A San Francisco attorney’s determination to take on unusual cases is driving her parents crazy.
In 1882, Oscar Wilde has come to town to read his poems and extol the benefits of the recently created aesthetic movement. After Sarah Woolson and her brother, Samuel, visit the Telegraph Hill home of newspaper publisher Mortimer Remy to hear and meet Wilde, Samuel is shot and badly wounded as they walk back down the Hill. Annoyed by the restrictions put upon women, Sarah resolves to investigate the shooting a lazy police officer writes off as an accident. Despite the protests of her parents and Robert Campbell, the attorney in love with her, Sarah returns to the Hill, which is home to a wide assortment of people, from wealthy Mrs. Montgomery to the poor and lazy writer whose wife just died in childbirth. While she’s nosing around, Sarah is shot at herself but luckily escapes with scratches. Meanwhile, she’s become involved in a case for the ASPCA, which is trying to prevent a wealthy Mexican from building a bullring in San Francisco. As both the pressure and the deaths mount, Sarah risks her life to find the answers.
Tallman continues to surround her plucky, intelligent heroine (Scandal on Rincon Hill, 2010, etc.) with historical tidbits and a strong mystery.