In the Shadow of Gotham (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

The early 1900’s brought innovation to police work.  In 1905 fingerprinting, crime photos, and forensic evidence gathering were new ideas.  Detective Simon Ziele left New York for a small town after losing his fiancée, Hannah, in the sinking of the General Slocum steamship, he could no longer walk the big city streets haunted by her memory.  Dobson, New York seemed the kind of sleepy burg where a detective could go for years without encountering violent crime, just the sort of place a man could recover.  Alas, it will not prove to be the case.  The Wingate mansion sits in the part of town unused to violent crime.  Beautiful Sarah Wingate’s horrific murder shocks the town and puts Simon into the kind of investigation that can take over a man’s soul.  Simon is an adherent of the modern ways, his superior, Joe, is leery of the newfangled ways and worried that Simon might be after his job. Law enforcement is just beginning the science of criminology, of studying the mind of a killer. Simon’s path crosses with a professor from Columbia versed in this new way of studying a murderer’s method.  The two men feel the pressure of finding this heinous killer before he strikes again.  Pintoff seamlessly blends historical detail with an intricate mystery.

— Deon Stonehouse


Dobson, New York, 1905.

Detective Simon Ziele lost his fiancée in the General Slocum ferry disaster—a thousand perished on that summer day in 1904 when an onboard fire burned the boat down in the waters of the East River. Still reeling from the tragedy, Ziele transferred to a police department north of New York, to escape the city and all the memories it conjured.

But only a few months into his new life in a quiet country town, he’s faced with the most shocking homicide of his career to date: Young Sarah Wingate has been brutally murdered in her own bedroom in the middle of an otherwise calm and quiet winter afternoon. After just one day of investigation, Simon’s contacted by Columbia University’s noted criminologist Alistair Sinclair, who offers a startling claim about one of his patients, Michael Fromley—that the facts of the murder bear an uncanny resemblance to Fromley’s deranged mutterings.

But what would have led Fromley, with his history of violent behavior and brutal fantasies, to seek out Sarah, a notable mathematics student and a proper young lady who has little in common with his previous targets? Is Fromley really a murderer, or is someone mimicking him?

This is what Simon Ziele must find out, with the help of the brilliant but self-interested Alistair Sinclair—before the killer strikes again.

With this taut, atmospheric, and original story of a haunted man who must search for a killer while on the run from his own demons, Stefanie Pintoff’s In the Shadow of Gotham marks the debut of an outstanding new talent, the inaugural winner of the Minotaur Books/Mystery Writers of America Best First Crime Novel Competition.

In the Shadow of Gotham is the winner of the 2010 Edgar Award for Best First Novel.

About the Author

Stefanie Pintoff is the author of "A Curtain Falls" and "Secret of the White Rose." "In the Shadow of Gotham" is the winner of the 2010 Edgar Award for Best First Novel and the Washington Irving Book Prize, and she has earned nominations for the Agatha, Anthony and Macavity Awards. She is also a graduate of Columbia University Law School and has a Ph.D. in literature from New York University. Now a full-time writer, she lives with her husband and daughter on Manhattan's Upper West Side.

Praise For…

Advance Praise for In the Shadow of Gotham

“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)

“The first winner of the Minotaur Books/Mystery Writers of America First Crime Novel Competition nicely contrasts academic theorizing with the reality of police detection set against the backdrop of a vividly depicted turn-of-the-century Gotham. Recommend to readers who enjoy historicals of this period, such as Caleb Carr’s The Alienist and Ann Stamos’s Bitter Tide.”
--Library Journal (starred review)

“Pintoff excavates a rich vein of early criminology… She also delivers a gripping detective story… Great for dexterous plotting and for New York atmosphere at the turn of the last century.”

“What a fabulous first novel… Pintoff’s fascinating historical mystery has believable multidimensional characters… The mystery is original and carefully planned.”
--Romantic Times

“Congratulations to Stefanie Pintoff on this outstanding debut novel!  An appealing character, terrific suspense, and skillful interweaving of historical detail make In the Shadow of Gotham a winner.”
--Marcia Muller, author of Burn Out

"Stefanie Pintoff captures time and place expertly while displaying the procedures and challenges of police work at the dawn of a new age in forensics in this fine first novel. In The Shadow of Gotham will fascinate and educate even as it holds the reader in the suspense of a good mystery. That's a special package."
--Michael Koryta author of Envy the Night

Product Details
ISBN: 9780312544904
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Publication Date: April 28th, 2009
Pages: 400