Catalogue


Secret of the white rose /
Stefanie Pintoff.
edition
1st ed.
imprint
New York : Minotaur Books, 2011.
description
viii, 370 p. ; 22 cm.
ISBN
0312583974 (hbk.), 9780312583972 (hbk.)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
New York : Minotaur Books, 2011.
isbn
0312583974 (hbk.)
9780312583972 (hbk.)
abstract
"The murder of Judge Hugo Jackson is out of Detective Simon Ziele's jurisdiction in more ways than one. It's high profile enough to command the attention of the notorious new police commissioner, since Judge Jackson was presiding over the sensationalist trial of Al Drayson. Drayson, an anarchist, set off a bomb at a Carnegie wedding, but instead of killing millionaires, it killed passersby, including a child. Furthermore, Simon's assigned precinct on Manhattan's west side includes the gritty Tenderloin but not the tonier Gramercy Park, which is where the judge is found in his locked townhouse with his throat slashed on the night before the jury is set to deliberate. But his widow insists on calling her husband's old classmate criminologist Alistair Sinclair, who in turn enlists Ziele's help. Together they must steer Sinclair's unorthodox methods past a police force that is so focused on rounding up Drayson's supporters that they've all but rejected any other possibilities. Once again, Pintoff 's combination of vital characterizations and a fascinating case set amongst the sometimes brutal and sometimes glittering history of turn-of-the-century New York makes for totally compelling reading"--
catalogue key
7794220
A Look Inside
First Chapter
CHAPTER 1
171 West Seventy-first Street. 1:30 A.M.
 
Despite my best intentions—not to mention an excellent cup of French roast—I had fallen asleep from sheer exhaustion. Lying on a gold and green paisley sofa, halfway through W. D. Morrison’s treatise Crime and Its Causes, I was startled awake by a ferocious pounding at my door. I bolted upright—causing Morrison to tumble to the ground, followed by my now empty coffee mug.
I fumbled for my battered pocket watch. Half past one. At such an ungodly hour, most people would telephone. Thanks to the modern black and brass Strowger dial telephone installed in my new quarters here last month, I could be reached at any hour. That was a mixed blessing, of course—but I’d already come to appreciate the telephone as a more civilized method of interruption than the incessant knocking that disturbed me now.
Why the devil was someone determined to wake me in person?
I walked barefoot to the door over newly varnished hardwood that was cold and smooth against my feet. As I drew close, the pounding stopped, but an urgent voice called out my name.
“Ziele! Open up.”
I turned the lock and withdrew the chain. By the flickering light of the gaslight lanterns that lined my hallway, I recognized my friend and colleague: criminologist Alistair Sinclair.
The normally poised and garrulous professor staggered into my living room, collapsed onto my paisley sofa, and looked up at me helplessly. “Ziele, I need your help.” He managed to rasp the words, before he succumbed to a fit of coughing.
“What’s happened?” After I closed and locked my door, I lit the additional oil lamps in my living room, then surveyed Alistair closely for signs of an injury. I saw none.
Not once in our acquaintance had I ever seen Alistair in such a state. His dark hair, heavily lined with silver, was not smoothly coiffed; rather, it stood up on end as though he had run his hands through it repeatedly. His expensive cashmere-blend coat was torn at the sleeve and splattered with mud. But most disturbing was the blank expression in his blue eyes when he looked at me. Clear as ice, and always too cold for warmth, his eyes normally blazed with intelligence—yet tonight all I saw was emptiness.
I brought him a glass of water. He accepted, saying nothing.
The lanterns flickered, the result of a draft that perpetually ran through the room, and I pulled my dressing gown tighter. Then I sat in the overstuffed green armchair opposite Alistair.
My professional demeanor was carefully practiced for times such as these, so my voice was calm when I asked him what had happened. But my manner belied my deep private concern—for whatever had undone his usual composure had to be significant. My immediate worry centered upon Isabella, Alistair’s widowed daughter-in-law who assisted him in his research into the criminal mind—and who preoccupied more of my own thoughts than I usually cared to admit.
“A man was murdered tonight,” he finally managed to say. “Someone I once counted among my closest friends.”
“I’m sorry,” I said, and meant it.
We were silent for several moments while he composed himself.
“Who was he?”
“Hugo Jackson. He’d gone to Harvard Law with me, class of ’seventy-seven.” With a quick, wistful smile, he added, “We’d not spoken in years, but we were close once. In fact, he was the best man at my wedding.”
“You had a falling-out?”
