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The Outsmarting of Criminals

(Miss Felicity Prim #1)

3.46  ·  Rating details ·  451 ratings  ·  133 reviews
After being mugged in New York City, Miss Felicity Prim decides to leave the big city and purchase a home in the country, where she will be safe from the dangerous criminals who call New York home. A devoted reader of crime fiction, Miss Prim believes that her reading experiences have given her the skills required to become an amateur sleuth in her new home of Greenfield, ...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published March 31st 2014 by Ransom Note Press LLC (first published March 1st 2014)
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3.46  · 
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 ·  451 ratings  ·  133 reviews

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Theresa de Valence
Apr 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
The hardcover version of Steven Rigolosi’s THE OUTSMARTING OF CRIMINALS promises exquisite delights. Just holding the book in my hands I know I’m about to embark on a pastiche of amateur detective fiction. The cover simulates a beautiful pen and ink drawing, reminescent of the line drawings which preceded BBC’s Friday Night Mysteries. The pages are heavy and crisp and I’m sure I can hear violins.

You’d expect the protagonist to be a bright, strait-laced lady of uncertain years—but Miss Felicity
May 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cozy-mystery, mystery
One of the best books I've read this year. If you adore traditional mysteries -- e.g. Agatha Christie -- like I do, then you'll have a great time with this book that pays homage to classic mysteries. I don't always enjoy pastiches, but this one was a perfect combination of expected conventions and unique characters. And most importantly, the writing was incredibly clever. I hope there will be more Miss Prim novels from Steven Rigolosi.
Aug 05, 2014 rated it did not like it
Well, something was certainly trying to happen here. A parody? A pastiche? A clever deconstructing of the cozy genre? Whatever was trying to happen didn't happen. Unless this chunk of paper and words was some twisted test of a reader's ability to soldier on in the face of torpid tedium. An altogether unfunny, unengaging, uninspired and mercilessly heavy-handed affair. The perfect book for a very certain subset of humanity. A subset who has misjudged their own sense of humor and wealth of knowled ...more
Aug 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
I found this delightful. At first I thought I was reading a book that took place in the 20's and was surprised to discover it was present day. Felicity Prim has decided to retire from her job as office manager with Dr. Amos Poe and become an outsmarter of criminals. After much research she decides upon Greenfield, Connecticut. Once moved in, she discovers the body in the basement and is on the case. I loved everyone of the characters in this book. It was a light hearted romp but the laugh out lo ...more
May 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
The Outsmarting of Criminals was a great read when I needed cheering up so much. Funny satirical take on the typical “village” mystery. The character, Miss Prim, is anachronistic for her time, the book is set currently..but she is a perfect old time cozy mystery sleuth eschewing computers and CSI-type testing or forensics. The author has set up the characters to fulfill all the standard mystery tropes. Miss Prim even has a checklist to fulfill her requirements as an “outsmarter of criminals”. Th ...more
Lillian Carl
It's a parody of the Miss Marple style of cozy mystery. After Felicity Prim, a fifty-ish spinster living in New York City, is mugged, she decides to make the outsmarting of criminals her career. She buys a cottage in a village in Connecticut and gets to work more quickly than she'd intended when she finds a body in her basement.

I'm trying to write the rest of this without spoilers!

The story depends more on an assortment of over-the-top characters and funny situations than on plot, which is air
Aug 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Written with a wink and a nod to the cozy mystery world as a whole, The Outsmarting of Criminals is a witty, delightful paean to the genre. Miss Felicity Prim reminded me of Deana Durbin or Katherine Hepburn in those classic 40’s films, perfectly dressed and coifed, one hand on the fireplace mantle, the other on her hip, ready to take on the world. In this case, the articulate Miss Felicity Prim leaves New York City for a rose-covered cottage in the country and a new career “outsmarting criminal ...more
May 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Book #46 Read in 2014
The Outsmarting of Criminals by Steven Rigolosi

