Deception by Gaslight – Book Review

A Gilded Gotham Mystery by: Katie Belli
Published on: October 6, 2020

Originally I wondered if the gaslight in the title was a reference to the actual gas-light of that era, or was a story about being gaslighted. Either way, I knew it was a story that I would be intrigued by, not to mention it having a terrific cover.

Set in the times of the Astor 400, which was a fun fact to learn about and look up on the Internet, Genevieve Stewart is a young journalist attempting to track down information about the famed Robin Hood – a jewel thief who has been stealing from the wealthy. During her hunt for information she runs across a handsome Daniel McCaffrey and he immediately becomes a potential suspect or a potential romantic interest. Inbetween times of journalist pursuit she also is a welcome addition to the high society parties and balls since her family is also included in the Astor 400 list. As Genevieve continues tracking down her story, she finds that additional deaths may be related, but what is worse is that Daniel, whom she has started getting close to, may be the culprit.

There are books that you enjoy, but slow read and then there are books that you can’t read fast enough. This was the latter because it was just so likeable. The writing was quick and flowing and there always seemed to be something to keep me interested – be it the investigative work and the danger it brings, the balls, or the potential romance. There truly was never a dull moment. I did, however, wonder about some of the choices Genevieve makes concerning her safety. There are times in the book where you want to go “No! That doesn’t sound like a smart idea considering what has been going on,” but it never kept me from enjoying the overall story. The very, very end also felt a little Hollywood-ish and while I was emotionally satisfied, I also knew that logically it probably would not have happened that way.

Recommended for those who enjoy the 1880 American Gilded Age era society stories, and light reads with fast-paced action and story that includes a dash of romance.

Thanks to Crooked Lane Books and Netgalley for the advanced reader copy and opportunity to provide an honest review.


Glittering Gilded-Age New York holds its lavish charms–and a litany of deadly sins–as intrepid reporter Genevieve Stewart uncovers a trail of corruption and murder.

As a chill sets in on New York City in the winter of 1888, a jewel thief dubbed the “Robin Hood of the Lower East Side” has been stealing from the city’s wealthiest and giving to the poor. Genevieve Stewart–a young woman whose family is part of Mrs. Astor’s famed 400 but who has forged a life of her own as a reporter–decides to chase the story, but gets more than she bargained for: a murder victim sprawled in a dark alley in the dangerous Five Points neighborhood.

A handsome neighborhood tough comes to her rescue–but when she encounters the same man at a glamorous ball a few nights later, she realizes he’s society scion Daniel McCaffrey. Could this be her Robin Hood? When two more murders rock the Knickerbocker world, it becomes apparent that something much more sinister is afoot than a few stolen diamond necklaces. Genevieve is determined to prove that Daniel is Robin Hood–but she’s loath to believe he is a killer as well. From the glittering lights of Fifth Avenue to the sordid back alleys of Five Points, the truth is just one murder away.

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