Pignon Scorbion & the Barbershop Detectives
by Rick Bleiweiss
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Pub Date 08 Feb 2022 | Archive Date 28 Feb 2023
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.
Luckily, Scorbion and the local barber are old acquaintances, and the barbershop employs a cast of memorable characters who—together with an aspiring young ace reporter for the local Morning News—are nothing less than enthralled by the enigmatic new chief police inspector.
Investigating a trio of crimes whose origins span three continents and half a century, Pignon Scorbion and his “tonsorial sleuths” interview a parade of interested parties, but with every apparent clue, new surprises come to light. And just as it seems nothing can derail Scorbion’s cool head and almost unerring nose for deduction, in walks Thelma Smith—dazzling, whip-smart, and newly single.
Has Pignon Scorbion finally met his match?
For fans of Sherlock Holmes and Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot, author Rick Bleiweiss’s quirky new detective and ensemble cast of characters set against the backdrop of small-town England in the 1910s, will feel both comfortingly familiar and thrillingly new.
A Note From the Publisher
Since 2006 as a publishing company executive, he has acquired works by bestselling and award-winning authors including James Clavell, Gabriel García Márquez, Rex Pickett, Leon Uris, and Nicholas Sansbury Smith, among others.
In his latest creative endeavor, Rick has crafted the Pignon Scorbion historical mystery series—blending his love of the past with the twisty deliciousness of a whodunit. Follow Rick and Scorbion at www.RickBleiweiss.com
“A highly engaging read which will join the ranks of Richard Osman, Anthony Horowitz, and Fred Vargas…Let’s hope Pignon…will be back soon.”
-Historical Novels Review
“This book has everything an Agatha Christie fan can want—a quirky Poirot-esque detective, a bucolic English village right before World War I, and a villain worthy of a master detective.”
-The Big Thrill
“Bleiweiss’s entertaining debut introduces Chief Police Insp. Pignon Scorbion…Golden age fans appreciative of a light approach to traditional tropes will be eager for a sequel.”
“Rick Bleiweiss’s Pignon Scorbion & the Barbershop Detectives has quirky, wonderful characters and all the elements of a great (and fun) detective story. I totally loved reading this novel!”
-Heather Graham, New York Times bestselling author
“Bleiweiss’s novel is a worthy addition in the tradition of Conan Doyle and Christie. Holmes and Poirot, please make room for Pignon Scorbion.”
-Reed Farrel Coleman, New York Times bestselling author of What You Break
"This charming tale of the eccentric Chief Inspector Pignon Scorpion, artfully told in the style of the detective stories of old, will be sure to delight fans of Christie’s original Hercule Poirot series, as well as cozy mystery and historical fiction readers. I’ll be looking forward to more cases being solved by this delightful cast of colorful characters in the barbershop!”
-Natasha Boyd, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, internationally bestselling and award-winning author of The Indigo Girl
“A superbly structured detective story in its own right, Pignon Scorbion & the Barbershop Detectives is also a respectful, affectionate, and frequently very funny tribute to classic British detective fiction. It just might become a classic, itself."
-Nancy Pickard, New York Times bestselling and award-winning author of The Scent of Rain and Lightning
“Shades of Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Poirot, and Perry Mason—Chief Inspector Pignon Scorbion is here! Kick back, put up your feet, stow away your cares, and prepare for some good old-fashioned fun.…Bleiweiss’s writing is crisp, yet evocative, and the story is a breath of fresh air.”
-Pamela Binnings Ewen, bestselling author of The Queen of Paris
“Perfect for genre diehards and newcomers alike.”
-James Wade, Spur Award–winning author of All Things Left Wild and River, Sing Out
“A delightful mystery filled with twists and turns…I’m already looking forward to the next case.”
-Shelley Shepard Gray, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author
“Fans nostalgic for the old-fashioned, but never outdated, whodunnit will revel in this shimmering recreation of the genre.”
-Rex Pickett, New York Times bestselling author of Sideways
“Bleiwiess’s debut novel is sure to delight fans of traditional mystery…Pignon Scorbion is a detective comparable to Hercule Poirot…I look forward to the next in the series!”
