The Cliff House Strangler
In this, Tallman’s third Sarah Woolson mystery, the spunky late 19th-century attorney deals with the titled investigation while working to establish her own practice, having recently left one of the most prestigious of San Francisco law firms.
Who killed the despicable, universally despised journalist, Darien Moss—especially when it is realized that almost everyone at Madame Karpova’s séance had a motive? Sarah is not convinced that the solution is an easy one, and she ultimately discovers that she has been correct all along.
On the way, Sarah takes on a couple of new clients, one of whom is a woman going through a divorce whose abusive husband is attempting to wrest custody of the children from her. As a family law attorney, I was immediately drawn to Sarah’s determination to do right by her client and as appalled as is Sarah by the wretchedness of the male-property centered custody statutes on the books at that time.
It is this kind of detail about late 19th-century life and law that made this an enjoyable read for me. Not a literary or intellectual exercise, but a great fireplace or beach read.