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Murder on Mulberry Bend af Victoria Thompson
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Murder on Mulberry Bend (udgave 2003)

af Victoria Thompson

Serier: A Gaslight Mystery (5)

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
4031446,681 (3.84)19
The Prodigal Son Mission on Mulberry Bend stands as a refuge for girls who otherwise would have to live by selling the only thing they have of value-themselves. The work being done there so impresses midwife Sarah Brandt that she volunteers to help out however she can-with clothes, with medical assistance, and with the organization of a benefit dinner. And when one of the girls is found dead and refused burial because of her former life, Sarah's passion for justice is aroused. Reluctantly, sergeant Frank Malloy agrees to look into the death, if only to keep Sarah from endangering herself by pursuing the matter. But Sarah cannot be kept out of the investigation, and, just as Malloy feared, her attempts to find the cause of the unfortunate girl's death put her in deadly danger-from an unexpected source.… (mere)
Medlem:Lman
Titel:Murder on Mulberry Bend
Forfattere:Victoria Thompson
Info:New York : Berkley Prime Crime, Digital Epub edition, c2003.
Samlinger:Ebook, Skal læses
Vurdering:
Nøgleord:Thompson Victoria 05, Fiction - Crime / Mystery, Fiction - Historical, Fiction - Crime / Detective, Gaslight Mystery series

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Murder on Mulberry Bend af Victoria Thompson

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Murder on Mulberry Bend is the fifth book in Victoria Thompson's Gaslight Mystery series. Two regular members of the supporting cast will be introduced in this one: Maeve and Catherine (here called 'Agatha,' 'Aggie' for short.
The Prodigal Son Mission that heroine Sarah Brandt first heard about in book four, Murder on Washington Square, will be visited for the first time -- but hardly the last for this series -- in this book.

Sarah Brandt, widow, midwife, and nurse, has just been to the theater with Richard Dennis, whom she met in the last book because he's the boss of her next-door neighbor, Nelson Ellsworth. Sarah's rich Knickerbocker parents, Felix and Elizabeth Decker, consider Mr. Dennis a very suitable second husband prospect for their surviving daughter. Detective Sergeant Frank Malloy gets to fight feelings of jealousy. So, is Ms. Thompson planning to let Sarah be torn between two good men for books to come? Will Richard turn out to be a fiend in gentleman's clothing? Will a new lady need to be introduced to fall for Richard and vice-versa?

Rich Mr. Dennis has led a sheltered life, so Sarah Brandt is his guide when he wants to see the mission where Hazel volunteered. She deliberately introduces him (and the reader) to the realities of life among New York City's poor. Richard can hardly believe that there are people who would willingly sacrifice privacy for the lower rent they pay for an apartment so close to the Elevated Railway that passengers can look through their windows. It's October, but poor children are still barefoot. Richard declares that the slum known as Little Italy is nothing like Italy.

The Prodigal Son Mission that Richard's late wife Hazel volunteered at is located on Mulberry Bend, one of the worst places in one of the worst neighborhoods in New York City. It's run by the Mrs. Wells. Her late preacher husband and she founded the place. At least it offers a safe home and classes for girls who no longer have homes and would prefer not to be prostitutes to survive. (More than one of these books mention how older children of poor families are sometimes forced to move out and live on their own because their parents can't afford to feed them anymore.) Girls who want to abandon prostitution for an honest living are also accepted.

Mrs. Wells has very high standards for the girls' behavior. She's also prejudiced against Catholics. One of her rescued young women, Emilia, has been converted to Protestantism. Mrs. Wells wants to save her charges' souls. They're taught to read so they can read the Bible. They're also taught homemaking skills. We learn that besides losing her husband, Mrs. Wells lost her daughter when she was only three years old. The widow has an opinion about why she lost her family. The clothes Sarah donates for the girls to wear are accepted. (Mrs. Decker insisted her daughter take some of her clothes now that she's seeing Mr. Dennis socially.)

Mrs. Wells allows the neighborhood children to play in the mission's yard on an hourly rotation so the yard isn't too crowded to be enjoyed. Sarah is impressed with this and other things. She volunteers to teach at the mission.

Meanwhile, lapsed Catholic Frank Malloy is following up on the tip he got from a prisoner in the last book. There was a witness to Sarah's husband's murder and Frank is determined to find him. Solving Dr. Brandt's murder is his way of trying to pay Sarah back for all she's done for Frank's deaf son, Brian.

Sarah is there when Brian finally gets the cast off his formerly club foot. Her surgeon friend, Dr. David Newton, has done an excellent job. It's a happy scene. (I started listening to later books in the series, so when I read the earliest books that my library didn't have in audio editions, I was surprised that Brian was crippled. Here is where the three-year-old's new life of mobility begins. By the way, Brian's eyes are described as blue again.) Sarah has known Frank for six months, but that doesn't help her understand why he's angry with her. Then Frank says something quite hurtful.

One of the mission girls is found murdered in another part of the city. She was wearing some of Sarah's donated clothing, including a hat Frank knows well. At first he thinks it's Sarah. No, it's Emilia, who had been seduced and abandoned before she went to the mission. Did her former lover kill her?
Coroner Doc Haynes hasn't done his autopsy yet when Frank takes Sarah to identify her. Sarah spots the lethal wound.

