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Murder on Mulberry Bend

de Victoria Thompson

Altres autors: Mira la secció altres autors.

Sèrie: A Gaslight Mystery (5)

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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.… (més)
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Es mostren 1-5 de 17 (següent | mostra-les totes)
When Sarah helps a friend discover more about his deceased wife, she finds herself drawn to a home for wayward girls. When one of the girls is found dead in a park wearing Sarah's clothes, Malloy finds himself again entangled with the woman who both excites and infuriates him.
  4leschats | Jan 5, 2022 |
Sarah Brandt's mother has been trying her hand at matchmaking for her widowed daughter but Sarah and her date, Richard Dennis agree that they are just friends. Richard has asked Sarah to accompany him to the Prodigal Son Mission where his late wife volunteered so that he can better understand why she went to this area of town. When Richard and Sarah are in the mission, Sarah thinks that she is not doing enough to help the poor and decides to make various donations. Along with her own time that she will use to educate the women on hygiene, she later brings some older clothes that she no longer wears.

Several days later Det. Frank Malloy recognizes the clothes and hat on a dead body as belonging to Sarah Brandt. He is devastated until the body is turned over and he sees that it is not Sarah. But how did this person get Sarah's clothes and was Sarah the target?

This mystery was very engaging because of the underlying emotions that were continually shifting between Sarah, Malloy and Dennison. Very well-written. ( )
  cyderry | Aug 23, 2021 |
Sarah Brandt once again finds herself investigating a murder. She accompanies her friend, Richard Dennis, to a mission to see what his late wife had done there. While there, she decides she is not doing enough to change the world and decides to help the mission as much as she can. To this end, she donates some old clothes and her time as an instructor. Malloy is called to a murder in City Park and freaks out because the body, which is face down, is wearing Sarah's suit and hat. Once it is discovered to not be Sarah, he tracks her down to find out how the mystery girl came to be wearing her clothes. Sarah identifies the body and the experience ties her to the murder in a way she can not explain. Unable to let the murderer go free, Sarah attempts to find the murderer while helping the mission. ( )
  amoderndaybelle | May 27, 2021 |
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 |
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Nom de l'autorCàrrecTipus d'autorObra?Estat
Victoria Thompsonautor primaritotes les edicionscalculat
Chandler, KarenAutor de la cobertaautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat

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Convincing the family was often difficult, however. For some reason people thought it cruel to put an infant in an orphanage, but thought nothing of turning a five-year-old out into the streets to fend for itself. If this woman died, her husband would probably be unable to keep the family together and all of the children would be on the streets. No one wanted to imagine themselves being that desperately cruel in the future, however, so people were reluctant to take steps to prevent it. (chapter 9)
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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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