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The Spook Lights Affair (A Carpenter and Quincannon Mystery #2)

3.28  ·  Rating Details ·  476 Ratings  ·  100 Reviews
In 1895 San Francisco young debutantes don't commit suicide at festive parties, particularly not under the eye of Sabina Carpenter. But Virginia St. Ives evidently did, leaping from a foggy parapet in a shimmer of ghostly light. The seemingly impossible disappearance of her body creates an even more serious problem for the firm of Carpenter and Quincannon, Professional Det ...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published December 3rd 2013 by Forge Books
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May 20, 2014 Amy marked it as abandoned  ·  review of another edition
Oh, this just isn't going to work for me. I'm sure the story is good. Sadly, the audio narration left a lot to be desired. Meredith Mitchell in particular was reading as if she were reading a phone book. A little voice and expression would have been welcome. If I come back to this one, it will be in print format.
Aug 26, 2013 Kimberly rated it really liked it
Carpenter & Quincannon Detective Agency is still in its youth so when a high profile client asks Sabina to babysit their spirited young daughter she grudgingly accepts. The young woman in question is Virginia St. Ives. On a foggy night, while attending a ball, and under the watchful eye of Sabrina, she commits suicide and the body vanishes. This turn of events creates scandal and serious problems for the C & Q Detective Agency. Sabina is determined to figure out what happen and clear her ...more
Nov 10, 2014 Scott rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-suspense
The Spook Lights Affair is a light mystery revolving around the apparent suicide of a wealthy debutante one foggy night during a party in San Francisco, 1895. Detective Sabina Carpenter was hired to look after the girl and the tragedy is seen as a failure on her part. But Sabina senses that not all is as it seemed, and she pursues her own investigation in order to salvage her agency's reputation.

Meanwhile, her partner, John Quincannon, is working on a bank robbery case: $35,000 stolen and not a
Jan 29, 2014 Naomi rated it it was ok
I have to admit that the whole reason that I grabbed this book from my library was that I saw that Bill Pronzini was listed as a co-author. I love his writing so I was dying to see the influence of it in this book. It had very little of the tension that I love his books for.

This book had more of a "cozy-lite" feel to it which simply bored me. Although parts of the story grabbed me, the majority did not.

While I wouldn't continue on with this series,I did feel that it was written well enough to p
Jul 31, 2014 Hapzydeco rated it really liked it
Set in San Francisco in 1895, the Carpenter and Quincannon, Professional Detective Services finds itself involved in two separate cases that in the end become one and the same. While the storyline may prove simple and predictable, the descriptive passages of California living at the turn of the century makes this an enjoyable read.
Apr 28, 2014 Ladiibbug rated it liked it
#2 Quincannon/Carpenter mystery

This is a good story, not too complicated plotwise, but enjoyable. I doubt I'll read more of this series, due to my long TBR.

I picked this up at the library because I liked the cover and title.
Linda Brue
Dec 26, 2016 Linda Brue rated it really liked it
It is 1895, and the firm of Carpenter and Quincannon, Professional Detective Services has two new cases to solve. Sabina Carpenter is working to discover why a beautiful, rich young debutante, Virginia St. Ives, would commit suicide at a party, leaping from a foggy parapet to her death on the rocks below. But then her body disappears, and Sabina is held responsible for her death. John Quincannon is hunting for the thief who robbed the Wells, Fargo office of $35,000, in order to earn the reward o ...more
Jan 15, 2017 Patrick rated it it was amazing
This was another fun read. Set in 1895 in San Francisco, the two detectives go about solving their separate cases, only to find out that they really are entwined. They eventually bring them to a satisfactory conclusion, except that John is not able to actually find the money stolen from Wells Fargo. Hence he can't collect the reward. Darn. I let that ending slip. But you can read all about it and find out they figured out who was guilty.
Sherry Powell
Jan 29, 2017 Sherry Powell rated it it was amazing
This is the perfect series for me. I love historical fiction and mysteries this combines the two. Can't wait to read the rest.
Dec 12, 2016 Lyn rated it it was amazing
What a fun read this was. Lots of history and a good mystery. Highly recommended.
Jan 19, 2017 Michele rated it liked it
Shelves: suspensemystery
A fun clean mystery. A random appearance by Sherlock Holmes. A hint at coming romance?
Jan 17, 2014 Valerie rated it really liked it
This is the first book I have read in Muller and Pronzini's Carpenter and Quincannon series and I thoroughly enjoyed it not just for the story but for the historical facts included in the novel about the San Francisco and surrounding area. The story is set in 1895, Stanford was just starting up as a college, the Tenderloin area in San Francisco had debauchery parlors for the more well to do, while the Barbary Coast was considered the place where violent and hardened criminals hung out to gamble, ...more
Nov 03, 2014 Sandie rated it really liked it

In 1895, female detectives were not common in San Francisco. That's one of the things that made the detective agency of Sabina Carpenter and John Quincannon so notable. The other was the success that they had solving the troubling cases that come to them. That successful reputation is put on the line when they take on cases that leave their expertise in doubt.

