Cover Image: Pignon Scorbion & the Barbershop Detectives

Pignon Scorbion & the Barbershop Detectives

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

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.
Was this review helpful?
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!
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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!
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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!
Was this review helpful?
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!
Was this review helpful?
Not necessarily my type of book, but an interesting read nonetheless. Thank you for sending this my way! It's always appreciated.
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
I had high hopes that the book would be as entertaining as it’s title. While I appreciate the time and effort the author put into this book, sadly it was just not for me. Too many words, too much dialogue, too much and that is before the story begins to unfold. There is a story there but I just couldn’t wade through all of it to get to it. Applause for the attempt and effort.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you for the opportunity to read and review this body of work. I had a very hard time taking it serious, and will have to give it another chance at a later.
Was this review helpful?
This was a good attempt at creating another "Golden Age" detective.  Pignon Scorbion has much in common with our favorite detectives of old.   

Thank you to Blackstone Publishing and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this book.
Was this review helpful?
3.5 stars.  
An unusual and unconventional detective, Pignon Scorbion makes his appearance in Rick Bleiweiss’ first mystery novel. A dapper dresser, the detective is a little bored when he first walks into the Hackford barbershop of his friend Calvin, and Calvin’s team of intelligent and curious barbers.

Almost immediately, three cases occur in the town, one a paternity case, the other two robbery and murder. Instead of running around looking for clues, Pignon elects to deputize Calvin and company, then holds interviews with the cases’ parties within the barbershop. Pignon soon includes the forthright and intelligent Thelma Smith, local bookshop owner, in the proceedings for her perspectives on the potential suspects (and because Pignon is intrigued and attracted to her.) After several interviews with all the affected parties, of course Pignon does solve each case, because he’s smart, and the cases were not too complicated (I figured them out pretty quickly).

I liked this book, though I did find the dialogue often klunky, not flowing as well as I would have liked. The stories are set in 1910 Edwardian small town England, and I think people would have used less complicated sentences, and been less wordy than Bleiweiss has made them. 

I was totally tickled, though, that Bleiweiss set Pignon in a world where these detectives are real: Sherlock Holmes and John Watson (Pignon knew Watson), and the inimitable Hercule Poirot, recently a refugee from Belgium, is starting his career as a detective in England. I had a big smile on my face when Pignon was contemplating making Poirot’s acquaintance at some time: I could envision Pignon and Poirot seated together, Pignon’s bi-colour polished shoes and tailored suits and Poirot’s shining green eyes and big moustache on display, discussing their approaches to detection.

Would I read the next Pignon Scorbion and the barbershop detectives book? Probably, as Bleiweiss’ detective’s unconventionality, gentleness, and respect for people was a pleasant change from grittier, hardbitten gumshoes I’ve encountered during the same time period in fiction.

Thank you to Netgalley and to Blackstone Publishing for this ARC in exchange for my review.
Was this review helpful?