Dirty Work (Stone Barrington Series #9)

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Hired to prove infidelity in an heiress's marriage, Stone Barrington goes undercover. But the work turns dirty-and catastrophic-when the errant husband is found dead and the other woman disappears without a trace. Now, Stone must clear his own good name and find a killer hiding among the glitterati of New York's high society. Enter Carpenter-the beautiful British intelligence agent first encountered in The Short Forever-who has arrived in New York to begin an investigation of her own. Stone suspects that her case...
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Dirty Work (Stone Barrington Series #9)

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Hired to prove infidelity in an heiress's marriage, Stone Barrington goes undercover. But the work turns dirty-and catastrophic-when the errant husband is found dead and the other woman disappears without a trace. Now, Stone must clear his own good name and find a killer hiding among the glitterati of New York's high society. Enter Carpenter-the beautiful British intelligence agent first encountered in The Short Forever-who has arrived in New York to begin an investigation of her own. Stone suspects that her case is strangely connected to the dead husband. And he and Dino, his former NYPD partner, are set to face the most bizarre and challenging assignment of their very colorful careers.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Woods's new mystery is as sleek and engaging as the upper-class lifestyle of its appealing hero, ex-cop-cum-lawyer-cum-private investigator Stone Barrington. Woods (Blood Orchid) rewards Stone (and readers) by bringing back the beautiful British intelligence agent, code-named Carpenter, who first appeared in The Short Forever, the preceding book in this series. But Carpenter brings Stone more than hot sex and clever dinner conversation-she inadvertently draws him into her life-and-death struggle with one of the world's most efficient and intelligent female assassins, La Biche. While on assignment for lawyer Stone, attempting to photograph an adulterous husband in flagrante delicto, a clumsy assistant gets into trouble and falls into the hands of the NYPD and British Intelligence. Stone's pal and ex-partner from his early days on the NYPD, detective Dino Bacchetti, aids in extricating the assistant, but the incriminating photographs soon involve both men in the hunt for La Biche, who is out to kill Carpenter and avenge an old wrong. Friend and foe alike feed outright lies to Stone and Dino as the chameleonic lady assassin piles body upon body. Woods writes in a dry, witty style that keeps all his characters on a likable keel. The amusing repartee between Stone and Dino is memorably funny. In the end, Stone supplies a surprising dose of morality, and the reader finds that there is more to the story than flesh, flash and derring-do. Author tour. (Apr.) FYI: Woods recently signed a new contract with Putnam to supply two more in this series as well as several other unspecified books over the next two years. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
In Woods's latest novel, cop-turned-lawyer Stone Barrington is tapped by a wealthy client to get incriminating photographs of her cheating husband. Stone reluctantly accepts, but things really heat up when the husband winds up dead, a victim of his mysterious mistress. Beautiful British intelligence agent Carpenter, a prominent character, arrives on the scene and supplies the identity of the killer-an international assassin and master of disguise named Marie-Therese DuBois, better known as "La Biche." La Biche is out to kill those agents who were instrumental in the death of her parents, and Carpenter is next on the list. The plot is often implausible but moves at a fast pace, and the dialog is usually sharp and funny. Some listeners may find Robert Lawrence's cartoonish portrayals of the secondary characters irritating, but this work is entertaining, and the author's fans will be interested. Recommended for adult popular fiction collections.-Phillip Oliver, Univ. of North Alabama Lib., Florence Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A routine stint of bedroom peeping sets jet-set New York lawyer Stone Barrington against an international assassin with more disguises than a barrel of cross-dressing monkeys. A clause Stone inserted into Lawrence Fortescue's prenuptial agreement with Elena Marks will cost him any claim on her assets or income if he's caught in flagrante, so when Elena gets wind of her bridegroom's latest assignation, she wants film at 11. Because Stone doesn't do such distasteful jobs himself, he hires photographer Herbie Fisher to get the evidence, then has to take care of Herbie when he phones from the local precinct after the skylight he was leaning on collapses, sending him hurtling down atop Larry's dead body. The real story here, however, isn't Herbie or even Larry, but Larry's companion, who fatally poisoned him (why?) just before Herbie dropped in and then took a powder herself. As Felicity Devonshire, the British agent Stone got to know as Carpenter in The Short Forever (2002), points out the morning after her bedroom exercise with Stone, the subject of Herbie's art hasn't been photographed since she was 12-eight years before British Intelligence killed her parents in a botched operation and she swore revenge. Now Marie-Thérèse du Bois (to give her the real name she uses only in the coffee breaks between chameleon changes of identity) has already murdered three of Carpenter's colleagues, and, as subsequent events demonstrate, she's only warming up. As in The Short Forever, but much more successfully, Woods keeps changing gears from one plotline to the next-Get the Pictures, Find the Woman, Broker the Meeting, Contain the Damage-so that, although no breath of reality ever disturbs the air ofdeluxe action, the tale puts both Stone and the reader through some exhilarating paces. A crisp, fleet timekiller: the fashionplate lawyer's best outing since Dead in the Water (1997).
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781590867327
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio
  • Publication date: 4/14/2003
  • Series: Stone Barrington Series , #9
  • Format: Cassette
  • Edition description: Unabridged
  • Product dimensions: 6.50 (w) x 7.16 (h) x 2.63 (d)

