Friday, May 31, 2013

Death on Telegraph Hill by Shirley Tallman

Death on Telegraph Hill
Genre: Historical Mystery
Rating: 4 stars

This is the fifth in the Sarah Woolson mysteries, and was a long time in the waiting since the previous book was published 2 years before.  I'm used to only waiting a year for a book, so this one had me tapping my toe with impatience.

I finally got my hands on a copy of the book and dove back into 1880s San Francisco and the world of Sarah Woolson, one of three female attorneys in California.  Sarah has a hard time overcoming the popular notion that women should be in the home, married with children, and not doing "men's work" like being a lawyer.  While this irks Sarah, and me, it is how society thought then and for quite a while afterward.

In Death on Telegraph Hill, Sarah attends a reading of poetry by Irish writer Oscar Wilde with her brother, Samuel.  Afterwards, on their way back down the hill, a shot wrings out and her brother stumbles to the ground.  Luckily, her brother's wound is not life threatening, but when other people connected to that poetry reading and Telegraph Hill start ending up dead, Sarah starts nosing around to figure out who the culprit is.  She has reluctant help from her colleague, the besotted, loud, overbearing yet sweet Scot, Robert Campbell and the young hackney driver Eddie.  Sarah has also been hired to stop a bullring from being built in San Francisco and agrees to defend a friend wrongly accused of murder.

The "romance" between Sarah and Robert has been progressing slowly over the series.  In this book, Robert's intentions become clearer and clearer to everyone but Sarah, and the end of the book leaves us with a cliff hanger ending between them.  One thing I have to give Ms. Tallman credit for is being true to her heroine.  Sarah has resigned herself to the fact that she will not be a wife and mother because in that society, a single woman is barely tolerated in the working world.  A wife and mother would be anathema. Despite her feelings for Robert, confusing tho they may be, I just can't see her throwing her arms around him and having a HEA. She's way too logical to listen to her heart, so I can see the next book being rather awkward for her and Robert.  I am looking forward to finding out, tho!


  1. I love the cover on this one! I don't think I can bear to start another series now, but will definitely keep this one in mind for the future. I do enjoy a historical mystery :)

    1. You'd like these - definitely check it out when you're ready to take on another series. :)

  2. Hey. I just dropped by to let you know that there's a little present for you over at my blog if you'd like to accept it. :-)
    Just Ermie