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Death Was the Other Woman: A Mystery Hardcover – January 8, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Richards takes a break from her Madeline Carter series (Mad Money, etc.) with this winning hard-boiled 1931 whodunit with a twist: the main sleuth is not world-weary L.A. PI Dex Theroux, but his loyal secretary and assistant, Kitty Pangborn. Theroux, who drinks far too much to drown his memories of WWI, gets a rare paying assignment when beautiful, wealthy Rita Heppelwaite hires him to tail her married boyfriend, Harrison Dempsey. Kitty tags along, only to find their quarry's corpse, a development that Theroux wants to keep secret. After her conscience prompts her to tip off the police to the body, Kitty finds herself involved even deeper when word reaches her that Dempsey is alive and well. Well-developed lead characters, in particular the insightful Kitty, who shows potential as a series detective, more than offset the routine plot. 8-city author tour. (Jan.)
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Review

"You're about to meet a great new dame of crime fiction in Death Was the Other Woman. Linda L. Richards has created a stunning character with a voice and eye right out of a 1930s L.A. hard-boiled classic - guns and gams, booze and bodies, peepers and perps. Move over, Sam Spade - Kitty Pangborn's on the case."--LINDA FAIRSTEIN, author of Death Dance

"Reading Death Was the Other Woman was like stumbling across a long-lost and wonderful Orson Welles flick. It's a pitch-perfect story of Depression-era L.A. that's so damn good I recommend calling in sick to work and making a plate of sandwiches before you start reading, because you won't want to put it down for anything--including such petty concerns as food, drink, sleep, and oncoming Packards and locomotives."--CORNELIA READ, author of A Field of Darkness

Death Was the Other Woman propelled me straight into Depression-era Los Angeles, a really stunning and exciting achievement. And the murder kept me guessing right to the page turning end.  On top of that, the lively characters have walked off the page and now pursue me long after I've closed the book. A really stellar crime caper, a delight.”--LOUISE PENNY, author of Still Life

"With crackling dialogue, a Tommy-gun plot, and bang-on authenticity, Death Was the Other Woman engrossed me in a terrific, compelling mystery. With memorable characters and settings, Richards manages to dig beneath the surface of Prohibition-era Los Angeles and give a sense of its historical context. A great read!"--DANIEL KALLA, author of Pandemic and Blood Lies

“Sharp, vibrant, and crackling. One chapter in to Linda L. Richards’ sparkling 1930s Los Angeles mystery, Death Was the Other Woman, and we’d follow her smart, resourceful, spirited heroine, Kitty Pangborn, down any dark alley, any mean street."--MEGAN ABBOTT, author of The Song is You and Queenpin

“Kitty Pangborn, the narrator of Linda Richards' winning new mystery, Death Was the Other Woman, is just what every underachieving, over-imbibing, minimally employed, and maximally hard-boiled PI needs: that is, a decent secretary. … Death Was the Other Woman is a first-rate, rousing new take on the Southern California detective novel. Let's hope it's the beginning of a long series."--DYLAN SCHAFFER, author of I Right the Wrongs

"Linda L. Richards can grab her readers better than a slap in the puss or a slug from a forty-five. She breathes new life into the L.A. noir genre with an array of fresh characters and stylishly seedy neon-lit dives. More importantly, she moves the gritty crime genre on in the form of Kitty Pangborn, a well brought up young lady who gets a crash course in the dark underbelly of the City of Angels. She may be a longsuffering PA to a less than successful PI, but Kitty is no kitten. She's the broad with the brains, and readers will be left clamoring for more."--BRENDAN FOLEY, author of Under the Wire, director of The Riddle

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; First Edition edition (January 8, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312377703
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312377700
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,295,143 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I am the editor and co-founder of JanuaryMagazine.com, one of the Web's leading magazines about books and authors. As a journalist, I've written extensively about books, authors, high tech and business for a number of publications. I am the author of seven novels, the most recent of which is DEATH WAS IN THE BLOOD (June 2013). I was raised in Los Angeles and Munich, but currently live near Vancouver, Canada, the city of my birth.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Armchair Interviews on February 8, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Kitty Pangborn was raised to be a prim and proper lady of the house, meant to marry well and plan the perfect party. When the stock market crashed in 1929, and her father leaped from a window leaving her broke and without real-world skills, she had to make her own way. She may now only be Girl Friday to Los Angeles private investigator Dex, but when his bungling of the job puts her salary in jeopardy, Kitty will step up to solve the case on her own. Someone has to.

