Women Sleuths in
Historical Mysteries

San Francisco - 1895


The Spook Lights Affair

by Marcia Muller and Bill Pronzini

The year 1895 finds Sabrina Carpenter and John Quincannon, partners in the Professional Detective Services, working on two cases that lead them in different directions. While Quincannon tracks down the perpetrators of a Wells Fargo robbery, Sabrina is hired to keep watch over the antics of Virginia St. Ives, the eighteen-year-old daughter of a prominent member of San Franciscan society.
Sabrina started her detecting career as a “Pink Rose,” one of the real life group of female operatives used by the Pinkerton International Detective Agency. In spite of her demonstrated skills, the services of her male partner, John, are often requested instead. And when Virginia is seen leaping to her death from steep ocean side cliffs and Sabrina is accused by the parents of being negligent in her duties and fired, she sets out to regain her worth by uncovering the reasons behind this seemingly happy girl’s fate.

The book brings us on a colorful tour of San Francisco and its environs. Most interesting is the description of Carville-by-the-Sea, a ragtag neighborhood of abandoned horse-drawn trolleys where Virginia’s secret boyfriend lives. Actual historic figures also appear, such as Adolf Sutro, the mayor of San Francisco and developer of Sutro Baths.

A short “Authors’ Note” helps explain the places and people which really existed.

This is one in the Carpenter and Quincannon mystery series.



Lyn Reese is the author of all the information on this website
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