Sabina has been hired as to watch over the debutante of the season, Virginia St. Clair, during her coming out parties. She should make a
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I didn't do a full review for this one on my blog because I didn't feel that that many people would be interested in it. This was an enjoyable mystery read. I really did like the fake or not Sherlock Holmes character, he was kind of fun. The main characters were okay and the mystery was okay as well. I thought it was a cool idea to have two mysteries intertwine to become one. I just felt that there wasn't the fun of being left enough clues for the reader to try and solve the mystery themselves. ...more
Dec 24, 2013 Sharon rated it liked it
3.5 Stars. I enjoyed this more than the first book in the series. It didn't use all the period slang that I found distracting and was definitely more character driven rather than all setting and description. I like the characters of Sabina Carpenter and John Quincannon and their dance of a possible romantic entailment. There were dual plots as in the debut that intersect at the end. Sabina's case involves Virginia St. Ives a young rich society girl. Her traveling parents hire Sabina to chaperone ...more
Jan 15, 2014 Sandy rated it liked it
Sabina Carpenter has been hired to keep an eye on a young debutante who her parents suspect is carrying on a dalliance with an unsuitable young man. While at a party, the girl appears to commit suicide and Sabina must work on clearing her name and restoring her reputation.

Meanwhile, John Quincannon is attempting to find burglars who robbed Wells, Fargo so he can collect a $3000 reward. Towards the end, the two detectives find that their cases intersect.

Unfortunately, that does not mean that they
Jan 22, 2014 Ellen rated it liked it
I didn't know it when I ordered this book from my library, but this is the second in a new series by husband-and-wife team Marcia Muller and Bill Pronzini. Marcia Muller is the author of the present-day PI series featuring Sharon McCone, and Bill Pronzini created the Nameless Detective series. Both are excellent mystery writers. This book features a detective agency run by a woman who is a former Pinkerton detective (a Pinkerton Rose, as the women were called) and a male former Secret Service Ag ...more
Laura Henson
Mar 24, 2015 Laura Henson rated it liked it
This is the second book I've read in this series. The Spook Lights Affair is a nice little mystery. For a seasoned mystery reader, the plot might seem a bit predictable and the inter-twining of the two crimes somewhat contrived, but the well-researched picture of late 19th century San Francisco is worth it. The lead characters, widowed Sabina Carpenter and John Quincannon, both previously of the Pinkerton Agency are companionable business partners and as the series progresses I hope to see more ...more
Jan 18, 2015 Neb rated it it was amazing
It takes a solid grasp of a historical setting to impress me, and these authors do exactly that and more. Add to that a perplexing suicide/murder/or?, a hunt for missing Wells Fargo money, and assorted other mysteries that may or may not be related, and you have an interesting tour of 1895 San Francisco and environs. This is so nicely put-together that I wasn't even aware that I was reading the second in a series until I checked the cover/title about a third of the way in. The authors weave in 1 ...more
Jan 09, 2016 Kathleen rated it really liked it
I have enjoyed almost everything this husband/wife pair have written from "Edwin of the Iron Shoes" and "The Snatch" to their present collaboration. This period series set in the early days of San Francisco is the perfect vehicle to allow both voices to shine. It is always fun to compare present locations like the Outer Sunset to their predecessors such as Carville-by-the-Sea.

Sabrina Carpenter and John Quincannon work well together as partners and the sexual tension is mild and does not distrac
Lynda Coker
Dec 30, 2013 Lynda Coker rated it really liked it
~ "Do as you were told. Let the woman go."
"You won't shoot, lady...."
"Won't I? I've shot bigger men than you, and slept like a baby afterward." She took a step closer cocking the weapon with an audible click. "Release her--now!" ~ Page 149

