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Publisher's Summary

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.
©2013 Pronzini Family Trust (P)2013 AudioGO, Ltd.
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Patrick on 01-27-13

Terrific, engaging detective story!

Would you listen to The Bughouse Affair again? Why?

Yes, I would. It's a terrific book with excellent characters and is also a very good detective story. It proposes an interesting "impossible" crime -- the kind of crime where it seems nobody could have done it -- and while I was busy looking to the left, the book sneaks its solution from the right, only to surprise me when I turned my head around. While not the most ingenious locked-room problem I've ever read -- for that, we'd need to turn to John Dickson Carr -- it's excellent as is.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Sabina Carpenter was a terrific character. I really liked how she keeps coming across women who have been abandoned by society -- widows, the elderly, mothers, etc. left to fend for themselves. A free spirit by nature, Sabina sympathizes with these women and tries everything in her power to help them, giving them the kindness and support that they desperately need.

Which character – as performed by Nick Sullivan and Meredith Mitchell – was your favorite?

I preferred Nick Sullivan's narration, because the Sherlock Holmes impression is uncanny. It sounds like he's channeling Basil Rathbone from those old radio shows, and it's a blast to listen to. Meredith Mitchell does a terrific job with the female characters, but when she reads the "bughouse Sherlock"'s lines, the English accent was unconvincing.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Well, I loved it -- does that count as extreme? It combines an interesting time period and a great detective duo with a tricky plot. The clues are all there and the reader is on equal footing with the detective. There’s a good locked room mystery. The historical colour is terrific. Sherlock Holmes sort-of shows up as a crazy Limey who calls himself Sherlock Holmes, but it couldn't possibly be Holmes because he fell over the Reichenbach Falls, right? (It's a very fun little parody.)

Any additional comments?

It’s a delicious book and a promising start to the series’ incarnation as novels -- Bill Pronzini previously wrote some short stories with these characters, but this is the first novel and the first collaboration with his wife Marcia Muller. It was a very enjoyable, entertaining book. Here’s hoping they continue!

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars
By consuelo on 07-19-14

Why can't readers look words up?

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

No, I would have been better off reading it. Once again I found myself listening to readers who didn't know, and didn't bother to learn, how to pronounce words. What gives?

Would you be willing to try another book from Bill Pronzini and Marcia Muller ? Why or why not?

Possibly, although I wasn't thrilled with the Sherlock Holmes character. It seemed completely extraneous and also annoying. Sherlock Holmes, as written by A. C. Doyle, wasn't nearly so smarmy.

How could the performance have been better?

Look the words up!!! I'm so tired of paying for audio books read by people who don't know how to say the words on the page.

Was The Bughouse Affair worth the listening time?


Any additional comments?

Audible needs to check these books before making them available for a fee. If the companies that produce them don't do a decent job, don't buy them and turn around and sell them to us. I don't think it's too much to ask that the performers know what they're doing and that the producers correct the performers when necessary. If not, what exactly are we paying for?

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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