Sabina Carpenter and John Quinncannon are no stranger to mysteries. In the five years since they opened Carpenter and Quinncannon, Professional Detective Services, they have solved dozens, but one has eluded even them: Sherlock Holmes or, rather, the madman claiming his identity, who keeps showing up with a frustrating (though admittedly useful) knack for solving difficult cases.
Roland W. Fairchild, recently arrived from Chicago, claims Holmes is his first cousin, Charles P. Fairchild III. Now, with his father dead, Charles stands to inherit an estate of over three million dollars-if Sabina can find him, and if he can be proved sane. Sabina is uncertain of Roland’s motives, but agrees to take the case.
John, meanwhile, has been hired by the owner of the Golden State brewery to investigate the “accidental” death of the head brewmaster, who drowned in a vat of his own beer. When a second murder occurs, and the murderer escapes from under his nose, John finds himself on the trail not just of the criminals, but of his reputation for catching them.
But while John is certain he can catch his quarry, Sabina is less certain she wants to catch hers. Holmes has been frustrating, but useful, even kind. She is quite certain he is mad, and quite uncertain what will happen when he is confronted with the truth. Does every mystery need to be solved?
Two missing bodies and two separate investigations take Carpenter and Quincannon from the heights above San Francisco Bay to the depths of Chinatown’s opium dens.
For John Quincannon, this is a first: searching a Chinatown opium den for his client’s husband, missing in the middle of a brewing tong war set to ignite over the stolen corpse of Bing Ah Kee.
Meanwhile, his partner, Sabina Carpenter, unsure of the dark secrets her suitor might be concealing, searches for the corpse of a millionaire, stolen from a sealed family crypt and currently being held for ransom.
With the threat of a tong war hanging over the city (a war perhaps being spurred on by corrupt officials), Carpenter and Quincannon have no time to lose in solving their cases. Is there a connection between the two body snatchers? Or is simple greed the answer to this one?
And why is the enigmatic Englishman who calls himself Sherlock Holmes watching so carefully from the shadows?
Creator of the modern female private eye story, Marcia Muller has been writing novels and short stories about Sharon McCone since 1977. In the process McCone has gained a host of associates and formed her own detective agency. Some seven years ago, Marcia Muller decided to show readers different views of her sleuth by relating cases through the eyes of McCone's colleagues.
McCone and Friends contains three stories told by McCone herself, as well as a novella and a short story narrated by the agency's investigator Rae Kelleher, a story from the viewpoint of its office manager Ted Smalley, an investigation conducted by McCone's nephew Mick Savage, and one by her long-term lover Hy Ripinsky. The settings range from small planes to a sweatshop which puts Asian women into virtual slavery, and the mysteries surround a 1950's jukebox in a rundown hotel, a sculpture welded together by a long-missing and now very-dead artist. In perhaps the most moving story of all, a teenage girl has vanished leaving as a clue only a collage on her wall.
The McCone Files shows why Marcia Muller is one of the greatest mystery writers of our generation.
When a former sixties radical is murdered during a string of random sniper attacks, the All Souls Legal Cooperative must settle his surprisingly large estate. Then private investigator Sharon McCone comes across a new will, made just days before he died, that disinherits his two children in favor of four unknown and unconnected parties. McCone sifts through Perry Hilderly's belongings, but finds little to explain this puzzling change – until she uncovers a.357 with the serial number burned off.
As McCone tracks down the new beneficiaries she discover that the shootings aren't so random after all and that the dead man isn't the only one with a lurid past. To link the heirs to the killings, she must follow a treacherous trail of evidence that travels from the Vietnam years to the present. But along the way the elusive sniper waits in a homicidal rage and takes aim – this time at All Souls and Sharon McCone.
Hot-tempered curator Elena Oliverez threatens to kill her boss, Frank DePalma, when he orders her to put a particularly hideous piece of sculpture-donated by a wealthy patron of the new Museum of Mexican Arts-on display for the museum opening. So when someone kills Frank with the sculpture, Elena must conduct her own investigation to clear her name-or die trying.
A collection of stories
In this Spur Award-winning story, a Pinkerton detective, a couple on the run, a wanted man, and a traveling salesman with mysterious wares all converge on the banks of Crucifixion River to take shelter from an impending storm.