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Too Darn Hot: A Novel Hardcover – June 27, 2006

4.5 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Like Scoppettone's This Dame for Hire (2005), which introduced Faye Quick, the semitough New York steno who turns private eye after her boss goes off to fight in WWII, this sequel vividly recreates 1943 Manhattan—the rumble of the subway train, the rattle of the taxi in a city not slowed down for a second by a war or an oppressive heat wave. Faye's voice is again pitch perfect, but the story isn't as strong as the earlier novel's. Claire Turner, a blonde beauty who works as a salesgirl at Wanamaker's department store, plays on Faye's sympathies to get her to agree to spend some of her time looking for Claire's missing GI boyfriend, Charlie Ladd. (Movie names dot every page: not only Turner and Ladd but folks called Widmark, Byington, Duff and Cummings have roles.) Of course, the too-good-to-be-true Charlie turns out to be just that, murders are committed both coolly and in hot blood, and all the while our very interesting Faye does a great imitation of the sort of dame Ida Lupino was born to play. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Praise for Sandra Scoppettone’s This Dame for Hire

“Faye Quick is a real hoot, a tough-talking, wisecracking, lovable character in the mold of Sam Spade and Philip Marlowe. Scoppettone also does a bang-up job of re-creating New York City of the World War II era, a rich setting for a mystery story.”
–Chicago Sun-Times

“The author hits the ground running with the appealing, savvy Faye and her network of cops and friends. The strong characters are complemented by Scoppettone’s insightful look at World War II New York.”
–Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel

“[Faye] is the real gem here. She rises to every situation, even as she doesn’t believe she has it in her. She’s fun, caring, loves art and literature, hates pretense, and is quick with the zingers.”
–Detroit Free Press

“Quick is a most interesting and original creation, and Sandra Scoppettone has come up with a vivid picture of a city not only surviving but thriving under a cloud of wartime gloom. . . . Her details of life in Manhattan . . . sound like the real McCoy.”
–Chicago Tribune

“[Faye Quick is] a fascinating new heroine to be watched.”
–Library Journal (starred review)

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (June 27, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345478126
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345478122
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 1 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,861,316 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is a home front story set in the New York of 1943. Back in 1940, Faye Quick had been hired as a secretary for a one-man PI agency. Now, while her boss is in uniform, Faye is keeping the business going. It's the era of the hard-boiled detective and Faye, to her own surprise as much as anybody's, fits in just fine.

Refreshingly, and quite unlike two books on which I've commented recently, author Sandra Scoppettone creates a convincing mid-War New York. But the New York she creates is not, I think, the one that actually existed on the Hudson River. No, her New York is the one that appeared in glorious black-and-white in double features on the screens of neighborhood Bijous, Rialtos and Roxies right across the continent.

Imagine PI Faye Quick as a young Joan Blondell. Here is the way she speaks:

"Yeah, it was hot enough to fry an egg on the sidewalk. I never could understand why people said that. Did somebody fry one then eat it? Who'd wanna eat a fried egg from the sidewalk? Especially in a city like New York. Maybe I'd try it. Not the eating part, the frying. But then people would think I was more a screwball than they did already....

"I'd had two murders since last spring, solved them both. The first one was prime and it got a lotta attention in the fish wrapper, so I had a bunch of clients for a while. Just cause people saw my name in the paper they figured I was the best (which I might be) and they hired me for everything from finding a dog to solving another murder. Not bad for a twenty-six-year-old gal from Newark, New Jersey.
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Format: Hardcover
Faye Quick from This Dame for Hire returns in a sizzling noir mystery set in World War II-era New York City, where women are taking over jobs for the men at the front. Faye has taken on running a PI firm and is developing a real reputation as a tough, smart broad.

Faye is hired by Claire Turner, a pretty young woman, to find her missing soldier boyfriend, Charlie Ladd. Faye discovers a body in Charlie Ladd's hotel room when she starts to track him down, and after some investigation, she finds out the body is not Charlie, but his buddy David Cooper.

Claire's estranged sister Lucille claims that she was raped by Charlie and had a baby that she gave up for adoption. Charlie's rich parents rush down from Rhode Island when they hear from Faye that Claire got a phone call from some thugs claiming that they have kidnapped Charlie, and Claire needs to deliver the money. The hot summer weather heats events to the boiling point: Dolores, Faye's nosy neighbor, is shot; the body of a young woman is found behind a fancy sweet shop; and Lucille, Claire's sister, vanishes.

Armchair Interview says: Too Darn Hot is perfect for those scorching summer days at the beach; and Faye is the perfect hot private investigator. There are twists and turns galore, and incredible and quirky characters inhabit Faye's New York City.
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Format: Hardcover
I was initially drawn to "Too Darn Hot" by an interest in World War II and its New York setting. While the historical setting plays a prominent role, it is Faye Quick who will capture your imagination. A private eye with a keen eye understanding of the human condition, and a jaded urban sense of humor, she is a natural at her proffession. Just as all "naturals" must, she works hard to perfect and hone her trade. It is extremely clear that without the war transporting men overseas, Faye may have never gotten her shot to move from secretary to private eye. A young twenty-six, Faye is able to navigate the demanding and at times unaccepting waters of the male dominated NYPD. (Law enforcement officers were exempt from military service) Faye has a maturity beyond her years. There is a freshness to her youth, however, as she attempts to sort out her relationship with both her family and a love interest who is uncomfortable with her profession. While completely at ease in her private eye role, her youth is apparent when her insecurity is on display during her first venture to the 21 Club. The dialogue accompanied by her inner thoughts are extremely funny, and maintains the pace of the book.

If your trying to quit smoking, this may be a rough read. Its the price of historical accuracy.
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Format: Hardcover
This is the second in the Faye Quick series. Ms. Quick takes over for her detective boss during WWII. As always, Sandra Scoppettone has a sharp eye for New York, bringing to life places like Horn & Hardart, as well as the great music of the forties. I like this book even better than the first. Faye seems more confident, and the case she cracks is intriguing. In so many reviews they liken Quick to Ida Lupino, bemoaning the fact there's no one like her now, to play Faye. But maybe there is. I've been trying to think of the new young actors and who would be good. Needless to say, I'm anxious to read the next Quick, quick!
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Format: Kindle Edition
I gave it five stars, basing that in comparison to items currently coming out of the entertainment industry. A novel that I can't put down is good enough for me to rate 5 stars, even if not something that is likely to be around 50 years from now. With one caveat, I listened to the audio book and the reader Laura Hicks was fantastic. A woman of many voices, all highly distinguishable, and colorful. I am not sure if this would have rated better than 4 stars even by my relaxed criteria, had I read the book rather than listened. I won't mention much about the plot, don't want to give any hints to spoil it. You do have to get used to her exaggerated use of 40's popular language. But that is fine, I grew to actually like that. This mystery is much in the style of my favorites, Hammett, Chandler, MacDonald, AC, and Stout. She captures the era quite well, unlike most period efforts today which integrate modern popular culture into an such an era piece. She keeps it innocent, devoid of explicit sexual content, as was typical of those times, and which I prefer myself. I think it could have passed as a normal style of writing in the 1940's, or at least come close. She has some pretty colorful characters, such as the secretary, and her elderly neighbor. Faye is new to the game, very intelligent, had a sense of humor and control of her base emotions, and relies on others a bit older and less trusting than she is (she is 26 years old and has not had time to become the cynic she is destined to be should she stay in this occupation). I don't want to say more, as it would give hints as to the solution. No it is not as good as the best of the big 5 I mention above, but it is as good as a number of their novels. I have put in a request on the first in the series, and expect that I will enjoy that also.Read more ›
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