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Death Was the Other Woman (Kitty Pangborn #1)

3.66  ·  Rating Details ·  174 Ratings  ·  47 Reviews
As the lawlessness of Prohibition pushes against the desperation of the Depression, there are two ways to make a living in Los Angeles: join the criminals or collar them. Kitty Pangborn has chosen the crime-fighters, becoming secretary to Dexter J. Theroux, one of the hard-drinking, tough-talking PIs who pepper the city's stew. But after Dex takes an assignment from Rita H ...more
Hardcover, Cover by David Rotstein, 272 pages
Published January 8th 2008 by Minotaur Books
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(showing 1-30)
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David Monroe
Jun 01, 2011 David Monroe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: hardboiled noir and mystery fans
Audio DL from the Library. Sometimes when I get an audio of a book I know I could breeze through much faster in print, it annoys me. Not so in this case. Linda Richards fills her book with fun noir 30s slang that is best when heard rather than read.

Death Was the Other Woman is an interesting twist on the hardboiled 30s LA noir. We see the world through the eyes of Kitty, a 30s Girl-Friday who takes matters into her own hands. Kitty Pangborn was a 21 year old child of privilege who lost everythin
Oct 04, 2015 Amy rated it liked it
I love the feel of this book. A depression era/hard boiled detective read told (and solved) by "Girl Friday." The main character, Kitty, is a strong female lead. I got a irritated with the continual references to her father. Sometimes it added to her psychology but mostly it added a heavy, depressing element. Otherwise, Kitty is great. I like her relationships with those around her (especially the half-flirty, half-business attitude of a certain boss...)
Sometimes the book felt like it wanted to

So, what were the plucky secretaries of rye-guzzling PIs doing while their employers moped about gorgeous women and betrayal? They did the actual detective work around the office, apparently.

DEATH WAS THE OTHER WOMAN is a feminine take on the hard life of a struggling P. I. and his assistant during the harsh years of the beginning of the Depression before the Prohibition repeal. Both the investigator and the crime are pure throwbacks to classic hard boiled crime: a glamorous wo
Apr 25, 2009 Debra rated it really liked it

Twenty-three-year-old secretary, Katherine (Kitty) Pangborn, isn’t impressed with her boss’s new client, but private investigator, Dex Theroux, can’t afford to turn business away. Rita Heppelwaite’s hired Dex to find out if her rich boyfriend, Harrison Dempsey, is cheating on her. Needless to say, things don’t go well. Kitty discovers Harrison’s body in a bathtub. The next day, she and Dex learn that his body’s disappeared and there’s no trace of a murder at all.

This is one of many plot twists i
May 26, 2016 Travis rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery
Some decent ideas and the writer seems to really be trying, but this is a mess.
Lots of exposition dumps, telling us stuff and most of the time it's more than we need.

Especially since it seems to clash with what we are shown. We are told Dex is charming, good-looking and a great detective, but we are shown an alcoholic chucklehead, who doesn't seem to accomplish much or do much to move the plot along.
His girl sidekick does most of the work and even she doesn't actually do much detecting.

Maybe tha
Jan 22, 2009 AM rated it liked it
This was good enough entertainment especially on audio. Thirty's slang is always better spoken, at least for me. It looks cold and funny on the page, my brain spending too much time deciphering the word and less letting the story give the meaning. So, I'm glad I picked this one to listen to on my mp3 player. As mysteries go it was a little light, I never really felt the danger. I liked the world well enough, though I'd have like to see more of it. Not a longer story, just more meat. I think I'll ...more
Linda Aull
Oct 10, 2009 Linda Aull rated it really liked it
Shelves: mysteryormurder
I really enjoyed this and the second in the (what I hope is a long) series. Sometimes, mystery series become just a little formulaic - so much so that you can pick out the culprit in the opening chapters. This throwback to the hardboiled detective genre is convincing, even while it seems a little tongue-in-cheek.

This book brought a little light into my reading life, helping me break through a loooooong reading drought. The sequel was very good too.
Feb 16, 2015 dianne rated it really liked it
Shelves: lady-marion
i was captivated by the cover - so very noir. Enjoyed the descriptions of an early Los Angeles - a place i've spent too much time in - and the characters were a delight to meet.
Mar 29, 2008 Patricia rated it it was amazing
Death Was The Other Woman – 5 Paws
Linda L. Richards
Thomas Dunne Books, 2008, 261 pps.
ISBN No. 978-0-312-37770-0

A couple of twenties, three sawbucks, a fin and a mitt full of singles or the grand sum of $83.00 makes up the retainer paid to Dexter Theroux, Jr. a/k/a Dex by Rita Heppelwaite to check up on her boyfriend who she thinks is stepping out on her. Katherine Panghorn, Dex’s secretary, is pleased with the retainer. Times are hard and Dex isn’t always able to pay Katherine on time.

