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03 The Case of the Pistol-packing Widows: The P.K. Pinkerton Mysteries 3 (The P. K. Pinkerton Mysteries) [Kindle Edition]

Caroline Lawrence
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Book Description

When P.K. is suddenly abducted, he fears he's going to be thrown in the river to drown. In fact, he's about to get a new case. He must travel to Carson City, don a disguise and shadow his friend and mentor, Poker Face Jace. But Jace isn't easy to fool, P.K.'s widow woman disguise is horribly uncomfortable and, as if that's not bad enough, it seems somebody might be trying to kill him! Can P.K. survive amid the gun-slingers, gamblers and desperados of Carson City?

Product Description


Prepare for canyons, buckskin ponies, railroads and gamblers. (Ysenda Maxtone Graham Country Life)

Twelve-year-old half-Lakota "double-orphan" detective P.K. Pinkerton heads to Carson City in the third of the disarming Western Mysteries series.

The year is 1862, and news of P.K.'s private-eye prowess has spread through the Nevada Territory. A high-class Virginia City courtesan hires the detective to spy on her possibly unfaithful fiance, the very same Poker Face Jace who is P.K.'s beloved mentor. P.K. has what he calls a "Thorn," difficulty showing or reading emotion; Jace has taught his protégé to read people's "tells," and not just around the poker table. As P.K. shadows Jace in Carson City, he thinks "Blind Widow Woman" will be his best disguise ever-until his "sock bosom" migrates north. (P.K.'s true gender is deliberately left iffy until the end.) Carson City is alive with gamblers and guns, drinkers and desperados...even a young Sam Clemens. The silver mines are humming, the railroad's coming, and the colorful legislature wrangles the law. P.K.-the best kind of hero-navigates it all with unblinking acceptance of the salty characters he meets, straight-shooting honesty and impressive investigative work. The young detective's drily hilarious first-person accounts keep the story at a gallop.

No disguise can mask P.K. Pinkerton's stout heart and steely resolve in Lawrence's third (and mighty fine) Wild West adventure.

(Kirkus starred review)

Book Description

From the million-copy-selling author of The Roman Mysteries comes the third whip-cracking adventure in this award-winning series.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1948 KB
  • Print Length: 321 pages
  • Publisher: Orion Children's Books (6 Jun. 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #361,528 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Million-selling author Caroline Lawrence writes detective stories with the double aim of entertaining children and teaching them. Combining fast-moving plots with historical accuracy means her history mystery stories are beloved of children, parents and teachers.

In 2009, Caroline won the Classical Association Prize for her Roman Mysteries series, which comprises over 20 books and inspired a glossy BBC TV series.

In 2011 Caroline launched a second historical detective series, the Western Mysteries, staring P.K. Pinkerton: a 12-year-old doubly orphaned detective who has trouble "reading people". The Case of the Deadly Desperados was the Sunday New York Times Editors' Choice in February 2012. P.K. Pinkerton and the Petrified man was shortlisted for an Edgar Award in 2014. The UK title of the same book is The Case of the Good Looking Corpse. P.K.'s third mystery was The Case of the Pistol-packing Widows. The final and fourth book in the series is The Case of the Bogus Detective.

Caroline has also written a book for Barrington Stoke, who specialise in books for dyslexic and reluctant readers. The Night Raid is a re-telling of the story of Nisus and Euryalus from Virgil's Aeneid.

Caroline says: "I want to know everything about the past, especially the exciting things. Also the sounds, smells, sights and tastes. I write historical novels because nobody has invented a Time Machine. And I write for kids because 11 is my inner age."

Caroline is also writing a spin-off series of Roman books for readers aged 7+, starting with
The Sewer Demon

Here are the Roman Mystery novels in series order:

The Thieves Of Ostia: The Roman Mysteries 1
The Secrets Of Vesuvius: The Roman Mysteries 2
The Pirates Of Pompeii: The Roman Mysteries 3
The Assassins Of Rome: The Roman Mysteries 4
The Dolphins Of Laurentum: The Roman Mysteries 5
The Twelve Tasks Of Flavia Gemina:The Roman Mysteries 6
The Enemies Of Jupiter: The Roman Mysteries 7
The Gladiators From Capua: The Roman Mysteries 8
The Colossus Of Rhodes: The Roman Mysteries 9
The Fugitive From Corinth: The Roman Mysteries 10
The Sirens Of Surrentum: The Roman Mysteries 11
The Charioteer Of Delphi: The Roman Mysteries 12
The Slave-Girl From Jerusalem: The Roman Mysteries 13
The Beggar Of Volubilis: The Roman Mysteries 14
The Scribes From Alexandria: The Roman Mysteries 15
The Prophet From Ephesus: The Roman Mysteries 16
The Man From Pomegranate Street: The Roman Mysteries 17

