Review: Pignon Scorbion and the Barbershop Detectives by Rick Bleiweiss

☆☆➹⁀☆ 4 stars ☆➹⁀☆☆

About the 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. 

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?



My Thoughts:

Rick Bleiweiss’ debut mystery novel, Pignon Scorbion & the Barbershop Detectives is a very fun read! It has the feel of an old school mystery a la Agatha Christie and Arthur Conan Doyle. In fact, Mr. Bleiweiss gives nods to these authors and their renowned characters by setting his story in the same era and referencing his main character’s interest in Holmes, Watson, and Poirot.

The stories are set in 1910 Edwardian small town England, and feature not only Inspector Pignon Scorbion, but a delightful group of gentlemen who work at Calvin Brown’s barbershop. The men, Calvin, Barnabus, Yves and Thomas, are deputized to conduct interviews on behalf of Pignon, and hence become significant to the storyline. Additionally, a local reporter, Billy, has been tasked with covering Pignon and the local “crime scene”, so that character also has a role in the storyline. There are in fact so many characters that the author has provided a reference list at the start of the story. The idea of keeping track of all those characters frequently makes my eyes glaze over, however, the multiple story lines were well-enough defined that it was not hard to keep everything straight without having to reference that list.

I thoroughly enjoyed the mystery and the author’s characters. Pignon Scorbion is sure to become a favorite detective and perhaps even a classic character. I will definitely be reading future books in the series.

About the Author: Prior to moving to Ashland, Oregon in 2003, Rick spent his life in New York City in the music industry. He was a rock performer & songwriter, produced over 50 records, including a Grammy-nominated album, and was a senior executive at major and independent record companies helping to launch the careers of Melissa Etheridge and the Backstreet Boys. He also worked on the records of  Kiss, U2, Whitney Houston, Britney Spears and many other superstars, and specialized in marketing and selling major film soundtracks, including the first three Star Wars films, Saturday Night Fever, and Grease to name a few.​

He has lectured at multiple universities on the business of entertainment and co-founded a sports & entertainment marketing program at Baruch College.

​Writing under a pen name, he wrote a book that was a #1 eBook in Politics and Humor on Kindle, won the New Apple Literary Society award as the best independently published Short General Fiction eBook of 2016, and received a Readers Favorites award.  

Rick has written articles for magazines and newspapers, contributed stories to a number of anthologies and is a member of the Pacific Northwest Writers’ Association, Mystery Writers of America, and International Thriller Writers.

Since 2006 Rick has been an executive at Blackstone Audio where he has acquired works by many incredible authors including James Clavell, Leon Uris, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, HP Lovecraft, Pablo Neruda, Isabelle Allende, Rex Pickett, PC & Kristin Cast, Catherine Coulter, and Nicholas Sansbury Smith, and co-created a book/audiobook series to preserve the wisdom, humor, stories and life experiences of First Nation elders.

​Rick has a B.A. in Film and an M.A. in Communications from New York University, and completed an accelerated business leadership program at Harvard University.

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