Meet the Author

Stuart Woods
Stuart Woods is the author of twenty-seven novels. He lives in Maine, Florida, and New York City.


Stuart Woods was born in 1938 in Manchester, Georgia. After graduating from college and enlisting in the Air National Guard, he moved to New York, where he worked in advertising for the better part of the 1960s. He spent three years in London working for various ad agencies, then moved to Ireland in 1973 to begin his writing career in earnest.

However, despite his best intentions, Woods got sidetracked in Ireland. He was nearly 100 pages into a novel when he discovered the seductive pleasures of sailing. "Everything went to hell," he quips on his web site "All I did was sail." He bought a boat, learned everything he could about celestial navigation, and competed in the Observer Singlehanded Transatlantic Race (OSTAR) in 1976, finishing respectably in the middle of the fleet. (Later, he took part in the infamous Fastnet Race of 1979, a yachting competition that ended tragically when a huge storm claimed the lives of 15 sailors and 4 observers. Woods and his crew emerged unharmed.)

Returning to the U.S., Woods wrote two nonfiction books: an account of his transatlantic sailing adventures (Blue Water, Green Skipper) and a travel guide he claims to have written on a whim. But the book that jump-started his career was the opus interruptus begun in Ireland. An absorbing multigenerational mystery set in a small southern town, Chiefs was published in 1981, went on to win an Edgar Award, and was subsequently turned into a television miniseries starring Charlton Heston.

An amazingly prolific author, Woods has gone on to pen dozens of compelling thrillers, juggling stand-alone novels with installments in four successful series. (His most popular protagonists are New York cop-turned-attorney Stone Barrington, introduced in 1991's New York Dead, and plucky Florida police chief Holly Barker, who debuted in 1998's Orchid Beach.) His pleasing mix of high-octane action, likable characters, and sly, subversive humor has made him a hit with readers -- who have returned the favor by propelling his books to the top of the bestseller lists.

Good To Know

Some fascinating facts about Stuart Woods:

His first job was in advertising at BBDO in New York, and his first assignment was to write ads for CBS-TV shows. He recalls: "They consisted of a drawing of the star and one line of exactly 127 characters, including spaces, and I had to write to that length. It taught me to be concise."

He flies his own airplane, a single-engine turboprop called a Jetprop, and tours the country every year in it, including book tours.

He's a partner in a 1929 motor yacht called Belle and spends two or three weeks a year aboard her.

In 1961-62, Woods spent 10 months in Germany with the National Guard at the height of the Berlin Wall Crisis.

In October and November of 1979, he skippered a friend's yacht back across the Atlantic, with a crew of six, calling at the Azores, Madeira, and the Canary Islands and finishing at Antigua in the Caribbean.

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    1. Hometown:
      Key West, Florida; Mt. Desert, Maine; New York, New York
    1. Date of Birth:
      January 9, 1938
    2. Place of Birth:
      Manchester, Georgia
    1. Education:
      B.A., University of Georgia, 1959
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt



A big night-a couple of directors, a couple of movie stars, half a dozen writers, an assortment of journalists, editors, publicists, cops, wise guys, drunks, hangers-on, women of substance, and some of considerably less substance. And this was just at the tables; the bar was a whole other thing.

Stone Barrington pushed his plate away and sat back. Gianni, the waiter, snatched it away.

"Was it all right?" Gianni asked.

