Stefanie Pintoff - In the Shadow of Gotham (2 stars)

Deeply flawed turn of the 20th century crime drama full of the unnecessary

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Stefanie Pintoff - In the Shadow of Gotham

(Penguin)

A turn of the 20th century crime drama, In the Shadow of Gotham is deeply flawed. A damaged detective in a quiet town north of Manhattan is dragged back into New York’s seedy underbelly by a brutal murder, partnering with an eccentric criminologist to unmask the killer using psychological profiling and other nascent investigative techniques. There’s a restless indefatigability to Simon Ziele that ought to make for a real page-turner, but unfortunately this troubled cop is also something of a tight-ass and markedly less interesting than his mercurial Scots sidekick.

Stefanie Pintoff affords Ziele’s first-person narration a dry humorlessness that bogs the story down in unnecessary clarification. For example, he explains that when a Broadway chorus girl supplements her income with ‘private shows’, that means she’s a prostitute. Further unnecessary detail comes with references to advances like fingerprinting and the Model T Ford, carrying little relevance beyond being glorified period wallpaper.

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