THE BODY SNATCHERS AFFAIR
A Carpenter & Quincannon Mystery
By Marcia Muller & Bill Pronzini
Forge Books
219 pages

This is the second Carpenter & Quincannon mystery we’ve had the pleasure of reading and are eager to point you in its direction. Authors Marcia Muller and Bill Pronzini are both accomplished and cherished mystery scribes whereas how this series allows them to merge their considerable talents is a pure delight. We wonder if each, alone, actually crafted their respective gender avatars in the stories. Both the former Secret Service Agent Charles Quincannon and the widowed Mrs. Sabina Carpenter are terrific characters and their pension for solving complicated, criminal cases makes them unstoppable as a team.

They operate out of San Francisco, where they have their offices, at the turn of the century. In this book, the bodies of two very different, and equally important, personages have been stolen. The first corpse mysteriously taken belonged to a high ranking Tong mobster in Chinatown. The ghoulish theft has the potential of igniting a bloody war between the rival gangs unless the perpetrators can be caught and brought to justice. When a young woman hires Quincannon to locate her heroin addicted husband, a lawyer for one of the Tongs, he has to venture into twisted mazes of the opium dens. No sooner does he find the missing husband than the man is shot to death in his arms, the detective barely avoiding a second bullet meant for him. Somehow the lawyer’s murder is related to the missing corpse.

Then, a few days later, Sabina is hired by a wealthy upper-crust widow whose financier husband recently passed away. Shortly after his interment, unknown parties managed to break into the family mausoleum and kidnapped the body. Now they are holding it for ransoming. If she refuses to pay, they threaten to desecrate her beloved’s remains.

The bodies of two prominent men from totally different social circles are snatched within days of each other. Coincidence? Or is there an actual connection between the two? Once again Muller and Prozini offer up a fast paced adventure with some of the most colorful characters to ever grace the pages of a mystery novel. “The Body Snatchers Affair” is twisty romp that will easily satisfy even the most jaded reader. Personally, we can’t wait to see what this duo tackles next.

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