The Case of the Deadly Desperados (The P.K Pinkerton Mysteries, #1)
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The Case of the Deadly Desperados (The P.K Pinkerton Mysteries #1)

3.78 of 5 stars 3.78  ·  rating details  ·  407 ratings  ·  116 reviews
Introducing P.K. Pinkerton, Master of Disguise
When twelve-year-old P.K. (Pinky) Pinkerton's foster parents are murdered by Whittlin' Walt and his gang of ruthless desperados, Pinky goes on the run. He's forced into hiding with Ma's priceless last possession: the deed to a large amount of land and silver mines in the Nevada Mountains. But relying on disguises will only ke...more
Hardcover, 269 pages
Published June 1st 2011 by Orion Children's Books
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The Case of the Deadly Desperado is a TERRIBLE book that Caroline Lawrence should be ashamed of. I am not sure what was added to the story by having the protagonist be half Sioux other than the excuse to include all sorts of offensive stereotypes and racial slurs. I do not care if the use of the word “squaw” was acceptable in the 1860s – it is not an appropriate word to use in 2012, in a children’s book.

The half Native boy, Pinky, is further marginalized because he is autistic. To add another la...more
Barb Middleton
Giddyup! A western/detective story for kids with nonstop action, great characters, and nice plot twists. Pull out your imaginary pistols and enjoy this surprising book. Our hero, P.K. Pinkerton begins this tale from the bottom of a cave because he is about to be killed. He has witnessed the murder of his ma and pa who were scalped by Whittlin' Walt and his 'pards in search of a document that will make them rich. Twelve-year-old P.K. holds that document and is on the run as they hunt him down.

This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Serendipity Reviews
Caroline Lawrence is extremely well known for writing The Roman Mysteries which has helped lots of children embrace the Romans and find a love of history at the same time. Caroline has now embarked on a new journey and has presented us with the first book in The Western Mysteries series, which takes us back to the Wild West of America, Virginia City in 1862 to be precise.

Up until reading this book, my only real knowledge of the Wild West was through the last film in the Back to the Future trilog...more
Originally posted at the Book Monkey blog:

Caroline Lawrence is most well-known for her very popular series The Roman Mysteries. Lawrence has now swapped Ancient Rome for the Wild West in her new novel The Case of the Deadly Desperados, the first in her new series The Western Mysteries, published on 2nd June 2011 by Orion. This is actually the first title I’ve read byLawrence but I can tell you now it certainly won’t be my last!

I won’t go into too much det...more
The Case of the Deadly Desperados is the first book in Caroline Lawrence’s new series The Western Mysteries and if you ask me, it is a work of genius!

P.K. Pinkerton or Pinky to his friends is a half-Sioux half-American boy or quite possibly girl. One of the delights of this book is the fact that you never get to know Pinky’s gender. One minute I was absolutely certain that Pinky was a boy. The next I was thinking how empowering that Pinky was a girl. The author creates this uncertainty through P...more
In the first book in her new Western Mysteries series Caroline Lawrence takes us back in time to Virginia City in 1862. We follow the story of P.K Pinkerton who is being chased by a gang of desperados, they already killed and scalped his foster parents and he is next on their list. I say HIS foster parents but throughout the entire book we're never quite sure if P.K is actually a boy or a girl. The author has done a fantastic job of keeping P.K's gender a secret, he adopts numerous disguises thr...more
In The Case of the Deadly Desperados by Caroline Lawrence, P.K. Pinkerton's parents are murdered by the infamous Whittling Walt and his band of desperados who want a deed to silver rich land near Virginia City which P.K. has. P.K. goes to Virginia City to get away from the outlaws, but he is found there. Walt relentlessly pursues P.K. until he is forced to run into a mine to get way from the outlaws.

