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Murder in the Bowery

by Victoria Thompson

Series: A Gaslight Mystery (20)

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13213163,803 (3.9)6
Frank Malloy's latest client is the well-dressed Will Bert. He's searching for his brother, a newsboy named Freddie, so he can share his new financial good fortune. Frank makes quick work of the case and locates Freddie, but a happy reunion between brothers is not in the cards. When Will's name is mentioned, Freddie runs off-only to be found dead a short time later. Suspicious, Frank tracks down Will who spins a tale of lust and deceit involving a young society woman, Estelle Longacre, also recently deceased. Frank can't be sure if Estelle's risky behavior and the company she kept was to blame, or if her own ruthless family had a hand in her death.Frank will need Sarah's help to unearth the dark secrets of the wealthy Longacres and to discover if there is a connection between Estelle and Freddie's death. Together they must navigate a perilous underground web of treachery to find the truth.… (more)
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Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
Really enjoyed this cozy mystery. The fact that it's historical fiction made it so much more interesting. ( )
  xKayx | Dec 14, 2020 |
I am on a roll in reading Victoria Thompson whose mysteries provide hours of entertainment. In this caper, we descend into the Bowery, an unsavory section of New York where ladies do not venture. Victoria Thompson enjoys throwing a little history into her stories and we learn of the newsboys strike in 1899 when newsboys refused to sell newspapers in order to get better wages and the plight of Orphan Trains where orphans in New York were transported to farms in Minnesota, Iowa, and others farming states. Victoria Thompson also mentions that the wealthy citizens would seek guides to lead them into special places in the Bowery so these wealthy could see how the slums looked, hence the term “slumming”. We also see that wealth does not mean respectability and those in the Bowery may act better than their wealthy peers. ( )
  delphimo | Jun 24, 2020 |
Murder in the Bowery is the 20th of Victoria Thompson's Gaslight Mysteries. This book opens with Detective Sergeant turned millionaire private investigator Frank Malloy being offered an interesting case. A man named Will Bert wants to hire Frank to find his missing younger brother, Freddie Bert. I've read a few of the 'Orphan Train' novels for children or young adults, so I was interested in Will's take on what it meant for him and Freddie. Will has inherited a store in Minnesota and he wants to be reunited with the brother who was left at a different home, but returned to New York City. Freddie has returned to being a newsboy, one of the many abandoned or orphaned boys who supported themselves by selling newspapers. Unluckily for Freddie, but luckily for Frank, the boy once suffered an accident that left him with only two toes on one foot. 'Two Toes' is Freddie's nickname among his fellow newsboys, and the name Frank can use to help find him.

This novel takes place during the summer of 1899, when the newsboys went on strike to try to get 'The [New York] World' and 'The Journal'. It's a story of publisher greed. (The reason for the strike is in chapter one.) During the search we learn more about the lives of the newsboys. Frank comes to suspect that Freddie is hiding because he knows or suspects something about the murder of Estelle Longacre, a young society woman with a taste for risk who had become the mistress of gangster Black Jack Robinson. Robinson himself hires Frank to find Estelle's killer.

One of the subplots is Sarah Brandt (now Mrs. Malloy, or 'Mrs. Frank' to their servants, because Frank's mother lives with them) carrying out her plan to found a maternity hospital for unwed mothers. (Frank came up with that plan in book 19, Murder in Morningside Heights.) Sarah has found a dilapidated house in a slum '...mere blocks from the notorious Five Points neighborhood'. After the good job Maeve did with the workmen remodeling the Malloy house in book 17, Murder on Amsterdam Avenue, Sarah plans to put her foster daughter's nursemaid in charge of the workmen who will fix up this house.

As for Catherine, who will soon be old enough to start school, Sarah can finally adopt her now that she has a [living] husband. That's another subplot.

NOTES:

Chapter 1:

a. Look here for information about the cons of Orphan Trains.

b. There's a website for the Duane Street Lodging House if you're interested in learning more about newsboys' lodging houses.

Mentions: Carrying the banner, Orphan Trains

Chapter 2:

a. See book 13, Murder on Sisters' Row for Sarah's bad experience with one of the charities with United Charities.

b. The name of Fran's agency is 'Frank Malloy, Confidential Inquiries'.

c. According to dimenovels.org, Gino's reading material was a weekly publication called 'Secret Service' that starred Old King Brady and Young King Brady. Francis W. Doughty, Walter Fenton Mott, and Lu Senarens were the main authors. It ran from Jan. 27, 1899 to May 22, 1925, but issues 727 to 1374 were reprints.

d. Sarah has been looking for a suitable house to become her maternity hospital for almost five months. She describes the layout of the one she bought to her mother.

Mentions: Newspaper Row, Cinderella, and the Brooklyn Bridge.

Chapter 3:

a. Bowery Tours are explained.

b. We learn what the 'Journal's' 'Wrecking Crew' is.

