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Murder on Bedford Street

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Any book that includes insane asylums creeps me out. Maybe I was institutionalized in a past life, or maybe it's just that women were historically locked up in such places because they were difficult to deal with, such as speaking their minds or having revolutionary ideas. So I started off edgy with this book and it was hard to take in the entire story. A woman is admitted to an asylum and her uncle wants to know why. Her husband, who admitted her, is cagey about why she was admitted so Frank is determined to get to the bottom of it.

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Thank you to NetGalley for an advanced copy of Murder on Bedford Street. I have mixed feelings about this book. The beginning moved fairly slowly with most of the action happening in the last half of the book. The "mystery" was blatantly obvious from the beginning and a bit of communication should have cleared it up in no time. I enjoyed seeing some of past characters pop back up for a bit, and I really liked Maeve's storyline. It was also nice to see Sarah revisiting her midwifery, which we haven't seen in a bit. Overall, a fine story, but definitely not my favorite.

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Another intriguing mystery from Victoria Thompson! This Gaslight Mystery series is a favorite and I always look forward to a new adventure with Frank, Sarah, and now Gino & Maeve. Murder on Bedford Street deals with the all too familiar scenario of a woman incarcerated in an asylum by her husband. The question is does she belong there or is this a huge miscarriage of justice? It’s up to this dynamic team of investigators to find the answers.

Frank Malloy is hired by the uncle of Julia Longly to find a way to free her from an asylum. His main motivation for wanting her freed is to provide his daughter with a scandal free New York season. The uncle provides all sorts of reasons why he believes Julia’s been wrongly committed including the scandalous behavior of her husband Chet. When Frank and Sarah visit Julia, they too believe she’s been unfairly incarcerated by a cruel husband and vow to get her out.

To gather evidence against Chet, Maeve goes undercover inside the Longly’s household as a nursemaid to his small son. But, all is not what it seems. She discovers a history of employees disappearing. As the incongruences begin to pile up, it’s clear someone is a monster who must be held accountable before it’s too late.

This mystery took preconceived notions and turned them on their head. I think this is the first time so many clues were missed by Sarah especially. I usually depend on her to see beyond the obvious, but this time, her prejudices really got in the way. Maeve is the one who really puts everything together.

While I suspected the truth pretty early on, I enjoyed seeing how everything played out. There were some good twists and some suspenseful scenes towards the end. Sarah even gets to use her midwifery skills and I loved seeing her long time, superstitious friend get an unexpected surprise.

While it’s not my favorite of the series, I’d recommend it to mystery fans, especially those familiar with the series. It could be read as a standalone, but it’s better if you’re acquainted with the characters and previous books. I received an advanced complimentary copy from the publisher. All opinions are completely my own and voluntarily given. 3 1/2 stars raised to 4.

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Victoria Thompson immerses the reader in Gaslight New York in Murder in Bedford Street. Frank Malloy and his wife, midwife Molly, have been hired to find out why Julia, a young mother, and relative of Mr. Breedlove has been sequestered in an insane asylum. They believe her husband sent her there to be free of her and pay attention to his mistress. Molly and Frank gradually learn that they do not understand who the real Julia is. Julia is freed when a judge is bribed. Everyone, her husband and son and others are in danger. New take on psychopaths.

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I enjoyed this book in the series and look forward to more. I liked the characters and the setting. The mystery kept me guessing.

Thank you to the author, publisher and NetGalley for my eARC in exchange for an honest review.

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The Gaslight Mysteries has been a series that I have followed for a long time. I always enjoy reading this series and being reunited with the characters that have come to feel like family. In this book, Malloy is approached by Hugh Breedlove to investigate why his niece was committed to an insane asylum by her questionable husband and to secure he release as quietly as possible. Breedlove’s daughter is about to begin her debut in New York City’s high society and he doesn’t want the scandal to tarnish his daughter’s chances of a successful marriage. After meeting with the niece, Julia, Frank and Sarah are of the mind that Julia is in fact sane and should be released immediately.

