MURDER IN HAXFORD
The Pignon Scorbion Series Book Two
Releasing February 21, 2023
A delightful day in 1910 at the Haxford Spring Fair turns horrifying and deadly when a balloonist plummets to the earth from the blue skies above. However unlikely, it’s soon discovered that this unfortunate corpse was not done in by his precipitous plunge but instead from an arrow fatally lodged in his chest. Unraveling the twisted web of intrigue that took Charlie Thornton’s life requires the expert skills of Haxford’s brilliant and sartorially splendid Chief Inspector Pignon Scorbion.
But the quirky detective is not alone in this task. Aiding Scorbion in his dogged pursuit of truth and justice are his carefully chosen deputies: six quirky and unconventional thinkers from the town who meet regularly with Scorbion in Calvin’s barbershop to unmask ne’er-do-wells and solve local crimes. Since his move to the charming village, the enigmatic detective has also realized his growing dependence upon its bookshop’s owner. Lovely and quick-witted Thelma Smith not only helps Pignon with his criminal cases, but she seems well on her way to unlocking the mysteries of his heart.
Not everyone in Haxford is so cooperative. Faustin Hardcastle from the Gazette is bound and determined to ruin the town’s new officer of the law with slanderous news reports of failure and misconduct. And other residents of the picture-perfect village do not welcome the inspector’s inquiring eye and expert nose for trouble. When they engage in decidedly un-quaint activities like gambling, revenge, forgery, and loan sharking, it falls to Pignon Scorbion to reveal their deceit and criminal misdeeds—all in a good day’s work. Once done, he and Thelma can then thoroughly enjoy a delicious dinner at the Bridgehouse Inn.
Featuring a new Jack Reacher story by Andrew Child!
A dangerous drifter, a hired gun, a grisly corpse -- you never know who you'll run into at the Hotel California.
Eight deliciously talented mystery authors have lent their skills of crafting murder and suspense to this collection of gripping short stories. Each of these eight provocative tales is designed to entertain and mystify -- and maybe even chill you to your core. Get lost in the wild imaginations of such New York Times bestselling writers as Andrew Child, Heather Graham, Reed Farrel Coleman, and John Gilstrap, plus authors Rick Bleiweiss, Jennifer Dornbush, Amanda Flower, and Don Bruns. From the titular tale "Hotel California" to a new, original Jack Reacher adventure, these stories have a little something for every mystery lover.
Go ahead. Check in, enjoy some room service, and stay until the very last tantalizing page. Just don't forget to search the closet or behind the curtains.
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.
The year is 1910, and in the small and seemingly sleepy English market town of Haxford, there’s a new police Chief 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 police Chief 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?
It's adorable. I frequently laughed out loud while also envying Rick's impeccable plotting. Hats off to him and his merry band of solvers. A superbly structured detective story in its own right, it's 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 Best-Selling and Award-Winning Author of The Scent of Rain and Lightning
In Pignon Scorbion and the Barbershop Detectives, Rick Bleiweiss captures the tone and pace of early twentieth-century detective fiction, with a fresh, new protagonist. The book's clever mysteries, Holmesian language, and engaging ensemble will grab you from page one.
Edwin Battistella, Author of Dangerous, Crooked Scoundrels
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, Bestselling author of The Indigo Girl
Bleiweiss’ 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
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. You are in a barbershop in a small English town, circa 1910 with Scorbion and his eccentric group of deputies. Follow the threads of clues as one by one they emerge in murders and mysteries, even a traveling circus. Using inductive reasoning worthy of his predecessors, Bleiweiss’ writing is crisp, yet evocative, and the story is a breath of fresh air which readers will love. I loved this book. It was a refreshing escape.
Pamela Binnings Ewen, Bestselling author of The Queen of Paris
Pignon Scorbion and the Barbershop Detectives by Rick Bleiweiss is a delightful mystery filled with twists and turns. Detective Inspector Scorbion is a charming protagonist, and his barbershop detectives are a delight. I’m already looking forward to the next case.