"You see anything left?" Stone asked.

Gianni grinned and took the plate to the kitchen.

Elaine came over and sat down. "So?" she said. She did not light a cigarette. To Stone's continuing astonishment, she had quit, cold turkey.

"Not much," Stone replied.

"That's what you always say," Elaine said.

"I'm not kidding, not much is happening."

The front door of the restaurant opened, and Bill Eggers came in.

"Now something's happening," Elaine said. "Eggers never comes in here unless he's looking for you, and he never looks for you unless there's trouble."

"You wrong the man," Stone said, waving Eggers over to the table, but he knew she was right. For ordinary work, Bill phoned; for more pressing tasks, he hunted down Stone and usually found him at Elaine's.

"Good evening, Elaine, Stone," Eggers said. "Your cell phone is off."

"It didn't work, did it?" Stone replied.

"I gotta be someplace," Elaine said, getting up and walking away. She got as far as the next table.

"Drink?" Stone asked.

Michael, the headwaiter, materialized beside them.

"Johnnie Walker Black, rocks," Eggers said.

"I have a feeling I'm going to need a Wild Turkey," Stone said to Michael.

Michael vanished.

"How's it going?" Eggers asked.

"You tell me," Stone said.

Eggers shrugged.

"If I had to guess," Stone said, "I'd say, not so hot."

"Oh, it's not so bad," Eggers replied.

"Then what drags you away from home and hearth, into this den of iniquity?"

"You remember that big Irish ex-cop, used to do little chores for you from time to time?"

"Teddy? He dropped dead in P. J. Clarke's three months ago."

"From what?"

"How many things can an Irishman in an Irish bar drop dead of?" Stone asked, rhetorically.

"Yeah," Eggers admitted.

"And why would I need somebody like Teddy?" Stone asked.

"You remember telling me about that thing Teddy used to do with the water pistol?" Eggers asked.

"You mean, after he kicked down a door and had his camera ready, how he squirted his naked subjects down low, so they'd grab at themselves and leave their faces open to be photographed in bed with each other?"

Eggers chuckled. "That's the one. I admire that kind of ingenuity."

The drinks came, and they both sipped for a long, contemplative moment.

"So, you're in need of that kind of ingenuity?" Stone asked at last.

"You remember that prenup I tossed you last year?" Eggers asked. Bill Eggers was the managing partner of Woodman & Weld, the very prestigious New York law firm to which Stone was of counsel, which meant he sometimes did the work that Woodman & Weld did not wish to appear to be doing.

"Elena Marks?" Stone asked.

"The very one."

"I remember." Elena Marks was heiress to a department store fortune, and she had married a member in high standing of the No Visible Means of Support Club.

"You remember that funny little clause you wrote into her prenup?"

"You mean the one about how if Larry got caught with his pants around his ankles in the company of a lady other than Elena, he would forfeit any claim to her assets or income?" Lawrence Fortescue was English-handsome, well educated, and possessed of every social grace, which meant he didn't have a receptacle in which to relieve himself.

"The very one," Eggers said.

"Has Larry been a bad boy?" Stone asked.

"Has been, is, and will continue to be," Eggers replied, sipping his Scotch.

"I see," Stone said.

"Now that Teddy has gone to his reward, who do you use for that sort of thing?"

"It's been quite a while since that sort of thing was required of me," Stone replied edgily.

"Don't take that tone with me, young man," Eggers said, raising himself erect in mock dudgeon. "It's work, and somebody has to do it."

Stone sighed. "I suppose I could find somebody."

Eggers looked at him sharply. "You're not thinking of doing this yourself, are you? I mean, there are heights involved here, and you're not as young as you used to be."

"I am not thinking of doing it myself, but I'm certainly in good enough shape to," Stone said. "What kind of heights are we talking about?"

"The roof of a six-story town house, shooting through a conveniently located skylight."

"There is no such thing as a conveniently located skylight, if you're the one doing the climbing," Stone said.

"You'd need someone...spry," Eggers said, "and the term hardly applies to the cops and ex-cops you mingle with."

At that moment, as if to make Eggers's point, Stone's former partner from his NYPD days, Dino Bacchetti, walked through the front door and headed for Stone's table.

"If you see what I mean," Eggers said.

Stone held up a hand, stopping Dino in his tracks, then a finger, turning him toward the bar.