He shook his head. “Nothing like that. We simply drifted apart. We made different friends, developed varying interests, saw each other less often…”
“You’re certain it was murder?” Now wide awake, I crossed my arms and regarded him soberly.
“Without a doubt. His throat was slashed from ear to ear.”
“If you weren’t close, why are you among the first to know?” A long-ago relationship of the sort he described wouldn’t merit his involvement. Or explain why he was so broken up about it.
“Our wives had developed a friendship that lasted through the years, even as our own waned. In part, that’s why Mrs. Jackson called me immediately.”
“And the other part?” I asked, knowing that what Alistair didn’t say was usually more important than what he did.
“There were unusual circumstances.” Alistair lowered his voice instinctively, though no one was here but us. “Mrs. Jackson found him in the library, slumped over his desk in a pool of blood.” He frowned and grew silent, lost in some thought of his own.
“Go on,” I urged.
He passed me his water glass. “You don’t have a stiff drink, do you, Ziele? Something to buck up our strength?”
All I had was the Talisker single-malt scotch that Alistair himself had given me for my birthday last summer—a souvenir from a recent trip to Scotland’s Isle of Skye. I poured him a generous glass, neat, then waited for him to continue.
He swirled the tawny mixture, seemingly more content to smell its earthy essence than to drink it.
“There was a Bible next to his body—not the family Bible but one his wife had never seen before. And my friend’s right hand was resting on top of it,” he said at last.
I tried to envision the scene as Alistair described it. “Like the way you take an oath in court?”
He nodded, adding, “My friend was a judge.”
“But don’t judges usually administer oaths, not take them?”
“Exactly.” He gave me a meaningful look. “And, given it was a Bible unfamiliar to his wife, we might presume his killer brought it with him to the crime scene.”
His hand trembled, forcing him to put his drink on the table.
I leaned in closer, more concerned now. I’d never seen him so shaken up.
“We are,” I reminded him, “discussing a crime scene neither one of us has actually seen. But you already believe it signifies something of importance?”
“What do you think, Ziele?” he said, bursting out with an exasperation suffused with grief. “Have I done nothing this past year to convince you of the importance of crime scene behavior?”
He was right: it had been nearly a year since the Fromley case, when he first waltzed into my office and announced that he could use his knowledge of the criminal mind to help me solve a brutal murder. He had not been entirely correct, of course. But as he himself would say, knowing the criminal mind is as much an art as it is a science—and I never doubted that he understood more about criminal behavior than I ever expected to.
He shook his head. “There’s more: a single, white rose was placed next to his hand.”
“A white rose? Like a bride’s?”
He nodded sagely. “I know. Hard to come by this time of year.”
“The color of purity, innocence,” I added, thinking of brides I had seen with such roses on their wedding day.
“Sometimes it is.” He paused. “Other times, it’s the color of death—usually associated with betrayal. During the War of the Roses, a white rose was given to traitors who had betrayed their word. It warned them that death was imminent.”
“So you think—”
He cut me off. “I don’t know what to think. But I want you involved.”
“Where was Judge Jackson killed?” I glanced at him with skepticism.
“Gramercy Park West.”
“That’s in the Thirteenth Precinct; not my jurisdiction.” I was now working as a detective under my longtime friend Captain Mulvaney of the Nineteenth Precinct.
“I’ve seen you help out other precincts.”
“This new commissioner is a stickler for protocol.” Police Commissioner Theodore Bingham didn’t want officers straying beyond their jurisdiction, absent specific orders from him.
“I can make the necessary connections,” Alistair said, getting up and crossing the room toward my Strowger telephone. “May I call a cab?”
He picked up the receiver and spoke into it. “Operator, yes, telephone twenty-three eighty Columbus, please.”
While he waited for the connection to be made, he spoke to me again. “My friend was an eminent man. Your police will be under significant pressure to solve his murder quickly.”
I was obviously going to have to accompany him downtown. I got up and started toward my bedroom to get dressed. But his mention of the police brass triggered something in my memory. “What did you say this judge’s name was?”
“Jackson. Judge Hugo Jackson.”
My brow furrowed as the name he had just mentioned stirred a flicker of recognition. The name registered, and I spun back around toward Alistair. “Not the same judge who is hearing the Drayson case?”
“Of course.” Alistair held up a finger as he spoke into the telephone once again. “New York Transportation? Yes, I need an electric automobile at Seventy-first and Broadway, please.” He then hung up, grim-faced as he turned back toward me. “The jury was to have begun deliberations today. Now? There’s a strong chance a mistrial will be declared.”
