Death on Telegraph Hill
In this fifth and latest in the Sarah Woolson mystery series, we follow the young attorney and her brother Samuel up the 1882 artsy neighborhood of Telegraph Hill in San Francisco to see a young Oscar Wilde speak about the new Aesthetic Movement. By the time the evening is over, they are witness to various altercations and intrigue among the guests. On their way home, Samuel is shot and the mystery is well under way.
Among the candidates for who is causing the mounting havoc are a newspaper editor at war with an author, a Mexican who wants to open a bullfighting ring, two genteel sisters harboring secrets, and a writer whose ego knows no limits. Sarah sleuths her way through it all, and parental and loving concern for her safety, not to mention society’s conventions.
Sarah is a winning heroine, both prim and proper, and groundbreaking. Her dialogue varies from the quaintly picturesque to stuffy. A good galloping plot and fine details of time and place are marred by occasional anachronisms. The story could have used another edit to clear repetitions and redundancies, too.