Book Review: Murder on Millionaire’s Row by Erin Lindsey
I received a review copy from the publisher. This does not affect the contents of my review and all opinions are my own.
Mogsy’s Rating: 4 of 5 stars
Genre: Mystery, Historical Fiction, Paranormal
Series: Book 1/Stand Alone
Publisher: Minotaur Books (October 2, 2018)
Length: 400 pages
I’ve been a fan of Erin Lindsey for a while, and let me just say I was ecstatic when I found out about Murder on Millionaires’ Row. On her author’s page, it states that she is a lover of all things history, mystery, and fantasy, and I was happy to find this novel a jaunty mixture of all three.
It is New York City in 1886. Rose Gallagher is a young woman from Five Points who has always dreamed of a more adventurous life, though she knows things could be much worse than working as a housemaid in one of the city’s poshest neighborhoods. Secretly, she is also in love with her employer, the wealthy and handsome Thomas Wiltshire.
But then Mr. Wiltshire goes missing, and when Rose discovers that the police isn’t taking his disappearance seriously, she decides to take matters into her own hands. In the first few days of her investigation, she learns more about her employer than she ever bargained for. Apparently, Mr. Wiltshire traveled in some strange circles, and is not in fact an attorney as he claimed to be. What he was really up to before he disappeared, Rose doesn’t know, but she has strong suspicions that it has something to do with the Freemasons after tailing one of his friends to their headquarters. However, when a ghost of a woman suddenly appears in front of her one day, covered in blood and looking desperate and scared, Rose realizes that the man she loves may be in more trouble than she initially thought.
What follows is a delectable brew of lighthearted intrigue, drama, and yes, even a little bit of romance as we go hunting clues through the streets of late 19th century New York City with one of the most delightful lady detectives I’ve ever met. Part of the charm of Murder on Millionaires’ Row is its highly appealing throwback feel to some of the earliest mysteries to feature amateur female detectives (I was reminded a little bit of the works by Catherine Crowe, who was notable for featuring maid servant sleuths and ghosts in her stories). Erin Lindsey must have done an insane amount of research to get the setting and the atmosphere just right, and it was an effort that paid off as we got to experience all the wonders of the city with Rose on her exploits.
This book is also the author’s debut mystery, putting her abilities to write a compelling crime novel to the test, which she passes with flying colors. While on the surface, Murder on Millionaires’ Row might seem very different from her previous work, I still found it remarkably easy to get into. For one thing, readers who enjoyed Alix Black in her fantasy trilogy Bloodbound will recognize the same kind of courage and strength in Rose Gallagher, an incredibly resourceful woman who never quits. There’s also a supernatural component which may come as a surprise to unsuspecting readers because it doesn’t come into play until well into the mystery, though speaking as a speculative fiction fan, I really appreciated this aspect. We have everything from ghosts to magic, mediums and witches, as well as individuals who have special powers, or “luck”.
As supernatural mysteries go, this was by far one of the most lively and entertaining ones I have ever read. It offered up just the right amount of the paranormal without distracting from the mystery plot, and I think even non-fantasy readers would not be left feeling too overwhelmed. My only criticism is that the ending felt a little too rushed in stark contrast to the slow build of the investigation, and the resolution also felt too convenient. That said, I think the conclusion leaves room for many more fantastic storylines in the future, and I sure hope we’ll see more of Rose and Thomas. The two of them have amazing chemistry, which I sensed from only getting a small taste of their budding romance.
All in all, Murder on Millionaires’ Row is a fine debut bursting with potential, and definitely not your run-of-the-mill cozy mystery. The story pulled me in straight away, and it also didn’t take me long to fall in love with its courageous heroine and the rest of the plucky cast. Fans of historical fiction and detective stories will eat this one right up, especially if enjoy a touch of the paranormal.