In the Shadow of Gotham is a historical mystery set at the turn of the century, right when police work was beginning to change from “confess-I know you did it” to “look! here’s the proof you did it.”
The mystery starts in a small town just outside of New York City. (Yes a town in the “shadow” of New York. Not that other Gotham.) Our main detective, Simon Ziele, has fled New York City and the memory of his dead fiancée, when there is a murder in his small town. The dead girl’s connections to New York drive him back to the city and into the path of Columbia University’s noted criminologist Alistair Sinclair. The pair manage to solve the mystery using new-to-them procedures with the help of Sinclair’s daughter-in-law. I won’t spoil the ending but you didn’t see it coming. Really. You didn’t.
The book has great characters and the history is well played. I only had a few moments of “Google help me.” Pintoff did a very good job of not depending on me knowing the history, though it wasn’t over-explained either.
Luckily for us, Edgar award winning Pintoff has written two sequels (A Curtain Falls and Secret of the White Rose) that are just as good. I highly recommend the entire series. If you end up liking Pintoff try John Hart, J. Syndey Jones, or Oliver Potzsch.