-Amanda Flower, Agatha Award–winning & USA Today bestselling author
“Fans of Hercule Poirot and Sherlock Holmes will love Pignon Scorbion & the Barbershop Detectives…Bleiweiss has crafted a detective who can crack even the toughest cases with flair!”
-Andrews & Wilson, bestselling authors of Sons of Valor & Tier One
“Bleiweiss’s Pignon Scorbion…is a splendidly unique addition to the list of entertainingly eccentric investigators who use brain over brawn…Good company. Good fun.”
-Dick Lochte, Nero Wolfe Award winner and bestselling author of Blues in the Night
“Extortion, theft, revenge and murder fractalize into a dazzling kaleidoscope of crime…It’s hard not to binge-read when the end of every chapter leaves you with another puzzle to solve. Bravo, Rick Bleiweiss!”
-Robert Arellano, Edgar Award finalist and author of seven novels, including Havana Lunar: a Cuban Noir
National reviews and author interviews
Mystery-fiction buzz mailing
Digital and print advertising campaign
Major showcase at library, publishing, and bookseller shows
Early outreach and giveaways on Goodreads
Social media campaign
Follow Rick and Scorbion at www.RickBleiweiss.com
Twitter: @rick_bleiweiss / Instagram: @rickbleiweissauthor
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 61 members
This charming tale of Chief Inspector Pignon Scorbion is told in the detective style of Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot series, an investigator who uses brain over brawn. It's a pleasant tribute to classic British detective fiction and Edwardian England. Scorbion's likable yet unlikely group of "barbershop" deputies adds a nice twist to the classic mystery. It is an easy and comfortable read and a perfect old-fashioned escape. I look forward to more mysteries to be untangled by Pignon and his merry band of investigators.
Quite enjoyed reading Pignon Scorbion & The Barbershop Detectives. The moment I downloaded I started reading and did not put it down until I finished.. Hope to read more from this author in the future.
Despite the unusual title, this book was intriguing. It was sent to me electronically by Netgalley for review. The characters are quirky and fun to read about. Fun book.
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. Luckily, Scorbion and the local barber are old acquaintances, and the barbershop employs a cast of memorable characters who—together with an aspiring young ace reporter for the local Morning News—are nothing less than enthralled by the enigmatic new chief police inspector. This reads very much like a Poirot mystery and the characters are remarkably similar but not so much that Pignon doesn't stand out on his own. This was a really fun read and I hope its just the beginning of a wonderful and lengthy series. Thank you NetGalley for the advanced readers copy for review.
detective-fiction, England, assistant-sleuths, eccentric, 1910s*****
A new detective transfers to the municipality of Haxford, and the only person who is well acquainted (and awed by) him is the town barber. Scorbion soon assembles assistant sleuths (one goes on to become a reporter under Scorbion's tutelage) from the ranks of the shop's regulars and even proves that the town drunk is a very astute observer. Enter a short series of mysteries which Scorbion solves with attention to fine detail ( amassed by his willing assistants) and deductive logic. Good first in series! I got hooked by the publisher's blurb and it did not disappoint. Fun characters!
I requested and received a free ebook copy from Blackstone Publishing via NetGalley. Thank you!
I am a huge fan of Sherlock Holmes and Hercule Poirot, and Pignon Scorbion fits right in there with them! He is the new Chief Police Inspector in a small English town, and his friendship with the local barber brings together quite the cast of characters. The current investigation is into a trio of crimes that go back 50 years, and there are new clues around every corner. And then Thelma Smith enters the story. A delightful mystery, my thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this fun, new mystery!
An interesting read; the detective is unlike any other, with a little the fastidious dressing of Poirot and deductive skills of Holmes. However, some of the plot points don’t make sense, like why they would conduct interviews in the barbershop with barbers instead of at the station Also, and this may change in the published version, the story could be hard to follow at times with it jumping back and forth. But, the mysteries were clever and the book was enjoyable.
this. was so cute. this truly might be my favorite arc i’ve read all year so as always, no spoilers!! i’ve never read a contemporary mystery book that imitates a class mystery so we’ll. pignon and his barbershop detectives are lovely because of how small-town they feel, yet how sharp they are. i love that pignon isn’t a perfect detective, but he works hard at it. yves and barnabus were my favorites, their banter was off the charts and i hope that they become a couple in the future! the vignettes are charming and every mystery really drew me in. can’t wait for the next book!
