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Till the Butchers Cut Him Down Mass Market Paperback – August 1, 1995


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

While Muller continues to reveal new facets of character in her San Francisco PI, Sharon McCone, this latest case, the 15th, is considerably tamer than the Mexican border skirmishing featured in her 1993 Edgar-nominated A Wolf in the Shadows. McCone has just left the All-Souls Legal Cooperative and opened her own business when an eccentric friend from her UC-Berkeley days, who now specializes in rescuing failing corporations, asks her to find out who is sabotaging his efforts to save a San Francisco shipping firm and threatening his life. T. J. "Suitcase" Gordon reports some odd accidents, but McCone suspects that the obsessively private man may also be paranoid. She meets Gordon's wife Anna, who could have been her sister ("we looked that much alike"), but then an explosion destroys the Gordons' secluded northern California home, leaving Anna dead. With Gordon in reclusive mourning, Sharon investigates two of his past projects, one in a revived Nevada ghost town and another at a moribund steel center in Pennsylvania. Unearthing possible revenge motives and another murder victim, she draws the killer's malevolent attention to herself back in San Francisco. A final, abrupt climax caps this adventure, whose cast--outside of always amiable Sharon, her eager, troublesome nephew/assistant and her barely glimpsed lover, Hy Ripinsky--is a generally unengaging lot. Mystery Guild selection.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Problems of the heart, ambivalent feelings of independence, and acute observations of reality lend investigator Sharon McCone a solid and enduring foundation of credibility. The San Francisco series heroine opens McCone Investigations with the bizarre case of a long-ago friend and onetime lover who believes someone wants him dead. McCone must first separate truth from fantasy, since the highly paid but lonely corporate turnaround man may just be paranoid, imagining several attempts on his life. Muller (Pennies on a Dead Woman's Eyes, LJ 6/1/92) maintains her exemplary high standards: great female private eye, smooth flowing narrative, and riveting plot.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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"The Mermaid's Child" by Jo Baker
In this fantastical novel, the acclaimed author of "Longbourn" brings us the magical story of a young girl in search of her mother - who just might be a mermaid. See more

Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing; 1st Printing edition (August 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446603023
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446603027
  • Product Dimensions: 6.7 x 4.2 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,210,141 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

MARCIA MULLER has written many novels and short stories. Her novel "Wolf in the Shadows" won the Anthony Boucher Award. The recipient of the Private Eye Writers of America's Lifetime Achievement Award and the Mystery Writers of America Grand Master Award - their highest accolade - she lives in northern California with her husband, mystery writer Bill Pronzini.

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
5 star
25%
4 star
58%
3 star
17%
2 star
0%
1 star
0%
See all 12 customer reviews
This is not to say that it's bad.
Barbara J. Mitchell
Suitcase is now a successful businessman, but not a very popular one, and someone's apparently taken it into their heads to kill him, destroy his business, or both.
David W. Nicholas
Great book keeps you enthralled - mystery after mystery!
Barbara D.O'Sullivan

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 19, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Sharon McCone is one of the top detective characters of all time. This book is a critical one in the series, because Sharon moves out of All Soul's to start her own business. This change is a critical one in developing her self-confidence, her relationship with her family and with Hy, and in making the stories more interesting. If you want to read the newer novels, you really should read this one first.
This story must set some kind of record for unexpected twists. I won't go into detail for obvious reasons, but no one and nothing are what they seem. Unlike a lot of mysteries where all of the twisting and resolution occurs in the next to the last or the last chapter, the complications come fast and furious throughout the book.
The main story line relates to an old Berkeley friend of Sharon's reading about her new agency, and sending a helicopter to pick her up. He's now a big corporate turnaround specialist and is working on a deal in the Bay area. But someone seems to be trying to scare or possibly kill him. Why? Who? Those are just the beginning of the mysteries that Sharon must solve.
Along the way, she learns a lot of unexpected things about her client and herself. For example, she flees a romantic 39th birthday with Hy to pursue a lead for her client. Now that's dedication to duty.
In addition to being very well plotted, the characters are at their most appealing. This is one of Marcia Muller's best works! Enjoy!
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I've been reading Marcia Muller for years but in no particular order. Whenever I see one of her Sharon McCone series books at a book sale that I haven't read, I buy it. I still have one more in my TBR stack. The reason is that they always are entertaining and I like McCone.

