Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Bughouse Affair

The Bughouse Affair
A Carpenter and Quincannon Mystery
Marcia Muller and Bill Pronzini
A Tom Doherty Associates
A Forge Hardcover
New York
ISBN: 978-0-7653-3174-8
$ 24.99
269 pages
Sabina Carpenter as a former Pinkerton operative and John Quincannon, a former Secret Servie agent joined forces to establish their own private detective agencies in San Francisco during the 1890s. Unfortunately for the two, they are joined by the mysterious Sherlock Holmes, or a man pretending to be the supposedly deceased investigator. Or is Holmes alive and well and willing to help in San Francisco?
Sabina is in pursuit of a local pickpocket who preys on wealthy men. This female criminal usually attacks her victims by stabbing them in the side with her hat pin. While the victim is reacting to the pain, she quickly empty his pockets.
John is currently looking for a thief who prefers to break into the houses of prominent businessmen while they are out during the evening. He is employed by the insurance firm that happens to insure these wealthy homes. The company greatly prefers to hire the agency to retrieve the stolen goods rather than having to pay for the value of the stolen property.
Through past experiences both investigators examine the well-known culprits and decide to begin questioning the most likely candidates who have similar habits in continuing their criminal life.
John closely analyzes those who have already been robbed and notices a relationship which lets him conclude who the next victims might be. As he plans to watch for the thief at a particular house, he is joined by the legendary and annoying know-it-all Sherlock Holmes.
THE BUGHOUSE AFFAIR is a fast-paced, mystery novel alternating between the two investigators while they attempt to avoid the involvement of the supposedly dead and questionable Sherlock Holmes.
The story is realistic with problems and distractions for both Sabina and John while they continue in an organized and logical way. They have an unusual relationship which leads to tension between the two that could develop into a romance. However, with the past for both of them, caution is well understood. Who knows what looms in the future?
The authors, Marcia Muller and Bill Pronzini, are a husband/wife writing team with both being successful independently. Marcia Muller has written more than thirty-five novels and received the Mystery Writers of America's Grand Master Award in 2006. Bill Pronzini also received the Grand Master Award from the Mystery Writers in America in 2008 which makes the two, the only living couple to share this honor. Together they have written three previous novels.
The Bughouse Affair definitely demonstrates what two experienced award winning authors can do collaboratively. I look forward to more of these well-written novels with the delightful characters of John and Sabina in the future.

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