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Shadows in the White City: An Inspector Alastair Ransom Mystery (Inspector Alastair Ransom Mysteries) Mass Market Paperback – March 27, 2007

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Product Details

  • Series: Inspector Alastair Ransom Mysteries
  • Mass Market Paperback: 339 pages
  • Publisher: Harper (March 27, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060739967
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060739966
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.9 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,744,109 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Robert W. Walker, a graduate of Northwestern University, is the author of thirty-six novels, including the acclaimed PSI Blue featuring FBI Psychic Rae Hiyakawa, the Instinct Series with FBI Medical Examiner Dr. Jessica Coran, and the Edge Series featuring Texas Cherokee Detective Lucas Stonecoat and psychiatrist Meredyth Sanger. He has also recently published the serialized thriller set in India entitled Fleshwar on\shorts. Robert was born in Corinth, Mississippi; grew up in Chicago, Illinois; and currently resides in Chicago and Charleston, West Virginia. In between teaching, lecturing, and book touring, Rob is busy tackling his next two novels, City of the Absent and Deja Blue.

Customer Reviews

Author Robert W. Walker is certainly on top of his game.
Lee Carper
Unlike the others, Walker's "City" series does not place the Fair front and center, but rather in a more realistic context as part of Chicago as a whole.
J. Quist
The writing was choppy, the dialogue was weak and amateurish and there were so many historical errors that finishing the book was chore.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 23 people found the following review helpful By L. E. Cantrell VINE VOICE on June 10, 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a historical mystery set in Chicago by an author who obviously doesn't know Jack ... er, stuff about Chicago history. Consider this passage:

"Still ... we have to cover the bases, boys."

"Cover the what?" asked Behan.

Logan explained, "It's an expression, comes out of cricket, and now that new game people are betting on, base on balls." [Page 153 of the paperback edition]

Now, since it had been made abundantly clear long before page 153 that the World's Columbian Exposition was going on in full swing, although rapidly coming to its scheduled end, this exchange of dialogue must be dated to September or October 1893. Considering that the Chicago Cubs (ironically established under the name of Chicago White Stockings) started in 1874 and became founder-members of the National League in 1876, ending their inaugural season as the pennant winners with a 52-14 record, the cricket reference and the strange unfamiliarity with baseball terminology jangle--to say the least! (And don't forget that Thayer's "Casey at the Bat" had been a continent-wide hit since 1888.)

The jangling just goes on and on. The head of the Police Department is repeatedly called the Chief rather than the Superintendent. The sub-title of the book is "An Inspector Alastair Ransom Mystery". Considering that the rank structure of the Chicago force at the time consisted of a Superintendent, captains, lieutenants, sergeants and patrolmen, it's a bit difficult to see just where an "Inspector" fits. The plain fact that "Inspector" Ransom reports directly to the "Chief" (whom he despises) and to no-one else in the entire department is even more puzzling.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Tammy Cook, Renaissance Mind on August 2, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Robert W. Walker does a tremendous job conveying the spirit and atmosphere of a city emerging from its own shadows in his second Alastair Ransom mystery. Unfortunately, most of the rest of the novel is so incoherent that it's hard to care.

Rebuilding from the fire that nearly wiped it from the map and the history books, Chicago hosted the Colombian Exposition in 1894 - a world-wide success that ensured the vitality of the city for the hundred + years since. But dark deeds also occured as an influx of people from across the country migrated to Illinois that summer. Walker's mystery records some of these deeds, and ventures into some pretty dark territory while doing so.

Recovering from injuries sustained in the first novel, "City for Ransom", Inspector Ransom is shocked to discover the man accused of the murders featured in his first case is released from prison. He then decides to take the law into his own hands, and makes sure the villain meets a suitable ending at the bottom of Lake Michigan.

The book then abruptly switches focus, and Ransom becomes embroiled in a case of the missing daughter of a prominent Chicago citizen, while he deals with superiors who are out to disgrace him,gangs of homeless children, and an implausible romance with a woman doctor impersonating a man that even Ransom can't explain.

Ransom is not a likeable character, but more than that, the author injects action that doesn't make sense. More than once I was forced to go back and re-read a passage to find out what happened.

