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Set in 1870 New York City, this middling first in a new series from Rogow (The Problem of the Surly Servant and three other mysteries pairing Arthur Conan Doyle and Lewis Carroll) will have limited appeal to historical whodunit fans. The law firm of Pettigrew and Roth has just obtained the surprise acquittal of Bertram Delacorte, accused of stabbing Civil War widow Suzanna Kendall to death in a boardinghouse. Soon after, Delacorte's corpse, which has also been stabbed, surfaces in the Hudson River. Partner Joshua Roth, who personally represented the dead man, teams with a female law clerk, Peggy Pettigrew, and the prosecutor who was Roth's courtroom opponent, Michael Riley, to try to solve both murders. The point-of-view shifts among these three characters can be distracting, while the pages detailing the Pettigrew household's efforts to communicate with a new cook who speaks only Italian slow the narrative. Few readers will have trouble identifying the real killer. (June)
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