The Bughouse Affair by Marcia Muller and Bill PronziniThe Bughouse Affair by Marcia Muller, Bill Pronzini
Narrator: Nick Sullivan, Meredith Mitchell
Series: Carpenter and Quincannon Mystery #1
Published by AudioGO on February 5, 2013
Genres: Mystery
Length: 6 hrs 57 mins
Format: Audiobook
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In 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.

I expected to really enjoy this one. I’m a sucker for historical mysteries and pair a couple of sleuths with a maybe Sherlock Holmes- ti should have been right up my alley. Turned out it was just kind of meh.

Sabina and Quincannon were a little bland. To be honest, it’s a few days after i read the book and I can’t really think of anything particularly interesting about either. She’s a widow. He’s a bit full of himself. They’re both clever enough, but I guess I don’t feel like we really got to know them, or maybe there’s nothing much to know. Then there’s the Sherlock, who may actually be him but may not. i don’t understand shy he was there, if this is a series focussed on the otehr two, the authors should have just left him out. He didn’t add much to the story, besides being annoying. I assume he’ll show up in later books in the series, which I think is a shame. i think Sabina and Quincannon could hold the series on their own without the gimmick, given the chance.

I don’t like how separate Sabina and Quincannon’s investigations are. I would have like to see them work together more, or consult each other. I think having two narrators accentuated the separation, too. Having two narrators doesn’t work for me like 80% of the time, and this was one of those instances. Each did well enough on their own, although I found Sabina’s narrator a bit unemotional, but the alternating always jarred me. I want to be told the story – which one narrator can do fully well, presuming they are good at their job.

The plot was neither here not there. In the end it was a bit simple, and we didn’t really learn enough about the secondary characters to connect with them.

Happily, I picked this up from the library, so the fact that’s it’s a miss is okay. Not sure I’ll listen to the next in the series unless I’m desperate.


About Bill Pronzini

Bill Pronzini (born April 13, 1943) is an American writer of detective fiction. He is also an active anthologist, having compiled more than 100 collections, most of which focus on mystery, western, and science fiction short stories.
He is married to Marcia Muller with whom he has collaborated on several novels.

About Marcia Muller

Marcia Muller (born September 28, 1944[1]) is an American author of fictional mystery and thriller novels. Muller has written many novels featuring her Sharon McCone female private detective character.

She was born in Detroit, Michigan and grew up in Birmingham, Michigan. She graduated in English from the University of Michigan and worked as a journalist at Sunset magazine. She is married to detective fiction author Bill Pronzini with whom she has collaborated on several novels.


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