That changed everything. The death—the murder, even—of the judge presiding over the most controversial trial the city had seen in years would set off the worst unrest imaginable.
Like everyone, I had been following the trial with great interest—more so because I’d known men like Al Drayson. They grew and flourished in my native Lower East Side neighborhood, where new immigrants weary of hardships in their adopted country were sympathetic to those who championed their rights. Most were idealists who wanted only better working and living conditions.
But I’d seen the way some men’s eyes fired with passion when they discussed their cause, lit with an enthusiasm I could not comprehend. Not when their talk turned to guns and dynamite. Not when they showed no regard for the human lives they destroyed. It made no sense to fight one injustice by creating another. I understood the devotion and sacrifice men might feel for another human soul.
In my experience, even the loftiest ideals were often twisted for individual profit and ambition.
Real good rarely came of it. The worst sort of evil often did.


 
Copyright © 2011 by Stefanie Pintoff
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Library Journal on 2011-04-01:
New York City is gripped by anarchist riots and bombings in the fall of 1906. One bombing goes horribly awry, a child is killed, and the arrested young suspect endures the wrath of the city. On the eve of his trial, the presiding judge is murdered in his home, with a Bible under his hand and a white rose next to his corpse. NYPD detective Simon Ziele once again is sleuthing with his mentor, criminologist Alistair Sinclair, and Sinclair's widowed daughter-in-law, Isabella, using the new and controversial method of profiling. When another judge is slain in a similar manner, finding the motivation behind the crimes takes on greater urgency. For one thing, both judges were friends of Alistair; his life is probably in danger, too. VERDICT Pintoff is at the top of her game in this third entry in her Edgar Award-winning historical series (In the Shadow of Gotham; A Curtain Falls). Hand sell to readers who still talk about Caleb Carr's The Alienist. Suspenseful and overlaid with symbols, ciphers, and early psychological study-a real winner. [Library marketing; regional author appearances.] (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 2011-03-07:
Edgar-winner Pintoff proves with her third historical (after 2010's A Curtain Falls) that she's the equal of Caleb Carr. In the fall of 1906, New York City is fixated by the murder trial of anarchist Al Drayson, who planted a dynamite bomb meant for Andrew Carnegie in a horse-drawn cab that exploded and killed five bystanders. While Drayson's fate remains unresolved, criminologist Alistair Sinclair rouses Det. Simon Ziele in the middle of the night with some shocking news: someone has cut the throat of Hugo Jackson, the judge presiding over Drayson's trial, and left a Bible and a white rose near the corpse. Sinclair reveals that Jackson was an old friend, but Ziele eventually concludes that his colleague is hiding something. Drayson's accomplices are the obvious suspects, but Ziele is troubled by his commissioner's refusal to consider alternative theories, even as the killer adds to his body count. The author couples spot-on period details with her most sophisticated plot yet. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Reviews
Review Quotes
Praise for A Curtain Falls "Mystery lovers might just have found the next Caleb Carr." The Huffington Post "In her second novel, Stefanie Pintoff shows how the best in historical fiction not only unveils our past, but shows how our modern concerns evolved.... Her comparison to Caleb Carr is well earned, although Pintoff shows a wider range and deeper affinity for storytelling than the author of The Alienist . Pintoff's meticulous research captures the heart of the era, but her detailed characters and gripping plot about greed, jealousy, and obsession for fame set A Curtain Falls on a higher plane."Oline Cogdill, South Florida Sun-Sentinel "This worthy sequel to Pintoff's acclaimed Edgar Awardnominated debut, In the Shadow of Gotham , brings to life New York's theater world at the turn of the twentieth century and the fledgling science of criminology." Library Journal (starred review) on A Curtain Falls Praise for In the Shadow of Gotham "Superior historical mystery... She does an outstanding job of blending historical detail with engaging characters and a suspenseful plot." The Denver Post "Pintoff's debut...will remind many of Caleb Carr at his best.... The period detail, characterizations, and plotting are all top-notch, and Ziele has enough depth to carry a series." Publishers Weekly (starred review)
This item was reviewed in:
Publishers Weekly, March 2011
Booklist, April 2011
Library Journal, April 2011
New York Times Book Review, May 2011
New York Times Full Text Review, May 2011
Kirkus Reviews, September 2011
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Main Description
The murder of Judge Hugo Jackson is out of Detective Simon Ziele's jurisdiction in more ways than one. For one, it's high-profile enough to command the attention of the notorious new police commissioner, since Judge Jackson was presiding over the sensational trial of Al Drayson. Drayson, an anarchist, set off a bomb at a Carnegie family wedding, but instead of killing millionaires, it killed passersby, including a child. The dramatic trial has captured the full attention of 1906 New York City.Furthermore, Simon's assigned precinct on Manhattan's West Side includes the gritty Tenderloin but not the tonier Gramercy Park, which is where the judge is found in his locked town house with his throat slashed on the night before the jury is set to deliberate. But his widow insists on calling her husband's old classmate criminologist, Alistair Sinclair, who in turn enlists Ziele's help. Together they must steer Sinclair's unorthodox methods past a police forcethat is so focused on rounding up Drayson's supporters that they've all but rejected any other possibilities.Once again, Stefanie Pintoff's combination of vital characters and a fascinating case set amongst the sometimes brutal and sometimes glittering history of turn-of-the-century New York makes for totally compelling reading in Secret of the White Rose , the third novel in her Edgar Award-winning series.
