Tuesday, June 30, 2009
In the Shadow of Gotham by Stefanie Pintoff
I recently reviewed Stefanie Pintoff's In the Shadow of Gotham for Mystery News. The review is reprinted here, with permission.
In the Shadow of Gotham
by Stefanie Pintoff
Historical, New York, 1905/Police Detective
In the Shadow of Gotham was the winner of the first Minotaur Books/Mystery Writers of America Best First Crime Novel competition, and deservedly so. Pintoff portrays New York City in 1905 vividly, in all of the gritty details of everyday life.
After his fiancée died in the General Slocum ferry disaster, Detective Simon Ziele left the New York City police force, hoping for a quiet career in law enforcement in the small Hudson River town of Dolson. But, when Sarah Wingate, the niece of a wealthy local family, is found brutally murdered in her own bedroom, Ziele is thrust into the toughest investigation of his career.
To Ziele’s surprise, the day after the murder, he’s contacted by Alistair Sinclair, a professor at Columbia University. Sinclair, who specializes in criminal law, claims to have a suspect in the murder. One of Sinclair’s research subjects, Michael Fromley, has had conversations that indicated an uncanny resemblance to the murder. Since Sinclair is researching how past behavior and thoughts can indicate future crimes, he’s positive Fromley is the killer.
Despite Ziele’s suspicion that Sinclair is hiding something, he’s interested enough in the criminologist’s new field of study to follow the professor’s suggestions. Ziele is an unusual policeman for his times, interested in new scientific methods. At the same time, his job is to find a murderer, not be led astray by educational theories.
Before Ziele can find a killer, he’s caught up, not only in scientific exploration, but back in the crime world of New York City, where the worst criminals can do a favor, and appearances can be deceiving.
Pintoff’s debut mystery is a complex story, combining history, a memorable police detective, a new criminology science, and action. It’s an outstanding historical mystery in which the story doesn’t bog down in details. Pintoff’s debut is a success.
Stefanie Pintoff's website is www.stefaniepintoff.com
I was impressed enough with this book to ask Stefanie if she'd allow me to interivew her. The interview was May 15, here.
Reprinted, with permission, from Mystery News, Volume 27, Issue 3, June/July 2009.