The Cliff House Strangler by Shirley Tallman
The Cliff House Strangler. Finished 5-7-14, rating 4/5, historical mystery, 320 pages, pub. 2007
Nineteenth-century attorney Sarah Woolson is still trying to get her life together. Against her family’s wishes, she opens her own San Francisco law firm, only to find that clients—paying clients, that is—are wary of allowing a woman to manage their legal affairs. Just when her patience, as well as her money, are about to run out, Sarah and her friend and former colleague, Robert Campbell, attend a séance at San Francisco’s Cliff House. Making their way through the worst storm of the season, they arrive at their destination to find themselves in for much more than, in Robert’s words, “silly parlor tricks.” After a dramatic display of spirit apparitions, flying trumpets, and phantom music, Madame Olga Karpova—a renowned Russian clairvoyant—and her guests make a grisly discovery: One of the twelve people seated at the table has been brutally strangled.
Sarah Woolson is a strong young woman living in a time when strong women were frowned upon. It’s 1880 and she has opened her own law practice, the only woman in San Francsico. She still lives with her wealthy and powerful family, but she causes them a lot of grief by doing so because she regularly gets into serious trouble. I love this character.
It took me much longer to get into this book than the first two, but once everything got rolling it was fun reading. I like that her lawyer friend, Robert, is becoming a big part of her life, but I do worry about his heart. I’m not sure id Sarah is ready for that.
This is a good series for mystery or historical lovers. This is the weakest of the three so far, so I would definitely start with the first one, Murder on Nob Hill.
I had this one in my personal library and read it for my one and only challenge this year, Finishing the Series Reading Challenge.