Main Description
The murder of Judge Hugo Jackson is out of Detective Simon Ziele¿s jurisdiction in more ways than one. For one, it¿s high-profile enough to command the attention of the notorious new police commissioner, since Judge Jackson was presiding over the sensational trial of Al Drayson. Drayson, an anarchist, set off a bomb at a Carnegie family wedding, but instead of killing millionaires, it killed passersby, including a child. The dramatic trial has captured the full attention of 1906 New York City. Furthermore, Simon¿s assigned precinct on Manhattan¿s West Side includes the gritty Tenderloin but not the tonier Gramercy Park, which is where the judge is found in his locked town house with his throat slashed on the night before the jury is set to deliberate. But his widow insists on calling her husband¿s old classmate criminologist, Alistair Sinclair, who in turn enlists Ziele¿s help. Together they must steer Sinclair¿s unorthodox methods past a police force that is so focused on rounding up Drayson¿s supporters that they¿ve all but rejected any other possibilities. Once again, Stefanie Pintoff¿s combination of vital characters and a fascinating case set amongst the sometimes brutal and sometimes glittering history of turn-of-the-century New York makes for totally compelling reading in Secret of the White Rose, the third novel in her Edgar Award---winning series.
Library of Congress Summary
"The murder of Judge Hugo Jackson is out of Detective Simon Ziele's jurisdiction in more ways than one. It's high profile enough to command the attention of the notorious new police commissioner, since Judge Jackson was presiding over the sensationalist trial of Al Drayson. Drayson, an anarchist, set off a bomb at a Carnegie wedding, but instead of killing millionaires, it killed passersby, including a child. Furthermore, Simon's assigned precinct on Manhattan's west side includes the gritty Tenderloin but not the tonier Gramercy Park, which is where the judge is found in his locked townhouse with his throat slashed on the night before the jury is set to deliberate. But his widow insists on calling her husband's old classmate criminologist Alistair Sinclair, who in turn enlists Ziele's help. Together they must steer Sinclair's unorthodox methods past a police force that is so focused on rounding up Drayson's supporters that they've all but rejected any other possibilities. Once again, Pintoff 's combination of vital characterizations and a fascinating case set amongst the sometimes brutal and sometimes glittering history of turn-of-the-century New York makes for totally compelling reading"--
Main Description
The murder of a judge sets off a witch hunt that only Detective Simon Ziele and criminologist Alistair Sinclair can stop, in the third novel of Pintoff's Edgar Award-winning series.
Main Description
The murder of Judge Hugo Jackson is out of Detective Simon Ziele's jurisdiction in more ways than one. For one, it's high-profile enough to command the attention of the notorious new police commissioner, since Judge Jackson was presiding over the sensational trial of Al Drayson. Drayson, an anarchist, set off a bomb at a Carnegie family wedding, but instead of killing millionaires, it killed passersby, including a child. The dramatic trial has captured the full attention of 1906 New York City. Furthermore, Simon's assigned precinct on Manhattan's West Side includes the gritty Tenderloin but not the tonier Gramercy Park, which is where the judge is found in his locked town house with his throat slashed on the night before the jury is set to deliberate. But his widow insists on calling her husband's old classmate criminologist, Alistair Sinclair, who in turn enlists Ziele's help. Together they must steer Sinclair's unorthodox methods past a police forcethat is so focused on rounding up Drayson's supporters that they've all but rejected any other possibilities. Once again, Stefanie Pintoff's combination of vital characters and a fascinating case set amongst the sometimes brutal and sometimes glittering history of turn-of-the-century New York makes for totally compelling reading in Secret of the White Rose , the third novel in her Edgar Awardwinning series.

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