Secret of the White Rose

Written by Stefanie Pintoff
Review by Kathryn Johnson

There are far too few historical mysteries that succeed in balancing their fiction elements with accurate historical details. In actuality, it’s a real challenge. Too much history, and the story is overwhelmed, disappears. Too little history, and the scenes fade out to an uninteresting, anonymous gray before readers’ eyes. Thankfully, Pintoff has a knack for balancing acts. She has managed twice, very well thank you, in the two previous titles of her turn-of-the-century Gotham series, In the Shadow of Gotham and A Curtain Falls, the first winning an Edgar Award as a debut novel. In this next installment of hero Detective Ziele’s adventures, Pintoff delivers again, providing readers with  gripping gothic tale of conspiracy, anarchy, and the struggle to bring justice to the city.

This is the story of the high-profile murder of a judge who was presiding over the trial of a controversial anarchist. The man’s most recent bomb, it is believed, killed a child, among others. Before the case can be decided, the judge is killed. The pressure is on to solve the case, prompting Ziele to pair up with an old classmate, criminologist Alistair Sinclair, whose unorthodox methods rattle the cages of Manhattan’s West Side police. Rich period detail, gritty or glamorous depending upon the location, and intriguing characters will encourage Caleb Carr devotees to join in the fun.