"I get your point," Stone said. "I'll see who I can come up with."

"You don't have a lot of time," Eggers said. "It's at nine o'clock tomorrow night."

"What's at nine o'clock tomorrow night?"

"The assignation. Larry Fortescue has an appointment with a masseuse who, I understand, routinely massages more than his neck muscles. Elena would like some very clear photographs of that service being performed."

"Let me see what I can do," Stone said.

Eggers tossed off the remainder of his Scotch and placed a folded sheet of paper on the table. "I knew you would grasp the nettle," he said, standing up. "The address of the building is on the paper. I'll need the prints and negatives by noon the day after tomorrow."

"What's the rush?"

"Elena Marks is accustomed to instant gratification."

"But not from Larry?"

"You are quick, Stone. Nighty-night." He slapped Dino on the back as he passed the bar on his way to the door.

Dino came over, licking Scotch off his hand, where Eggers had spilled it. He flopped into a chair. "So what was that about?" he asked, pointing his chin at Eggers's disappearing back.

"Dirty work," Stone said.

—from Dirty Work: A Stone Barrington Novel by Stuart Woods, Copyright © 2003 Stuart Woods, Published by G.P. Putnam's Sons, a member of the Penguin Group (USA) Inc., all rights reserved, reprinted with permission by the publisher.

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Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 36 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 36 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 18, 2012

    Not as good as his first eight books were. Worth skipping.

    Another auther another political agenda. This is the ninth in the series of Stone Barrington. I have given Stuart Woods at least a four to five star rating on his previou eight in this series but this falls short within the last fifty or so pages with a liberal agenda of not doing whats right for any countrys survival. Im considering reading just one more book in this series to see if Mr. Woods comes to his senses. If not there goes the other fifteen books gone to heck. I will not support a liberal in his writings of total bull! Good luck to future readers!

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2006

    Not for serious international intrgue fans

    I have enjoyed most if not Stuart Woods¿s books. Yes, they are light mysteries, but entertaining none-the-less. He has gone beyond himself when he wrote Dirty Work. Instead of the typical run-of-the mill murder mystery set in New York or LA, he has taken a step into international intrigue. Mr. Woods watch out for the first step. This book demonstrates that he is not cut out for this genre. The plot is one-dimensional. The characters are like paper dolls, easily recognized and predictable. The dialogue is boring: `¿You¿ve got to stop this, Marie-Téresèse¿, he said.¿¿ His usual Manhattan travelogue with details of which direction one-way streets run, and which wines go with what foods just isn¿t enough to keep the reader¿s attention. I suggest that Mr. Woods stick to simple murder mysteries set in Manhattan or LA and leave the serious international intrigue to Daniel Silva or John Le Carre. He is not in their class and he never will be if he continues to spend the bulk of his time dining and drinking with New Yorkers and others who have second homes in Washington and Roxbury Connecticut.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2006

    New York - New York

    This book is all about New York and the New Yorker. The intense dialogue between barrington and the detective really lives up to the city. But the story line amusing as well. The outlaw in this book not just pretty but she's also smart, that's what blows me away. It's not cheesy and yet not too heavy. A very high profile crime did by just one petitte woman and made the entire agency go wild. It's like the tv series '24', but having her being the bad guy, make it even sexier. Can't stop reading this book, i finished it in half the day. Interesting!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 9, 2003

    Good but not great...

    Big fan of the Stone series and this one was a bit of a let down...plenty of intrigue and sex, tho, so all in all a good read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 11, 2003

    Stuart Woods a master of twists and turns.

    Stuart Woods was a new author to me and again I am hooked. The character of Stone Barrington is terrific. Stone begins his career as a policeman but becomes a New York State lawyer. Clients draw him into one breathless mystery after another. The twists and turns keeps the reader turning page after page. His partner on the force, Dino, appears as his constant sidekick and reminder to stay inside the law when solving cases. Some clients appear in a second book but don't let that stop you from reading. Each book is a completed case filled with murder, intrigue, sex and excitement. The following is the list of how the Stone Barrington books were released: New York Dead: Dirt, Dead In The Water, Swimming On Catalina, Worst Fears Realized, LA Dead, Cold Paradise, The Short Forever and Dirty Work.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 27, 2003

    Good summer read!