Shelley Shepard Gray, NYT and USA Today bestselling author
Bleiweiss's Pignon Scorbion, the new (circa 1910) Chief Police Inspector of the British hamlet of Haxshire, is a splendidly unique addition to the list of entertainingly eccentric investigators who use brain over brawn. With a deductive prowess and penchant for precise couture that are more than a match for his contemporary Hercule Poirot, Scorbion prefers to solve his mysteries (here ranging from proof of parenthood to pig theft to bloody murder) in a barber shop, assisted by a young newshawk (his Watson), a trio of amusing tonsorial artists and a book seller as bright as she is beautiful. Good company. Good fun.
Dick Lochte, Nero Wolfe Award Winner and Bestselling author of Blues In The Night
Rick Bleiweiss’ book, Pignon Scorbion and the Barbershop Detectives, is fabulous. Written in the style of an Edwardian author, i.e. Conan Doyle, it captures perfectly the time frame. I’ve been reading European Noir books for ages, and this was a breath of fresh air. The police procedural part is spot on, with great characters and twists in the plot which kept the interest level at a maximum. Bravo, it’s fantastic. Do yourself a favor and buy a copy.
Bill Berger, Music Industry Senior Executive
Channeling a time of yore, and brilliantly ventriloquizing voices of a bygone era, debut crime novelist Rick Bleiweiss's Pignon Scorbion and the Barbershop Detectives hurls us back over a century to the fictional town of Haxshire, England to delight us with a sophisticated series of mysteries that evokes masters of the "cozy" craft in the fin de siècle, revivifying their timelessly seductive sleuthing methods and bringing them startlingly back to life. There's a wonderful prestidigitation in the writing and how it veneers an ancient period with a three-dimensional verisimilitude. Charmingly, and improbably, set in a barbershop, Bleiweiss's Chief Inspector Pignon Scorbion is a true original, a private eye cast in the mold of Poirot and Holmes with a touch of his own sui generis foppishness, cunning, and cerebrally deductive crime-solving. Once the opening case of a disputed paternity jumpstarts a concatenation of cases, the novel speeds along at a page-blurring pace, always returning to the barbershop where a colorful cast of amateur sleuths aid Scorbion in his relentless quest for the truth. Rich in period characters, interlarded with deft twists and hairpin turns in its unfolding, fans nostalgic for the old-fashioned, but never outdated, whodunnit will revel in this shimmering recreation of the genre and will no doubt be treated to a veritable cataract of Inspector Scorbion books in the years to come.
Rex Pickett, NYT best-selling author of Sideways
The game is afoot, and the foot is firmly on the gas pedal in Rick Bleiweiss's pawky, Sherlock-like mystery, Pignon Scorbion and the Barbershop Detectives. Driven by its razor-sharp title character (and joined by an often-hilarious host of deputized barbers) this case-cracking tale takes plenty of thrilling, genre-delighting twists and turns without ever running off the road. Bleiweiss writes with a cleverness that pleases rather than patronizes, and the observational powers of the percipient Inspector Scorbion rival those of any classic literary sleuth. Perfect for genre diehards and newcomers alike.
James Wade, Spur Award-Winning author of All Things Left Wild and River, Sing Out
Bleiweiss transports us back to Edwardian England with a fascinating new detective who is quite accomplished at rooting out truths.
D. Eric Maikranz, author of The Reincarnationist Papers
Extortion, theft, revenge and murder fractalize into a dazzling kaleidoscope of crime in Rick Bleiweiss’ Pignon Scorbion and the Barbershop Detectives. Taking over as Chief Police Inspector of a not-so-sleeping English town circa 1910, Scorbion finds an unlikely investigative team in the denizens of Calvin Brown’s barbershop. The subterfuge begins Day One, but the action really heats up when a circus comes to town, touching off a three-ring spectacle of deception, detection, and deduction. Get comfortable in your favorite barber’s chair, turn the sign on the door to CLOSED, and draw the window shades, because 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
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 of over 150 novels
Bleiweiss does a solid job of establishing his lead as a well-rounded character capable of sustaining a series. Golden age fans appreciative of a light approach to traditional tropes will be eager for a sequel.
