cover image The Plague of Thieves Affair: A Carpenter and Quincannon Mystery

The Plague of Thieves Affair: A Carpenter and Quincannon Mystery

Marcia Muller and Bill Pronzini. Forge, $25.99 (272p) ISBN 978-0-7653-8104-0

One of the ongoing mysteries in Muller and Pronzini's entertaining 1890s-era San Francisco whodunits may be resolved in the series's fourth entry (after 2015's The Body Snatchers Affair). In previous volumes, PIs Sabina Carpenter and John Quincannon encountered an eccentric claiming to be Sherlock Holmes. Roland Fairchild, an attorney from Chicago, retains Sabrina to track down the Holmes impersonator, whom he believes to be his cousin Charles, so that Charles's fitness to inherit the family fortune can be evaluated. She also also accepts the duty of guarding an exhibition of famous, and expensive, reticules. Meanwhile, John is on the trail of those responsible for the gruesome murder of a brew master who drowned in a vat of fermenting beer. One suspect apparently takes his own life behind locked doors, but John is convinced that a clever murderer pulled off the seemingly impossible crime. The antics of the man who may be Charles Fairchild add a light touch, although the solutions to the various crimes aren't the authors' most imaginative. Agent: Dominick Abel, Dominick Abel Literary Agency. (Jan.)