Feb 17, 2009 Loren rated it liked it

Contrary to the popular proverb, plenty of people select books based on the winsomeness of their dust jackets, and if cover content alone counted, Linda L. Richards would rock the bestseller lists. Her hardcover debut, Death Was the Other Woman, not only possesses a killer title, it also has artwork so sharp you could cut yourself on it. The front features a bleary-eyed gumshoe pouring a drink as he stares up at the beauty with bee-stung lips leaning against his desk, a
Jen Blood
May 01, 2011 Jen Blood rated it really liked it
Set in the Hollywood Hills post-WWI, just as the Depression is hitting and Prohibition is on the rocks, Death Was the Other Woman is the kind of historical fiction I can handle – rich in setting, with enough historical accuracy to feel authentic, but enough fiction to keep the pages turning. Author Linda L. Richards does a fabulous job of setting an authentic tone with her knowledgeable, pithy descriptions of California during that era, as told by her spunky heroine, Kitty Pangborn. Kitty is the ...more
Genre Fiction done right! Loved it, great book that ran all over the pages of Queenspin and then came back for seconds and kicks its ass clean across the sidewalk. Anyway, Kit Pangborn is a chick living in Depression Era LA working a case with detective dreamy Dex (Who I wanted to smooch on all afternoon, he was a great character). This book is written in a style that isn't just genre fiction, it's literary fiction as well. Great descriptions almost what I would compare to the style of James M ...more
Kris - My Novelesque Life
Nov 18, 2011 Kris - My Novelesque Life rated it really liked it

"As the lawlessness of Prohibition pushes against the desperation of the Depression, there are two ways to make a living in Los Angeles: join the criminals or collar them. Kitty Pangborn has chosen the crime-fighters, becoming secretary to Dexter J. Theroux, one of the hard-drinking, tough-talking PIs who pepper the city's stew. But after Dex takes an assignment from Rita Heppelwaite, the mistress of Harrison Dempsey, one of L.A.'s shadiest—and richest—businessmen, Kitty isn't so sure w
Mar 23, 2009 Nikki rated it really liked it
As you may have guessed from my love of the Algonquin Round Table folks, I very much enjoy books set between the wars. I thought this one was quite good and I found the character of Kitty (no! Katherine!) Pangborn quite believable and one I'd like to hear more about. In general, I felt Ms. Richards did a great job in giving the flavor of the times. For example, although I've spent time in LA I was really not aware of there having been a lot of oil wells there in the early 30s, but this was the c ...more
Jul 19, 2012 Nancy rated it really liked it
Shelves: mysteries
I really loved this contemporary take on a hard-boiled detective novel. Set in Depression-era Los Angeles, it was filled with tough guys and gorgeous bad girls.

What fun for a summer afternoon! The narrator was an elegantly reared orphan whose father jumped from his office tower when the stock market crashed on Black Friday. Leaving finishing school with no money, no prospects, no way to continue her plans to attend Vassar, our heroine stumbles into a job with an attractive (but gloomy) WW1 vet w
Mar 25, 2010 Ashley rated it liked it
Should have read this one first. A LOT of background on the characters in Richards' delightful (yes, delightful!) noir-ish detective series :-) Some of this would have been nice to know before I read Death Was in the Picture: A Mystery, but no harm. You can see Richards was still experimenting with style and tone here; there are a few moments where Kitty gets a bit too editorial-y. A bit darker, but still fun. I probably would have enjoyed this better if I hadn't read Death Was in the Picture fi ...more
Bronwyn Rykiert
Feb 13, 2011 Bronwyn Rykiert rated it liked it
What attracted to me to pick it up was the cover as it looked interesting.

Kitty (my name is Katherine) tells the story, she works for Dexter Theroux, a heavy drinking PI who has lots of secrets. It is timed in the 1920's. Rita Hepplewaite hires Dexter to find if her boyfriend is having an affair or not, Kitty goes with him because she doesn't trust Dexter to drive because he's been dringking, again. They find a dead body (the boyfriend?) - we find there's a wife and another woman and another man
Apr 06, 2008 J.b. rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone who likes mysteries, female sleuths, detective novels, noir fiction.
Linda L. Richards tells tale of the "girl Friday" in this twist of the typical Depression-era P.I. tale. Richards takes a finishing school doll, whose father committed suicide as his stocks plummeted in the crash of '29-leaving her penniless, and has her get a job to support herself. Her boss is Dexter Thoreaux, a down and out drunk disturbed by his experiences in WWI and not always able to face the day with both feet on the ground. Enter Katharine "Kitty" Pangborn, secretary -cum-sleuth.