Till the Butchers Cut Him Down is the first one I've read that disappointed me. I'm not sure why. I still like McCone and I find her life interesting. I enjoy her trials and tribulations with her nephew Mick. This story is set when McCone first opens her own business, renting an office from her previous employer, All Souls Legal Cooperative. Her sister has sent Mick to stay with her because they aren't getting along. He's 17 and a computer wizard, which is convenient because McCone has decided to finally enter the computer age. Her boyfriend Hy is off on mysterious business in this one and she's wondering if they will last.

With all of this going on, the last thing she needs is for her first client to be a man out of her past who is anything but likeable or easy to get along with. T. J. Gordon is known to her as "Suits," shortened from Suitcase because when McCone was in college he traveled around with a ratty old suitcase and sold pot. Now he's a multimillionaire who takes companies in big trouble and turns them around, usually successfully.

The story is set in California, a place fittingly called Lost Hope, Nevada, and a former steel town in Pennsylvania called Monora. Then there is Suits' mansion and guest house on the northern California coast. Maybe that's the problem. It jumps from place to place, Suits is a very jumpy person with absolutely no consideration for others, and I was simply uncomfortable reading about him. The story didn't hold my interest like Muller's novels normally do.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Marcia Muller has the distinction of being the first woman to successfully write a private eye series where the protagonist was female. The big wave of these books were, of course, prompted by Sara Paretsky and Sue Grafton, however. The difference between Muller's books and that of the other two women is difficult to discern, but I believe I have the answer. Paretsky and Grafton write books where there's a private eye who's female, while Muller writes about a woman who's a private eye. This is a subtle distinction: there's no doubt that all three series have a lot in common. For whatever the reason, however, Muller's stuff reads (to me anyway) more like a romance novel with a mystery plot than an actual mystery. Having said that, Till the Butchers Cut Him Down isn't a bad addition to her series at all.

Sharon McCone has struck out on her own, leaving the legal cooperative that employed her in the previous books in the series, and decided to become a real private eye, complete with office and assistant. Her first case involves an old friend, "Suitcase" Gordon, who used to deal in illicit things which he always carried in a suitcase, hence the nickname. Suitcase is now a successful businessman, but not a very popular one, and someone's apparently taken it into their heads to kill him, destroy his business, or both. He comes to Sharon to see if she can stop them, and the book goes from there.

Muller's prose is easy to read and workmanlike. There's nothing really poetic here, and the characters are only semi-well-defined, but the plot is reasonable and she knows how to keep the action moving. I would recommend this book to anyone wanting to read a decent mystery, with an afternoon at the beach to kill.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Private Investigator Sharon McCone has grown and matured through the first fifteen books which comprise the series which bears her name. In this offering, Sharon starts her own agency, although she rents space from her former employer, All Souls' Legal Cooperative, and thus stays in touch with her old friends. Her first case involves an old college chum whom she calls Suits. Although he was an unpromising youth, Suits has become a man of some wealth and influence. He specializes in taking over companies and turning them around so that they become profitable entities again. In the process of doing so, Suits usually cuts unprofitable people and activities, thus earning him numerous enemies. When someone starts to harass him in dangerous ways, Suits decides it's time to bring in an investigator to find out who's responsible. Sharon travels the country, talking to people in companies which Suits has turned around. There are more than enough suspects, and Sharon has to do some extensive sleuthing to see who is threatening Suits and his wife. She takes on her nephew as a temporary assistant and continues her unconventional relationship with Hy Ripinski. Muller's fans will not be disappointed in this entry in the series.
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