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Pignon Scorbion & the Barbershop Detectives

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There's a new detective in town, and he's giving the likes of Sherlock Holmes and Hercule Poirot a run for their money. Rick Bleiweiss introduces us to the enigmatic and dapper Pignon Scorbion, who sets up shop in the quaint town of Haxford, circa 1910. The ambiance is reminiscent of the classic detectives we all know and love, yet "Pignon Scorbion & The Barbershop Detectives" offers a refreshing take, packed with a unique set of characters and three intercontinental mysteries that promise intrigue and suspense.

One of the standout aspects of this narrative is the tight-knit group of amateur sleuths from the barbershop. These individuals, ranging from the sagacious barber Calvin Brown to the curious Billy Arthurson, bring depth and personality to the story, offering both wit and wisdom. Their camaraderie and collaboration with Scorbion are heartwarming, if occasionally hilarious, making the book both a mystery novel and a study in character dynamics.

The entrance of Thelma Smith, a dazzling counterpart to Scorbion, adds another layer of complexity. Their relationship – tinged with romantic tension – is a subplot to keep an eye on. Thelma's presence keeps the usually unflappable Scorbion on his toes, making their interactions a delightful addition to the core mystery.

While the mysteries themselves are gripping and well-conceived, the resolution of the third case may test the patience of some readers. Pignon's elongated revelation felt somewhat redundant, leaving one craving a sharper, swifter climax. That said, the author cleverly leaves readers eager for a sequel with a tantalizing hint of the budding romance between Scorbion and Thelma.

In terms of writing, Bleiweiss's style can be described as a nod to traditional mystery authors while maintaining a modern sensibility. The prose is clear, and the narrative is deftly edited with barely any errors. However, some might find the story's pacing a tad stilted, lacking the emotional richness that characterizes other works in the genre. Yet, this doesn't detract much from the overall enjoyment of the story.

For lovers of classic detective stories, "Pignon Scorbion & The Barbershop Detectives" is a must-read. Its cozy atmosphere, combined with captivating mysteries, make it a perfect companion for a quiet evening. Despite minor shortcomings, Bleiweiss’s novel stands as a commendable addition to the detective fiction genre. This book is tailor-made for those who appreciate intrigue over suspense and is a promising start to what could be a memorable series

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This book is so much fun! The lead detective was similar to Hercule Poirot. The writing felt very fresh.

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This was an interesting read, loved the pacing and the unique characters. I am looking forward to the next book!!

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Pignon Scorbion & the Barbershop Detectives by Rick Bleiweiss

The year is 1910, and in the small and seemingly sleepy English municipality of Haxford, there’s a new chief police inspector. At first, the dapper and unflappable Pignon Scorbion strikes something of an odd figure among the locals, who don’t see a need for such an exacting investigator. But it isn’t long before Haxford finds itself very much in need of a detective.

The premise sounded fun, but I just could not get into this story. I tried both the ebook and the audiobook and found my mind wandering with both formats. I think it was the writing style that just didn't work for me.

Thank you to NetGalley and Blackstone Publishing for a free copy of Pignon Scorbion & the Barbershop Detectives. All thoughts and opinions in this review are my own. #NetGalley

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Pignon Scorbion arrives in Haxford to start as the chief police inspector, but he ends up setting up an informal base of operations in a barbershop, where he is assisted by various locals in solving several perplexing cases. This is entertaining, if not always practical—instead of going to the crime scene to check things out quickly and efficiently, Scorbion has to keep summoning everyone to the barbershop or sending his barbershop buddies back and forth to gather missing pieces of information. This is a version of the old-school mystery in which the great detective assembles all the subjects in the drawing room and reveals whodunit. The appealing twist here is that his friends from the barbershop are active participants in questioning the suspects, not just passive hangers-on marveling at his genius.

The overall effect is cute for lovers of traditional mysteries, but the book doesn’t flow quite smoothly enough. The language is stilted, reflecting a slightly awkward attempt to capture the speech patterns of the era as well as Scorbion’s own fussiness.

