THE CLIFF HOUSE STRANGLER
This third installment in Tallman's Sarah Woolson series, set in 19th-century San Francisco, has the heroine again fighting narrow-minded ideas concerning women while trying to solve a murder. Lawyer Sarah is a woman far ahead of her times, and luckily for the reader, Sarah ignores her critics and is a force to be reckoned with.
Sarah and her friend Robert attend a seance at San Francisco's famous Cliff House. They're surprised to find many influential citizens there, along with Darian Moss, an obnoxious reporter who delights in malicious gossip. During the seance the lights are
cut and, when restored, Darian has been strangled. Sarah and Robert
must fight City Hall to try to identify
In a delightful subplot, Sarah and Robert square off against each other
in the courtroom as Sarah defends an abused woman in a divorce and custody case. Readers will be appalled
at the callous way women were treated back then and will find themselves
rooting for Sarah and her client.
(St. Martin's Minotaur, Jul., 320 pp., $24.95)