Scandal on Rincon Hill: A Sarah Woolson Mystery Hardcover – Mar 30 2010
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About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
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.
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.
Shirley Tallman's "Sarah Woolson" books rank at the top of historical mystery. Tallman's latest is no exception.
SCANDAL ON RINCON HILL opens with a bang. Sarah is rousted out of bed in the middle of the night by the news that a body has been found just two blocks from the Woolson family home. Not one to be left out of things, the intrepid Sarah grabs a lantern and rushes to the murder scene along with her humorous brother, Samuel, who secretly writes crime articles under the nom de plume, Ian Fearless. They are horrified to find a young man in elegant dinner dress savagely beaten to death.
Two more identical murders quickly take place on Rincon Hill. All of San Francisco clamors for police to make an arrest. Prejudice against the Chinese is rampant in Sarah's world of 1880. Two badly frightened Chinese boys who cannot even speak English, are arrested and thrown into jail, certain to go to the gallows. Having endured her own share of prejudice in daring to invade a man's world and become a "lady" lawyer, the compassionate Sarah takes their case. She knows no jury of white men will acquit her clients. Therefore the only way she can save them is to uncover the real murderer. Her investigation plunges her into peril and leads her into the seamy underbelly of the city where no "lady" should go.
As always, Tallman's research is impeccable, the plot clever and immensely satisfying, the writing fast-paced and vivid, and the climax a huge but believable surprise that will stun readers. Colorful characters abound. Fans of the series will shout, "Hurrah," as the tall, dark and devastatingly handsome Pierce Godfrey, whom they met in an earlier book, reappears in Sarah's life, turning it upside down.
SCANDAL ON RINCON HILL is a winner. Don't miss it!
SFPD Police Sargeant George Lewis accompanied by the Judge's son crime reporter Samuel investigates. Also looking into the murder is the Judge's other offspring Sarah the attorney. A few days later, Logan's friend Deacon Hume is killed; seemingly by the same culprit. The police arrest Chinese immigrants as the case is going nowhere so they need suspects even if there is not one drop of evidence. Sarah defends the Asians although many on Rincon Hill including a predator want her to lose the case.
The latest Woolson historical mystery is a superb San Francisco Victorian tale (see The Cliff House Strangler) that is a great period piece legal thriller. The story line is fast-paced from the moment George wakes up Sarah by tossing pebbles at her window and never slows down. Although the climax can be seen from the top of Nob Hill to the Tenderloin, fans will enjoy this exhilarating Americana novel.