Murder on Astor Place: A Gaslight Mystery by Victoria Thompson
At the turn of the (last) century, young widow Sarah Brandt lives on her own in New York City, delivers babies, and – in this book, the first of the series – begins solving mysteries. When the sister of an old friend is murdered in a boarding house where Sarah has delivered a baby, she meets Frank Malloy, the police sergeant assigned to the case. Sarah’s roots in high society (which she has rejected following a family tragedy that could have been prevented if her parents had not been blindly stuck on social status) allow her access to information unavailable to the police. Sarah reminds me of Molly Murphy, the equally liberated woman of Rhys Bowen’s excellent mystery series (which begins with Murphy’s Law), which is high praise indeed.