Carpenter and Quincannon is historical fiction. The Carpenter and Quincannon series of books is set in San Francisco in the 19th century. The books follow an ex-secret service agent called John Quincannon and his with Pinkerton Operative Sabina Carpenter.
Order of Carpenter and Quincannon Mystery Series
|1||The Bughouse Affair||2013|
|2||The Spook Lights Affair||2013|
|3||The Body Snatchers Affair||2015|
|4||The Plague of Thieves Affair||2016|
|5||The Dangerous Ladies Affair||2017|
The books, whose stories are set in the 1890s, began in 2013. The Bughouse Affair, the first book in the series finds Sabina chasing a thief that uses ruthless methods to relieve her victims of their valuables. The thief in question is proven to have a predilection for Chute Amusement Park.
John, on the other hand, has his eyes set on a housebreaker with a taste for the valuables of wealthy residents. When their two cases connect, the sleuths put their minds together to resolve a burgeoning problem, assisted along the way by Sherlock Holmes.
The Carpenter and Quincannon novels are mysteries. However, they also endeavor to explore San Francisco as it was all those centuries ago, availing readers a tour of the city and providing glimpses into the night life and undergrounds scene of the times.
The books almost always find Sabina and John working different cases before a sometimes tenuous connection drives them to work together in an effort to bring a criminal to justice.
The books have an inconsistent approach to their exploration of San Francisco. Some stories endeavor to paint the vivid differences between San Francisco in the 19th century and San Francisco in the 21st Century.
Attention is given to language and dressing and lifestyle, and the effort that went into researching the books shows.
Other times, however, the Carpenter and Quincannon books give the history of San Francisco little thought, using it as little more than a setting but ignoring it otherwise. The reactions to these two approaches are rarely positive.
Some books have been accused of sacrificing the quality and integrity of the mystery for the sake of providing a historical tour of San Francisco in the 19th century. Other books have been criticized for ignoring all the fascinating historical aspects of San Francisco.
Rarely do these books find the perfect balance necessary to appease the majority of readers.
While people typically associate the Carpenter and Quincannon books with Marcia Muller, she actually writes the series together with her husband, Bill Pronzini. Bill is credited as a co-author.
Bill was writing about John Quincannon as early as 1986 and he produced a number of books featuring the character before the 2013 reboot.
Marcia Muller is a notable name in the mystery arena. She is best known for the Sharon McCone books for which she has been awarded prizes like the Shamus Award. The Detroit-born native grew up in Birmingham, Michigan.
Marcia studied English at the University of Michigan. She spent a few years working as a journalist at Sunset magazine.
Best Carpenter and Quincannon Books
While the Carpenter and Quincannon are often targets of criticism, they seem to get better with each new book, with some of the best books in the series including the following:
The Plague of Thieves Affair: Carpenter and Quincannon have been in business for five years, working as sleuths. However, despite the many cases they have solved over the years, they still have no clue as to the identity of the madman pretending to be Sherlock Holmes.
The fact that he manifests a unique ability for solving cases only makes the mystery of his identity more frustrating. But Sabina cannot ignore the issue, not when the first clue as to his identity has finally come to light. Even with so much money on the line, though, Sabina doesn’t know if she wants to solve the Sherlock Holmes mystery, not when the man has proven so useful.
Meanwhile, John is tasked with investigating the death of a head brewmaster.
This book tries to finally put the whole Sherlock Holmes issue to rest. The book also doesn’t have as many interactions between Sabina and John, which is typically the strong point of the series.
The Body Snatchers: John Quincannon has the difficult task of finding a client’s husband in a Chinatown opium den.
Sabina Carpenter, on the other hand, must find the body of a millionaire that was stolen and is now being ransomed.
The threat of a war spurred by corrupt officials drives Carpenter and Quincannon to resolve their cases as quickly as possible.
This is a pretty easy read, even though the plot drags and a lot of pages are wasted on San Francisco history. John’s lecherous ways receive a lot of attention.
Other Book Series you May Like
The “Victoria Square Series” by Lorraine Bartlett centers on Katie Bonner who manages Artisans Alley in the shopping district known as Victoria Square. Katie is also an amateur sleuth who solves crimes whenever the opportunity arises.
“A Snow Globe Shop Mystery” Series by Christine Husom. These books center on Camryn Brooks who owns a shop that is inundated with snow globes. Brooks has a knack for solving murders.