During their investigation, they determine that there were many secrets behind closed doors between Julia and her husband, Chet Longly. Did Chet put Julia into the aslyum so he can continue his affair without interference? Why did a maid die under mysterious circumstances at their house? Frank and Sarah soon find themselves involved in more than they had bargained for.

While I have long been a fan of this series, this book just quite didn’t do it for me. I figured out what was going on pretty early on and it was a little frustrating that Frank and Sarah took so long to figure it out as well. This was probably one of my least favorite in the series and I was a little disappointed as the others in this series have been so outstanding. While not enough to turn this fan off from this series, I am hoping that this will not be a trend in what has come to be one of my favorite historical mystery series.

Overall Rating: 3 stars
Author: Victoria Thompson

Series: Gaslight Mystery #26

Publisher: Berkley

Publication Date: April 25, 2023

Pages: 336

Genre: Historical Mystery

Get It: Amazon

Disclaimer: This book was given to me by the publisher, through NetGalley, in exchange for my honest review. I reviewed this book without compensation of any kind. All thoughts and opinions are solely mine.

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Murder on Bedford Street is the 26th book in Victoria Thompson's Gaslight Mystery series. This may be some new record for me, as I started this series 26th. I was able to enjoy it without too much confusion, as this case stood alone. I just missed out on a lot of background information for the characters. I need to amend that and go back and see what I missed!

In 1901 New York, private investigator Frank Malloy's newest client, Hugh Breedlove, is not the easiest person to deal with, or to like. His case is something that Frank can't turn down, however. Breedlove's young niece Julia has been committed to an insane asylum by her cruel and unfaithful husband, Chet Longly. Breedlove seems to be more interested in protecting his family from scandal, but Frank and his midwife spouse Sarah agree to help because of Julia's little son Victor, who is left with Chet. Their investigation soon reveals some disturbing secrets: a nursemaid fell to her death and a maid fell down the stairs and was injured. Now they believe that Victor is in danger. But all is not as it seems in the Longly household...

This story dragged a bit for me in the beginning; I think knowing the characters' backgrounds would have made a difference for me from the start. How did Irish Catholic ex-policeman Frank Malloy become a multimillionaire private investigator? What happened to midwife Sarah's first husband, and how did she begin helping Frank in his cases? Luckily, it didn't cause much confusion for this tale. About 40% into the book, I figured out who the villain was. Amazingly enough, that's when the story really picked up for me and I sped through the rest of it! The Malloy family were good people, and even Sarah's mother helped with the case. I liked how Frank respected the opinions of his wife and employees. I also enjoyed seeing Sarah practice her midwifing (is that even a word?); that part of the story was very touching. Supporting characters were great; I just loved Gino and Maeve, who both worked for the Malloys. Maeve, I believe, was actually the star of the show! She got to try out her investigating muscles. The feelings between Maeve and Gino were very sweet. I'd love to see some actual romance there. The Longlys were such intriguing characters. Let's leave it at that so I don't spoil anything for those who haven't yet read this book. I'm really looking forward to see where this series is going; I'm also excited I have 25 more books in which to get to know the Malloys!

I received an ARC of this book courtesy of the publisher and NetGalley. I received no compensation for my review, and all thoughts and opinions expressed are entirely my own.

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Is she? Or, isn't she? When a man hires Frank to help get his niece out of the asylum on Ward Island, assumptions have been made on this subject. Between the household of the woman in question and the folks on Frank Malloy's team, opposite camps have been formed. As the story moves along, the reader begins to suspect who is the problem. Some things I loved about this 26th installment: 1) Sarah's mom is really getting a chance to help with interviews. 2) Mrs. Malloy has many pearls of wisdom to share. 3) Maeve and Gino really get into the action this time. There is also a smidgeon of progress in their relationship outside the office. 4) Mrs. Ellsworth has a memorable scene and her superstitions seem to cover every life situation. A very enjoyable addition to the series.

Thank you to Berkley and NetGalley for a DRC in exchange for an honest review.