Which is a shame, because, at its heart, 'Shadows in the White City' has a darned good central plot that will have even the most jaded mystery reader nervously checking their windows.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Byron C. Justice on July 3, 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I have not read the first book in this series (yet), but reading the prequel isn't required for the reader to pick up on the storyline of Walker's second Alastair Ransom mystery right away.

As has been pointed out elsewhere, SHADOWS IN THE WHITE CITY contains some minor historical errors, such as the use of phonographs for background music when at the time only expensive, poor-quality wax cylinders were in use--but I would not hold this mystery to the same standard I'd hold a historical novel to. Mysteries are meant to be entertaining, delivering a suspenseful, page-turning plot peppered with unexpected twists. And that is something Walker's second book in this Alastair Ransom series does very well.

The environs aren't painted completely enough by the text for me to imagine more than just bits and pieces of Chicago in 1893, which is the setting for this story. This is what cost the book its fifth star, as I expected a stronger visual impression. The characters are not deeply developed, but the dialogue between them more than makes up for that. Walker's characters speak in period prose that reads as naturally as any dialogue I've ever seen. It is the mark of an experienced author. The plot is lean. Walker didn't include any long, gratuitous digressions such as I'd be tempted to skip over.

Crime in 1893 Chicago is nasty business. The murders are horrific and vividly described, enough so it may make some readers squeamish. Having said that, I appreciate the author didn't pull his punches.

SHADOWS IN THE WHITE CITY builds into a nail-biting suspense soon after the middle, and becomes difficult to put down. I eagerly await the sequel, CITY OF THE ABSENT.

-Byron C. Justice,
Violent Night
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Most Recent Customer Reviews

More About the Author

MOST recent work available on Kindle and audiobooks via 57 titles in ebooks and 33 currently on with 15 more in production, such as Killer Instinct and Titanic 2012, as well as many others. Latest Kindle book titles - The Canoneers - Ben Cross & The Guns of Ticonderoga, The Edge of Instinct finalized, and The RED PATH - historical romance in Civil War era very soon available. Work in Progress The Fear Collectors and another historical YA - Animiki - Brave of the Fire Nation.

New WORK this year has been The Canoneers, The Edge of Instinct, and The Red Path - a record year for output as I have published here on Kindle in Feb. two titles: the 12th in my award-winning, highly acclaimed INSTINCT SERIES - The EDGE of INSTINCT (also bk.#5 in EDGE Series/combined ensemble casts, you see). In addition, to introduce new readers to my EIGHT separate series characters, I published a book of EIGHT short stories under title of THRILLER PARTY of 8 - The One That Got Away.

Since two books put up in calendar year 2013 did not seem enough, I have now added in June a twisting, turning, churning, burning historical in the tradition of my Children of Salem meets Gone With The Wind entitled ANNIE'S WAR books #1 and #2 subtitled Love Amid the Ruins. Book #3 in this layered, complex pre-Civil War tale of the first home-grown terrorist attack on a US Armory in history, set in 1859 is through the eyes of the infamous John Brown? NO...through the eyes of his sexually active 17-year-old daughter.

While it chronicles what happened at Harpers Ferry, Virginia, the dramatic novel is one foremost of love and romance at the forefront, and it devolves into a fierce gun battle. It reads like a western for good reason. If a fan of the recent Kevin Costner film on the Hatfields and the McCoys, this fits right in that ballpark...and in fact, I modeled my John Brown on Kostner's role as Devil Anse. The two men would have had a lot in common. Anse and Brown that is...not Costner.

