Stefanie Pintoff won an Edgar for In the Shadow of Gotham, her debut novel.. A Curtain Falls is the second in the Detective Simon Ziele mystery series.
I'm very used to reading modern day mystery/detective novels that use the latest technologies and methods to pursue the case. It was a treat to go back in time when fingerprinting, graphology and profiling are just being accepted as a possible means to solve a case. A Curtain Falls takes place in New York City in 1906.
Although there are references to Ziele's previous case in the first few chapters, it didn't deter me from enjoying this book, but it did whet my appetite for the first case.
Two chorus girls, dressed in leading lady finery, are found dead in two different theatres with no apparent means or manner of death. Their bodies are 'staged.' It is only the poetry included with the bodies that link the murders to one killer. Ziele is called in to help his former partner Captain Mulvaney.
Pintoff has crafted a careful, well pace mystery in keeping with the time period it is written in. Social mores and stations dictate how the case progresses as much as political machinations. The personal life of Ziele is just as interesting as the case he is pursuing. Isabelle and her father in law Alistair are fascinating characters. The unresolved tension between Isabelle and Simon provides an interesting subplot.Ziele is a character I enjoyed. He is headstrong and sometimes acts before he thinks, but he is honest and forthright.
Pintoff has done her homework - the flavour and feel of time is accurately captured and portrayed. I look forward to reading the third book in the series - An Oath of Silence - due out in 2011.
Fans of historical mysteries, such as Caleb Carr and Charles Todd, would enjoy this series.