NOTES:

Chapter 2: Reporter Webster Prescott was introduced in Murder on Washington Square. Here we learn it's been only a few days since that case was solved.

Chapter 3: Yes, 'interfered with' is an old euphemism for rape.

Chapter 4: Frank answers Sarah's questions about Mrs. Wells and her husband. Mrs. Wells won't help Catholics who don't convert.

Chapter 5: Maeve is introduced as an Irish girl with 'gangly limbs, frizzy red hair, and enormous eyes'. In chapter 9 we learn those eyes are honey brown.

Chapter 6:

a. We learn more about the late Emilia, but we don't get her surname until the next chapter.

b. Sarah's mother is a blonde, as Sarah is. Her father, Felix Decker, has brown hair.

Chapter 7:

a. We find out why Emilia Donato's mother didn't love her.

b. Ms. Thompson explains what a dive is. (I thought it was just a regular bar, if sleazy.)

Chapter 8 has Mrs. Ellsworth's superstitions about umbrellas. (Never heard of the second one.) Edna also has a curious belief about Italians and babies in the womb. She reads the tea leaves for Sarah. (I enjoyed Sarah's reaction.)

Chapter 9:

a. We're introduced to Catherine, the mute little brown-eyed girl whose real name won't be known until the end of book seven, Murder on Lenox Hill. Mrs. Wells calls her 'Aggie,' short for 'Agnes', which was Mrs. Well's mother's name. We're told that Aggie was painfully thin, filthy, and dressed in rags. I find that odd, given what we learn about why the little girl was left at the mission in book fifteen, Murder in Chelsea.

b. We're told how Frank dealt with a robbery by the Short Tail Gang

Chapter 11: The Italians have to hold their Masses in the cellar of St. John's Catholic church. The Masses were in Latin back then, so what difference did it make that the Italians didn't speak English??? The homily should have been the only part they wouldn't have understood.

Chapter 12

a. Mrs. Ellsworth repeating a superstition about dropping a knife.

b. The story Danny tells here doesn't quite match the prologue in book ten, Murder on Bank Street. Here he heard 'Hello, Tom'. There it was 'Hello, Brandt'.

Chapter 13: Sarah dresses as a famous queen for a Halloween party. Mrs. Ellsworth, helping her, explains why women brush, not comb, their hair at night. A few other costumes are mentioned as well.

This is a good mystery. The murder weapon wasn't a surprise because of other books I've read, but the climax with the killer was quite chilling. Once I realized that Murder on Mulberry Bend was likely to be the book that introduced Maeve and Catherine, I could hardly wait to read it. I'm glad it didn't disappoint. ( )
  JalenV | Sep 18, 2019 |
Sarah Brandt becomes a supporter and volunteer at Prodigal Son Mission which helps girls who have been abandoned or walked the streets to learn skills and live a “good” life.

Frank has been called to City Park to investigate the body of a woman found by a park bench. The victim is face down. Yet he believes the body to be Sarah Brandt as he recognizes her clothes, hat and hair. But when body is turned over it is a young woman he has never seen before.

With these two separate events in Frank Malloy’s and Sarah Brandt’s lives they are once again pulled together to investigate murder …

The historical Gaslight Mystery series continues drawing Frank and Sara closer together. Each attracted to the other but their backgrounds are very different. The murder is well constructed and the ending is a surprising turn. Recommended ( )
  Bettesbooks | Jun 16, 2019 |
I read the Library of Congress Talking Books audio version, narrated by Suzanne Duvall. The narrative is fair at best, and I found myself wishing that Ms Thompson had continued with the narrator she used in the first three books of the series. Duvall's Italian immigrants might just as well have been Chinese....that's how convincing she was. Also, the elderly next-door neighbor has the voice of a 20 year old college coed. That's shoddy narrating. If you're looking for dramatic, interesting twists, this is not the series for you. This series is cozy and leisurely. The settings of 19th century NYC are well described and the main characters are thoroughly enjoyable. That is what drew me in and leaves me wanting more. ( )
  briellenadyne | Apr 12, 2017 |
Boring. Slow. Very little mystery action,story plodded along.The only reason I kept going was to read abt the Italian immigrants.This is the street my ancestors settled on when they came to America.I enjoyed reading abt the lives of the immigrants at that time.
The best part of the book was the "author's notes"at the end of the book. ( )
  LauGal | Aug 16, 2016 |
The series is getting better with each book. ( )
  crazeedi73 | Jan 30, 2016 |
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The Prodigal Son Mission on Mulberry Bend stands as a refuge for girls who otherwise would have to live by selling the only thing they have of value-themselves. The work being done there so impresses midwife Sarah Brandt that she volunteers to help out however she can-with clothes, with medical assistance, and with the organization of a benefit dinner. And when one of the girls is found dead and refused burial because of her former life, Sarah's passion for justice is aroused. Reluctantly, sergeant Frank Malloy agrees to look into the death, if only to keep Sarah from endangering herself by pursuing the matter. But Sarah cannot be kept out of the investigation, and, just as Malloy feared, her attempts to find the cause of the unfortunate girl's death put her in deadly danger-from an unexpected source.

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