After the tragic death of his fiancée, Detective Simon Ziele needs to get out of New York City. He joins the police force of a small town north of the metropolis, hoping that the work will be a respite from the suffering he’s left behind. But when a well-to-do young woman is brutally murdered — in her own house, in broad daylight — Ziele discovers that he can’t fully escape the violence and tragedy of his past. He receives the help of a criminal psychologist at Columbia University who believes that one of his own research subjects may be responsible for crime. Ziele is skeptical about the psychologist’s methods but accepts his help in hunting for the main suspect. But as they search for the man, Ziele is forced to return to New York City and confront some of the memories of his past.
This book had been sitting on my shelf for years, so I’m very glad I finally took the time to read it! I haven’t read many books set in turn-of-the-century America, but it’s certainly a fascinating setting for a murder mystery. This book takes full advantage of the setting, frequently mentioning the Tammany Hall political machine and exploring the gap between rich and poor. The mystery itself was fine but not particularly surprising; I didn’t guess “whodunit,” but I came up with a solution that, frankly, I would have enjoyed more than the actual answer! Nonetheless, I liked Simon Ziele and plan to continue with the series. I would definitely recommend this book to fans of historical mysteries.