This book took me back.It was a nice trip back to the Silver Age of Mysterys; the Agatha Christie. and the Sherlock Holmes days. A very enjoyable read. I liked the author's writing style and the mystery was well done.
If you are a Christie fan and have been longing for that genre this is the book for you. The 1st in hopefully a long series.
I'd like to thank NetGalley. the author and Blackstone Publishing for the opportunity to read and review this book which publishes on February 2. 2022
The quiet town of Haxford, England, has a new Chief Detective Inspector. It’s 1910, only a few years before the upheaval of WWI will change England forever, and sleepy Haxford is much as it has been for centuries. So the Inspector, Pignon Scorbion, causes quite a stir in the town with his odd name, uncertain origins, and dapper attire. Good Heavens, two-tone shoes! The Inspector does have one friend in the city, however. The proprietor of the local barbershop is an old friend, and Scorbion quickly makes the shop his unofficial headquarters. The employees and patrons are happy to provide him with the local background. Scorbion quickly immerses himself in three cases, the first being a young man presenting himself as the heir to a wealthy landowner, though illegitimate. The second case is a stolen pig, and the third is murder. The issues seem unrelated, but as Scorbion interviews the principals, he suspects a connection. Helping him with his interviews are the denizens of the barbershop and the brilliant and attractive Thelma Smith. Scorbion is wary of any involvement, having suffered an unhappy marriage, but Thelma might change his mind.
Pignon Scorbion & The Barbershop Detective is very much a homage to Agatha Christies Poirot, and Conan Doyles Sherlock Holmes, written in the sort of Edwardian English one would expect from them. Rick Bleiweiss has added quirky characters and charm to the mix.
Thanks to Blackstone Publishing and NetGalley for an advance digital copy. The opinions are my own.
A fun lighthearted mystery read that keeps you guessing as well as light laughter within the texts. I would recommend this to anyone looking to get out of a reading slump and back into a fun environment.
In Edwardian England, 1910, we meet Pignon Scorbion, newly-appointed chief inspector of the fictional town of Haxford. Asked by newcomer, Jonathan Bentine, to prove a wealthy, retired salesman, Mortimer Gromley, is his father, Pignon utilises the local barbershop, a frequent haunt, as his interview room. Calvin Brown, barbershop owner and long-time friend, is deputized, along with his three employees, to aid in the investigation. No sooner has the case been cleared and Gromley exonerated of an illicit one-off liaison during an out-of-town sales trip (resulting in the scheming Mr. Bentine) than a circus employee is murdered, a prize hog stolen and slaughtered, and the unfortunate animal’s owner found with a tomahawk stuck in his back. Meanwhile Pignon’s new deputies pull out a seemingly endless stream of chairs from the back room, like rabbits from a hat, and invite their growing warren full of interviewees to please sit.
With more than 60 characters listed, 40+ of them playing roles beyond just mentions, this novel could become unwieldy, but Bleiweiss has developed a cleverly convoluted plot full of conundrums into an easily readable page-turning diversion, in which we meet innumerable quirky, off-beat and charmingly peculiar characters. Utilising Occam’s Razor (or KISS, if you like), Pignon works through the evidence step by logical step. A true gentleman and one-of-a-kind investigator, his mannerisms and mode of speech are a delight, harkening back to Christie’s Poirot sojourns, which are currently having a new lease on life.
This is a highly engaging read which will join the ranks of Richard Osman, Anthony Horowitz, and Fred Vargas for the eccentricities and singularly idiosyncratic personages portrayed here. It makes you long for the time when courtesy and respect, even towards potential criminals, was the most important order of the day. Let’s hope Pignon and his distinctive black-and-white shoes will be back soon, or preferably even earlier.
In 1910 chief police inspector Pignon Scorbion arrived in the small English town of Haxford. Looking for cases that would challenge his abilities, he is presented with three that allow him to display his ability to rationally sift through clues and testimonies to reach a solution. As a friend of the barbershop’s owner, he uses the establishment to conduct suspects’ interviews and enlists the support of the owner, his staff and an aspiring journalist. A paternity claim, a murder at a traveling circus and the theft of an artifact and a farmer’s pig provide the challenges that he is looking for.
