CITY FOR RANSOM
Step back in time to The White City-the term used for the world's fair held in Chicago. The fair is a beautiful dreamland where a person could experience the thrill of riding the new invention called the Ferris wheel. But a killer walks the streets of Chicago. This is a man that has both a mental and a physical defect. A vicious killer that beheads his victim with a garrote and as this isn't enough he sets the body on fire. The newspapers call him The Phantom of the Fair.
Inspector Alastair Ransom is determined to find the killer and free Chicago of this terror. When the killer begins to strike closer and closer to people who have touched Ransom's life he becomes even more determined. Ransom was injured in the Haymarket Riot and has never fully recovered. The Haymarket Riot is always there at the back of his mind.
The city of Chicago in Ransom's time is corrupt and he is never sure who he can trust. He knows that he can't trust Chief Kohler, his superior. Sometimes he wonders if he can trust his partner Griffin Dimmer. He calls Philo Keane, a photographer, his friend but Ransom isn't even positive of that fact at times.
To make matters even worse Ransom has to cope with Dr. James Phineas Tewes who purports to be a Phrenological and Magnetic Examiner. Dr. Tewes seems to appear at every crime scene wanting to do a phrenological diagnosis on the victim's cranium to determine magnetic levels at time of death.
Consider the roadblocks in the way of a detective in the 1800's. No DNA, no fingerprint base, not even a sure way to tell if the blood on a suspect's clothing is animal or human.
Robert W. Walker presents a lot of history in this novel. He works in facts that you may have known and forgotten and gives you a few others to think about.
I totally enjoyed the book and I can't wait for the next Inspector Ransom book. I am looking forward to reading more about Ransom, the Tewes family, and other characters that Walker brings to life in this book.
REVIEWED BY PATRICIA REID
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