    The relationship and dialogue between Dino and Stone is more developed and enjoyable. Good story that keep your attention without difficulty. Characters are poorly developed and some unanswered questions that would certainly warrant a prequel. Typical Stone Bvarrington novel; I would reccomend it. Don't expect too much detail or character development ... it's not going to happen. Barrington's flaw has always been his weakness for the ladies. His ultimate fall will no doubt come when he finds himself between the legs of the next diva! Good read, enjoyable, and fun! Would love to see LaB (antagonist) tangle with Holly Barker. Carpenter and Stone could even make a guest appearance!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 27, 2003


    Loved this book. Couldn't put it down. A little farfetched but reading is escapism so this fits the bill nicely for me.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2003

    I can't believe Stuart Woods wrote this.

    I am an avid Stuart Woods fan and I love his Stone Barrington books. But I have a hard time believeing he wrote this. It was a disjointed almost cartoonish version. There was no character development, so there was no way to like or dislike any of them. If this was the first of his I had read, I would not want to read any others. I was very disappointed.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 20, 2003


    Few protagonists in the thriller/crime genre have proven to be as popular as Stone Barrington, once a lawyer now a cop. He's sophisticated, sexy, smart - everything readers could want. And he's given a voice laced with all of those qualities by able performer Tony Roberts Stone is hired to catch Lawrence Fortescue in the act - the act of being unfaithful to his wife, a rich-as-all-get-out woman who wants photographic proof of her mate's infidelity. To this end Stone hires a photographer who turns out to be a bumbler. The cameraman falls through a skylight onto the wandering husband who is then declared dead. Problem is he was poisoned, his playmate disappears, and the photog is charged with murder. The only pleasant surprise for Stone is running into Carpenter, the gorgeous British agent he met in past adventures. She's now in the Big Apple on an assignment of her own. Before long we learn that her life is also on the line. Stone Barrington and Stuart Woods - what a pair! Imaginative, woven with surprising twists and turns, 'Dirty Work' is enthralling listening.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    delightful espionage tale

    Stone Barrington serves of counsel to the New York law firm of Woodman & Weld, which means they are one step removed from any dirty work that has to be done for their high paying clients. Stone is asked to find someone to take pictures of Lawrence Fortescue cheating on his heiress wife so that, according to the terms of the prenuptial agreement, she can get a divorce and not pay him a cent in alimony. While the man Stone hires takes pictures, he has dinner with Carpenter, a beautiful espionage agent he met in England last year. When Stone retrieves the pictures, Carpenter recognizes Lawrence as one of the agents in her unit who quit the service. The woman in the picture Marie-Therese, a deadly assassin who blends as well as a chameleon into her surroundings killed him. She has a vendetta against those people in Carpenter¿s unit and has killed most of them with the exception of three people. Carpenter intends to get her before Marie-These kills her but Stone is the wild card in this spy game with no rules. The protagonist of this novel stays true to his own moral code even if it means working against his current lover. Stone brings a touch of class to the spy game, not waiting for foreign nationals who are supposedly the good guys, to make a hit on American soil. The antagonist of this thriller is easy to understand and even sympathetic when she agrees to a truce that Stone arranges. Stuart Woods knows how to tell a good story while showing his audience just how ugly the spy game can get. Harriet Klausner

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 17, 2003

    Another entertaining Stone Barrington novel.

    Stone Barrington is back, and this time he is on the loose in New York City. Assigned by his law firm to aide a client in the dumping of her unfaithful husband, Stone thinks this case to be 'dirty work', but when a dead body turns up he realizes there is more to this case than meets the eye. As Stone begins looking for answers he runs into Carpenter, the beautiful British agent he met while in London. Carpenter is in New York for her own investigation, on a case she is not willing to discuss, but the deeper Stone probes the more he gets the feeling her case is related to his. Teaming with his ex-partner Dino, Stone hits the streets of Manhattan in search of a very dangerous woman with the answers to a bizarre and complicated crime. `Dirty Work¿ is a fun, enjoyable novel¿one that will keep readers guessing. The Stone Barrington bestsellers are mysteries filled with surprises, sexy vixens, rogue heroes and intriguing plot lines, and this is one of the better entries in the series. Stuart Woods can always be depended upon to create an original, fast-paced thriller, and `Dirty Work¿ is a great way to spend a few hours in an easy chair. Expect to see this on all the lists. Nick Gonnella

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