The Case of the Deadly Desperados is the first of a series. The book is set in in Virginia City...more
In his darkest hour P.K. Pinkerton begins writing his story on blank ledger sheets he finds deep in the mines that he is currently trapped in. He came home on his borthday to find his foster ma and pa murdered, and the murderer is after him for a piece of paper left to P.K. by his real ma. He travels to Virginia City intent on eventually finding his way to Chicago to hopefully work with his real Pa's brother, the head of the Pinkerton Detective Agency. Instead P.K. finds himself slipping in and...more
Jul 24, 2012 Jessica added it
Shelves: didnt-finish
Not really anything wrong with this one, just too many references to "soiled doves" who "spark men for money" that by the time someone called a woman a whore I knew I could never recommend this to anyone I didn't know well at the library.
Richard Marman
This is a quirky little starter to a series about a 12-y.o. (whether a boy or girl is ambiguous)detective in Nevada during the American Civil War. Although obviously marketed for younger readers, Caroline Lawrence doesn't shy away from gunfights, smoky saloons, scalping, 'soiled doves' and general mayhem in the streets of Virginia City during the heady boom-time days of the Comstock Lode. I thoroughly enjoyed this page-turner as well as its sequel and I'm about to read the third book of the seri...more
“My name is P.K. Pinkerton and before this day is over I will be dead.” The first sentence of this story in print is one come-on. But hearing it read, with a dead-on, dead-pan western accent that continues to relate one astonishing event after another, is enough to entice a listener to enjoyment of the entire journaling account of the adventures of 12-year old P.K. Pinkerton as soon as possible. Recently orphaned for a second time, P.K. writes while stuck in bottom of a mine shaft, awaiting the...more
Ariel Marie
This is the third book that I've read with a young protagonist with an ASD. Besides this novel, there was one I loved (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime) and absolutely hated (House Rules by Jodi Picoult). Meanwhile, I am happy to admit that P.K. Pinkerton is my favorite out of the novels, and am happy to see him saving the days across the pages of a middle grade novel. Finally, a novel that handles Asperger's without dealing with "overcoming" it and so on.

PK wants to become a det...more
The Case of the Deadly Desperados is a fast-paced combination of exciting, real, funny and interesting details created to immerse you in the Wild West from the start. The book begins: “My name is P.K. Pinkerton and before this day is over I will be dead. I am trapped down the deepest shaft of a Comstock silver mine with three desperados closing in on me. Until they find me, I have my pencil & these ledger sheets and a couple of candles. If I write small & fast, I might be able to write a...more
PK "Pinky" is being hounded by desperadoes in the Silver-mining mountains of 1960's Nevada. The lively tale is the first in a new series by Lawrence who has been writing mysteries for youth audiences for years. I checked out the first series, Roman Mysteries, and so I expected that while Pinky begins in a dark tunnel, hunted down by Whittlin' Walt and soon to meet his doom.... the story would work out. This is told in flashback style and recounts the few short days building up to the dark, minin...more
This book had great potential, and being a fan of the western genre I was really looking forward to reading it. However, I was just not okay with so many things. I don't even know where to begin, so here is a list in no particular order:
1. If you're going to have a character with autism, no matter what the time period of the book is, please don't use the term "Freak of Nature." Talk about how the person thinks differently or looks at things differently, but don't continually make it a disability...more
Ms. Yingling
P.K. Pinkerton, who is half Native American, sees his foster parents killed in a small western town in 1862. The criminals are masquerading as Indians, but are in fact the deadly outlaw Whittlin’ Walt and his partners who are looking for a deed that P.K. got from his birth parents. P.K. manages to escape to the next town, where he encounters Belle, an “actress”, who helps him escape Walt but steals the deed. Assisted by a Chinese laundry boy, Ping, and two newspaper reporters, P.K. manages to el...more
I mourned the end of Lawrence's Roman Mysteries series so was thrilled to see her start this new one. The Westerns seem to be aimed at a slightly older audience being much longer although the protagonist is still relatively young- 11/12yo. There is considerable period appropriate violence and as usual Lawrence does not shy away from the seamier aspects of her historical settings.

P.K. is an interesting character with the added twist that he (she??- we're never quite sure) suffers from his "Tho...more
This review was originally posted on

I came to read The Case of the Deadly Desperados with a certain excitement and apprehension – excitement because The Roman Mysteries were a large part of my childhood reading, and apprehension because I was worried that The Case of the Deadly Desperados, or more broadly The Western Mysteries, would not be to the standard of The Roman Mysteries.

The Case of the Deadly Desperados is different. It HAS to be different. I think that had it had a...more
ma chronique sur le blog

Ce livre, je ne m’y attendais pas du tout, mais il était vraiment bon ! Ok, c’est beaucoup plus pour des enfants mais voilà quoi, j’ai su l’apprécier à sa juste valeur. C’était tout à fait ce qu’il me fallait au moment où je l’ai lu. Mais attention, c’est un peu trop jeunesse, mais de la bonne.

Avant même de le commencer, j’étais très critique en me disant “je vais l’abandonner, c’est sur !”. Il s’est avéré que j’avais tout à fait tort et que ce livre était une petite peti...more
Chris Murray
Twelve-year-old P.K. Pinkerton is on the run after discovering his foster parents murdered and scalped in their cabin. He quickly realizes the dastardly deed was done by none other than “Whittlin Walt” and his two henchmen, among the most feared criminals in and around Virginia City in 1862. They now are pursuing him, seeking a piece of paper that could make them very rich. P.K. is half Sioux and half white and quick to admit being plagued by his “Thorn:” his inability to read people’s e...more
Kazzy  Stallwood
P.K Pinkerton comes home on his birthday to find that his foster Ma & Pa have been cruelly slaughtered and scalped by a group of Desperados prentending to be American Indians and are after the valuable letter in his leather medicine pouch.

