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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)
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Review

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)
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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: #3,193,761 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By L. E. Cantrell VINE VOICE on June 29, 2007
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
After Faye Quick left her parents' home in New Jersey, she moved to New York where she became a secretary to Woody Mason of the A Detective Agency. When America entered WWII, Woody enlisted leaving Faye in charge of the business. To her surprise, she liked being a private investigator and solved enough cases to keep the agency afloat.

Her latest case begins when Claire Turner hires her to find her missing boyfriend, Private Charlie Ladd. Faye goes to the hotel where Charlie was staying where she finds a corpse. The body is identified as Charlie's pal Private David Cooper. There is no sign of Charlie anywhere until Claire receives a phone call from an unknown person who insists her boyfriend has been kidnapped and will be returned unharmed in exchange for $100,000. The exchange is not smooth and another dead person is found. Faye has to quickly figure out who is behind the homicides before someone else dies.

The audience will feel as if they are transported back to 1943 NYC due to the realistic tidbits that are cleverly woven into the fine historical mystery to include idioms and slang, and references and items (artifacts?) from the WWII era. The protagonist is a tough independent Jersey girl crossing the Hudson to prove she is also a quick thinker as she connects the dots to try and does solve cases. TOO DARN HOT is a gripping private detective tale with a pulp fiction feel to its 1940s ambience.

Harriet Klausner
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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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