In Murder on Millionaires' Row, Erin Lindsey's debut historical mystery, a daring housemaid searches Gilded Age Manhattan for her missing employer and finds a hidden world of magic, ghosts, romance, and Pinkerton detectives.
"With a strong, likeable heroine and a well-drawn cast of characters, this highly recommended romp through late 19th-century New York will have readers clamoring for the next installment."—Library Journal (Starred)
Rose Gallagher might dream of bigger things, but she’s content enough with her life as a housemaid. After all, it’s not every girl from Five Points who gets to spend her days in a posh Fifth Avenue brownstone, even if only to sweep its floors. But all that changes on the day her boss, Mr. Thomas Wiltshire, disappears. Rose is certain Mr. Wiltshire is in trouble, but the police treat his disappearance as nothing more than the whims of a rich young man behaving badly. Meanwhile, the friend who reported him missing is suspiciously unhelpful. With nowhere left to turn, Rose takes it upon herself to find her handsome young employer.
The investigation takes her from the marble palaces of Fifth Avenue to the sordid streets of Five Points. When a ghostly apparition accosts her on the street, Rose begins to realize that the world around her isn’t at all as it seems—and her place in it is about to change forever.
Raised in Manhattan's impoverished Five Points district, 19-year-old Rose Gallagher, the narrator of this promising series debut from Lindsey (the Bloodbound fantasy trilogy), works as a maid in Thomas Wiltshire's Fifth Avenue townhouse. Rose, who has a crush on the handsome British bachelor, is alarmed when Wiltshire vanishes in January 1886. In the course of attempting to trace his movements, she encounters a distraught, bloodstained woman who appears on the sidewalk ahead of her and then walks straight through a lamppost, leaving it suddenly sheathed in ice. When Rose learns that the newspaper article Wiltshire was reading just before he disappeared concerned an apparition with similar properties, she realizes that more than human perfidy is afoot. Though the book's middle sections feel clogged with the detailed explanations required by its complex world of ghosts and shades, magical gifts and disembodied threats, Rose's sparkling perspective and an appealing supporting cast shine throughout. Lindsey's quirky mix of supernatural shenanigans and well-drawn historical detail augurs well for future installments.
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A new historical mystery
Murder on Millionaires’ Row is a debut mystery by Erin Lindsey. Rose Gallagher works as a maid in the household of Mr. Thomas Wiltshire on Fifth Avenue in New York City in 1886. Sunday evening Rose arrives home after her day off and goes to prepare her employers room for the evening. Something feels off and Rose is sure that boss has not been in since Saturday. The next morning the coppers arrive after 5 a.m. because Mr. Jonathan Burrows, a friend of Thomas’, has filed a missing persons report. Rose can tell that Detective Ward is not taking the case seriously, and she decides to pursue the matter on her own. Rose has dreamed of becoming a travel and adventure writer. Little does she realize that searching for Mr. Wiltshire and the mystery he is embroiled in will be the adventure of a lifetime.
Murder on Millionaires’ Row is a complex novel. Ms. Lindsey captured the Gilded Age with her vivid descriptions of the clothing, the architecture, the literature, music, the language and attitudes of the people especially towards the Irish. New York City is brought alive in Murder on Millionaires’ Row. I can envision Fifth Avenue with its cobbled streets, the carriages, ladies decked out in beautiful gowns with their hats and parasols, and the men in their bespoke suits, hats and carrying their walking sticks. Of course, we can also imagine Five Points with children running around, litter in the streets, and thugs on the street corners as well as the Tenderloin with its dangerous bars, illegal businesses and men who will knife you for your money. The author did her research for this story, and I appreciated the author’s note at the end. Rose is a feisty Irish lass who has a crush on her employer. Nothing is going to stand in her way of tracking Mr. Wiltshire down when he goes missing. She is tenacious and intelligent. Thomas Wiltshire is a complex man with a unique position. He introduces Rose to another side of life that she had no idea existed. Another great character is Clara Freeman who is the cook for Mr. Wiltshire. I did feel the Rose’s infatuation with Mr. Wiltshire was mentioned too often. It seems to be the only reason she is searching for her employer. I felt Rose was also curious and needed the challenge (a much better rationale). I cannot believe she managed to keep from being fired by the tartar of a housekeeper. Rose disappeared frequently while looking for Mr. Wiltshire. Clara has hidden layers. We just dig at the surface in Murder on Millionaires’ Row. I found Murder on Millionaires’ Row to be a slow starter. The pace picked up the further I got into the story as well as my interest. I was unprepared for the paranormal aspects, but I was delighted by it. It added another layer to the story along with Pinkerton agents, ciphers and magic. Included in the story are witches, mediums, ghosts, shades and so much more. The mystery is multifaceted. It plays out over the course of the book with new aspects being regularly introduced. At times it does feel overwhelming (there is a lot going on). I would have liked the mystery to have been one that readers could solve along with Rose and Thomas (I love unraveling a puzzle). Murder on Millionaires’ Row is a unique cozy mystery that will take you for a walk on the dark side of New York City.