Fun, likable characters make this mystery even more compelling. Sabina and John are polar opposites in almost every aspect of life and work. But that doesn't stop them from making a dynamic investigative team. A suicide without a body sets the stage for an ad
Barbara Nutting
Jul 20, 2016 Barbara Nutting rated it really liked it
It should have been titled the SPOOF Lights Affair! I think both authors wrote with tongue-in-cheek! As a former long time SF resident I loved the historical references and also the archaic vocabulary!! Have to admit I'd never heard of Carville by the Sea or the Potato Patch Foghorn (even though I have hiked out to Point Bonita!). Google enlightened me to both!! Have read all of both Bill and Marcia - but somehow I missed this one so I really enjoyed returning to the Bay Area for an afternoon! A ...more
The Genre Minx Book Reviews
It had its moments but I figured out the mystery basically as soon as it happened. The plot twists were so very obvious to me that it held no entertainment value. Also, the author wrote in Sherlock Holmes' character and he was referred to with disdain as a dingbat by the male protagonist as well as other negative remarks. Yeah, did not win me over with that little element. Sorry, do not enjoy the besmirchment of one of my all time favorite fictional characters. lol, yes I am that petty!
Jan 14, 2014 Barb rated it it was ok
This book was very different from what I expected - not it's fault, I need to pay attention. I sw the name Marcia Muller and thought "yippee skippee, I LOVE her writing". I do love her writing and have read every Sharon McCone mystery she has written. This book ws not that calibre.

If you are a fan of Amanda Quick, you will enjoy this book. The plot ws pretty transparent and at the end, I skimmed it because I was close to loss of interest. It was barely ok for me.
Lynn Lerch
Jan 27, 2014 Lynn Lerch rated it really liked it
This book is by Marcia Muller and her husband, Bill Pronzini. Pronzini's detective John Quincannon is back and now is in San Francisco and has a partner,Sabina Carpenter. John is working on a Wells Fargo theft and Sabina is following an heiress who leaves a party at the Mayor's house and falls or jumps to her death...or did she die? I hope this couple write many more Quincannon and Carpenter mysteries.
Cecilia Rodriguez
Apr 03, 2014 Cecilia Rodriguez rated it liked it
The fourth book in the series. Set in 1895 San Francisco.
Quinn and Sabina run into Sherlock Holmes again, this time there is a hint that he may not actually be Doyle's famous dective.
The main plot deals with the suside of a debutant and the robbery of a Wells Fargo Office. The two cases are investigated by Quinn and Sabina, until they both find out that there might be a link between the two crimes.
Lance Wright
Jan 30, 2014 Lance Wright rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed-titles
The second mystery in this series, consisting of two cases investigated separately that are (of course) connected, is an enjoyable one, and takes advantage of and makes clever use of several unique elements from the time and place that the action is set, San Francisco in the late 1800s. Read our full review, here:
Linda Smatzny
Aug 27, 2013 Linda Smatzny rated it really liked it
This is the second book in the Carpenter and Quincannon Mystery series. This story is set in 1895 in San Francisco. Sabrina Carpenter is hired to watch over a rich young lady who disappears. John Quincannon is looking into a Wells Fargo robbery. As each looks into their cases, they discover connections between the two that will lead to solving one of the cases. Great series with real interest in the historical detail.
Jun 29, 2016 Karen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another great mystery in the Carpenter and Quincannon series.

The writing is smooth and the plot compelling.

I love PI stories and San Francisco historicals which this combines.

In addition, there is nothing in here that Mom will object to reading.

Win, win.

I bought a copy of this thinking the library did not have it. It did, but I am glad to have a copy to pass on to all my mystery reading friends.
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 2 Jul 31, 2015 04:26PM  
  • Gods of Gold (Detective Inspector Tom Harper, #1)
  • أنوبيس
  • The Black Dove
  • Black Thunder (Ella Clah, #16)
  • Murder at Deviation Junction (Jim Stringer, #4)
  • Formula for Danger (Sonoma, #2)
  • The Diamond Secret
  • Loco Moco (Darby Stansfield, #3)
  • A Crack in Everything (A Susan Callisto Mystery, #1)
  • The Three Kingdoms: Welcome The Tiger (The Three Kingdoms, #3)
  • Simple Deceit (Harmony, #2)
  • Vortex
  • Kill-Devil And Water (A Pyke Mystery, #3)
  • The Dead Man's View (Second Sons, #3)
  • The Paper Doll Museum
A native of the Detroit area, Marcia Muller grew up in a house full of books and self-published three copies of her first novel at age twelve, a tale about her dog complete with primitive illustrations. The "reviews" were generally positive.

In the early 1970s, having moved to California, Muller found herself unemployable and began experimenting with mystery novels.

In the ensuing thirty-some years,
More about Marcia Muller...

Other Books in the Series

A Carpenter and Quincannon Mystery (5 books)
  • The Bughouse Affair (Carpenter and Quincannon, #1)
  • The Body Snatchers Affair (Carpenter and Quincannon #3)
  • The Plague of Thieves Affair (Carpenter and Quincannon, #4)
  • The Dangerous Ladies Affair (A Carpenter and Quincannon Mystery, #5)

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