A Trouble of Fools (A Carlotta Carlyle Mystery #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

A Trouble of Fools (A Carlotta Carlyle Mystery #1)

3.87 of 5 stars 3.87  ·  rating details  ·  1,878 ratings  ·  62 reviews
The first book in the Carlotta Carlyle series!

Linda Barnes's A Trouble of Fools is the book that introduced readers to ex-Boston cop and PI Carlotta Carlyle, who knows trouble when she sees it like the old Irish lady offering a grand in cash to find her brother...

Since being bounced from the Boston police for insubordination after six years of service, Carlotta Car
Paperback, 219 pages
Published June 27th 2006 by Minotaur Books (first published 1987)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Having read and enjoyed several of the later Carlotta Carlye books, I thought I'd start at the beginning of the series. I just adore Carlotta as a character. She’s so solid, while being human and a bit flawed at the same time. She’s my all-time favorite female, P.I. She’s gutsy, resourceful, funny and most of all she’s honourable. Carlotta’s such a stand-up person and a loyal friend. I like it that she’s plays Blues guitar and listens to Bonnie Raitt and Billie Holiday. I thought it was quite fu...more
P. Kirby
Pleasant, but so unmemorable that I'm having trouble even conjuring the interest to write a review. The sort of book that doesn't inspire enough glorious frustration to write a rant, nor the adoration to pen a slavering paean to its greatness.

Carlotta Carlyle, the story's protagonist, is a former cab driver and former cop, now private investigator. She's single and has the requisite cat, T.C. And T.C., being a thoroughly modern cat, gets mail.

When the story begins, Carlotta is eyeing a letter th...more
This is the first of this series. I found it hard to get into the first part of the book. Too much of Carlotta thoughts and not enough actions. Part way through this changed and I found the Carlotta I knew. Carlotta is focus on a guy passing drugs near Paolina's school. She has received a letter for TC Carlyle. TC is Tom Cat, her cat. She is hired to find a cabbie missing for two weeks. You don't need to read this book to understand the rest of the series; but it adds depth. I give the series a...more
Fuzzy Gerdes
A Trouble of Fools is a pretty solid entry in the "quirky private investigator" genre. My biggest quibble would be that Carlotta Carlyle, the aforementioned quirky PI, seems like her character might have been assembled by some sort of MadLibs process -- ex-cop, ex-cabbie, six-foot, redhead private eye who lives in Boston with a cat, her late aunt's parakeet and a crazy artist roommate. I guess others don't mind, because Linda Barnes has gone on to write 11 more novels about Carlyle. I don't thi...more
Oct 19, 2008 Cindy rated it 4 of 5 stars Recommends it for: people who enjoy Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum books.
This book reminded me a bit of the Janet Evanovich books. A quirky woman detective, Carlotta Carlye muddles through mysteries and men. There is a cast of "characters", too. Roz, her artistic tenant, Mooney (the Morelli of this book), Sam and Gloria...all bigger than life. In place of Grandma Mazur, we get Yiddish quotes from Carlotta's grandmother like, " All is not butter that comes from a cow." I guess there are more Carlotta Carlyle books and I'm eager to read another.
Jul 24, 2012 Dagny added it
Shelves: mystery-series
Carlotta Carlyle, a very tall redhead, is a struggling P.I. who moonlights as a cab
driver in Boston. Although each mystery plot stands on its own, the series will
be much more enjoyable if read in chronological order because of character
Good, solid comfort read in the series that I missed first-time around.
Jun 30, 2010 Cymiki marked it as to-read
author recommended by melissa
Kathleen Hagen
A Trouble of Fools, by Linda Barnes. B. First in the Carlotta Carlyle series, borrowed from the National Library Services for the Blind.

