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A Curtain Falls (Simon Ziele #2)

3.78 of 5 stars 3.78  ·  rating details  ·  818 ratings  ·  116 reviews
The careers of New York City detective Simon Ziele and his former partner Captain Declan Mulvaney went in remarkably different directions after the tragic death of Ziele’s fiancée in the 1904 General Slocum ferry disaster. Although both men were earmarked for much bigger things, Ziele moved toDobson, a small town north of thecity, to escape the violence, and Mulvaney burie ...more
ebook, 400 pages
Published May 11th 2010 by Minotaur Books (first published 2010)
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The sequel to In the Shadow of Gotham, this book has one redeeming factor: an interesting premise. Unfortunately, an interesting premise alone does not make for a good novel. The plot is long and rambling (I’m sorry, but when a murder mystery clocks in at almost 400 pages, I expect some complexity and twists). The “twists” that are in this book are so laughably bad that even soap opera writers would be horrified. The characters are flat, flat, flat, and the dialogue is so stilted that a couple o ...more
This is the 2nd in the series by Pintoff and I just rushed through it, enjoying the story as I did In the Shadow of Gotham. I have to admit another reason I hurried is that I forgot how soon it's due back at the library and I have it on inter-library loan. Seems silly to renew when I knew I would like to read it quickly.

So I put everything else aside....and I'm glad I did. I enjoyed revisiting the same characters as they struggled with another odd series of crimes in New York City demanding all
The good - Pintoff does an excellent job at capturing time and place. I loved all the theatre tie ins and detail. That was truly wonderful. The mystery was interesting as was the interplay with the newspaper staff.

So why didn't I finish the book?

Because none of the characters is interesting enough to care about, at least to me.
The second of Pintoff's novels about Simon Ziele who solves crimes at the beginning of the 20th century. I love the feeling evoked by these books - slightly dark, but with hope that new things are coming. The walks through New York tenement buildings are harrowing, but stepping into Delmonico's for dinner is heavenly. I look forward to reading more from Pintoff.
Doreen Fritz
2nd in a series, this novel doesn't suffer from the "sequel" weakness. The characters are still strong and continue to develop, and the early-20th-century New York City setting is intriguing. The theater community serves as the focus of this mystery, as a series of murder victims (women) are found all made up and elaborately costumed at theaters -- all owned by one powerful man. Detective Simon Ziele and the criminologist Alistair Sinclair join forces once again to decipher the clues found on an ...more
Lourdes Venard
A CURTAIN FALLS returns us to turn-of-the-century New York City, following the debut of this successful series (Pintoff recently won an Edgar award for Best First Novel for IN THE SHADOW OF GOTHAM.) This second book is set four months later, in springtime, 1906. Detective Simon Ziele, who lives in Dobson, just north of the city, is called in to help his longtime friend, New York Police Captain Declan Mulvaney.

A Broadway chorus girl has been murdered, and a note left by her body. But it is, in fa
A Curtain Falls by Stefanie Pintoff is the sequel to the Edgar Award finalist In the Shadow of Gotham. My book club picked the sequel to read so I needed to tackle this one before the first. I was a little apprehensive, because I thought I would have needed some background, but I needn’t have worried. A Curtain Falls is a true mystery in its own right and a darn good one at that.

Set in New York City in one of my favorite time periods, the early 1900s, Detective Simon Zeile has been asked to help
I LOVE this author! She is a blast. These books are set in turn of the century NYC, and though this is well covered territory (Caleb Carr, Rhys Bowen, Victoria Thompson) she really makes it fresh. Her main character is a grieving detective (he lost his fiancée in an infamous ferry accident, referred to in both books) who is interested in the newest methods of detection, with each book spotlighting a different one. This one highlights handwriting analysis, thanks to the author's interest in seria ...more
Ashland Mystery Oregon
I love mysteries set in New York City, particularly nice, long historicals. Pintoff does not disappoint with A Curtain Falls.

