Jaime's Reviews > In the Shadow of Gotham

In the Shadow of Gotham by Stefanie Pintoff
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's review
Sep 23, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: hf_1900s_1920s, historical_mystery

I saw Pintoff’s books recommended in an article by Jason Pinter, and knew immediately that I had to add them to my wish list. This was an entertaining depiction of turn-of-the-century investigation, where one often had to rely more upon luck than physical evidence. Not only do we see the earliest days of forensics, where even fingerprinting is brand new, but we see the beginnings of the use of criminology. It’s a time period I find particularly interesting to read about; a world caught somewhere between the past and the present.

I liked Simon Ziele. He was a little bit of a fish out of water in the rural town we meet him in, but really comes into his own once he is let loose upon the city again. He’s fragile in a way; not just physically, but emotionally. The ferry disaster that took the life of his fiancé has affected him in ways he would rather not reveal. You want to root for him to not only have success professionally, but to find happiness personally.

As for the mystery, it spins its wheels a bit at times until Ziele turns to the techniques he finds tried and true. Despite the study of criminology being central to the story, it’s not the star in the end. The reveal didn’t completely surprise me, but parts of it did.

A good historical mystery always pleases me, so I look forward to reading more of Pintoff’s series.
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