We’re introduced to Carlotta Carlyle, sometimes cab driver for Green and White cabs, former cop, and now Private investigator. We meet her house mate, Roz, who cleans her house, sort of, as payment for the rent, and who is an artist. We meet her friend Lieutenant Moon from her days on the force, and we hear about her boy friend, Sam, part owner of the cab compan...more
Pr Latta
Sep 02, 2012 Pr Latta rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Pr by: Recorded Books, at the end of a Patricia Cornwell book.
[audio] First in a new-for-me woman detective series. C. J. Critt narrated which may be why I'm grouping Carlotta with Stephanie Plum (not as ditzy or sexy or funny, but just as strong a cast of character), Kay Scarpetta (strong, self-reliant, not as driven), and Judge Deborah Knott (no court room scenes and more of an ensemble). Others have compared her to Sue Grafton's Kinsey Milhone but more rounded, "real" person, not just a case history and Laura Lippman's Tess Monahan (but Carlotta is not...more
Feb 07, 2014 Betty rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: PI, Mystery
Shelves: linda-barnes, e-books
This is the first of this series. I found it hard to get into the first part of the book. Too much of Carlotta thoughts and not enough actions. Part way through this changed and I found the Carlotta I knew. Carlotta is focus on a guy passing drugs near Paolina's school. She has received a letter for TC Carlyle. TC is Tom Cat, her cat. She is hired to find a cabbie missing for two weeks. You don't need to read this book to understand the rest of the series; but it adds depth. I give the series a...more
This is the first book in the Carlotta Carlyle "woman detective" series. I had to get it on Nook, because I couldn't find a copy of it anywhere else. It reminded me a lot of Sara Paretsky's V. I. Warshawski series. Although, of course, this series is set in Boston, not Chicago, and not quite so hard-boiled. I couldn't tell if it was the era or the genre that seemed so familiar. Nothing like reading a book set in the 80s. I loved her "cool" white wicker bedroom furniture and the frantic search fo...more
I really enjoyed another book by Linda Barnes (The Perfect Ghost) so decided to start this series. The goodreads ratings were higher for this book than the book I had enjoyed so much. Maybe that sent my expectations too high. The protagonist is a six foot tall redheaded female private investigator. The are plenty of quirky characters but I did not care about them and did not find the mystery sufficiently mysterious to keep me engaged. About half way through I skipped to the end. I guess I was cu...more
This book fooled me! I read the sample chapter, & when Carlotta Carlysle meets her client I thought this would be a cozy-genre mystery. I should have known an ex-cop, ex-cab driver, 6'1" with bright red hair, from Detroit, living in Boston would not be a tea and scones mystery solver. Is it possible to write a cozy series set in Boston? Well eventually the IRA gets involved and, while Linda Barnes isn't as hard-boiled as Dennis Lehane, her Carlotta would be good company for Kenzie & Genn...more
Book 1 of one of my favorite mystery series featuring PI Carlotta Carlyle. Brain candy (one of those series that's important to read mostly in order)
Tory Wagner
A quick read with some interesting characters. The protagonist, Carlotta Carlyle is a retired policewoman turned private detective. She also moonlights as a taxi driver in her sometimes lover's cab company. He is the younger son of a Mafia don who has decided to go on the straight and narrow. Her other love interest is her former boss on the police force. The mystery involves her fellow cabbies who become involved in an IRA scheme to send money to Ireland for the good fight. Unbeknownst to these...more
Ryan Mishap
This is a fine mystery series set in Boston. Barnes gives Carlotta Carlysle an interesting history (family background, ex-cop and musician, Big Sister, old flame of a mobster's son, taxi driver) that provide many avenues for a detective to have adventures in. First person point of view narratives are the norm for these types of books, so if you don't warm up to carlotta, you probably won't enjoy the mystery.
If you enjoy Paretsky or any other of the better writers with female detectives, you wil...more
Kathleen Franklin
Linda Barnes books remind me a great deal of Sue Graftons. So if you enjoy the Alphabet murders I think you will highly enjoy Carlotta mysteries as well. They are gritty, evenly paced and well written. Set in Boston predominantly they also offer insights into the city, its culture and history - mostly its traffic though.

If you're looking for something easy to digest but also more realistic and edgy than this is a good series. They have realistic and well fleshed out characters.
The premiere of this series is about a missing cabbie from the company Carlotta used to work for. Somehow, the missing guy is involved in an apparent fundraiser for the IRA, but she's also keeping an eye on a creepy dealer-type hanging out in her "little sister's" neighborhood. She even does a turn as a decoy hooker, reconnoitering for photos. Turns out the only involvement of the IRA is a name-clearing exercise of violence at the end. Some loose ends, but generally pretty good.
The first Carlotta Carlyle mystery was quite well done. Good writing, good characters, interesting story. I especially enjoyed it as someone who lives in Boston (while I can imagine someone who hasn't been to Boston occasionally finding it a bit confusing).

