In the Shadow of Gotham

Written by Stefanie Pintoff

After the untimely death of his fiancée in the General Slocum ferry disaster, Detective Simon Ziele has transferred away from the city in search of the quiet life north of Manhattan. Unfortunately the expected solitude is abruptly shattered by the brutal murder of Sarah Wingate, a young but brilliant academic. Almost immediately Ziele is contacted by a noted criminologist from Columbia University. Alistair Sinclair is certain he recognises the murder as the work of one of his research subjects.

Teaming up with Sinclair and his associates, Ziele must discover if their theories are correct. If not, then who is the murderer? But if they are right then must they take some blame for allowing a deranged lunatic to walk the streets? To complicate the matter further Ziele finds himself increasingly drawn to Sinclair’s widowed daughter-in-law, Isabella, as they race against time to stop the killer striking again.

In the Shadow of Gotham is a resounding good read. Early 20th-century New York is lovingly recreated with a real sense of history and place. Each and every character, from bit part to leading role, is fully rounded and seems to almost step out of the pages. The plot itself is intricate and satisfying with an unexpected and rewarding conclusion.

Stefanie Pintoff has won several prestigious first crime novel awards – including the Edgar Award – and it is easy to see why. This must surely be the first of a long run of excellent historical crime novels, and hopefully Simon Ziele will make a return in the not-too-distant future.