A serial killer preys on the actresses of the New York stage, painting them, dressing them, posing them in death. Mulvaney is warned off an official investigation when he comes too close to the money behind the scenes, and so Simon Ziele is his proxy. Ziele, still tormented by the lose of his true love and fiancée who died in the General Slocum capsize, is at first a reluc
Sage Streck
I wasn't sure if the second book in this series would be as good as the first, but I'm pleased to say that it was! Pintoff's descriptions of early 20th-century New York City are wonderful, and it is easy for the reader to imagine himself or herself as a character in the story. I am eager to read more of Detective Ziele's adventures with Alistair and Isabella.
I really enjoyed this book. It had the suspense of a Sherlock Holmes mystery, and some good plot twists. The personality of the times - turn of the century - were well represented. It wasn't too maudlin, either. Good read, definitely, and I would read more by this author in the future.
I really enjoyed Ms. Pintoff's 2nd novel.It is a perfect blend of mystery,intrigue and one really connects with the characters.I also liked that there was just a hint of romance,but it did not take away from the story.
Stefanie Pintoff is a wonderful writer and one of my favorite mystery authors.
I'm loving this series, with its protagonists developing early forms of criminal profiling (before the term was even invented). In fact, as I read this book, I could almost picture it as an early 1900s version of "Criminal Minds." Well written, interesting characters, and fascinating mysteries.
There is nothing more frustrating to me as a reader than an interesting idea mangled by an inept writer. I hated so much of this, and yet that kernel of interest kept me a finale worthy of a terrible soap opera.
Amanda Meggs
There is certainly good and bad in this novel. The mystery is a reasonable one if not very mysterious, we are not encouraged to guess ahead with clues given to us but it's interesting. Pintoff captures a lot of historical significance, the theatres are well described, the city has a gritty reality to it. But somehow the characters fall short, they don't grab you in a way that makes you care about them, it's almost there but doesn't happen. Isabella needs to be more warm, the professor is too det ...more
This was a good second book in this series, which is set in 1906, and features a police officer in New York City.
A Curtain Falls is a stronger book than Stefanie Pintoff's debut in the Simon Ziele series. It takes us back to New York City in the earliest days of the Twentieth Century. It's a time when Charles Frohman, a historical figure who appears in the book, rules the theater world with an iron hand. If actors and actresses want to make a life in the business, they had better keep their reputations clean and abide by his rules. But somebody doesn't want the theater to be so tidily kept out of the gutte ...more
Janette Fleming
The careers of New York City detective Simon Ziele and his former partner, Captain Declan Mulvaney, went in remarkably different directions after the tragic death of Ziele’s fiancée in the 1904 General Slocum ferry disaster. While earmarked for bigger things, Ziele moved north of the city to escape the violence, and Mulvaney dug in deeper, heading up the precinct in the most crime-ridden part of New York.
Yet with all of the resources at Mulvaney’s disposal, a puzzling crime compels him to ask h
Pintoff, Stefanie. A CURTAIN FALLS. (2010). ****. This is the second novel in what is obviously a crime series featuring Detective Simon Ziele and Captain Declan Mulvaney of the New York City police force. The author’s first novel in the series, “In The Shadow of Gotham,” (unread) was shortlisted for an Edgar Award. The story is set in turn-of-the-century New York City, and is full of historical tidbits about the city and its people. The plot follows the discovery of a young actress, murdered an ...more
Another delightful, comfortable murder mystery. Just as with the previous novel in this series, "A Curtain Falls' delves into the subject of criminal psychology when it was still in its infancy as a science. Instead of being a valuable tool- as it is considered today ('Criminal Minds' anyone?)-, it was still dismissed as utter hogwash by most policemen at this time.

The novel follows Detective Simon Ziele as he investigates a series of murders in turn-of-the-century New York. All of the murders t
A Curtain Falls
(Simon Ziele #2)
Stefanie Pintoff

Although I liked this novel quite a bit, I did not feel that it is as successful as the fir first in the series, The Shadow of Gotham. I felt the novel could have been more tightly written, that the prose was unwieldy and overly verbose on several occasions.

