An Irish-American cop is allowed into a Victorian drawing room, though nobody offers him a seat.
When the bomb detonated, it spewed nails, wires, and brandy-soaked bits of glass all over Gregory Van Dyke’s office and person. Who wanted the well-to-do Victorian gentleman dead? His feuding business partner, Allen Snowberger, had seduced Van Dyke’s greedy wife Lilly. Lilly had seduced Van Dyke’s younger son Tad and, according to the besotted wastrel, suggested they marry. Daughter Alberta, in the family way, has been forbidden to marry her beloved Lewis because papa considered his private secretary socially unacceptable. But the most obvious culprit is older son Creighton, an anarchist who’d left the family fold. So when Detective Sergeant Frank Malloy, a widower enamored of family friend Sarah Brandt, is assigned the case, he’s eager to chat up Creighton. First, however, Sarah, a midwife, must wheedle Creighton’s address from Alberta. Apparently determined to meddle in Frank’s case, Sarah is soon traipsing about the Lower East Side and the Van Dyke mansion searching for clues. The killer will strike again before clever Frank and pesky Sarah figure out whodunit and gaze longingly into each other’s eyes.
Just what you’d expect from a Victorian melodrama: hysterical females, pompous males, class snobbery, and boudoir secrets—plus, in this sixth Gaslight Mystery (Murder on Mulberry Bend, not reviewed, etc.), a bit part for Emma Goldman.