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A Chilling Murder Mystery - an Editorial Review of "Murder on Oak Street"

Book Blurb:

New York, 1904. After two years as a coroner’s physician for the city of New York, Daniel O'Halleran is more frustrated than ever. What’s the point when the authorities consistently brush aside his findings for the sake of expediency? So when his fiancée leaves him standing at the altar on their wedding day, he takes it as a sign that it's time to move on and eagerly accepts an offer to assist the local coroner in the small Long Island village of Patchogue.

Though the coroner advises him life on Long Island is far more subdued than that of the city, Daniel hasn’t been there a month when the pretty librarian, Kathleen Brissedon, asks him to look into a two-year-old murder case that took place in the city. Oddly enough, the case she’s referring to was the first one he ever worked on, and the verdict never sat right with him.

Eager for the chance to investigate it anew, Daniel agrees to look into it in his spare time, but when a fresh murder occurs in his own backyard, he can’t shake his gut feeling that the two cases are connected. Can he discover the link before another life is taken, or will murder shake the peaceful South Shore village once again?

Author Bio:

I. M. Foster is the pen name author Inez Foster uses to write her South Shore Mystery series, set on Edwardian Long Island. Inez also writes historical romances under the pseudonym Andrea Matthews, and has so far published two series in that genre: the Thunder on the Moor series, a time-travel romance set on the 16th century Anglo-Scottish Borders, and the Cross of Ciaran series, which follows the adventures of a fifth century Celt who finds himself in love with a twentieth century archaeologist.

Inez is a historian and librarian, who love to read and write and search around for her roots, genealogically speaking. She has a BA in History and an MLS in Library Science and enjoys the research almost as much as she does writing the story. In fact, many of her ideas come to her while doing casual research or digging into her family history. Inez is a member of the Long Island Romance Writers, and the Historical Novel Society.

You can keep track of her upcoming releases and tidbits about her books on the following sites:

Website: - for her mysteries, and – for her romances.

You can also find her on Facebook at IMFosterMysteries or Andrea Matthews Historical Romance.

Editorial Review:

Murder on Oak Street by I. M. Foster is a historical fiction murder mystery that is deeply intertwined with historical details set in New York at the turn of the 20th century. The beginning of the book pulls the readers into a murder quickly. While readers may assume the plot lies in this murder, it is actually just the beginning. Readers will quickly be thrown into an even bigger mystery that layers investigations within investigations in a very creatively written way. In Murder on Oak Street, Dr. Daniel O’Halleran works as a physician for the coroner helping to determine the cause of death and investigate murder mysteries but his services are rarely appreciated and often passed over by the coroner. After being left at the altar, Daniel feels like it is time to leave the city and beings working as the coroner on Long Island. The slower pace of life and the reduction of stress appeal to Daniel but he has no idea what he is in for when he arrives on Long Island. When a murder occurs, Daniel is immediately put on the case and he soon realizes that it seems to be connected to a case that he has worked on years before that left him unsettled and that he was not able to solve. With new determination, he sets out to solve both cases in a tale that is sure to leave readers on the edge of their unable to put their books down until the last line.

Footsteps thumped from above. The clink of metal caused him to open his eyes. A bloody knife lay inches from his fingers. The mysterious man knelt beside him, still chuckling.”

The characters in Murder on Oak Street are very well-written and developed. Foster did an incredible job creating characters that were reflective of the time period of the setting. They were believable as characters and Foster did a great job maintaining character personalities and characteristics. She also gives the characters features such as accents and specific dialogue styles that allow readers to become even more immersed in the historical setting of the story.

He’d made it a point to visit the library every Tuesday and Thursday during his lunch hour for the past month, hoping to summon the courage to ask the pretty librarian if she would consent to having dinner with him. So when Dr. Tennyson had proposed he look into the death of her stepbrother’s father, it seemed like fate had intervened”

The setting of New York in the early 1900s is well-done and well-developed by the author. Foster creates appropriate details that create a believable and historically accurate setting. Foster achieves this through detailed descriptions. It is clear from these details that Foster has done an extensive amount of research to ensure that readers can vividly conjure pictures of New York and Long Island. Foster creatively paints vivid pictures that allow readers to become engaged in the story. It is easy to become immersed in the historical setting that Foster has expertly and accurately developed.

He took a deep breath of the summer air, fragrant with lilacs and the crisp scent of the sea, a sure sign rain was on the way. A colony of seagulls squawked overhead, confirming his suspicions, but not even the threat of a summer storm could dampen his spirits.”

In addition to clearly researching the setting and history of that time period, it is also clear that Foster put effort into researching the investigation process that police and coroners would have used in the early 1900s. Investigations during that time period look far different than the investigations of today. She describes the process by which these cases are investigated in a way that is believable and seems to be historically accurate. The details of the crimes are believable for the time period as well.

The words had no sooner left his lips than a harsh scream echoed down the staircase. For a moment, everyone just sat, glancing at one another, but then they all went running toward the stairs.”

Foster is an excellent writer. Her writing is detailed and easy to read. The beginning of the book is a bit slow and difficult to get into but if readers persist, they will be rewarded with a well-written “whodunit” mystery in a detailed historical setting. It is quite enjoyable to read even with the slower sections. Once the reader gets into the story, it is nearly impossible to put Murder on Oak Street.

Some believed he was guilty, though of those, few thought he’d been in his right mind at the time. ”

Murder on Oak Street is clearly intended for those who enjoy historical fiction. Those with an affinity for turn-of-the-century American history, particularly urban history, will enjoy this story. Even if a reader is not a historical fiction aficionado, those with an interest in murder mysteries will also find it to be an enjoyable read. Fans of writers such as Agatha Christie will find that Foster’s story and writing style will be right on target for their tastes. Murder on Oak Street does come in at over eight hundred pages which be a deterrent for more casual readers.

Daniel hissed a curse. He should have followed his gut and come to question the man last night. Why hadn’t he remembered it sooner?”

Foster’s ability to weave mysteries within mysteries while also maintaining a well-developed historical setting and characters makes her book a joy to read. These elements combine richly in Murder on Oak Street, and while it starts slow, the book picks up and leaves readers enraptured in the mysteries and thrills of unsolved murders in early 1900s New York. Historical fiction and mystery readers will find Murder on Oak Street to be one of their favorite books.


“Murder on Oak Street” receives 4.5 stars from The Historical Fiction Company


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