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Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Jeanie

I was delighted to be back in Greenwich Village with Frank and Sarah Malloy! This mystery was brilliantly constructed and executed. I enjoyed spending more time with Maeve than usual. Something I noticed and didn’t recall from past mysteries is how humorous some of the descriptions are, this time beginning with the first scene at the initial introduction of Frank and Gino to a new client, Hugh Breedlove. Frank is a former NYPD detective and Gino, a former police officer, so they knew they would meet interesting people in their private investigations firm.

Hugh, his wife Amelia, and daughter Ruth recently returned to New York after Hugh managed his firm’s London office for several years. Amelia wanted Ruth to make her formal introduction to society in New York and meet eligible young men in their home country. They sought Hugh’s brother’s daughter Julia Longly, and her widowed mother, Ellie Breedlove, to introduce Ruth to society. What Hugh learned was shocking. Ellie had disappeared shortly after Julia married Chet Longly several years earlier. Chet had recently committed Julia to the Manhattan State Hospital.

Hugh and Amelia visited their niece at the asylum and learned disturbing things about Julia’s husband, including his drinking, gambling, and flaunting of a mistress. When he finally tired of Julia’s nagging, he had her committed to the insane asylum. None of the doctors would believe she was of sound mind, but Hugh and his wife were convinced she was. He asked them to find a way to quickly, discreetly, get her out, as his daughter’s coming out couldn’t be marred with introduction by a family member who was suspected to be insane. Frank and his wife, Sarah, a nurse and midwife, would visit Julia so he could learn more about the situation.

When they first met Julia, Frank and Sarah felt Breedlove’s assertion of Julia’s sanity was correct. Julia described the horrors of Chet’s behaviors, which matched what she told her uncle and aunt. She told Frank and Sarah even more, including living conditions in the asylum. It must have been terrifying for a young lady in society to be locked away with people thought to be irretrievably insane. Sarah had spent much of her career helping women who had been abused and worse, and was sympathetic to her plight.

Frank and Sarah determined to find a way to get Julia released from the asylum. The Breedloves would need to secure a place for her and her four-year-old son, Victor, to stay, presumably getting funds from her husband. Maeve, the live-in nanny for Frank and Sarah’s children, works in Frank’s office when the children are in school. She wanted more involvement with investigations they work, and this time got her wish. The last nursemaid for Julia’s son died when “falling from” the nursery window. With her experience and expertise with children, Maeve was hired as Victor’s nursemaid in hopes of finding the truth about Chet Longly. Sometimes the truth is not what one expects, and the huge twist to this tale was like a bucket of icy cold water when Maeve and Sarah finally found it.

Each of the primary characters continues to grow with the series. Snippets of their backstories, along with behaviors and conversations, can help a reader new to the series enjoy it as much as a long-term fan. The historical touches are enlightening, including more information about the electric motorcars introduced in the last mystery.

The mystery seems almost cut and dried very early on, but there was far more than met the eye. The plot twists and turns were shocking and at times horrifying. It is brilliantly written with surprises, heartwarming scenes of Maeve caring for little Victor, and Gino’s constant concern for her welfare while at the Longly home. The end was very different than anticipated and very satisfying, and I am again eager for the next in series! I highly recommend this and earlier novels in the series!

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Frank Malloy is a former New York City police officer who is now a private detective. His former partner on the police force now works with him as a PI. Frank and Gino often get help from Frank’s wife, Sarah, a former midwife, and their part-time nanny, Maeve, who works part-time as Frank’s secretary. Frank has now been hired for a very unusual case. An investment banker comes into the agency and wants Frank’s help in proving his niece, Julia, was unjustly forced into an insane asylum by her husband. Frank knows this won’t be an easy task, but it becomes even more complicated when he can’t tell who’s telling the truth and who can’t be trusted. The background information about treatment and the stigma surrounding mental illness at that time in history is shown during the investigation and is very informative.

