Read Murder on Marble Row Online

Authors: Victoria Thompson

Murder on Marble Row

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Table of Contents
“Victoria Thompson shines . . . Anne Perry and Caleb Carr fans rejoice!”
—Tamar Myers, author of
Thou Shalt Not Grill
Praise for the Edgar
Award-nominated Gaslight Mystery series
“Victoria Thompson has crafted another Victorian page-turner.” —Robin Paige, author of
Death in Hyde Park
“Cleverly plotted . . . provides abundant fair play and plenty of convincing period detail. This light, quick read engages the readers' emotions.”
—Publishers Weekly
“Engaging characters . . . an enjoyable read.”
—Margaret Frazer, author of
The Hunter's Tale
“Victoria Thompson has a knack for putting the reader inside her character's heads, and her detailed descriptions of New York at the turn of the century bring the setting vividly to life.”—Kate Kingsbury, author of
Paint by Number
“Each novel in the Gaslight Mystery series just keeps getting better . . . [
Murder on Marble Row
] is well executed and the ending will come as a complete surprise.”
—Midwest Book Review
“An exciting intrigue of murder, deception, and bigotry.
Gangs of New York
eat your heart out—this book is the real thing.”
—Mystery Scene
“A thrilling, informative, challenging mystery.”
—The Drood Review
“There are few mysteries set back in history that I enjoy reading. This mystery series is one of those. The characters and settings are so real . . . I highly recommend this book and series.”
—The Best Reviews
Nominated for the Best First Mystery Award
Romantic Times
“Victoria Thompson is off to a blazing start with Sarah Brandt and Frank Malloy in
Murder on Astor Place.
I do hope she's starting at the beginning of the alphabet. Don't miss her first tantalizing mystery.”—Catherine Coulter,
New York Times
bestselling author
“A marvelous debut mystery with compelling characters, a fascinating setting, and a stunning resolution. It's the best mystery I've read in ages.”—Jill Churchill, author of
The Merchant of Menace
Nominated for the Edgar® Award
“Lovers of history, mystery, and romance won't be disappointed. Exciting . . . will hold the reader in thrall.”
—Romantic Times
“The inclusions of [historical] facts make this novel . . . superior to most of those found in the subgenre . . . The lead protagonists are a winning combination.”
“Victoria Thompson's Gaslight Mysteries are always . . . exciting treats to read.”
Published by the Penguin Group
Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, USA
Penguin Group (Canada), 10 Alcorn Avenue, Toronto, Ontario M4V 3B2, Canada
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Penguin Books Ltd., Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
A Berkley Prime Crime Book / published by arrangement with the author
Copyright © 2004 by Victoria Thompson.
All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form
without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage electronic piracy of copyrighted materials
in violation of the author's rights. Purchase only authorized editions.
For information address: The Berkley Publishing Group,
a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.,
375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014.
eISBN : 978-0-425-19870-4
Berkley Prime Crime Books are published by The Berkley Publishing Group,
a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.,
375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014.
The name BERKLEY PRIME CRIME and the BERKLY PRIME CRIME design are trademarks belonging
to Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To my terrific editor, Ginjer Buchanan. This one's for you!
Gaslight Mysteries by Victoria Thompson
RANK DIDN'T ACTUALLY HEAR THE EXPLOSION THAT morning. He was down in the neighborhood known as Hell's Kitchen, collecting a drunk who had murdered the bartender who refused to keep serving him after he'd run out of money. The moment Frank entered Police Headquarters a couple hours later, he knew something had happened, though. The place seemed to hum with tension, and before Frank could even think to wonder at it, the desk sergeant called his name.
“Commissioner Roosevelt hisself wants to see you, laddie,” the sergeant said knowingly.
Frank glanced around and noticed that the cluster of cops who had been talking in hushed tones had fallen silent and were all staring at him. Not one was smiling. This wasn't good.
“What's he want to see me for?” he tried.
The sergeant just shrugged. “He don't confide in me. Just said to send you up the minute you come in.”