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. This charming novel is an auspicious debut.
Rick Bleiweiss is a magnificent storyteller who occupies two worlds, those of the golden age of the detective story led by Agatha Christie, John Dickson Carr, Rex Stout and the heirs such as Anthony Horowitz, P.D James and Alexander McCall Smith. His two books, Pignon Scorbion & the Barbershop Detectives and Murder in Haxford, are the best of these two worlds of crime fiction and make for compulsive reading. We live in an uncertain world in many respects, even to the extent where the writer you read yesterday might try something so different that’ll leave you scratching your head and asking why change a unique recipe that works. What better way is their to spend an evening than with two books that have the creativity of a Monet, the consistency of a Swiss clock, and atmosphere of a film by Welles.
Andrew F. Gulli, Author and Managing Editor of Strand Magazine
Fans of detective fiction take note: Filled with wit, charm, and cunning, Rick Bleiweiss’s Pignon Scorbion series should be at the top of everyone’s list of suspects. I loved Murder in Haxford.
Andrew Child, #1 International Best-Selling author of Jack Reacher and numerous other books
Murder in Haxford, Rick Bleiweiss's sophomore entry in the Pignon Scorbion series, fleshes out Inspector Scorbion in a more expansive way and brings him even more three-dimensionally to life, rooting him now in our literary unconscious. After a sparkling debut, Bleiweiss has exceeded expectations in this second book and hoisted it to new heights with this exquisitely-wrought page-turner. Plying his trade in the cosy mystery, Bleiweiss may be one of the few writers in this genre conceivably possessed of genius.
Rex Pickett, Best-selling author of Sideways and The Archivist
Pignon Scorbion is back in Murder in Haxford—a captivating and effortlessly charming return to the golden age of detective fiction. Fans of the genre will find Rick Bleiweiss firing on all cylinders with deft plotting, rich characters and the heart pounding twists that are the hallmark of a true master. It is not to be missed.
Joshua Hood, Best-selling Author of the Treadstone Series
MURDER IN HAXFORD is another delightful romp through Edwardian England as Chief Inspector Pignon Scorbion and a colorful cast of supporting characters grapple with murder and mayhem. Author Rick Bleiweiss conjures up a gentler, more civilized era--an age when even brutal crimes can be solved by keen intellect, close observation, and a shrewd appreciation of human nature. Bravo!
Patrick Larkin, New York Times best-selling co-author of Red Phoenix
If there was a murder at Downton Abbey, Pignon Scorbion would be right at home investigating the crime. A perfect period piece to cozy up with and match wits with the nattily attired Chief of Police.
Al Roker, TV personality and best-selling author of the Billy Blessing series
Pignon is in fine fettle in this whodunit in England of 1910. As always, Bleiweiss challenges the reader to try to keep pace. Don’t miss this fun read.
Catherine Coulter, New York Times best-selling author of Reckoning
Such an exciting escape! The mysteries will leave you breathless…You don’t want to miss this one! Absolutely delightful!
Beth Albright, USA Today best-selling author of the Sassy Belles series
Death by arrow? Poison? And art forgeries? It truly takes a Holmes type of detective to solve the crime. A brilliant investigator, Pignon Scorbion, looks for means, motive, and opportunity. With twists and turns, he finds the culprit and solves the crime. A great story by Rick Bleiweiss!
Don Bruns, USA Today best-selling author and editor of Hotel California
This series was a very exciting read. It is set in England in 1910, and in the first book we are introduced to Pignon Scorbion the new head inspector of the little town of Haxford. I was given the honor by author Rick Bleiweiss to read and review the second in the series (Murder in Haxford) too, and since I'm only 16 it was very exciting for me. I believe that if teenagers are interested in mystery novels, both of these books would be a very entertaining read for people my age.