Thanks to Netgalley and Blackstone Publishing for a digital advance review copy.

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Chief Police Pignon Scorbion does things a little different when it comes to solving mysteries and murders. Firstly, he deputizes his friend Calvin -who happens to be a barber, Calvin's two underlining barbers, and their shoeshine boy. It very much reminded me of Poirot and Robert Downey Jr's Holmes. The novel is silly but entertaining the entire time; I definitely plan to check out the next book in the series.

I was given a copy of this story to read; but thoughts and opinions are all my own. Thank you to Netgalley and Blackstone Publishing for the chance to read this book!

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Charming, clever, and quintessentially British, Pignon Scorbion & the Barbershop Detectives is bound to be a favorite of Christie fans and Holmesians the world over. Our eponymous police chief is unexpectedly foppish, which in some ways feels like shorthand for "this definitely isn't Poirot or Holmes," but is in all other respects a welcome bit of quirkiness.

Christopher Toyne's narration on the audiobook is painfully stilted and breathy; this review is only for the eBook, so I won't detract any stars here, but this is definitely a "read-don't-listen" title.

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The author definitely has an interesting concept here with Pignon Scorbion who is quite an unconventional character. I loved that Pignon isn’t your typical British white male detective. And putting him in the setting of a small English village in 1910 is pretty unorthodox. But that’s where my appreciation for the book ends.

The language was stilted,, as if the author was trying to mimic the style of books written during that time. And while the story structure of interweaving the past and present was interesting, it resulted in a laborious read. It was such an effort to get through the many chapters of past events that I just wanted to skip it all.

Sorry to say that I didn’t find this first book in the series to my taste.

My thanks to Blackstone publishing and NetGalley for making this advanced reader’s copy available for my review.

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3 stars. Reminiscent of Agatha Christie and just as enjoyable.

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an early peek at the novel. My views are my own.

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Pignon Scorbion & the Barbershop Detectives is the first book in a light historical cozy mystery series by Rick Bleiweiss. Released 8th Feb 2022 by Blackstone, it's 300 pages and is available in hardcover, paperback, audio, and ebook formats.

This is a quirky Edwardian shopfront cozy with an ensemble cast of eccentric characters, and none moreso than the titular newly arrived chief inspector Pignon Scorbion. He's a sartorial force-majeur (channeling his hero Monsieur Poirot) with a formidable intellect and backed up by a Greek chorus of barbershop employees, he sets his brain to solving crimes.

Although it's not derivative, stylistically I would place it in the same subgenre with Richard Osman and maybe Edmund Crispin. It's a bit farcical and pompous, but there are some smiles to be found here. I suspect it will engender delight or antipathy and not much in between those two extremes. I found it charmingly silly in places and an engaging diverting light read. I'm looking forward to find out what comes next.

Four stars.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

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I found this mystery to be disappointing. It felt like the author was going for quirkier-than-Poirot-and-Holmes when he created his detective and his band of cronies. The mystery had some intriguing points but I found myself skimming about 1/3 of the way in.

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I think Pignon Scorbion was cute but I would not equate it to Hercule Poirot or Sherlock Holmes levels of genius.

Pignon is an overly dapper small town police chief who conducts investigations and interviews through the local barbershop. He teams up with barbershop staff to solve mysteries all while maybe finding love along the way.

I thought this was okay but it was not overwhelming. It is a light and easy read. I would probably consider reading further in this series.

I think if you like cozy clean historical mysteries - this could be one you’d enjoy.

Thank you for the opportunity to read an advanced copy!

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The publisher and numerous favorable blurbs on Pignon Scorbion and the Barbershop Detectives compares our cerebral sleuth to such luminaries as Hercule Poirot, Sherlock Holmes and Perry Mason. However, he doesn’t resemble any of them. Yes, he’s a dandy like Dame Agatha Christie’s famed detective, but there the resemblance ends, and he is much, much more pedantic than Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s creation or Erle Stanley Gardner’s. It’s a shame that so many resort to comparisons as Scorbion is just a so-so protagonist. In fact, he makes me think of Lynne Truss’ Constable Twitten if he were more clever and resided in a novel that wasn’t ridiculous.