Pignon is meticulously dressed, with his distinguishing two-toned shoes. He was briefly married to a woman that he could not relate to, but one of his cases introduces him to Thelma Smith, an intelligent and independent woman who owns the local bookstore. He is a contemporary of Hercule Poirot, who he hopes to meet, and he had also befriended Dr. Watson, both of whom have provided inspiration for his methods. Using the testimonies of his witnesses and suspects, Rick Bleiweiss reveals clues from each interview that advance the investigation, but sometimes they also contradict previous revelations, giving the reader a chance to solve the crimes along with Pignon, making Pignon Scorbion & the Barbershop Detectives an entertaining reading experience. As a bonus, Bleiweiss also gives a sneak peek at a mystery to come. I would like to thank NetGalley and Blackstone Publishing for providing this book for my review.
Chief Inspector Pignon Scorbion claimed that he had not encountered any interesting cases of late. "I need intellectual stimulation...my brain is my most formidable weapon." How fortuitous! He was assigned as chief inspector of the British Hamlet of Haxford. The year was 1910. Twenty-five years ago, he was just a street copper when Calvin Brown was apprenticing at a barbershop. Calvin Brown now owned Brown's Barbershop in Haxford. Scorbion was excited to renew his friendship and frequented the shop often for a shave, haircut and shoeshine. Here in the barbershop, aided by an array of quirky characters, with a range of different perspectives, three new cases would be presented, discussed and hopefully concluded, given the expertise and dogged resolve of Pignon Scorbion.
Who's your daddy? "I, Pignon Scorbion, your new chief inspector, will take the case on to determine the authenticity or fraud of Mr. Jonathan Betine...possible heir to the Gromley fortune."
Calvin Brown's barbershop had three barber chairs along the left wall. Calvin, along with fellow barbers Barnabus and Yves, and shoeshine man Thomas, readied the shop to conduct interviews. A head table with six chairs behind it and two witness chairs on the opposite side of the table were set up. Young ace reporter, Billy of the Haxford Morning News, would participate in the proceedings. The method, a little unorthodox? Perhaps. In the words of Pignon Scorbion, "we have a paradox...this is the sort of conundrum that I live for and believe that I am singularly equipped to unravel."
Action heats up when a circus comes to town, "setting off a three ring spectacle of deception, detention and deduction." The special circus arrives with a performer attempting to set a new height record for stilt walking. The man who designed and built the giant stilts...dead! "His head had been bashed in and in falling, he collapsed into a mound of animal dung." Will the show go on as planned?
A theft at the home of Dr. Frank Morgan. His prized old American tomahawk, once prominently displayed above the hearth, stolen. A prize winning pig kidnapped. A farmer murdered. Are the cases connected?
Pignon Scorbion is a stickler for detail, from his one of a kind, cobbled shoes to his immaculately tailored suits. Eccentric? Absolutely. What of his trio of amusing "tonsorial artists" he deemed his amateur sleuths? The town drunk was even most observant, as was, the bright and beautiful bookseller.
"Pignon Scorbion & the Barbershop Detectives" by Rick Bleiweiss is an enjoyable classic British detective novel. A delightful, fun read!
Thank you Blackstone Publishing and Net Galley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
What a great invention Pignon Scorbion is, he is a contemporary of Hercule Poirot. The story is set in 1910 it is evocative of that time and very well observed. we start in sleepy Haxford and meet such a wonderful array of characters. Pignon teams up with a young ace reported and the local barber to solve the mystery laid before them. If you love Agatha Christie and Sherlock Holmes (Pignon is a friend of Dr Watson!) you will fall in love with Scorbion, such a fabulous start to what I hope will be a long series of books.
I thoroughly enjoyed Bleiweiss's cast of characters, especially Chief Inspector Scorbion, a scion of deductive reasoning., and an admirer of both Sherlock Holmes and Hercule Poirot. I did find it rather unorthodox that Scorbion conducted his interviews and investigations inside his friend's barbershop, and deputized the staff so they could assist him in his inquiries. But it was a treat to watch Scorbion reason his way through 4 different cases, and bring three different murderers to justice.
I can't wait to read the next novel in the series!