The St. Charles House

( 1 )

Overview

A rollicking rock 'n roll mystery set in the famous—and infamous—6th Street districk of Austin, Texas. The first in a series of mystery novels about easygoing accidental seuth Emerson Tuck Tucker.

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The St. Charles House

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Overview

A rollicking rock 'n roll mystery set in the famous—and infamous—6th Street districk of Austin, Texas. The first in a series of mystery novels about easygoing accidental seuth Emerson Tuck Tucker.

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Editorial Reviews

Betty Webb
Tuck and his golden retriever, Pig Dog, make fine companions for a cold winter's night, especially when Tuck's propensity for humor is given free rein. Let's hope this merry prankster returns soon.
Mystery Scene Magazine
Betty Webb
Tuck and his golden retriever, Pig Dog, make fine companions for a cold winter's night, especially when Tuck's propensity for humor is given free rein. Let's hope this merry prankster returns soon.
Mystery Scene Magazine
Mystery Scene Magazine - Betty Webb
In Stephen Banister's The St. Charles House (DarkStar, $15.95), the protagonist is so busy cracking jokes that he's unaware of the danger that surrounds him. Emerson Tuck Tucker is a slacker gambler who has won a small Austin, Texas, apartment building in a poker game. Tuck and his golden retriever, Pig Dog, make fine companions for a cold winter's night, especially when Tuck's propensity for humor is given free rein. Let's hope this merry prankster returns soon.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780981986630
  • Publisher: DarkStar Books
  • Publication date: 12/25/2009
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 220
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Stephen Banister was introduced to writing by his high school English teacher who allowed him to write his term paper on the women of James Bond and loaned him her Ian Fleming books as a reference. He didn't start writing seriously until twenty years ago by writing in winter, golfing in spring and summer and following college football in fall. This produced a dozen novel manuscripts, two of which reached publication. THE ST. CHARLES HOUSE, introduces a loveable, yet wiseass, easy-going accidental sleuth named Emerson "Tuck" Tucker. The next Tuck & Pig Dog mystery, CERVEZA, TEXAS, is due out in 2011.
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 9, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    The St. Charles House... A Review

    Have you ever actually read a pulp novel? I mean a real, hardcore, down-in-the-grit Sam Spade or Mickey Spillane detective mystery? I'm not talking about posh (and frequently English) whodunits by Agatha Christie, Ellery Queen, Rex Stout and I'm not talking about finding the clues to tell us that it was the Vicar who killed the butler with a candlestick in the library; I mean hardboiled, solid American "life is dirty and hard" stories with main characters (grafters, gamblers, corrupt cops, two-bit lawyers, etc.) scrambling to just make enough to get them from one day to the next. What made pulp novels so enjoyable was that the plots were simply vehicles through which we could observe the dark and frequently joyless life of the characters without having to worry about feeling sympathy for elite characters who lived their lives in comfort and luxury which many of us will never know. Pulp novels also contained primal and archetypal clichés and lines which we all recognize. Stephen Banister's The Saint Charles House is a worthy successor to that tradition.

    Set in and around an unremarkable three-story building on Sixth Street in Austin, Texas, the action takes place within walking distance of the title building. Much like the French Quarter in New Orleans, while Sixth Street is famous for its raucous parties and out-of-control college students, it is also the home stomping ground of its residents and employees. Emerson "Tuck" Tucker, the resident owner of The St. Charles House and his golden retriever, Pig Dog, are among those who call Sixth Street "home".

    The first murder takes place in the first page and a half. Between then and the last page and a half, we are introduced to characters that can only exist in a small world. Bars, private poker games, and the very thin line which separates the criminal world from the world of those walk close to the edge of legality are all grist for the pulp mill, and Banister has his mill running at full speed. The ending, in particular, was really surprising and would have been worthy of the best Bogart film noir movie.

    If I were to give a criticism to the story it would be that it had too many of the murder mystery clichés. It was almost like the newest Star Trek movie, where it seemed like they had a checklist of references to the known Star Trek stories and didn't trust that they would have more movies to spread them out between. None of them are out of place or inappropriate, they are just too numerous to not be conscious of as you read them. Even the prejudices of the characters are recognizable . at least for a Texan. And remember, if you shoot a Texan's dog, you WILL come out of the losing end of that event.

    Now, I want to say here that I am starting to think that there is a new sub-genre which Dark Star Books seems to be utilizing. Just as the Robert Asprin novel No Quarter used the French Quarter as a character as important as any of the human actors, so The St. Charles House uses Sixth Street. These novels allow us to glimpse some of the intimate details and unique peculiarities of life in those small worlds. And, really, isn't the reason that we read fiction is to escape our own world and visit another-even if just for a short time?

    One last little detail about the book which I would like the reader to note is that all of the chapters are headed with five card poker hands. Those hands mean something. Not something that you need to decode to u

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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