Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
Death Was the Other Woman

Death Was the Other Woman

A Mystery

Linda L. Richards

Minotaur Books




As the lawlessness of Prohibition pushes against the desperation of the Depression, there are two ways to make a living in Los Angeles: join the criminals or collar them. Kitty Pangborn has chosen the crime-fighters, becoming secretary to Dexter J. Theroux, one of the hard-drinking, tough-talking PIs who pepper the city's stew. But after Dex takes an assignment from Rita Heppelwaite, the mistress of Harrison Dempsey, one of L.A.'s shadiest--and richest--businessmen, Kitty isn't so sure what side of the law she's on.

Rita suspects Dempsey has been stepping out and asks Dex to tail him. It's an easy enough task, but Dex's morning stroll with Johnnie Walker would make it tough for him to trail his own shadow. Kitty insists she go along for the ride, keeping her boss--and hopefully her salary--safe. However, she's about to realize that there's something far more unpleasant than a three-timing husband at the end of this trail, and that there's more at risk than her paycheck.

Richly satisfying and stylishly gritty, Death Was the Other Woman gives a brand-new twist to the hard-boiled style, revealing that while veteran PIs like Sam Spade and Philip Marlowe spent their time slugging scotch and wooing women, it may well have been the Girl Fridays of the world who really cracked the cases.


Chapter 1

HE'S DRESSED WELL, the dying man. Sharply, one would say. He's wearing a good suit. Dark, and of a wool so fine it would feel soft to the touch. The suit has a pale pinstripe; it's barely discernible. And he's wearing the suit well—he...


Praise for Death Was the Other Woman

“You're about to meet a great new dame of crime fiction in Death Was the Other Woman. Linda L. Richards has created a stunning character with a voice and eye right out of a 1930s L.A. hard-boiled classic - guns and gams, booze and bodies, peepers and perps. Move over, Sam Spade - Kitty Pangborn's on the case.” —LINDA FAIRSTEIN, author of Death Dance

“Reading Death Was the Other Woman was like stumbling across a long-lost and wonderful Orson Welles flick. It's a pitch-perfect story of Depression-era L.A. that's so damn good I recommend calling in sick to work and making a plate of sandwiches before you start reading, because you won't want to put it down for anything--including such petty concerns as food, drink, sleep, and oncoming Packards and locomotives.” —CORNELIA READ, author of A Field of Darkness

Death Was the Other Woman propelled me straight into Depression-era Los Angeles, a really stunning and exciting achievement. And the murder kept me guessing right to the page turning end. On top of that, the lively characters have walked off the page and now pursue me long after I've closed the book. A really stellar crime caper, a delight.” —LOUISE PENNY, author of Still Life

“With crackling dialogue, a Tommy-gun plot, and bang-on authenticity, Death Was the Other Woman engrossed me in a terrific, compelling mystery. With memorable characters and settings, Richards manages to dig beneath the surface of Prohibition-era Los Angeles and give a sense of its historical context. A great read!” —DANIEL KALLA, author of Pandemic and Blood Lies

“Sharp, vibrant, and crackling. One chapter in to Linda L. Richards' sparkling 1930s Los Angeles mystery, Death Was the Other Woman, and we'd follow her smart, resourceful, spirited heroine, Kitty Pangborn, down any dark alley, any mean street.” —MEGAN ABBOTT, author of The Song is You and Queenpin

“Kitty Pangborn, the narrator of Linda Richards' winning new mystery, Death Was the Other Woman, is just what every underachieving, over-imbibing, minimally employed, and maximally hard-boiled PI needs: that is, a decent secretary. … Death Was the Other Woman is a first-rate, rousing new take on the Southern California detective novel. Let's hope it's the beginning of a long series.” —DYLAN SCHAFFER, author of I Right the Wrongs

“Linda L. Richards can grab her readers better than a slap in the puss or a slug from a forty-five. She breathes new life into the L.A. noir genre with an array of fresh characters and stylishly seedy neon-lit dives. More importantly, she moves the gritty crime genre on in the form of Kitty Pangborn, a well brought up young lady who gets a crash course in the dark underbelly of the City of Angels. She may be a longsuffering PA to a less than successful PI, but Kitty is no kitten. She's the broad with the brains, and readers will be left clamoring for more.” —BRENDAN FOLEY, author of Under the Wire, director of The Riddle

Reviews from Goodreads

About the author

Linda L. Richards

Linda L. Richards is the editor and co-founder of January magazine and a regular contributor to The Rap Sheet. Mad Money, her first work of long fiction, was nominated for the Arthur Ellis Award for best first novel. Death Was the Other Woman is her hardcover debut. She lives near Vancouver.

Linda L. Richards

Photo: David Middleton



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