Frank figured the sergeant knew perfectly well what Roosevelt wanted, and so did everyone else in the building. The only way Frank was going to find out was by going upstairs, though.
Trying to appear unconcerned, he walked slowly and purposefully to the stairway and began the climb up to the second floor, where Police Commissioner Theodore Roosevelt had his office. Teddy wasn't the only commissioner, of course. He just liked for people to forget about the other three. He was usually successful at doing so, too, except when the others managed to stymie his attempts at reform and the press gleefully reported it.
Frank had to admit that Roosevelt had managed to make a few real reforms in the department. Teddy and that reporter friend of his, Jacob Riis, enjoyed prowling the streets at night to make sure the police were doing their duty. A lot of worthless beat cops had been fired when the two men found them sleeping on the job. Others had been given the sack for being too blatantly corrupt. Roosevelt had also promoted the men he felt had earned the honor. This was a huge change from the old system, where promotions had been bought and paid for. Frank himself had been saving for years to buy himself the rank of Captain.
He wasn't planning to spend that money on something else yet, though. Roosevelt's changes had made for good newspaper copy, but as soon as he was gone, his reforms would likely go, too. With no one to stop them, the police department would return to business as usual. That day was probably coming sooner rather than later, since Roosevelt had campaigned vigorously for McKinley, who had been elected president four weeks ago. The new president would be handing out political appointments to his supporters the minute he took office next year, and everyone knew Roosevelt would be among them. Frank had already felt the rumblings as everyone on the force tried to figure out what was going to happen to them when Teddy and his progressive ideas left New York for Washington.
Frank had reached Roosevelt's office, and he stepped inside with more boldness than he felt. Roosevelt's secretary, a dark-haired Irish girl named Minnie Kelly, looked up from her type writing.
“Commissioner Roosevelt is expecting you, Detective Sergeant,” she informed him before he could say a word. No smile lit her pretty face.
“What's he want?” he tried again.
“Didn't you hear what happened this morning? The explosion?”
“What explosion?”
Miss Kelly frowned. “I don't know much about it. You'd better let the commissioner explain.” She got up and hurried to Roosevelt's door to let him know Frank had arrived.
Frank sighed. Nothing good came from hiring women. Miss Kelly was the first and only female secretary in the history of the department, another one of Roosevelt's reforms. Roosevelt was probably satisfied with her work, but Frank couldn't help thinking a
would have given him the buzz and not let him go into the boss's office blind.
“Go right in,” Miss Kelly instructed him before he could feel any sorrier for himself.
Roosevelt sat behind his impressive desk. He wasn't a large man, but his personality was so big, you hardly noticed his size. He grinned at Frank, revealing teeth too large for his face.
“Dee-lighted to see you, Malloy,” he exclaimed. Even though he was sitting perfectly still, energy seemed to radiate from him, electrifying the room. “Close the door, will you? Don't want to bother Miss Kelly, do we?”
Frank wasn't sure whether they did or not, but he closed the door just the same.
“Terrible thing, just terrible,” Roosevelt was saying, peering through his pince-nez at what was apparently a report of some kind. “Dreadful way to die.”
“The explosion?” Frank said, figuring he should say something and not sure exactly what was expected.
“A bomb, they think,” Roosevelt said, looking up at Frank again.
?” he echoed in amazement. The city was full of factories with machinery that exploded from time to time, killing hapless immigrant workers. He'd assumed that was what Miss Kelly's remark had meant. “Where was it? What happened?” he demanded, forgetting for a moment that he was addressing the Commissioner of Police.
“Didn't anyone tell you?” Roosevelt asked, mildly annoyed. “Sit down, sit down.” He motioned to the two chairs facing his desk, and Frank obediently took one. “It happened this morning, around nine o'clock. Mr. Gregory Van Dyke owns some factories here in the city. He'd just arrived at his office uptown, and the place exploded. Blew him to pieces. Nearly killed his secretary, too, poor fellow.”

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