Murder on Bedford Street is the newest of the Gaslight Mystery books, which takes place in New York at the beginning of the twentieth century. Even though I’ve read most of the books in this series, this book would work well as a standalone for new readers. The author gives the necessary information about the main characters without bogging down the current story. Each of the four main characters, Frank, Sarah, Gino, and Maeve play a part in solving the case, with some added help from Sarah’s mother, who uses her prominent societal standing to gain access to people who wouldn’t otherwise cooperate. Maeve goes undercover and is crucial to getting a full understanding of the important players in the case. In the past, I’ve had mixed feelings about this character, but her intelligence and her softer side come out in this story, and I enjoyed her role.

The first part of the book is very intriguing, and the various people questioned each had different opinions about Chet and Julia. I like that the story doesn’t take the typical path, but I saw the direction it was headed way before Frank and Sarah did! However, I still enjoyed the book and the way the main characters all worked together to get to the truth in a complex situation. Not everyone gets a happy ending, but I like the way everything comes together at the end.

~ Christine

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One of my very favorite series in historical mysteries! I could not wait to see what Sarah, Frank and the gang where up to!!

Engaging, mystery and suspense, the author knows how to weave a story that will have you trying to figure everything out until the end!

If you have not read or listened to this series, you are missing an amazing chance to be entertained for hours!!

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This is one of my favorite series for a very good reason. Right from the start I was pulled in and the scene where Sarah explains how a sane woman could end up incarcerated into an asylum gave me absolute chills.

The mystery in this book isn't so much a whodunnit but more of a digging into secrets and motivations and separating fact from rumor. Maeve takes a starring role here and definitely proves herself as being able to take care of herself and a capable investigator. I changed my mind about a dozen times as to just what was going on and couldn't wait to watch Frank, Sarah, Gino, and Maeve get it all sorted out.

I love seeing Sarah's parents. Not only are they incredibly helpful in investigations but I love how much their grandchildren. As well I also enjoyed seeing Sarah step into her midwife profession again. While that is a huge aspect of who Sarah is it frequently falls by the wayside of murder investigations.

This is a solid read with characters you can't help but connect with and an interesting mystery involving sorting truth from lies and good from evil.

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Murder on Bedford Street by Victoria Thompson
Gaslight Mystery #26
Publication Date: April 25, 2023

I’m not opposed to starting a book, particularly mysteries or romances, well into a series order. Can’t say I’ve ever started at book number 26 though. TWENTY-SIX. According to Goodreads the first book in this series was published in 1999. I would have had to start reading this series when I was 9 in order to have kept up with it. Apparently, Victoria Thompson is to historical mysteries what James Patterson is to every other genre.

The series follows Sarah, a midwife, and her husband Frank, a detective, as they solve crime in the early 1900s. This one was particularly interesting because it wasn’t traditionally what we think of when we think of crime. I guess after 26 books you have to start thinking outside the box. This book explores the institutionalisation of women by their husbands.

Maybe the character exploration and progression took place in the other twenty-five books and I missed it but it was a straight-forward, easy to follow, unlayered mystery that I was kind of here for. I’ve been working two jobs for the last 3 months and my brain cells have frankly turned to mush towards the end of the day. I kind of appreciated that the book captured my attention, entertained me, gave me a little food for thought but didn’t really require a lot of work on my part.

I was a little thrown off by the last minute plot point inclusion towards the end, which I feel only made sense to anyone who read the previous books. To me it didn’t make any sense and I was genuinely confused by why the climax of the book was suddenly interrupted by this seemingly random occurrence.

Now the question is do I read the other 25 books?

