Sunday, May 12, 2013

The Bughouse Affair by Marcia Muller and Bill Pronzini

This is a new series called Carpenter and Quincannon! Yay! I am excited.  I enjoyed this book. John Quincannon and Sabina Carpenter decide to pair up and start a detective agency in San Francisco in 1894.
Quincannon is on a case from an insurance company.  He needs to find out who is the burglar robbing the clients of the insurance company.  Carpenter is contracted to find out who is pickpocketing people at an amusement park. Both are on the trails of the suspects and their cases actually come together at one point. And they happen to meet a man claiming to be Sherlock Homes!

Description from Macmillan:
In The Bughouse Affair, this first of a new series of lighthearted historical mysteries set in 1890s San Francisco, former Pinkerton operative Sabina Carpenter and her detective partner, ex-Secret Service agent John Quincannon, undertake what initially appear to be two unrelated investigations.

Sabina’s case involves the hunt for a ruthless lady “dip” who uses fiendish means to relieve her victims of their valuables at Chutes Amusement Park and other crowded places.  Quincannon, meanwhile, is after a slippery housebreaker who targets the homes of wealthy residents, following a trail that leads him from the infamous Barbary Coast to an oyster pirate’s lair to a Tenderloin parlor house known as the Fiddle Dee Dee.
The two cases eventually connect in surprising fashion, but not before two murders and assorted other felonies complicate matters even further. And not before the two sleuths are hindered, assisted, and exasperated by the bughouse Sherlock Holmes.
Fans of Marcia’s Muller’s bestselling Sharon McCone novels and Bill Pronzini’s Nameless Detective series will applaud this and future exploits from the annals of Carpenter and Quincannon, Professional Detective Services.

Excerpt:
1
QUINCANNON


It was late morning of a warmish early fall day when Quincannon, in high good spirits, walked into the handsomely appointed offices he shared with his partner. Sabina had opened the window behind her desk, the window that overlooked Market Street and bore the words CARPENTER AND QUINCANNON, PROFESSIONAL DETECTIVE SERVICES. A balmy breeze off San Francisco Bay freshened the air in the room, carrying with it the passing rumble of a cable car, the clatter of dray wagons, the calls of vendors hawking fresh oysters and white bay shrimp in the market across the street, the booming horn of one of the fast coastal steamers as it drew into or away from the Embarcadero.
Sabina was reading one of the city’s morning newspapers. Unlike many women in this year of 1894, she read them front to back, devouring political and sensational news along with the social columns and features aimed at her sisters. She glanced up at Quincannon, smiled, and immediately returned her attention to the newsprint. This gave him the opportunity to feast his gaze on her—something he never tired of doing—without fear of reprimand.
She was not a beautiful woman, but at thirty-one she possessed a mature comeliness that melted his hard Scot’s heart. There was strength in her high-cheekboned face, a keen intelligence in eyes the color of dark blue velvet. Her seal-black hair, layered high and fastened with one of the jeweled combs she favored, glistened with bluish highlights in the pale sunlight slanting in at her back. And her figure … ah, her figure. Slim, delicately rounded and curved in a beige cotton skirt and white blouse with leg-o’-mutton sleeves. Many men found her attractive, to be sure—and as a young widow, fair game. But if any had been allowed inside her Russian Hill flat, he was not aware of it; she was a strict guardian of her private life.
They had been partners in San Francisco’s premier investigative agency for over three years now. When they had met by chance in Silver City, Idaho, he had been an operative of the United States Secret Service investigating a counterfeiting operation, and she had been a Pink Rose, one of the select handful of women employed as investigators by the Pinkerton International Detective Agency, at the time working undercover to expose a pyramid swindle involving mining company stock. Circumstances had led them to join forces to mutually satisfactory conclusions, and resulted in an alliance that had prompted Quincannon to wire her at the Pinkerton Agency in Denver shortly after his return to San Francisco:
I AM CONSIDERING RESIGNATION FROM SERVICE TO ESTABLISH PRIVATE PRACTICE STOP WOULD YOU BE INTERESTED IN MOVE TO SF TO JOIN THIS VENTURE QMK STRICTLY BUSINESS OF COURSE
Her reply had come the next afternoon:
YOUR OFFER PLEASANT SURPRISE STOP YES I WOULD CONSIDER IF EQUAL PARTNERSHIP WHAT YOU HAVE IN MIND STOP STRICTLY BUSINESS OF COURSE STOP IF YOUR ANSWER AFFIRMATIVE I WILL REQUEST LEAVE OF ABSENCE TO COME TO YOUR CITY FOR DISCUSSION OF TERMS
Two weeks later, she had arrived by train and ferry, and not long afterward the joint venture had been established and their offices leased and opened for business. Quincannon had no regrets where their professional relationship was concerned; it had turned out to be more compatible and successful than either of them had foreseen. A man engaged in the time-honored profession of manhunter couldn’t ask for a more capable associate. He could, however, eventually ask for more than a “strictly business” arrangement and an occasional luncheon and a few dinners that had ended with nothing more than a chaste handshake.
Read more here.

Pages: 269

No comments: