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Posted January 8, 2013
exciting case with twists, and interesting characters
The Bughouse Affair the first book in a new historical mystery series set in San Francisco during the 1890’s offered up interesting characters and two cases that become intertwined. The tale features former Pinkerton operative Sabina Carpenter and John Quincannon, a former secret service agent who together have opened their own detective agency. I quickly became caught up in the mysteries and the character claiming to be none other than Sherlock Holmes himself. The detective offices of Carpenter and Quincannon have two cases they are working on. He is working on a case for an insurance company where a series of burglaries involving insurance holders leads them to believe someone has gotten a hold of their client list. She is trying to catch a clever pickpocket who is robbing people at Chutes Amusement Park and affecting their business. The two cases seem completely unrelated but clues begin to make them fear otherwise. While trying to apprehend the housebreaker, Quincannon is detained by a man professing to be the dead man Sherlock Holmes. The tale that unfolds was suspenseful, witty and reminded me of old detective novels. Muller and Pronzini did an excellent job of introducing us to Carpenter and Quincannon. I got a real sense for these quirky detectives, and found them to be amusing and confident. I loved how Holmes unnerved them, especially the overly confident, easily ruffled Quincannon. Sabina is still morning the loss of her husband, a former detective at Pinkerton and he has made his feelings for her well known. I found their banter to be delightful and funny. While there is no romance in this first book, the possibility is there. Holmes or whoever this man is was perfectly portrayed as the pompous, long-winded detective himself. I thoroughly enjoyed the scenes involving him and his clever sleuthing skills. The cast of suspects, informants and clients all added to the tale and were well fleshed out as well. The world building and use of period language was very well done. The author(s) descriptions of both San Francisco and the people of this era came to life. The plot unfolded at a nice pace, and escalated towards the end with a few twists to my delight. I did figure out the case, before it was revealed and thought the how and why was clever. I found the terminology for criminals, and other creatures that inhabited the shadier streets to be fascinating. It does slow the reading pace as there are a lot of terms, suspects, places and facts to take it but it was such fun! I am looking forward to their next case. I want to thank Tor/Forge for providing this ARC in exchange for my unbiased review. caffeinated book reviewer
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Posted February 12, 2013
Highly Recommended for Marcia Muller and Bill Pronzini fans
I'm a long-time fan of Marcia Muller's Sharon McCone series. She paved the way for other writers to create compelling, strong female characters in fiction which is exactly what she's done again with Sabina Carpenter in the debut of the Carpenter and Quincannon Mystery series. Bill Ponzini is not only her partner in life, he is the perfect partner in writing who has created a quirky, appealing and charming character in John Quincannon. Together they've started a new, charming series taking place in San Francisco during the end of the nineteenth century...a great location at a fascinating time in American History. Their superb writing styles and character development combined produced a very satisfying read.
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Posted June 1, 2013
good summer read
Really enjoyed this book much more than I thought I would. It took a little getting used to the language, but well work it. I look forward to the next one in the series and to find out if Sherlock Holmes is Sherlock Holmes.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 23, 2013
I Also Recommend:
The Bughouse Affair is mystery at it's most logical form. Marcia
The Bughouse Affair is mystery at it's most logical form. Marcia Muller and Bill Pronzini, a husband and wife writing team, introduce readers to the Carpenter and Quincannon Mystery series.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
19th century San Francisco houses the competent Carpenter and Quincannon, Professional Detective Services. Both Sabina and John have been hired for separate jobs involving sly thieves, one a pickpocketing woman targeting men, and the other is an unidentifiable housebreaker. After being unable to apprehend suspects and going round in round in circles, their cases merge in what will be a surprising twist and unforgettable beginning. With the help of a Sherlock Holmes imposter the mystery is treated with the usual detailed observations, plus tried and true, and sometimes unorthodox, methods of deduction. While Muller and Pronzini take their time wrapping up the mystery, with the mild, casual buildup of suspense and unpredictable plot, the main characters' dealings with each other and suspects range between witty and warranting a deeper look into their personal lives.
The prose of the novel is scenery-oriented, specifically the streets and neighborhoods of San Francisco. Muller and Pronzini were sure to add in tidbits, historical or fun, about the seedy or rich neighborhoods and specific streets that made it seem as though they both may have first-hand knowledge, or done very extensive research. It wasn't just the brightly colored language, but mostly the indulgence of that detailed information, which served to send readers to 1894. However, it seemed to take up time when the following scenes beckoned for attention.
The Bughouse Affair is an opening novel to a series that is definitely worth taking the time to read, and continue with the next release. With much more to come of Sabina Carpenter and John Quincannon, as down-to-earth people and incredibly talented detectives, that Muller and Pronzini allude to, readers will not be able to resist!
*Copy of novel provided via publisher in exchange for an honest review*
Posted May 30, 2014
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