If you enjoy mysteries and detective stories, you probably try to read the books that make it as finalists for the Edgar Awards (named for Edgar Allan Poe). I came across Stefanie Pintoff a few years ago when In the Shadow of Gotham won for Best First Novel. Pintoff’s novels are set in the turn of the 20th century, when criminology was first becoming a field of study and an influence on police investigations. I’m curious is Pintoff was ever a Criminology student, as she name drops several of the scientists the devoted themselves to crime theory during this time period. There’s really not much of a use knowledge like this, unless you’re on Jeopardy. Or writing turn of the century detective novels.
A Cutain Falls picks up a few months after Gotham ended. Detective Simon Ziele is back and is called in to investigate strange deaths occurring in the city’s theaters. Young women are found dead, poised n stage and glamorous even in death. The murderer is also leaving notes at the scenes and at the newspapers. He seems himself as Pygmalion, making perfect women. Ziele eventually calls on his old friend and noted criminologist, Alistair Sinclair, to help track down the murderer before he strikes again.
This was one of the most enjoyable detective mysteries I have read in awhile. Usually the hunt is more fun than the actual big reveal at the end and it feels like such a letdown. This reveal was very far from a letdown. If you’re a big fan of Caleb Carr’s work The Alienist and love Agatha Christie’s intricate plots, then I highly recommend this book.