It’s 1910, and the impeccably dressed Pignon Scorbion has just accepted the position of chief police inspector in the town of Haxford, England, and, to his delight, reunites with an old pal, barber Calvin Brown. Inexplicably, Scorbion ignores his own constable and deputizes Brown, his two underling barbers, an uneducated shoeshine boy and a wannabe-reporter to assist him. (Indeed, Scorbion’s paid underlings, Sergeant Simon Adley and Roger Pawling, barely appear in the novel, and then only performing the most menial xtasks.) Not as ridiculous as Truss’ The Man That Got Away, but it did take some suspension of disbelief.

Author Rick Bleiweiss makes it clear that Pignon Scorbion and the Barbershop Detectives is the first in a new series, and I’m sure, with such illustrious friends as Nancy Pickard, Robert Arellano, Dick Lochte and Rex Pickett, he won’t have any trouble realizing that dream. But I’m not sure whether I’ll be along for the next one. Scorbion investigates several mysteries, including some murders, but they’re hackneyed and a bit contrived, and, while the novel is hailed as humorous, it’s not that funny. When an author ensures that secondary characters are always lauding Scorbion’s perspicacity and genius, it means that he fears the casual reader won’t notice. That’s not something you have to do with Poirot, Holmes or Perry Mason. Two stars, rounded up to three because of the resolution of the Bentine affair and my feeling generous.

In the interest of full disclosure, I received this book from NetGalley and Blackstone Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

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I was offered the chance to review this book by the publisher through NetGalley and I jumped at the chance to read it. This is a new series set in 1910 in England in a small town where it seems crime never happens. When a new police inspector, Pignon Scorbion, arrives in town, everyone is surprised by his demeanor and his attention to looking fashionable at all times and his strange name. He is not like their last police inspector and they are suspicious of him and whether he can bring any value to the village. Quickly, however, Pignon Scorbion, shows the small town what he is capable of in regards to solving mysteries and uses his friends at the local barbershop to help him investigate three crimes that have recently occurred in Haxford.

The concept of this book is very good. I am not quite sure why the author decided to have Scorbion conduct all of his investigations in the local barbershop and not the police station, but it is what it is. That really didn’t make a lot of sense to me and while it did bring some added value to the book, it left me a little confused as to why this would have been done. I guess you just have to roll with it. I did like the characters in the book and liked how there were three separate mysteries to solve in this book.

While I was not overly impressed with this book, I did still have a good time reading it. I liked the characters and would read the next book in the series to see if there is some character development. There was a teaser for the second book at the end of this one, but I never read them so I am assuming the next book will be forthcoming in the next year or so. If you like to read mysteries that are short, to the point and are quite whimsical, this might be a book you might want to look into.

Overall Rating: 3 stars
Author: Rick Bleiweiss

Series: Pignon Scorbion Mystery #1

Publisher: Blackstone Publishing

Publication Date: February 8, 2022

Genre: Historical Mystery

Get It: Amazon

Disclaimer: This book was given to me by the publisher, through NetGalley, in exchange for my honest review. I reviewed this book without compensation of any kind. All thoughts and opinions are solely mine.

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Pignon Scorbion is a detective by trade and has recently become the new chief police inspector in the English municipality of Haxford. He is looking for something that will give him some intellectual stimulation. At first, he thinks that the hamlet is a little sleepy. Yet before he knows it there are three cases in from of him. He elects his new friends from a local barbershop to be his deputies and together, they look for clues and interview witnesses and suspects. They come together to debrief at the barbershop and late by little the truth of the crimes is revealed.

Pignon Scorbion and The Barbershop Detectives is set in 1910 England. As a detective, he is a lite unconventional and this ruffles some of the people in the town. They are not used to change and do not want any trouble. In fact, they are a little defensive and protective of their community. That doesn't mean that there is not some backstabbing involved though (literally).