Thank you to Berkeley for providing an ARC through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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the setup…
Private investigator Frank Malloy has a new client, one he doesn’t particularly like but the case is intriguing. Hugh Breedlove has just returned with his family from England with the intention of introducing his daughter to society. However, he’s learned that his niece has been unfairly committed to an insane asylum by her philandering husband. He wants Frank’s help to get his niece released before the news of her commitment becomes public and ruins his daughter’s chances for a successful debut. With the help of his team, which includes his wife Sarah, Frank has his work cut out for him as he enters into unfamiliar territory.

the heart of the story…
I love being back in Frank and Sarah’s world! This case was peculiar and I learned a lot about how mental illness was treated (or not) at the turn of the 20th century. It was particularly troublesome for women as their spouses need only declare they were insane to have them permanently institutionalized. The issue for the team was to find out who from Julia’s servant staff might have witnessed her husband’s bad behavior that might sway the doctor and a judge. Investigating her husband Chet posed some difficulties, too, as he was unwilling to cooperate. But the biggest challenge was assessing Julia’s competency…was she or wasn’t she? And who was responsible for other disappearances from that house?

the bottom line…
The true mystery was whether or not Julia was mentally ill and it wasn’t as easy to figure out as one might think. I vacillated over the answer but eventually landed in the right place. It was also a bleak reminder of how women were treated more like chattel in that era rather than having basic human rights. It was wonderful reconnecting with the recurring characters, especially Maeve who balances her work as a nanny for Frank and Sarah’s children with side work for Frank’s PI firm. She’s really good as an investigator and her relationship with Frank’s partner Gino inches closer to something more romantic. This continues to be one of my favorite historical mystery series.

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This book started out great. I always enjoy visiting with Sarah, Frank, Maeve, Gino, and everyone else in the books. I also find the historic details interesting, and the author's writing has a way of pulling me right into the story. Unlike most of the books in this series, there wasn't a lot of historical detail in this one. Just some things about mental hospitals and mental health back in that time period. It was interesting though, and heartbreaking that some women were committed to mental hospitals when they were perfectly sane.

I liked that Sarah was able to use her midwife skills again, this time helping deliver a friend's grandchild. I would love to get more details about the clinic she set up in future books, and get to know more about the women she is helping there. I love when the midwifery and the investigating coincide.

This book eventually ended up frustrating me in a couple of ways but that didn't keep me from enjoying it. I think out of all the books I've read in this series, this was probably the easiest mystery to solve. That didn't bother me so much, but I wish Sarah and Frank hadn't been so clueless. Maeve and Gino were as well, with Maeve to a lesser extent. I'm beginning to think Maeve is the smartest one of them, and it's a real crime that she isn't allowed to investigate more. She does a really good job in this book. There was one point when Gino also did a good job investigating, but I was perturbed about it. He went around investigating and found out just about everything Maeve had already found out. What was the point in her being where she was—in possible danger—if all her work was going to be rendered useless by Gino, and he didn't even have to put himself into the household?

I also got frustrated that Sarah and Frank had these preconceived notions in their heads about what happened. At a couple of points, they even came to conclusions that were their own ideas, and then decided they were fact. They went on stating these conclusions as facts, saying they knew this thing had happened, and this was the reason another thing had happened. This is not good investigating. However, I believe the author was trying to show that we sometimes judge incorrectly, and our preconceived notions can get in the way. I do like this about the book, even though it was also frustrating that the characters had to remain so clueless to illustrate it.

Despite the frustrating parts, I enjoyed this book and found it hard to put down at times. I'm still invested in this series and will continue reading it.

Thanks to NetGalley and Berkley Publishing Group for providing me with an ARC of this book.

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This review was originally posted on Books of My Heart

Review copy was received from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Gaslight Mystery series is a favorite. I was happy to see all the characters again, even Mrs. Ellsworth. We got a nice mix of Frank, Sarah, Maeve and Gino doing the investigating. I was also happy to see the Deckers, Sarah's parents, help.

A woman who may have been falsely imprisoned in an insane asylum by her husband comes into their view when they are hired to help prove she is sane, and to try to get her released. The team is hired by her uncle's family as they return from London for their daughter, Ruth's coming out into society. Information is hard to get and contradictory. Eventually, Maeve goes undercover as a nursemaid in the husband's household to try to get the truth.