Still, the mystery worked for me, as the author introduces a new and shocking serial killer. The characters are allowed to develop and their personalities are subtly reveals. Criminologist Ali
Sandy Ferguson Messick
The second of Pintoff's novels about Simon Ziele who solves crimes at the beginning of the 20th century. I really love the characters in this book and how they cope with trying to solve odd series of crimes in NY. The new crimes cause author to bring in new characters - like the handwriting expert and how the universities supported early crime solving techniques and seemingly encouraged their professors to conduct additional research. Pretty cool. I love reading about New York circa 1906, excell ...more
Joy Wilson
Good story and well written. I enjoyed the first book in the series but was not sure it was an award winning level book. The second book is a giant step forward in terms of plot, pacing, and hiding the killer. This is shaping up to be a fun series to read and although I consider it a little lighter fare, it is still well worth picking up if you like mysteries. The characters are engaging and it gives you a feel for what police work must have been like at the turn of the 20th century. Well done M ...more
Most mysteries get at best four stars from me but occasionally one merits five stars. Others may disagree but this one is soo good I just had to give it five stars. The author's research into murderers and their methods make this one fascinating. I read long into the night to finish it. It's so well done that I cannot help but recommend it to anyone who likes mysteries. And, this is the third I've read by this author. I liked it. It was awesome! Marvelous! Outstanding!
Way too much tell and not enough show, this book overwhelms the reader with exposition. And for a book that is told in the first person (from the lead detective's point of view), there is very little emotion or inner dialogue. I think Stefanie Pintoff may have gotten a little too caught up in being historically accurate and forgot to tell a compelling story. The only reason I am giving this 3 stars instead of something less is because I was surprised by the revelation of whodunnit, so there are ...more
As with In the Shadow of Gotham, A Curtain Falls is enjoyable for its setting: Pintoff's meticulously researched turn-of-the-twentieth-century New York City. I enjoyed the tension between old practices and new technologies, and her main characters are well drawn. That said, if you enjoy good mysteries, don't bother. I figured out who had done it no more than a third of the way through the book, and became impatient with the so-called plot twists and turns designed to thrown the reader off-scent ...more
Michael Springer

Decent follow-up to Pintoff's Edgar Award-winning debut novel. The main characters, the plotting and atmosphere are well done. She needs to take the romantic interest off the slow burner and heat things up a bit. The setting may be Edwardian but the readers aren't.
Cynde Livingston
I am really enjoying this series even though I don't usually read historical fiction. I find it fascinating to almost relive what it must have been like in the early 1900's. The Author has a real sense of history and writes these mysteries without tooooo much detail.
I really liked In the Shadow of Gotham, Stephanie Pintoff's debut novel. I thought it was smart and well-written and it scratched the combined itch of historical fiction and mysteries exceedingly well. I somehow missed this one so I picked it up when I got the third one, Secret of the White Rose, from the library (haven't read that one yet). I was really disappointed in this one, but I'm putting it down to a sophomore slump. Pintoff loses some of her elegance and precision in this book and spend ...more
Ashley Hoover
The story is fascinating and I like all the details to remind you it's set in 1906. However, I find the characters only mildly interesting. I enjoyed it while reading it, but it never had that right blend of characters and suspense to make it hard to put down.
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In 2008, Stefanie Pintoff became the inaugural winner of the St. Martin's Minotaur/Mystery Writers of America Best First Crime Novel competition. Her novel, In the Shadow of Gotham, developed from what she learned about criminology and detective fiction while earning a J.D. from Columbia Law School and a Ph.D. in English Literature from New York University.

A former attorney and teacher, she now wr
More about Stefanie Pintoff...

Other Books in the Series

Simon Ziele (3 books)
  • In the Shadow of Gotham (Simon Ziele, #1)
  • Secret of the White Rose (Simon Ziele, #3)
In the Shadow of Gotham (Simon Ziele, #1) Secret of the White Rose (Simon Ziele, #3) Menti oscure (Giallo) Hostage Taker

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