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Scandal on Rincon Hill: A Sarah Woolson Mystery [Hardcover]

Shirley Tallman
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

March 30 2010 Sarah Woolson Mysteries (Book 4)
“Bringing Victorian San Francisco to colorful life, Tallman offers an entertaining mystery…will appeal to fans of Anne Perry and Rhys Bowen.” —Library Journal

A body is found just blocks from attorney Sarah Woolson’s home on Rincon Hill. Sarah is on the case, but 19th-century San Francisco is soon thrown into a state of panic as a gruesome crime spree begins to take hold of the city.

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About the Author

SHIRLE Y TA LLMAN lives in Eugene, Oregon and Incline Village, Nevada.

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Most helpful customer reviews
By L. J. Roberts TOP 100 REVIEWER
First Sentence: The nightmare began early on the morning of Sunday, December 4.

Sarah Woolson is only the third female attorney to be licensed in California and is struggling to get her private practice off the ground. A brutal murder occurs on Rincon Hill, near her home, followed shortly by a second murder. Neither victim had been robbed. Both had attended the same party. Two young, very recently immigrated Chinese men are arrested, Sarah's former client, powerful tong leader Li Ying, hires her to prove their innocence.

At the same time, Sarah has been hired by beautiful young woman. She had a written contract with a morality-touting publisher to be his private mistress. When she became pregnant, within that time, he cut off all support. Now, she wasn't Sarah to sue him.

Ms. Tallman skillfully takes the reader back to 1881, pre-earthquake San Francisco. She creates a solid sense of the places, styles and attitudes of the time. She particularly illustrates the bigotry against the Chinese.

Living in the Bay Area, it is particularly fun for me to read about locations I know and her descriptions of food are delectable. I did wonder, however, whether those who don't know San Francisco might feel a bit lost and wished a map or photos had been included. The dialogue, which reflects the syntax of the period, adds to the sense of time and provides an indication of each characters social status.

For those who've not read prior books, enough background is given so that one understands the characters and their relationships. Sarah is a wonderful character. She is independent and has a good logical mind, as well as a sense of humor. I particularly like the relationships with men that Tallman has created as they are natural and realistic.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.6 out of 5 stars  18 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Series, Sarah Woolson is wonderful April 25 2010
By Robin - Published on
I listened to the first 3 books and have just finished reading the fourth (which I hope will be available on Audible soon). If you like historical fiction/ mysteries you will enjoy these books. Unlike a previous reviewer I find the main character Sarah W. interesting and full of pluck. These stories are set in the 1880's 40 years before women won the right to vote and therefore, I find Shirley Tallman's male characters and their sexism and racism to be perfectly believable and Sarah's frustration with her society and the men who control it to be reasonable. The author has several important male characters who are neither sexist nor racist so she does not generalize about all men. It is clear that the author has done her research on the role of women in the 1880's and in the legal profession. It is hard to believe but some law schools such as Harvard did not admit women until the 1950's. The mysteries are good but I enjoy the books because of the characters. I think if you enjoy Elizabeth Peters you would also enjoy this series. I hope there will be many more books in this series and that the love story will become even more central and lead to further growth for the character of Sarah. Anna Fields was a great narrator and will be missed.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mystery Solved April 18 2010
By Shelly Itkin - Published on
Mrs. Tallman has scored a total winner in her Scandal On Rincon Hill. Of course we are all familiar with the spinster Sarah Woolson who is an attorney and who has a heart and who is not above making up her own mind even if it could get her into trouble which should be her middle name.
When two deaths occur two from her home you know Sarah is going to get involved. When two innocent men are accused of the crime Sarah goes into action and agrees to defend them.
What she discovers and how she goes about it is exciting and keeps you so interested in the book you wont be able to put it down. If you have not read her others this will make you a fan to get out and read the other three books Mrs. Tallman has written about Sarah.
Sarah in love???? Lots of unexpected surprises in this book but by far the biggest is the actual killer. A MUST READ.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining April 17 2010
By doc peterson - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The fourth book in the Sarah Woolson series is an entertaining read. Like any relationship, after the first whirlwind romance, the blush and shine on the partnership begins to fade, and things hit a lull. It is this first bump that makes or breaks the relationship: either it will find a second wind and bloom again, or it will be a bust. WIth Tallman it is still early to tell how the Sarah Woolson series will go, but things look encouraging.

I am a fan of Sarah Woolson - I like the idea of a strong, independent woman as protagonist. I love Tallman's descriptions of San Francisco (a world-class city, all the more so with her descriptions of it in the late 19th century) and the mysteries themselves are pretty good. In _Scandal on Rincon Hill_, Woolson represents a young lady who was a mistress of a powerful and influential newspaper owner (allusions to Hearst?) who seeks restitution, and two wrongly imprisioned Chinese immigrants accused of several grisly murders. The plot was entertaining, if not particularly page-turning, its resolution a bit anti-climactic. What really rankled me was the liberal use of exclaimation in Woolson's dialogue - a personal preference, I guess, but I found it a bit exasperating.

These misgivings aside, I remain a fan of Tallman's work and will certainly follow the series as it continues. There are clear attempts to grow the main charactersand develop them more - both romantically (Sarah has several beaus in pursuit of her, much to her chagrin) as well as professionally. I found this encouraging, as its evident that Tallman is not willing to rehash old plot lines and let the characters go stale. While its not as strong or interesting as the previous books in the series, I will return for more.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful! May 17 2010
By Heather Kelley - Published on
I have loved this entire series and the latest edition, Scandal on Rincon Hill, did not disappoint!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tallman at her best April 12 2010
By Curious Reader - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Shirley Tallman has penned the fourth in her Sarah Woolson series and each book quality exceeds the last. The writing establishes the criteria of excellence but her characters are without match.

Placing the setting in Victorian era San Francisco is refreshingly new. Writing the heroine as a "modern day woman" is pure genius. Sarah is a practicing attorney, gutsy lady (being a lady is her family heritage) who knows no bounds of geography or culture. She easily visits the head of the Chinese community as well as calls upon a renown madam.In the meantime, she joins her family as they entertain prestigious guests.

The series is fun, this particular edition is a fast read because you have trouble laying it aside for mere sleep, work or whatever. You tend to take the book everywhere you go to not let any time escape your reading until you have finished the book. Love this entire series.
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