P.K. Travels to Virginia to escape the Desperados who are now hot on his trail. His journey through the city will see him being double crossed by people he thinks he can trust, people he can trust who help him along the way, and learning many things about l...more
Pamela Kramer
‘The Case of the Deadly Desperados’ by Caroline Lawrence is a book that is both different and cleverly written for middle grade readers.

The year is 1862, and a half-Indian (the term Native American wasn’t in use back then) boy, P. K. Pinkerton, finds his foster parents cruelly murdered upon his return from school in the small Nevada town of Temperance, founded by his foster father, a pastor. He escapes to Virginia City, a notorious mining town in Nevada.

The story is preposterous and extraordinar...more
Twelve-year-old P.K. Pinkerton is on the run after discovering his foster parents murdered and scalped in their cabin. He quickly realizes the dastardly deed was done by none other than “Whittlin Walt” and his two henchmen, among the most feared criminals in and around Virginia City in 1862. They now are pursuing him, seeking a piece of paper that could make them very rich. P.K. is half Sioux and half white and quick to admit being plagued by his “Thorn:” his inability to read people’s expressio...more
Melanie Smith
Bravo bravo to Caroline Lawrence for this marvelously idiosyncratic tale! She manages to combine a fresh, intriguing protagonist, terrific secondary characters, imaginative diction, and breathtaking pace in this book for young people that we adults can relish, too. Her use of diction (e.g. the alterations in syntax, dialect, idioms, etc. that pepper Lawrence's prose) are at turns hilarious and charming, as they stem from the pencil of an inexperienced 12 year-old boy trying to comprehend the dan...more
The Case of the Deadly Desperados is the first in a new Western Mysteries series by Caroline Lawrence. The year is 1862 and our main character P.K. (Pinky) Pinkerton has just turned 12 years old two days before we meet him. Pinky tells us the first part of his story as he writes it deep in one of the Comstock silver mines of the Nevada mountains where is is sure he will die.

On the afternoon of his twelfth birthday Pinky comes home to discover his foster parents have been attacked and scalped. Hi...more
Penny Peck
A real page-turner, this mystery novel is set in 1862 in Virginia City, Nevada, and is told from the point of view of a young boy P.K. Half Sioux and half white, his foster parents are murdered in the first chapter and he tries to find a way to evade the killers, and keep his inheritance. The boy also has a form of autism, but the author never uses that term; he can't "read" people's emotions or expressions. He is helped by several adults, including reporter Sam Clemens, a poker player Jace, and...more
Kim McGee
Yee Haw! Caroline Lawrence has given us a rip-roaring look into the old West that will make every kid out there rootin for the good guys! PK Pinkerton comes home on his 12th birthday to discover that his foster parents have been slain by some evil desperados looking for treasure that P.K. has hidden. He barely gets away from the outlaws by hopping a stagecoach that drops him off in the city of sin - Virginia City where he must try to decide who he can trust and get back what could be a deed to t...more
Miss Pippi the Librarian
P.K. Pinkerton is on the run. His adoptive parents were murdered by a gang masquerading as American Indians. He needed to escape before he was killed as well. He runs to Virginia City to find an escape, but Wittlin Walt is always right behind P.K.

Lawrence's newest mystery series is centered in the Wild West during the Silver Rush. I heard about the popularity of this book and I enjoy a good Western. It was a very pleasant surprise to find a new series. P.K. keeps running and the listener will be...more
Caroline Lawrence has moved away from her Roman Mysteries to the Wild West, and it's a lot of fun.

P.K. "Pinky" Pinkerton is a half-Lakota foster child to the Joneses, and we open on their being scalped and killed by "Injuns", except Ma Evangeline realizes they're actually white men. Turns out that one of the men is Whitling Walt, so named because he "whittles" his victims, and they weren't after the Joneses they were after a Letter that PK's real mother gave him.

P.K. runs away, hoping to get t...more
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Caroline Lawrence won a scholarship to Cambridge to read Classical Archaeology, then did a degree in Hebrew and Jewish studies at University College London. She now lives in London with her English husband and teaches Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Art and French to children.

* Roman Mysteries
Western Mysteries
More about Caroline Lawrence...
The Thieves of Ostia (Roman Mysteries, #1) The Secrets of Vesuvius (Roman Mysteries, #2) The Dolphins of Laurentum (The Roman Mysteries, #5) The Pirates of Pompeii (Roman Mysteries, #3) The Assassins of Rome (Roman Mysteries, #4)

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