Chapter 4:

a. Frank first checked out his son's school, The New York Institute for the Deaf and Dumb, in book two, Murder on St. Mark's Place.

b. Here is where we learn that Catherine has just turned six and will be starting school in the Fall.

c. It's stated that Sarah has no legal papers to prove that she is Catherine's guardian, as she calls herself.

d. Although she's Irish, Maeve is said not to be Catholic.

e. Felix Decker made Gino [and Frank?] swear never to let Elizabeth Decker help with a case again because of what happened in

Mentions: The New York Institute for the Deaf and Dumb, Longacre Square,

Chapter 5: We meet the Longacre family.

Mentions: the Social Register, pernicious anemia

Chapter 6:

a. Frank and Gino interview Kid Blink, a leader of the newsboys' strike (and a person who actually existed).

b. We meet Black Jack Robinson.

Chapter 7: Nelson Ellsworth is engaged to a young woman named Theda. Frank and Sarah helped Nelson out in book four, Murder on Washington Square.

Mention: 'The Yellow Kid' (1895-1898 comic strip character)

Chapter 8:

a. Frank tells Sarah something about his first wife, Kathleen, and their wedding night.

b. Mrs. Ellsworth's superstition about bubbles in one's coffee is explained.

Chapter 10:

a. It's now August 1st.

b. The Daughters of Hope Mission was known as the Prodigal Son Mission when it was introduced in book five, Murder on Mulberry Bend.

Chapter 11: There's a newsboy funeral here.

Chapter 13: Maeve isn't sure how old she is.

As usual for this series, this is an enjoyable mystery. Frank, Sarah, Gino, and Maeve still make a good team. I liked learning about the newsboys' strike and the Bowery tours. There are subplots that will be followed up in later books. If you like Black Jack Robinson, he will appear again in book 22, Murder on Trinity Place. ( )
  JalenV | Aug 25, 2019 |
I love nothing more than to step into the past and a good murder mystery, this book called to me when I saw the cover and then the synopsis. I read this book as a stand alone but it is a series. I enjoyed the references to 19th century New York City and the newspaper boys called newsies. I did like the mystery and while it was not overly complicated I still felt that it had everything I like in a murder mystery. The author does a great job of introducing the characters in this book and I feel like I learned a bit of history along with reading this story. I found this to be a quick enjoyable read. I really did not guess who the killer was until the very end of the book , almost to the point when all was revealed. I would like to read more of this series ans author.This review was originally posted on Cindy's Book Binge ( )
  fictionalblonde | Apr 10, 2019 |
Murder in the Bowery by Victoria Thompson is a 2017 Berkley publication.

This is an interesting and absorbing installment in Victoria Thompson’s Gaslight Mystery series.

Centered around the Newsboys strike, and its connection to the orphan trains, Frank's newest case, sends him in search of a missing boy down in the Bowery neighborhood, which ends tragically, with not one murder, but two.

Frank and Sarah work to connect the dots between the two murders, one of which is a young lady from an affluent family who had ‘gone slumming’ in the Bowery and ended up involved with ‘Black Jack’, a notorious crime boss.

I enjoyed the historical details in this story involving the strike and the unbelievable practice of affluent people taking tours into crime ridden and impoverished neighborhoods, watching staged enactments of life in the ‘slums’. Incredible. I’d never heard of that before, and you know me, I had to Google it. Sure enough, it was a ‘thing’ in London, then made its way to New York. So, for the second time this week a ‘cozy’ mystery has taught me something I didn’t know.

The mystery is constructed quite well, with clever and crisp dialogue, which had to be approached carefully, and creatively, because of the sensitive matters discussed, but which also brought a bit of humor on occasion, due to Frank's obvious discomfiture. The subject matter is difficult, but handled delicately.

Crimes, whether among the rich or the poor, in higher or lower classes, out in the open or behind closed doors, touches everyone, with evil seeping into every walk of life, and this story exposes that truth effectively.

Overall, I enjoyed this latest Gaslight Mystery and seeing how married life is treating Frank and Sarah, and touching base with the other recurring characters. This is a must for fans of the series, but even those who are just joining in, who may not know the long history between Frank and Sarah, but can easily enjoy the mystery, just the same- so just jump right in- you'll be glad you did.

4 stars ( )
  gpangel | Jan 25, 2018 |
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To Liam, Ryan, and Keira,
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I need to find my kid brother, Mr. Malloy."
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Frank Malloy's latest client is the well-dressed Will Bert. He's searching for his brother, a newsboy named Freddie, so he can share his new financial good fortune. Frank makes quick work of the case and locates Freddie, but a happy reunion between brothers is not in the cards. When Will's name is mentioned, Freddie runs off-only to be found dead a short time later. Suspicious, Frank tracks down Will who spins a tale of lust and deceit involving a young society woman, Estelle Longacre, also recently deceased. Frank can't be sure if Estelle's risky behavior and the company she kept was to blame, or if her own ruthless family had a hand in her death.Frank will need Sarah's help to unearth the dark secrets of the wealthy Longacres and to discover if there is a connection between Estelle and Freddie's death. Together they must navigate a perilous underground web of treachery to find the truth.

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