist at a birth and realizes the neUw mother is a ...more
Sep 09, 2011 Ed rated it it was amazing
This may be the best entry in the already strong series of period mysteries featuring midwife Sarah Brandt and her family and friends (including the ever vacillating but always helpful Detective Molloy). The series is set in late 19th century New York City--the Elevated has just been built, Teddy Roosevelt is police commissioner, the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting children--this keeps Brandt busy but not too busy to solve a murder or two.

Thompson is able to avoid almost all th
Jolisa Sampey
Mar 29, 2015 Jolisa Sampey rated it really liked it
When Sarah Brandt is summoned to deliver a baby, she thinks she is going to a boarding house for unmarried mothers, not a brothel. Still, she finds herself in one, delivering a baby to a woman who insists she needs help because she is being held against her will. Sarah agrees to help her and finds herself once again immersed in trouble and requiring the help of Frank Malloy. When there is another murder, Frank turns to Sarah for help.
Called out for what she thinks will be a routine birth Sarah Brandt finds much more than she bargains for in the new mother, Amy. Amy has been living in a brothel, and she wants to be rescued. Sarah helps orchestrate her removal, much to Malloy's annoyance. Yet when the leader of the rescue party, Vivian Van Orner, is murdered days later he reluctantly involves Sarah in the case to help him track down the killer.

I read this series more for the characters than for the mystery, and although there
Patti Ashley
Jul 15, 2014 Patti Ashley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another winner

Prostitutes in NYC in the early 1900's are not very different from those of today. Sarah finds herself delivering a baby in a brothel and becomes embroiled in the underbelly of prostitution in NYC.Of course Malloy is horrified but finds he needs Sarah as wealthy charitable women are involved. Definitely worth the read.
Aug 28, 2015 Deborah rated it liked it
As other reviewers have said, this series is a pleasant read but the relationship between Frank and Sarah is painfully slow moving. Thirteen books in and they smile warmly at each other and once in a while she will touch his arm or hand. The mystery part was okay and I will read the next book because I am stubborn that way. Here's hoping they move past smiling and acknowledge their feelings at least!
I am interested in the social mores of the Victorian upper classes. This book indulged my interest. I find Edward Gorey captivating as well for the same reason. This is the first book by Victoria Thompson that I have "read". Victoria, very appropriate first name. I found the mystery formulistic, everything spelled out so the reader can't miss the clues. The ending offers a group chat among characters that summarizes the entire story to further clarify the story line if needed. This book is tasty ...more
Feb 01, 2014 Betty rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sarah is called to attend a birth. The houses she enters by door. It is richly furnished and very quiet. The client refuses her help at first. Later she learns that house is a brothel and the Mother a whore. She promises take the baby and to deliver a message to woman that saves prostitutes. After mission over the Society. The matron is found died in her carriage. Frank is assign to find the killer. As usual he tells Sarah to stay out of it.
Perhaps the storyline is just getting old or perhaps I'm just looking for a bit more substance but this book in the series is light on story. That makes is a quick read which is fine and it seemed that Thompson has lightened up on her decriptions on how Sarah and Catherine and Sarah and Frank interact (they were a bit mushy with little to no substance behind the references). The story itself should probably be more about Frank and Sarah and moving their relationship along than putting Sarah in a ...more
Sarah Nokleby
Jul 02, 2011 Sarah Nokleby rated it it was ok
When will I learn? This is number THIRTEEN in this series, by now I should know this author's formula! The trouble is, she sucked me in early in the series with the relationship between the two main characters. For awhile it looked like she was going somewhere with it, and then in the last several books decided to drop it completely, or just allude to it. At the risk of sounding like a frustrated romantic, I'm tired of being jerked along!
I am also able to figure out the "who" in the "whodunit" f
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Edgar Nominated author Victoria Thompson writes the Gaslight Mystery Series, set in turn-of-the-century New York City and featuring midwife Sarah Brandt. Her last book, MURDER ON FIFTH AVENUE, has been nominated for an Agatha Award. Her latest, MURDER IN CHELSEA, is a May 2013 release from Berkley Prime Crime. She also contributed to the award winning writing textbook MANY GENRES/ONE CRAFT. A popu ...more
More about Victoria Thompson...

Other Books in the Series

Gaslight Mystery (1 - 10 of 19 books)
  • Murder on Astor Place (Gaslight Mystery, #1)
  • 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)

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