Synopses & Reviews
The careers of New York City detective Simon Ziele and his former partner, Captain Declan Mulvaney, went in remarkably different directions after the tragic death of Zieles fiancée in the 1904 General Slocum ferry disaster. While earmarked for bigger things, Ziele moved north of the city to escape the violence, and Mulvaney dug in deeper, heading up the precinct in the most crime-ridden part of New York.
Yet with all of the resources at Mulvaneys disposal, a puzzling crime compels him to ask his former partner for help. A chorus girl has been found dead on a Broadway stage dressed as the lead. There is no sign of violence. The coroner would call it a suicide, but then shed be the second actress to die that way in only days.
Following on the heels of Pintoffs Edgar Award-winning debut, A Curtain Falls is a moody and evocative tale that follows Ziele as he scours the streets in search of a true fiend.
About the Author
Stefanie Pintoff is the author of In the Shadow of Gotham and Secret of the White Rose. In the Shadow of Gotham is the winner of the 2010 Edgar Award for Best First Novel and the Washington Irving Book Prize, and she has earned nominations for the Agatha, Anthony and Macavity Awards. She is also a graduate of Columbia University Law School and has a Ph.D. in literature from New York University. Now a full-time writer, she lives with her husband and daughter on Manhattans Upper West Side.
Reading Group Guide
1. Discuss the meaning(s) of the title A Curtain Falls.
2. Charles Frohman is a real historical figure credited with inventing the “star system” that shaped early Broadway (and was later used in the Hollywood studios of the 1930s and 1940s). What are the rules of his system? How do they infuse an environment already marked by greed, ambition, and jealousy?
3. At the heart of any series is the continual emotional development of the principal characters from book to book. Which character grows the most in this book? How?
4. In addition to serving as a physical location, the Broadway theater is almost a character is its own right. Does this setting add to the novel? What kinds of details bring it alive?
5. The essence of theater is the blurred line between appearance and reality, truth and lies. In what ways does this theme lie at the heart of A Curtain Falls?
6. The author depicts many representations of family, relationships, and the nature of grief. How do characters compensate for absence and loss? Which are the most successful? Why do you think that is?
7. Detective Ziele struggles with his newfound knowledge when he discovers Timothy Poes true situation. Did you find his struggle true to his character and time period?
8. What is your favorite scene in the book and why?