I think my one complaint is that a lot of the elements of the mystery seemed a little bit unlikely. A lot of rather wide points got tied together neatly, and I don't think real life is very often that neat.
Carlotta Carlye is a former police detective and is now a PI. She worked as a cab driver while attending college to pay her bills. This experience helps when she is hired to investigate the disappearance of a Boston cab driver, by the man's sister.
I like the people she has in her life, her renter, her "little sister, and of course, Gloria, Sam, and Detective Mooney.
This was an audio book on cd put out by Recorded Books,
ISBN 1-4193-2120-X
Pekka Aalto
Well written with lots of interesting twists.

Mukava salapoliisikirja, missä oli jännittäviä juonenkäänteitä. Ei kuitenkaan mikään maailmankirjallisuuden klassikko.
Today I was looking for something thriller type to read. I kindled this book from Amazon, as it sounded like a good one. I began reading and the words were familiar. Now I realize I read this book over a year ago. So I guess my review is that it wasn't that memorable, was it? To be fair, I have a hard time remembering names of books and authors. I do remember I enjoyed the read, lots of twists and turns. So read it! Once.
Dec 06, 2008 rivka rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommended to rivka by: Daddy
Shelves: mystery
2.5 stars

Good, and if my dad gives me any more, I'll read them. But not good enough to get me to seek them out or bump them high on my to-read list.

Carlotta is a somewhat less dysfunctional Kinsey Milhone clone. Down to the deceased aunt; although Carlotta's left her a house, not merely some odd ideas. So she's a landlady, rather than a tenant. But another former cop turned PI, single and with a past -- check.
Sheryl Fredricks
I kept waiting for something to happen... for something to grab me and keep me interested. I almost quit reading (listening to) this book, but I thought, maybe something would happen soon. It never did.

I guess this is the first book in the series. Maybe that is why it is so slow. I don't think that I will be reading any more out of this series unless I hear from someone that the series gets much better.
Jacque Sherbak
I was hooked with the first Carlotta Carlyle mystery I read, The Big Dig. Then I backtracked and read the entire series beginning with this one, A Trouble of Fools, the first in the series. Linda Barnes creates characters that are real and likeable. I quickly became attached to the 5' 11" redheaded heroine. I would recommend all 12 mysteries; they do not disappoint.
It's been a couple of years since I read this but I liked it so much I very quickly read my way all the way through the series. Carlotta is a complicated woman with an even more complicated life. She's smart, tough and keeps on getting it when others would have quit. These are definitely worth reading. Absorbing, fast-paced and exciting. Good stuff.
This was an entertaining book. I must say that I am not eager to read another book about the Irish or Italians in the Boston area. Somehow the concept seems too overused.
The characters in the book were fun, and I suppose I might read the next book someday. But there are too many others ahead on the list for that to happen soon.
Mary_ellen Batcho
I have read most of Linda Barnes books and they are intense, sometimes I have to put it down cause I am afraid that my current favorite character is going to be attacked. Often this turns out to be the case. Linda makes her characters very believable and they strike at your core. Pick up any of her books and I am sure you will enjoy it.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Edwin of the Iron Shoes
  • Kat Scratch Fever
  • Goodnight, Irene (Irene Kelly #1)
  • Blood Shot (V.I. Warshawski, #5)
  • A New Leash on Death (A Dog Lover's Mystery, #1)
  • What's A Girl Gotta Do (Robin Hudson, #1)
  • China Trade (Lydia Chin & Bill Smith #1)
  • Bootlegger's Daughter (Deborah Knott Mysteries, #1)
  • Track of the Cat (Anna Pigeon, #1)
Linda Barnes is an American mystery writer, born and raised in Detroit, and graduated from Boston University"s School of Theater. She is best known for her series featuring Carlotta Carlyle, a 6'1" redheaded detective from Boston. Carlotta Carlyle is often compared to the hard-boiled female detectives created by Sue Grafton and Sara Paretsky. Her new novel, "The Perfect Ghost," which will be publi...more
More about Linda Barnes...
The Big Dig (A Carlotta Carlyle Mystery #9) The Perfect Ghost The Snake Tattoo (A Carlotta Carlyle Mystery #2) Snapshot (A Carlotta Carlyle Mystery #5) Steel Guitar (A Carlotta Carlyle Mystery #4)

Share This Book