Here are the mini-mysteries:

The Legionary From Londinium And Other Mini-Mysteries
Trimalchio's Feast And Other Mini-Mysteries

Plus quiz books, omnibus editions, a travel book and a treasury:

The First Roman Mysteries Quiz Book
The Second Roman Mysteries Quiz Book
The Roman Mysteries Omnibus (Books 1-3) (B) (Feb)
The Roman Mysteries Omnibus (Books 4-6) (B)
From Ostia To Alexandria With Flavia Gemina
The Roman Mysteries Treasury

Customer Reviews

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4.9 out of 5 stars
4.9 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another page-turner 3 July 2013
I am a BIG fan of Caroline Lawrence's books. I have read every one of them out loud to my daughter, who is now nine years old, and some more than once. Having consumed the entire back catalogue, we waited months for this new instalment of the PK Pinkerton Mysteries - and we were gripped, as ever. The only disappointment is that Caroline can't write them as fast as we can read them...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Caroline Lawrence once again demonstrates her uncanny ability to both entertain and educate simultaneously, taking us to Nevada, North America, during the 1860s and giving us a pistol-packed history lesson in the process. The central character, PK Pinkerton, is a 12 year old half-Sioux orphaned detective tasked with solving “Western Mysteries”. Perhaps not as clever as Flavia Gemina (from the Roman Mysteries), PK is nevertheless appealing to younger readers with his/her Chinese partner (“pard”) Ping and pony Cheeya. The ambiguity of whether PK is a girl or a boy is appealing, drawing readers into the character of the hero/ heroine.

The book is the 3rd in the series but can easily be read without having read the first 2 books. Younger readers may at first find some of the American terminology a little difficult to understand as indeed those of us adults living in the UK. Unfamiliar spellings of familiar words (trowsers for trousers, clew for clue) and grammatical variations (he finally got throwed/ thrown in jail, he glid off/ glided) may be a touch confusing but these add to the western feel of the narrative and add beef jerky (meat) to the novel. Caroline Lawrence provides a useful glossary (akin to Aristo’s scroll in the Roman Mysteries) - brief enough to hold the attention of younger readers but with enough facts to give readers historical insight into life during American Civil War, the gold rush and franchising of toll roads.

Caroline Lawrence gives her characters appealing and vivid names (Opal Blossom, Violetta de Baskerville, Poker Face Jace). The story is written with innocent humour (Frenchy drinking himself to death when there is no water), moves at a fast pace with plenty of disguises, desperados, gunmen and murder, giving the reader a whip-cracking ride through to a thrilling ending to reveal PK’s biggest secret. Hold onto your reins for the sequel!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As good as ever 9 July 2013
I love this series so much! The flavour of the wild west permeates every page. Once again, PK Pinkerton is on a case and this time on the tail of Poker-face Jace who, most unfortunately, also happens to be a friend. It's not a great idea to spy on a friend as PK soon finds out. The commission leads to a whole barrel of trouble with disguises, betrayal and ...of course...ruthless, pistol packing widows.
The book is as action-packed and brilliantly written as the previous two in the series and had lots of laugh-out-loud moments. The amusement that can be provided by two pairs of balled-up socks is remarkable. And more than one mystery is solved for the reader...
Highly recommended for children of about 9+ and anyone who loves a good yarn.
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Darn it, Caroline Lawrence has gone and written herself her best P K Pinkerton story yet.
If you don't already know the 12-year-old half Lakota Indian Private Detective out of Virginia City you have been missing a big treat. Riddled with good stuff about the American West and some real heroes and villains between the pages, P.K is hired by the Chinese Courtesan Opal to follow her beau Poker Face Jace who is in Carson City for the duration of the Legislature. P.K. doesn't exactly know what a Legislature is but he hires a good Lakota horse and a terrific grieving widow disguise and high tails it to Carson. He is a bit conflicted about the case, seeing as Poker Face Jace is his mentor an’ all, but he’s a professional and a jobs a job. Unfortunately he learns the hard way about short cuts from the Toll Roads but is found by Blue Supper who sets him straight. In Carson he meets more colourful people than you can shake a stick at, gamblers, ladies of the night, a scheming black widow, newspapermen and crooked politicians, not to mention a pistol-shooting Monkey. P.K. discretely goes about his 'following' business with hilarious results. Naïve, great fun, written at a cracking pace. A whole new generation could rediscover the American West and learn a whole lot too. Great, thrilling stuff and P K has a very serious secret that I am not about to reveal….
Sam North - Editor of
Author of ‘Diamonds – The Rush of ’72 and ‘Magenta’
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