Death On Telegraph Hill

Author: Shirley Tallman

Publisher: Minotaur Books

Release Date: October 16, 2012

Blue Ribbon Rating: 5


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It is 1882, on a dark and foggy night in San Francisco, where wagons, cabs and omnibuses are the mode of transportation. Bang! A gunshot rings out as Sarah Woolson, her brother and others make their way down the rickety steps of Telegraph Hill one dark night after leaving Mortimer Remy’s house. They had all just attended a reading at Mr. Remy’s home starring the famous young Oscar Wilde. A diverse group of people attended the event. The gunshot hits Sarah’s brother Samuel in the shoulder. Who so boldly shot at the group?

Sarah Woolson, a beautiful, licensed attorney with a flair for attracting trouble, unquestionably sticks her nose in everyone’s business. She is always trying her best to do what is right and fair without too much deception and is inevitably led by her moral compass to places where she doesn’t belong. Determined to find out who shot at her brother, she puts herself in danger and narrowly misses being shot. Not only that, people are being murdered right and left. What is going on at Telegraph Hill? Is the hill cursed?


Furthermore, Sarah is recruited by a couple connected with the SPCA, a society that prevents cruelty to animals. Mrs. Dinwitty, a haughty female, disdainfully looks down her nose at Sarah as if smelling something awful. Truth be told, she feels Sarah is not fit to be an attorney. Sarah is forever dealing with people like her and curtly clarifies that she is indeed licensed by the state. Grudgingly, Mrs. Dinwitty and her husband eventually hire Sarah to prevent a wealthy Mexican from building a bullring in the mission district of San Francisco.


Adding to the hullabaloo of Sarah’s life are her overly protective parents, the dashing, reticent attorney named Robert Campbell, who is crazy in love with her, and the inept law enforcement officers who she feels are investigating the murders badly. Enter Wonder Woman of the 1800’s, Sarah Woolson, who fights for people’s rights, justice and the American way!


DEATH ON TELEGRAPH HILL is brimming with intelligence, ingenious characters, a devious plot and plenty of imagination. What a wonderful send up to female detectives! Sarah Woolson may be an attorney, but essentially, she has the nose of a bloodhound and a stubborn one at that! The myriad characters that fill the pages lend a desirable mix of calamity, suspense and a scary, wild ride. Well-fleshed out characters such as the young quirky driver named Eddie who takes corners on two wagon wheels while Sarah and her companions hang on for dear life! I hooted with laughter at their excursions throughout town and Eddie acting like Sherlock Holmes' companion, Dr. Watson. Sarah’s reserved boyfriend Robert Campbell, her co-conspirator brother Samuel, her caring and restrictive parents and a diverse mix of other characters round out this enjoyable murder mystery by author Shirley Tallman. Ms. Tallman perfectly depicts murder mysteries at its best with expert timing, twisty plots, brash characters and suspense in all the right places. DEATH ON TELEGRAPH HILL is like a trademark blend of a dirty martini. A bloody good time!

By Romance Junkies Reviewer: Michele Rioli

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