This was a great, cozy read. Miss Prim leaves New York City after she is mugged and moves to a lovely little town in CT. She decides to begin a new career as a sort of investigator....her goal is to outsmart criminals. The sleepy little town immediately becomes more interesting when Miss Prim finds a dead body in her hidden basement room. She begins an investigation with some help from her boxer Bruno and her neighbor Lorraine.
May 27, 2015 rated it liked it
Randomly picked this one up at the library. I feel like I'm about 30 years under the recommended reading age. This is definitely a cozy mystery - heavy emphasis on the cozy. Unfortunately there's not much of a mystery. My biggest issue with the book is it seems like he's trying way too hard to make the cozy mystery thing work. All the weird references to her parents, the crazy epilogue (seriously wtf?), and all the weird "oh if this was a fiction story." Yeah, I get it, you're trying to be meta. ...more
Samantha M.
May 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
I love Miss Prim and I hope to read more of her adventures! It was an engaging story full of wonderful characters. I could have done without the epilogue, though. Also there were several word errors.
Karin Garcia
Feb 28, 2017 rated it liked it
Fun nod to the classic mystery novel:) I would have given it 3 1/2 stars if that were an option.
Sep 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone who enjoys Agatha Christie, as well as modern day cozy mystery writers
Shelves: book-cozy
I saw, "The Outsmarting of Criminals" in a list of must read books somewhere, and thought I'd give it a try. Given the cover, description, and the subtitle, "A Mystery Introducing Miss Felicity Prim", I thought it would be set in the 1920s or 1930s. I figured out within the first few pages, however, that it was set in present day - you truly cannot judge a book by its cover! I did feel slightly duped at first, but I decided to solider on and keep reading. Boy am I glad I did! Miss Felicity Prim ...more
Jul 29, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2015
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
From the Militant Recommender Book Review Blog:
There are few books that can surprise the Recommender, so, recently, while working at the library and checking items in... a book crossed the desk that caused me to take a second look. The cover is one of the best covers ever! It is Gorey-esque and yet, unique, and when you read the book it contains you will see just from where the design emanated!
Miss Felicity Prim, as the book begins, is an attractive woman
Christine Trensen
Apr 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This delightful book took me a bit by surprise. On the one hand it is a very pleasant cozy with a group of memorable characters, from Miss Prim herself (a simultaneously old-fashioned and modern woman, who's unaware of her foibles, such as her tendency to drive like a lunatic) to her adopted Boxer, Bruno (one of the most charming animal companions I've ever encountered), to the people of Greenfield, Connecticut, including a tavern owner who refuses to speak more than one word at a time, to a rea ...more
Dorothy Mcintosh
Jun 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I've been a great fan of Steven Rigolosi's earlier books - The Androgynous Murder House Party and Circle of Assassins. "Assassins" I consider one of the best mysteries I've ever read. Easily on par with the British greats. So I knew the author could do justice to the traditional mystery genre. Miss Prim fully lived up to my expectations. Rigolosi is especially gifted in drawing quirky, entertaining characters and there are a host of them in the novel. He's also the master of the twist - ingeniou ...more
Dec 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I would like to own this book. I found it in the library shelf and was drawn to the cover- very Edward Gorey. It is very cute and I adored it, but I feel that a lot of the refernces that a more savy mystery reader would get, were lost on me. I loved the suspended belief when the characters taked about how things happen in books, but this is real life and how Miss Prim says someone will write a book about her with her depected in her rose garden on the cover. :) I also loved her wacky heavy metal ...more
Sep 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
I vacillated between 3 and 4 stars for this, because I found the ending to be rather- unsatisfying (and the epilogue was completely pointless), but finally went with 4 because it was a fun read and I enjoyed it up until the end.
This is a cozy mystery for and about the readers of cozy mysteries, with lots of references to books and authors that made it fun. Miss Prim is a peach, and I really loved Lorraine. I would probably read another if this becomes a series.
Lance Wright
Apr 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed-titles
This is an absolutely charming mystery, with nearly every element of the book, from the cast of characters to the small town setting to the cleverly crafted plot itself, just about pitch perfect. Thoroughly enjoyable, readers will be eagerly looking forward to the next in the series. Read our full review, here:
May 03, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery
This was ok. It had a cute gimmick which I found tiring after awhile - perhaps if it was shorter? The whole other sister plot added nothing to the story. I did like all the 'mystery tropes' in the story and I especially liked the bookstore categories. Right away I would know where I would file and find anything written by Dave Eggars :).

but the big problem for me was that I didn't particularly like Miss Prim!
Jun 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mysteries, cozy
This is a cleverly written almost-send-up, almost-tribute, to cozy mysteries, featuring a woman who moves from Manhattan to a small town in Connecticut to become a "criminal outsmarter". In the process she makes lots of new friends, with a notable exception, and quickly runs into all the prerequisites for amateur detection, including a hidden basement with a dead body in it. It's a charmer!
Aug 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
What a delightful story! This was one of those books I hated to see come to an end. Miss Prim is a good hearted woman who abandons life in NY City for the charm and safety of a small village. Her new career path is to be an " outsmarter of criminals" and thus the tone is set. The novel reminded me most of an British piece "Miss Buncle's Book". Both stories caught me smiling the whole time I read.
May 28, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: mysteries
2.5 stars. I just don't buy the main characters and I find the heroine to be unbelievable. Some people may find such a character to be charming, but I think this isn't for me.

There are a few instances where words are missing in the sentence. I can guess what words might be appropriate, but those editing should have caught that!
Kristi | Hidden Staircase |
Really a delight to read. Enjoyable characters throughout. Miss Prim relocates herself to a small cottage in a small town in Connecticut to escape the crime of New York City. She decides to take on a new profession - criminal outsmarter. Some fun moments in the book, especially the descriptions of Miss Prim behind the wheel.
Sharon Costomiris
Jun 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Charming book. Anyone that is an Aunt Dimity fan will love this book.
Oct 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: best
LOVED this book!
Alyssa Goodnight
Jun 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014
May 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
Not really believable but is this genre ever believable? Fun story, easy read. I will read the next installment.
Jul 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
4 1/2 stars for a fun new series, i hope it's a new series!
Margaret1358 Joyce
Sep 16, 2018 rated it liked it
Halfway through this odd, but fun read, I thought, absent-mindedly, that it had been well marketed, with lots of '60's pop references, to appeal to a niche reader, namely, nostalgic baby boomers. So it was kind of funny in a not so funny way, to see, after I finished it, that the writer is the director of market research and development for an unnamed New York scientific publisher. It's a book with a strange, inauthentic feel; a mystery read with an eccentric main character, Miss Felicity Prim i ...more
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Steve Rigolosi lives in Manhattan and is the author of the Tales from the Back Page series of mystery novels. The third book in the series, Andorgynous Murder House Party, was released in June 2009. The premise of this series: Have you ever wondered about the stories behind the advertisements in your local newspaper—-those ads for fetish parties, transvestite boutiques, discount psychotherapy, wic ...more

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Miss Felicity Prim (2 books)
  • The Befriending of Enemies (Miss Felicity Prim, #2)
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