It isn't easy. Maeve is happy to take care of young Victor, only 4, who has lost both his nursemaid and mother. The staff is tight-lipped about the events. The husband does have a mistress who lives nearby. Gino pursues another lead in the carriage driver who was fired about the same time and used to take the woman (wife) out frequently in the carriage. Sarah and Frank work to locate the woman's mother, talk to the mistress, the neighbors, and doctors at the asylum.

I was thrilled to see my favorite detectives solve this convoluted story. Somehow they were able to ascertain the truth and achieve the desired outcome with keeping the societal customs. I always appreciate their compassion and support of the less fortunate, especially as it is normally women and children.

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I've not read any of the preceding books in this long running series but this made a fine standalone. Frank takes on a case from his somewhat obnoxious client Hugh because he's worried about Julia. a young woman who has been committed to an asylum by her weasel husband Chet. Sarah and Frank talk with her and are convinced that not only is she sane, there's something else going on - another reason Chet wants her out of the way. Could it be the mysterious death of a servant? Members of Frank's team work the case and find surprises. It's well done, not too twisty and nicely atmospheric. Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC. I'm off to find more from Thompson.

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The twenty-sixth in the Gaslight Mystery series has Malloy accepting a case to get the niece of his client out of an insane asylum. Hugh Breedlove isn't a very nice man. He's a real snob, but the case he brings does interest Malloy and his fellow detectives.

After all, a young wife has been wrongfully accused of being insane. When Frank and Sarah visit the asylum, they find Julia Longly to be perfectly rational. Their suspicions grow even more when Chet Longly refuses to discuss why he had his wife committed.

Maeve goes undercover as a nursery maid in the Longly house and discovers that some secrets are being kept. What happened to the young maid who "fell" down the stairs? And what happened to the former nursery maid? And why are all the servants afraid of Julia Longly?

It takes a while for attitudes to shift and for the correct villain to be identified. I enjoyed this latest episode in a long-running series. I like the relationships between the characters. I liked the 1901 New York setting.

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Sarah, Frank, Maeve, and Geno are back in book #26 of the Gaslight Series!

Hugh Breedlove walks into Frank Malloy's office, looking for investigative services. His niece, Julia, has been committed to an insane asylum by her cruel and mistress-keeping husband, Chet Longly. Breedlove and his wife need Julia and her connections to introduce their daughter to society. Frank and Sarah decide to help this young woman become free.

Frank and Sarah begin seeing that things are not adding up. The information they are learning does not match Julia and her uncle's story. A nursemaid died suspiciously in the Longly home, and another maid was seriously injured. All of the servants were sent away for two weeks. To find more information, Maeve poses as a nursemaid to Julia's four-year-old son to gain access to the home.

What a page turner! I kept flip flopping, feeling sad for Julia and then outraged at her suspicious behavior. Victoria Thompson's books are always well-researched. I appreciated the gleam into the lack of women's rights and how easily men had control over their wives. The treatment of mentally ill individuals was also mentioned in this novel.

Thank you to NetGalley for the opportunity to read this novel in exchange for my honest opinion.

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"Murder on Bedford Street" is a historical mystery set in New York City in 1900. But it's a "mystery" only because it's in a mystery series. It wasn't until a third of the way into the book that a murder was even uncovered, and even then it was pretty obvious whodunit. As Frank, Sarah, Gino, and Maeve investigated, people strongly hinted at and later outright accused whodunit of the murder. Near the end, there was another murder. By then, they knew whodunit but spent about one page trying to find any proof before giving up. So not much mystery.

At best, you could call this a suspense. The investigators stubbornly refused to change their initial assumptions in the face of ever-increasing clues, and you just knew whodunit was going to kill again. Only Maeve seemed open to the actual evidence, logic finally won Gino and Frank over, but Sarah didn't show well at all. I found the story frustrating. It could have been an interesting mystery as they worked the difficult task of actually proving whodunit (as knowing and proving are two different things). Instead, most of the book was watching supposedly smart characters be about the only ones who didn't understand whodunit.

This is the 26th book in the series. You don't need to read the previous books to understand this one, and this one didn't spoil the whodunit of the previous mysteries. There was no sex or bad language.

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