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.
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)