Detective Simon Ziele is a police detective in New York City where his fiancee is tragically killed in the General Slocum ferry disaster of 1904. Leaving the city to escape painful memories, he accepts a position in a small town north of New York called Dobson.
Only a few months into his quiet, new life, he’s faced with the most shocking homicide of his career: Young Sarah Wingate has been brutally murdered in her own bedroom on an otherwise quiet afternoon. After only one day of investigation, Simon is contacted by a criminologist from Columbia University, Alistair Sinclair. Sinclair suggests that the facts of the murder point to one of his research subjects, Michael Fromley, as a suspect. How Sarah Wingate, a noted mathematician, crossed paths with a degenerate like Fromley is something not even Sinclair can explain. Is there a hidden link between Fromley and Wingate? If not, then how did Sarah come to his attention? Or is the investigation of Fromley a distraction from the real killer?
This is a very enjoyable first novel. Stephanie Pintoff weaves the historical details of early investigative techniques and life in New York in 1905 seamlessly into the plot. Her protagonist Simon Ziele is intelligent and likable. The characters who assist in the investigation are also intriguing, as well.
If you enjoy history in your mystery, In the Shadow of Gotham could be a good next read for you.