Author: Marcia Muller and Bill Pronzini
Publisher: Forge Books (December 3, 2013)
Length: 256 Pages
About The Book:
In 1895 San Francisco young debutantes don’t commit suicide at festive parties, particularly not under the eye of Sabina Carpenter. But Virginia St. Ives evidently did, leaping from a foggy parapet in a shimmer of ghostly light. The seemingly impossible disappearance of her body creates an even more serious problem for the firm of Carpenter and Quincannon, Professional Detective Services.
Sabina hadn’t wanted to take the assignment, but her partner John Quincannon insisted it would serve as entrée to the city’s ultra rich and powerful. That means money, and Quincannon loves the almighty dollar. Which is why he is hunting the bandit who robbed the Wells, Fargo office of $35,000.
Working their separate cases (while Sabina holds John off with one light hand), the detectives give readers a tour of The City the way it was. From the infamous Barbary Coast to the expensive Tenderloin gaming houses and brothels frequented by wealthy men, Quincannon follows a danger-laden trail to unmask the murderous perpetrators of the Wells, Fargo robbery. Meanwhile, Sabina works her wiles on friends and relatives of the vanished debutante until the pieces of her puzzle start falling into place. But it’s an oddly disguised gent appearing out of nowhere who provides the final clue to both cases—the shrewd “crackbrain” who believes himself to be Sherlock Holmes.
~ "Do as you were told. Let the woman go."
"You won't shoot, lady...."
"Won't I? I've shot bigger men than you, and slept like a baby afterward." She took a step closer cocking the weapon with an audible click. "Release her--now!" ~ Page 149
Fun, likable characters make this mystery even more compelling. Sabina and John are polar opposites in almost every aspect of life and work. But that doesn't stop them from making a dynamic investigative team. A suicide without a body sets the stage for an adventurous hunt for answers. The plot deepens as multiple cases layer this investigation. Mystery laced with a budding romance made this a pleasant read, and for true mystery lovers, it will spark a desire to follow the other books in this series, as well.