I loved the voice of this book. You can almost hear one of the old silver screen actresses talking right off the page. Her wonderful first-person narrative was so true to voice as to lose those of us who aren't familiar with words like "mook" and "spondulix." But she helps us out with enough description that we can figure it out, if not exactly, in general.

This was an especially fun read. I enjoyed the strong heroine and that her boss, though bumbling, was not entirely an idiot. And I really enjoyed learning more about LA during prohibition, too. The cast of shady characters was so great as to leave me completely in the dark about whodunit until it was time to know. There are so many twists and turns in this book that I even started suspecting the good guys. Whose side was everyone on, anyway? I couldn't help but to just keep turning pages.

Even if you aren't typically into the mystery genre, I encourage you to pick up this book. Though there are many dead bodies, the book was not at all gruesome and considering all the two- and three-timing that was going on, and talk of melting lipstick, it was also surprisingly clean.

Armchair Interviews says: Highly recommended.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on January 11, 2008
Format: Hardcover
In 1931 Los Angeles cynical private investigator Dex Theroux runs a two person office. Whereas he does the leg work and takes the beatings, Kitty Pangborn runs the office and occasionally does safe field work. Dex is unsure why Kitty remains with him, as paying jobs are infrequent and he knows he is an alcoholic though with good cause.

Wealthy Rita Heppelwaite hires Dex to report on what her married boyfriend, Harrison Dempsey is doing. Thinking this is an easy case and needing help on surveillance, Dex brings Kitty with him. However, their prey proves to be someone else's prey as the sleuth and his assistant finds the murdered corpse of Harrison. Dex wants to make money from his affluent client so he tells Kitty to say nothing about the dead body for now. Kitty is appalled by her boss' disregard of the deceased so she defies Dex and calls the cops. However, to her shock she soon learns that Harrison is alive making her wonder what is going on.

With Madeline Carter on temporary hiatus, Linda L. Richards introduces readers to a new fascinating detective team in a fine historical mystery. The story line is fun, but not so much due to the mystery of Harrison and the corpse or depression Era L.A., but instead because of the bickering relationship between unethical Dex and the moralistic Kitty. They make the tale entertaining.

Harriet Klausner
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on April 3, 2008
Format: Audio CD
Linda L. Richards' DEATH WAS THE OTHER WOMAN provides veteran narrator Joyce Bean's smooth and compelling style as it tells of one Kitty, who needs a job and finds her hands full as a secretary to a tough PI in a challenging world. Kitty's efforts to keep her boss - and her salary - safe result in some dangerous action perfect for fans of the gritty hard-boiled detective listen.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ed Lynskey, on May 11, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Set in 1931's L.A., this detective novel is narrated from the assistant's (Katherine Pangborn) point-of-view. L.A.'s press boasts that the Depression hasn't hit their city, but Katherine goes up against some unsavory charaters from the city's gangsterdom. Katherine (she hates the nickname "Kitty") makes for an engaging protagonist and her boss, P.I. Dex Theroux, is lucky to have her as his sidekick. She's observant, curious, and when the situation calls for it, tough as nails. The violence quota is kept to a minimum just as the detective books written in 1931 did. Terrific retro front cover art adds a dash of color. I also liked the cityscape described with the buildings, streets, and architecture not only in L.A., but on the sidetrip to San Francisco. Good backstory on Katherine gives her character depth. Enjoyable read on a rainy afternoon.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Eric C. Williams on October 13, 2008
Format: MP3 CD
This review is for the MP3 audio CD of "Death Was the Other Woman". I'm mentioning this because I see hardcover reviews showing up for the MP3 CD, which makes no sense. With audio books, the person reading the story is as important as the story itself. And while the story here is good campy fun, the person reading it (Joyce Bean) isn't.

Bean reads the story with incredible enunciation, almost to the point of sounding robotic. Her emphasis, timing and even her emotion seem off. It's as though she's reading another story altogether. I get the sense she felt no connection to what she was reading, and whoever was directing her didn't care.

On top of this, Bean's attempt at male voices is jarring. All her male characters sound the same, like a frog who's chain-smoked for 30 years.

You go into a popcorn novel like this expecting cliche camp: Smoky, sultry, moody, dangerous. The story itself had these things in spades. I just wish Bean had been able to deliver on the reading.
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