The book was a little slow for me. Part of that might have been the clunkiness of the dialogue. It could just be alot at times. The other reason it was slow for me was more than likely the fact that mysteries are not usual my cup of tea. My mom loves Agatha Christie and little by little I'm trying to open myself to see what these books are all about. And what I really liked about this universe is that it is connected to other well known characters from the same time. These includes Sherlock Holmes, John Watson, and Hercule Poirot. I may not be familiar with alot of mystery books but I do recognize those names.

Pignon Scorbion and the Barbershop Detectives is the first book in a new detective series. Will I revisit Pignon and his barbershop Detectives? Possibly. I did find the characters endearing and liked the way they worked together. My only concern is the dialogue becoming tiresome for me. I wonder if an audio version would be better? I think it might especially if voiced by a British narrator!

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As an avid fan of Sherlock Holmes and Hercule Poirot, Rick Bleiweiss' novel, Pignon Scorbion & the Barbershop Detectives was an absolute delight to read. We are transported back to Edwardian England where Chief Police Inspector Scorbion must solve a series of murders that have occurred in his not-so-sleepy small town. I'm eagerly awaiting the next book for Bleiweiss!

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Not necessarily my type of book, but an interesting read nonetheless. Thank you for sending this my way! It's always appreciated.

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I expected to thoroughly enjoy Pignon Scorbion & the Barbershop Detectives. It features a chief police inspector but is at heart a cozy mystery set in a small town in England in 1910. Unfortunately, it didn’t really work for me.

Scorbion, is a dapper, overly observant detective, à la Poirot. He is a little more aware of other people’s feelings and actually has a love interest, but he didn’t stand out for me. There are a lot of characters, the folks at the barbershop, the local bookseller, the townspeople involved in the cases. There were too many for any to have more than one or two defining characteristics – this one’s short, this one is from France, this one is “modern.” I didn’t really care about any of them.

The mysteries were okay. They’re solved through interrogations at the barbershop, with a few behind-the-scenes phone calls from the police station. The flow wasn’t great, but there were a couple of interesting twists. The workers at the barbershop and a local reporter get to do some of the questioning, but clearly only Pignon is smart enough to put it all together. Eh.

The thing that disappointed me most was how stilted the writing was. It felt like the author was trying to use the writing style to place the book in 1910, but the dialogue is clunky and in general, it’s just overdone. I should probably stop reading books that are compared to Christie’s, they never live up to the hype.

The set-up is so promising, it’s a shame it didn’t live up to it.

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In 1910, Pignon Scorbion is the new chief police inspector in the small English village of Haxford. He’s dapper, reserved, and many of the residents are skeptical that he will be of any use to them. After all, there isn’t much crime in Haxford. He is a contemporary of the famed detective, Hercule Poirot and a great admirer of Sherlock Holmes. So, it’s not a surprise that Pignon employs many of their techniques as he solves four different cases with the help of the staff at the local barbershop.

Pignon Scorbion & the Barbershop Detectives is Rick Bleiweiss’ debut novel and it is a delightful introduction to the detective and his band of amateur investigators. The four mysteries are well-conceived and the thought process (reminiscent of both Sherlock and Poirot) that leads to the solutions is interesting and entertaining. I am looking forward to more books by Mr Bleiweiss.

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing a copy of this book for review.

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3 quaintly charming stars
“My brain is my most formidable weapon.” Pignon Scorbion

Some old-fashioned language and expressions flavor the dialog and narrative of the story set in 1910 small town England, but it is easy to understand in context. “Keeping the presses running is duck soup for me.” There are very mild romantic hints as subplots, but the language, including murder descriptions is very clean.

Pignon Scorbion is a stuffy and formal police chief who is particular about his clothes and distinctive shoes. When he is ready to lay out the solution to the crime, he gathers the local “barbershop detectives” as well as the perpetrators. I found these revelations a bit long winded with no real action. I guessed some of the solutions. Of the cases presented, I enjoyed the circus mystery the most.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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