Sunday, February 12, 2017

The Spook Lights Affair -- Marcia Muller & Bill Pronzini

I enjoy the cases of John Quincannon and Sabina Carpenter in both short story and novel form.  The setting of San Francisco in the Gilded Age is a bonus that I especially like. 

This time the two detectives are working on what appear to be entirely separate cases, but it won't surprise any crime-fiction fan that the cases turn out to be connected.

Carpenter's case is the apparent suicide of a young woman whom Sabina is being paid to watch out for.  This occurs while a big party is going on at the home of her wealthy parents, and of course it's a big sensation.  One little problem is that there's no body at the bottom of the cliff.

Qunincannon's case is a Wells-Fargo robbery that offers a big reward.  He's not working in high society, and he follows a trail that takes him to the bars and dives of the Barbary Coast.  Quincannon's a great character, very full of himself and sure of his abilities as the peerless detective.  He's really very good, but foibles make him a lot of fun.

As I mentioned above, the setting is an important part of the book, with plenty of colorful San Francisco history interwoven into the story.  If you're not familiar with this series, give it a try.  Great stuff.

8 comments:

TracyK said...

Thanks for this review, Bill. My husband gave me the first book in this series after he finished it, and I do need to get to it in 2017.

Jeffrey Meyerson said...

I hope everyone reading these is aware that Bill Pronzini wrote several in the series on his own - QUINCANNON, QUINCANNON'S GAME, and the short story collection CARPENTER AND QUINCANNON: PROFESSIONAL DETECTIVE SERVICES.

Barry Ergang said...

After reading and enjoying THE BUGHOUSE AFFAIR last year, I look forward to reading this one.

Don Coffin said...

I recently read The Bughouse Affair, and liked it quite a lot, and immediately purchased the other novels, of which this was one...so it's in the TBR pixels pack.

TracyK said...

I knew but had forgotten that the series began with Bill Pronzini's books and I will have to get copies. Especially the short story book. Thanks for pointing that out, Jeffrey.

Bill Pronzini said...

Very nice review, Bill. Thanks from both of us. The C&Q books are fun to research and write; good to know that discerning readers share our enjoyment in the series.

Cap'n Bob said...

I'm one of those discerning readers, Bill and Bill and Marcia, and I'll grab this later in the week when I make a B&N run.

Diane Kelley said...

I've read a couple John Quincannon and Sabina Carpenter books and enjoyed them.