When Detective Sergeant Frank Malloy is assigned to investigate the murder of an influential man in the deaf community-presumably because his own son is hearing impaired-midwife Sarah Brandt lends a hand, only to find herself searching for a killer in an unfamiliar world where those who can hear refuse to listen to those who cannot.
In Thompson s fine 12th mystery set in turn-of-the-20th-century New York City (after 2009 s Murder on Waverly Place), Det. Sgt. Frank Malloy investigates the murder of Nehemiah Wooten, who was bludgeoned with a loving cup Wooten won for sculling at Harvard more than 30 years earlier. A follower of Alexander Graham Bell s views on eugenics, Wooten was opposed to two deaf people getting married on the grounds that such unions would produce only deaf offspring, an attitude that earned him an enemy within his own home. Wooten s attractive 16-year-old daughter, Electra, who could not hear, was hoping to marry a deaf teacher. When Malloy visits Wooten s pregnant widow and her water breaks, he calls in midwife Sarah Brandt. Thanks to her access to the victim s household, Sarah proves invaluable in helping him uncover the killer. While the psychology of the crime is less complicated than some might prefer, Thompson does a solid job bringing the past to life.