The Penguin Pool Murder : Hildegarde Withers

  • by Stuart Palmer
  • Narrated by Julie McKay
  • Series: Hildegarde Withers
  • 7 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Although the Stock Market had crashed recently, it was too early for most people to predict that the Great Depression was about to get underway. For 39-year-old spinster schoolteacher Hildegarde Withers, it’s business as usual. And part of her usual business is taking her class for an outing to the aquarium to see the penguins. Instead, she spots the floating corpse of Wall Street broker Gerald Lester and quickly realizes that Inspector Oscar Piper of NYPD Homicide isn’t up to solving this tricky case, especially when he appears ready to accept he confession of an obviously innocent young man. Red herrings, not penguins, abound.
Miss Withers has a number of questions that need answers before she’s willing to reel in the real murderer: Who did Lester’s wife meet behind the stairs? What did the pickpocket see? Who was the man in the fedora? And just how did Miss Withers’ hatpin turn into a lethal weapon?
First published in 1931, The Penguin Pool Murder was as big a hit with book lovers as it was with moviegoers when it was filmed the following year starring Edna May Oliver as Miss Withers and James Gleason as Inspector Piper.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Absolutely delightful!

Nothing makes me happier than discovering a vintage mystery series I didn't know about, unless it is also discovering that it turns out to be a great read! I gather that this book, starring Miss Withers and Inspector Piper was made into a movie at the time, and I hope to find it.

Miss Withers, a teacher who has brought her young class to the aquarium, is there when a murder occurs at the penguin pool. She demonstrates very quickly that she has a good, grounded sort of common sense, and is able to point out things to the inspector to keep him on track during the inspection. She tends to be immediately accepted by the inspector, who realizes that as she offers good ideas and takes conversations down in shorthand, she is indispensable to solving the crime. Even though she is not officially part of the case, one quickly realizes that the author intends her to be the brains behind the process of solving it.

This book is written with a bit of comedic touch, but I doubt the author could have possibly anticipated how much more enjoyable it would become 80 years later to a completely different audience. In these days, we have authors who create female sleuths, trying to insert them into this same time period (just around the timeout of the stock market crash), and they are are fun to read. But this is the "Real McCoy," a woman who was developed into a clever and observant detective (of sorts), even though she is not really acknowledged that way around 1930 or so.

I love this book, and cannot wait for the next ones. The narrator does a very good job, getting the accents just right! This has been a total treat! Thanks, Audible, for bringing this one on board!
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- Kathi "Love books! Classics and lighter fiction, mysteries (not too violent please :-). And selective non-fiction--whatever takes my fancy."

Bad narrator

I read most of the Miss Withers books many years ago and enjoyed the 1930's movie series starring Edna Mae Oliver as Miss Withers. I was pleased to learn that the books were going to be released by

I'm sorry to say that my enjoyment of this book was greatly marred by the narrator. I would recommend anyone considering the purchase of this book to listen to the sample.
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- Amazon Customer

Book Details

  • Release Date: 05-03-2013
  • Publisher: Audible Studios