The Dangerous Ladies Affair: A Carpenter and Quincannon Mystery
Married couple Muller and Pronzini team up again on their fifth Carpenter and Quincannon mystery, set in 1890s San Francisco. Sabina Carpenter and John Quincannon are partners in the firm, Carpenter and Quincannon, Professional Detective Services, and as the series continues, they are exploring a potential romantic partnership as well.
Their mysteries follow a pattern: Sabina and John each take separate cases, so there are two strands to each book. In this one, Sabina is investigating threatening letters received by a friend and fellow suffragette while John pursues a banker’s blackmailer. As befitting their talents, Sabina’s investigations involve persistent questioning, putting stories together, while John’s investigations tend towards the physical, getting information in seedy saloons, where the reformed drinker virtuously sips warm clam juice (ugh!) and travels to remote locales, in this case a remote island in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
I’ve enjoyed this series, and the latest is no exception. Muller’s contemporary Sharon McCone mysteries also feature San Francisco, and her fondness for its history is quite evident in these books. Sabina and John are equals, and I think John recognizes that Sabina may be too good for him, which bodes well for their future romance.