A Trouble of Fools

Carlotta Carlyle Mysteries (Volume 1)

Linda Barnes

Minotaur Books

The first book in the Carlotta Carlyle series!

Linda Barnes’s A Trouble of Fools is the book that introduced readers to ex-Boston cop and PI Carlotta Carlyle, who knows trouble when she sees it like the old Irish lady offering a grand in cash to find her brother...

Since being bounced from the Boston police for insubordination after six years of service, Carlotta Carlyle has set up shop as a private investigator ready to deal with anything from lost pets to substantially grander larcenies. Though Carlotta, a six-foot-tall, redheaded ex cop, part-time cabbie, and neophyte private eye, works out of her home, it’s rare that clients stop by unannounced. Especially clients like the genteel, reserved, elderly spinster Miss Margaret Devens.

With cash flow problems and a caseload so light that she’s taken to reading her cat’s mail, Carlotta accepts the case of Miss Devens’s missing brother Eugene. Oddly enough, Carlotta knew Eugene when they worked together back at Green and White Cab. As far as Carlotta sees it, this case should be a pinch—until two thugs looking for money send her client to the hospital.

The old lady’s missing brother seems to have been involved in something much more dangerous than simply driving a cab. Carlotta is determined to do whatever it takes?work the cops, pose as a hooker, and even drive a cab again—to find Eugene before it’s too late.

“She is one of the most sparkling, most irresistible heroines ever to grace the pages of a whodunit.”
?Chicago Sun-Times

“All elements are skillfully woven together in a book that has just about everything.”
Denver Post


Read an Excerpt

Chapter One 
If Margaret Devens had told me the truth right off the bat, things might have turned out differently. Or as my mom used to say, in Yiddish or English depending on the situation, "If your grandmother had wheels, she would have been a truck."
I never met my bubbe, my grandma, the source of all my mother's Yiddish proverbs, but thinking about it now, I guess I wouldn't mind if she'd been a ringer for Margaret Devens--stubborn, smart, and crafty behind the sweet-old-lady facade.
"Congratulations, Mr. & Mrs. Thomas C. Carlyle," the letter


Praise for A Trouble of Fools

“Carlotta [is] pure gold.”—Publishers Weekly

“Beautifully plotted, exciting, moving, and leavened with wit.”—Robert B. Parker

“Carlotta Carlyle is one of the most refreshing private eyes to come along. [She] is the spunky sort of gal you’d like to have for a sister or best friend. She’s loyal, warm, persistent, intelligent, savvy—all the right stuff...[a] challenging and inventive plot.”—Indianapolis News

“Carlotta bristles with vitality and a slightly sardonic view of herself and the world. She’s smart but not smart-alecky; the plot is bizarre but never beyond reason. Engaging and engrossing all the way.”
Kirkus Reviews

“You will be caught up in Carlotta’s adventures. For she is one of the most sparkling, most irresistible heroines ever to grace the pages of a whodunit…it’s top-drawer all the way.”—Chicago Sun-Times

“Even in the detective-glutted Boston area, it’s hard to miss Carlotta Carlyle…this is an author who’s nobody’s fool when it comes to writing a slick lively story that’s all in good fun.”—St. Petersburg Times

Reviews from Goodreads



  • Linda Barnes

  • LINDA BARNES is the author of sixteen previous novels, including her Carlotta Carlyle mystery series. Her work has won the Anthony and American Mystery awards, and received numerous nominations for the Edgar and Shamus awards. Born in Detroit, she now lives in the Boston area with her husband and son.

  • Linda Barnes
    Linda Barnes


Available Formats and Book Details

A Trouble of Fools

Carlotta Carlyle Mysteries

Linda Barnes

Anthony Awards - Nominee, Edgar Allen Poe Award Nominee, Anthony Awards - Nominee
  • e-Book



Minotaur Books