I admit, I am a big fan of mystery novels. I think that is fairly apparent by now, though. This is a little different from most I read, though, because it is a historical mystery novel.
Set in New York shortly after the turn of the 20th century, this series follows the adventures of a midwife and a police detective. The midwife, Mrs. Sarah Brandt, comes from a wealthy family. However, she went against her parents' wishes and married the man she loved, a doctor who was from a lower class. The doctor was murdered before the series begins, and his widow continues to provide her assistance to everyone, even if they cannot afford to pay her. The detective, Sergeant Frank Malloy, is struggling to raise his young son with the help of his mother after his wife died in childbirth. At the same time, he strives to make an honest living in a profession constantly under suspicion and fear during that time. Their paths cross when a young woman is found dead. As one may imagine, there is a fair amount of suspicion and prejudice between the two at first, but as the series goes along, it becomes apparent that their relationship may eventually reach the next level.
This story features around a young woman who goes missing after learning her father is planning an arranged marriage. Her father is a Chinese immigrant and her mother is Irish, two nationalities that were badly treated during this time. It is eventually discovered the girl ran off and eloped. Things take a dark turn when the girl turns up dead outside the small apartment she and her new husband shared with her family. Throughout the story, Sarah and Frank spar over her involvement in the case. They also battle the prejudice and assumptions of the people as the investigation continues.
I could only imagine the amount of research it took to get an accurate feel of how things must have been like a century ago. The author does a very good job, in my opinion, and this series has become one of my favorites in recent years. There are two books after this, and I look forward to reading them both in the near future.