Sarah Brandt, midwife, and Detective Sergeant Frank Malloy are the creations of Victoria Thompson. Intelligent, independent, and dedicated, Sarah Brandt is the estranged daughter of a prominent Knickerbocker family in turn-of-the-twentieth-century New York City who makes her living caring for the women of the tenements whose families can barely scrape together the pittance for her fee. Sergeant Frank Malloy is a street-smart, tough, sardonic detective. An unlikely pair—a midwife who has lost faith in the corrupt NYC Police Department and an ambitious Irish cop with a grudge against midwives—Sarah Brandt and Detective Sergeant Frank Malloy make a captivating pair of sleuths.
In Murder on Astor Place, the first book in the series, Sarah Brandt, returning to check on the well-being of a mother and infant she delivered two days before, learns that a young girl staying at the boardinghouse has been murdered. When Sergeant Frank Malloy asks her to search the girl’s room, Sarah discovers that the victim was the younger sister of one of her old classmates. Fearing a ruinous scandal, the girl’s family has the case hushed up and Malloy taken off the case. While Malloy desperately wants to leave well enough alone, Sarah is outraged. She sets out to seek justice for the young girl with or without Malloy’s help.
Filled with historical details, vivid glimpses into the life of upper- and lower-class families, fascinating characters, and a fast-paced storyline, Murder on Astor Place instantly transports you back to the late 1800s. It’s a great read.
Note: While each book in this series can be read as a standalone, there is a continually developing storyline between Sarah Brandt and Detective Sergeant Frank Malloy. It’s best if you read the books in order.