Book THREE of ANNIE's WAR will be published before end of June, so the entire trilogy, each at 2.99 will be available as will a hefty offering of the ENTIRE thee books in ONE kindle order for 5.99 - a real bargain. Counting Annie's Trilogy then in Calendar Year 2013 --so far-- I have completed and Kindled FIVE book-length works, Four being novels, One being Shorts, plus have shown up in three anthologies this year...and the year is only half over. There could be more! Meanwhile, my older titles are discussed below:

My previous several novels have been Original to Kindle, exclusvie works. Most recent has been TITANIC 2012 - Curse of RMS Tttanic, a cross-genre, generational suspense thriller with an occult horror twist. It's a new theory, a theory that proves the innocence of the iceberg, ha! Puts the burden of error squarely back onto Captain Edward Smith's shoulders, but it is also science fiction as it alternates chapters between 1912 and 2012. In future, divers go inside Titanic the Wreck to plunder her interiors. But what they find is murder and mayhem and monstrous stuff! See all ten reviews on

Just prior to launching T2012, I placed up CHILDREN of SALEM, romance and intrigue and ecumenical spies amid the Salem Witch Trials of 1692. Talk about a "Bad Time to Be in Love" - but Jere Wakely does love the daughter of an excommunicated witch, Serena Nurse, and he vows to put an end to the insanity of the trials. Painstakingly reseached for some thirty odd years, Children of Salem is both my life's work and now my highest grossing ebook to date, selling 255 copies a month and garnering great reviews (as is T-2012). Children of Salem is a big ambitious work that all my previous books have led me to return to over decades to rewrite and rewrite again and again until I got it right.

AFTERSCHOCK is among all my backlisted titles sold years ago to NYC publishers. Aftershock is the ebook bread-winner, the one which as sold the most copies and for a long time had been my leading title in sales. I placed up some 40 "odd" previously published titles ranging from horror and supernatural, occult horror and suspense-thriller to mysteries and historical themes, and now i have 46 Kindle titles available. Would be fifty if not for tie-ups on other titles.

One more recent modern day noir PI novels is DEAD ON from Five Star Books July '09 which has garnered rave reviews and wonderful remarks from Tess Gerritsen, Ken Bruen, JA Konrath, David Ellis, Raymond Benson, and Jay Boninsinga as well as Booklist! Prior to this my City trilogy, City for Ransom, Shadows in the White City, and City of the Absent published via HarperCollins and heralded as great books by The Chicago Tribune, winning the coveted Lovey Award, set the stage for my finally being able to get Children of Salem RIGHT.

A bit about myself: I grew up in Chicago as my father came out of WWII knowing one skill -- how to drive a truck. As a truck driver, he supported five children. I was born in Corinth, MS., siblings born in Tuskegee, AL., where my mother hailed from.

I struggled in school in inner-city Chicago, but early on found I had a gift for 'talking my way out of fights' and this translated into 'telling stories' to influence others, and soon wondered if I could not do it for money. I began writing at a young age to 'communicate' ideas and always at the root of my tales are ideas, notions, concepts, issues, fears, phobias,the dark side of human nature, twisted religion, the human condition, and themes I find fascinating like the injustice we see every day, and vengeance, and greed, and skulduggery all around.

In fact, much of my fiction centers on twisted this or twisted that...from twisted fantasies in the minds of killers to twisted religion in the minds of...yeah... killers and others. I have read widely in all areas of human endeavor and use all areas imaginable in the creation of my characters and stories, and my work is character-driven whether it is a suspense novel or an historical novel.

I recieved a full scholarship to Northwestern University out of Wells High School, inner city, which was some kind of feat, and it was based on my writing ability. I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Education, went on to accomplish a Masters in English Education. I've taught for over thirty-years to 'support' my habit -- writing. I have always taught full-time while writing full-time, and I 'make' time.

While I grew up in Chicago, and many of my books center there and in the Midwest, I am currently living in Charleston, WV where I am still teaching and writing. I live with four step-children and my ER RN wife, Miranda, whose first novel, a serial killer chase down romp called Absolution, is also available on Kindle. I completed my 50th novel for publication with Titanic 2012.

Wish to thank all my readers for the many, many years of support since writing the spoof on disaster films and books, SUB-ZERO in 1979, and those who supported my Instinct and Edge Series as well as my various horror and other suspense series. I have created no less than eight series characters, all of whom I intend to keep "alive" via Kindle original titles in future. I am currently working on a 4th Geoffrey Caine (pen name) Abe Stroud, archaeology horror title called Bayou Wulf. For a free download of the first chapters, you can contact me on Facebook at Robert W. Walker (Rob) or my website -