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The Russian Hill Murders

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Defying convention, spirited 19th-century lawyer Sarah Woolson sets out to prove herself in her first criminal trial.

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Reviews of The Russian Hill Murders

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4 out of 5 stars
  • A Fun 'Who 'Dun It' with a Feisty Heroine: Nov 30, 2013
    by jjares

    Feisty San Francisco attorney Sarah Woolson is in a pitched battle with the ?old boy? law office where she works. Her boss, horrified that a female could aspire to the law profession constantly finds new busywork, coffee cup cleaning and typing projects for Sarah.

    This 27 year-old defies conventional life -- her mom wants her to settle down, Sarah wants action. Sarah gets her wish when Caroline Godfrey, wealthy socialite and supporter of the new Women and Children?s Hospital, drops dead at a charity dinner.

    Sarah is troubled by this death; blood tests indicate that Caroline had taken too much of her nitroglycerine for her heart ailment. Sarah?s unease grows more serious when other people, related to the new hospital, die.

    There?s another plot afoot; a pregnant widow comes to see Sarah, hoping for help. Her husband, along with 4 others, died in a sweatshop fire. She asks Sarah to sue to help her take care of her (soon to be) 3 children. The problem is that building ownership is not easy to discover; the laws (and dangerous thugs) seem to protect the sweatshop owners.

    Of course, the prestigious law office where Sarah works decries the very idea of helping the poverty-stricken mother and children. Sarah, along with her pair of wily confederates (Scottish attorney Robert Campbell and young hansom cabdriver Eddie) pursue both problems.

    If the law firm was upset about the widow?s case, they move into high boil over Sarah daring to take a criminal court case. (In Great Britain it could take 15 years for a young male solicitor to get to be first chair in a criminal trial.)

    The hospital?s Chinese chef is blamed, but Chinatown?s most powerful tong lord insists that Sarah personally defend the very-difficult chef. Readers will need to keep a score card to stay abreast of the possible murderers ? as Sarah, Eddie and Robert try to solve the case.

    The action moves at a fast clip and bodies drop like flies. Robert, with his strong Scottish brogue, is a hoot. He constantly reminds Sarah of what she cannot do -- which prods her to prove him wrong. Sarah, Eddie and Robert are delightful.

    Sarah Woolson Mysteries
    1. Murder on Nob Hill (2004)
    2. The Russian Hill Murders (2005)
    3. The Cliff House Strangler (2007)
    4. Scandal on Rincon Hill (2010)
    5. Death on Telegraph Hill (2012)

See All Reviews of The Russian Hill Murders by Shirley Tallman