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the plague of thieves affair book coverReviewed by Caleb Shadis

The Plague of Thieves Affair is the fourth book in the Carpenter and Quincannon series. This is the first one I have read, but it won’t be the last. These novels take place in the late 1800s in San Francisco. Carpenter and Quincannon have their own thriving detective agency and a good reputation.

When the book begins, Quincannon is in the middle of a case for a local brewer, and he’s pretty sure he has his man. When he goes to make the citizen’s arrest, his target knocks him over and escapes into a store room with only one entrance. There is a gunshot and when Quincannon gets someone to open the doors for him, his quarry appears to have done himself in.

Miss Sabina Carpenter, on the other hand, has been tasked with finding the eccentric detective claiming to be Sherlock Holmes. His cousin has come to find him, because ‘Sherlock’s’ father has passed away leaving him as the sole heir. Miss Carpenter agrees to try and find the elusive man. He shows while Sabina is guarding famous and valuable handbags for a different client. One of these bags was owned by Marie Antoinette. Mr. Holmes has heard about someone planning on stealing the handbag and thought Sabina was looking for his assistance in preventing it.

Both the sleuths have their hands full and both have murderers they need to capture. One has disguised his murders as an accident and a suicide, and the other blamed an innocent for the deed. They both have their work cut out for them.

I found Sabina and Quincannon to be two fun characters to follow and I felt the book did a reasonable job of bringing 1800s Southern California to life. Unlike some other historical mystery writers, I felt the authors were more interested in having fun than being strictly accurate. This made for a great cozy style mystery. And since Quincannon and Carpenter were on different cases, you get a two-fer! These mysteries were more ‘fun’ than true-to-life but I enjoyed them and do plan on reading the first three books in the series at some point. Fun read, worth the time!

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Caleb is a software engineer and amateur woodworker living in southern Minnesota. He has more hobbies than he has time or money for, and enjoys his quiet time reading.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Forge Books. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.