Secret of the White Rose

Detective Simon Ziele is back  this time investigating the murder of Judge Hugo Jackson.  Jackson is presiding over the trial of Al Drayson, an anarchist whose bomb killed several innocent bystanders instead of the intended target.
New York City was a dangerous place in 1906.  But was it dangerous because of the criminals or because of the people running the city?  Corruption was everywhere in New York which was filled with new immigrants trying to survive.   As the son of immigrants, Ziele is caught between 2 worlds.  A detective whose career is in jeopardy, he teams up with his friend Alistair Sinclair, a criminologist,who has been called to investigate the murder by the judge's widow.  At the same time Ziele is given a special assignment by the police commissioner to investigate the brother of his dead fiance.While both Sinclair and Ziele believe the anarchists are behind the murder, the police commissioner just wants any anarchist arrested, convicted  and out of the city.  And he doesn't care how.

As the murders begin to pile up, there are some strange connections between them.  A single white rose is left at each scene.  The men are positioned after their deaths to indicate that they heard nothing, said nothing and saw nothing.  But what didn't they see, hear or speak?  The murdered men all went to law school together and all belonged to the same societies.  But is this really the connection?  Alistair's daughter-in-law and Ziele's friend, Isabella,  once again provides valuable assistance.

Some of the same characters from Pintoff's previous books make appearances.  Isabella, Sinclair, Mulvaney, Ziele's police captain, and Frank Riley, a New York Times reporter.  With help from all of them, Ziele begins to piece the clues together.

Well written, the story is filled with historical detail.  The white rose that is found at the crime scenes historically signifies that the person is a traitor and will die.  Victoria Earle Matthews, runs a settlement house for young African women.  A suspect is allegedly connected to the home.  Both Matthews and her works are historical fact.  Even the name of her mission, The White Rose Mission is a fact. These facts blend seamlessly with the fiction making for a great who done it.  I recommend this book and all the others in the series.

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07/26/11
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