It's a
Jan 13, 2013 Gregg rated it it was amazing
Good, old fashioned hard boiled detective story with a twist. It's told from the dame's point of view. The more competent secretary to the P.I. narrates the story and while she is not an experienced detective, she has a different viewpoint than her scotch swilling boss. I wasn't sure about the premise at first, but it works and works well. I went in not expecting to get much enjoyment out of the story, but I was wrong.I thoroughly enjoyed the book and look forward to reading "Death Was In The Pi ...more
John McCarthy
Jun 29, 2013 John McCarthy rated it liked it
Katherine Pangborn was born to wealth in Los Angeles but has to leave school to make a living after her father loses everything in the stock market crash. She lands a job as a secretary with the hard drinking detective Dex Theroux. This 1930's noir starts with a dame concerned about a cheating boyfriend and spirals into a murder mystery. Young Katherine transforms from an underworked secretary into a valued investigative partner. The story told from Katherine's perspective and filled with the sl ...more
Apr 01, 2008 Michelle rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Noir fans
Shelves: noir
Oh, I'll admit that I picked this book up at the library solely because of its fabulous cover art, but the plot did not disappoint. In fact, I'll even go as far to say that Linda L. Richards is now one of my top 5 favorite new writers. Kitty Pangborn is one plucky heroine and adds a fresh feminine voice to the noir oeuvre. The only thing that prevented this book from 5 stars was the fact that it wasn't as dark as most noir books are - and I missed that darkness.
Sep 07, 2008 Mascanlon rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Sam Spade lovers
Linda Richard has created a great new crime fiction character in this book. Its right out of the 1930's hard boiled classics-guns and gams, booze and bodies. Kitty Pangborn's on the case. The story keeps you guessing right to the end. And the descriptions of life in the cities during the depression as Prohibition is setting is perfect fro this girl Friday turned private eye in order to turn a dime without turning tricks!
Apr 09, 2009 Manda rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
I really think that the Girl Friday POV introduced here is a refreshing change of pace to the pulp noir detective story. I read the book following this one first, though, and in comparison didn't like this one quite as much, but I still am quite looking forward to more of the adventures of Kitty Pangborn and Dex Theroux.
Sep 04, 2011 Allison rated it did not like it
Shelves: gave-up-on
I wanted to like this one. The author simultaneously tried too hard and didn't try hard enough. In this book, slang became more important than the fresh, clever wording that makes authentic noire what it is.
Jul 28, 2009 SueAnn rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Lind Richards' Death Was the Other Woman: A Novel was really fun to listen to as it was set in vintage Los Angeles. Lots of details on the crime solving profession during that time, and lots of interesting LA facts and lingo.
Mar 10, 2008 Eric rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime, 2008
While the P.I. is up in San Francisco chasing down leads, his secretary is down in Los Angeles solving the crime. Great depression-era dectective novel. I'm not sure what the author has planned, but I'd love to see more Kitty Pangborn in the future.
Aug 11, 2013 Claire rated it really liked it
Shelves: mysteries
This was a fun book. The slang and attitude of the times is great to read, and you're pulled in as soon as you turn the first page. Characters are believable and interesting to follow, and the plot is mysterious enough to keep you guessing. Wish there were more!
May 21, 2008 Kathryn rated it liked it
I love noir fiction. This is contemporary, and the protagonist is a woman, which is the only way you can tell it WASN'T written in 1934.
Ultimately, the mystery of it wasn't very mysterious, but that deficit was overcome by the appealing style & characters.
Jul 25, 2011 Jessica rated it did not like it
It was a routine plot layered with overblown 1930's gangster language. I wanted the characters to turn the gun on me and pull the trigger to get this book over with. And the main character isn't interesting enough to follow for a series. If you like this kind of book, read Mickey Spillane.
Jul 31, 2008 Jennifer rated it liked it
Fun, easy read with '30's slang.
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Publisher of Self-Counsel Press. Editor of January Magazine. My 7th novel came out April 2016. Locavore. (And not just during the full moon.)
More about Linda L. Richards...

Other Books in the Series

Kitty Pangborn (2 books)
  • Death Was in the Picture

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