City of the Absent
If you ever craved the simpler life that was prevalent, say, before the turn of the century, reading this might cause you to think again. Set in Chicago of the White City in the late 19th century, this dark detective series reveals streets no less mean than the worst of today.
During the final night of the Chicago’s World Fair, a beloved and controversial mayor is felled by an assassin’s bullet. At the same time, Pinkerton detective Nell Hartigan is brutally stabbed to death while posing as a prostitute. With the city inflamed by the assassination, Inspector Alastair Ransom is hot on the case of the latter murder, which soon becomes linked to several mysterious disappearances. However, both the Pinkerton’s and his own captain seem to do nothing but impede his investigation. When Ransom himself is accused of an incredibly foul, yet just, deed, it is up to him and the dual identity Doctor Tewes to exonerate him and solve the case.
This novel, the third in the series, continues in the same gritty, yet refined style of its predecessors. If it reads easier than the first, it may be that the author is now more at ease with his characters. Complex to say the least, they are at once strange and compelling. Although it might be difficult to grow to like his Inspector Ransom, one will never be bored by him, nor the cast surrounding him.