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.