The Hammett HexOh boy. Jordan Bingham here. You may know me from Victoria Abbott’s four (soon to be five) book collector mysteries. It’s a wonderful life being in these books: I enjoy the historic house in upstate New York. I revel in the wonderful meals prepared by Signora Panetone, the live-in cook. And, of course, I love my job, helping my book collector boss improve her fabulous collection of first edition mysteries from the Golden Age of Detection. I have even become fond of that same boss, Vera Van Alst, although she’s a total curmudgeon and the most hated woman in Harrison Falls, NY. Never mind, we have found common ground and achieved peace, most days. Have I mentioned lovable Walter the Pug? What about not always lovable Good Cat and Bad Cat? They make life interesting too. I am also blessed (and possibly cursed) to have an on-again, off-again relationship with Officer Tyler “Smiley” Dekker. As I am the first person in my family to go straight, adding a cop to the mix has distressed my relatives. In their eyes, it’s just plain wrong, not to mention inconvenient. It was a waste of all that training when I was young (Thanks for all the lockpicks and balaclavas, Uncle Mick!) and the lovingly transmitted family legends of crimes gone by. With all this in the mix, it’s hard for Tyler and me to trust each other and share, but we’re working on it.

All to say, usually it’s easy to write about a day in my life as Dru has asked. But this time and for this book—The Hammett Hex, the fifth book collector mystery—all bets are off. In an effort to help up work through our issues, Tyler has sprung for airfare (non-refundable) and accommodations for the two of us in San Francisco, the fabled city of Dashiell Hammett and a place I’ve always wanted to visit. Golden Gate Bridge! Cable Cars! San Francisco Bay! I’d be happy to recount a typical day in my life there, but so far on this trip there’s nothing typical. At all. This day in my life is like no other, ever!

For one thing, I’ve not only been pushed out of a cable car, but I’ve also discovered that an entire bookstore can vanish and I’ve learned that “Smiley” has been keeping a BIG secret from me. Nobody in San Francisco seems to be who they appear. And, as in those great books from Dashiell Hammett, no one can be trusted, no matter how sweet and innocent they look. I get the shivers just thinking about it.

Maybe we can work it all out, but first we have to stay alive. One good thing, those skills and all the Kelly family legends are going to get a work-out as I try to stay alive and make sure other people do too.

In the meantime, ‘a day in the life’ might turn out to be ‘a day in the death’. Wish me luck, lovely readers. I will need it.

Hope you get to read this latest adventure. Then we can talk about what’s happening. Oh yes!

The Hammett Hex came out on October 4, 2016. We’ll see if Jordan makes it. Victoria Abbott is happy to give one brave commenter a copy of the The Hammett Hex, wherever you live.


The Hammett Hex is the fifth book in the Book Collector mystery series, published by Penguin Random House, October 2016.

The national bestselling author of The Marsh Madness takes rare book collector Jordan Bingham on a trip to San Francisco—home to Dashiell Hammett’s hard-boiled heroes—where nothing is as it seems.

On a getaway to the City by the Bay, book collector Jordan Bingham becomes entangled in a mystery with more twists than Lombard Street. . .

Jordan has been able to swing a romantic trip to San Francisco with Officer Tyler “Smiley” Dekker on one condition—she must return with a rare copy of Dashiell Hammett’s Red Harvest for her irascible employer, Vera Van Alst. For his own part, Smiley is full of surprises. He’s a Dashiell devotee himself—excited to be in the city of Hammett’s hard-boiled heroes like Sam Spade and the Continental Op—and also announces he plans to visit his previously unmentioned estranged grandmother, who lives in an old Victorian in Pacific Heights.

But the trip goes downhill fast when Jordan is pushed from a cable car and barely escapes death. And when a dark sedan tries to run the couple down, it’s clear someone’s after them—but who? Just like in Hammett’s world, nothing is quite what is seems. . .

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About the authors
That shadowy figure known as Victoria Abbott is a happy collaboration between the artist, photographer and short story author, Victoria Maffini, and her mother, Mary Jane Maffini, lapsed librarian and award-winning author of three mystery series and two dozen short stories.

mj and vic fedoraTheir contemporary and humorous book collector mysteries draw from the beloved authors of the golden age of detection. There is no extra charge for the crooked Irish uncles or the pug. The good news is that while they’ve written five books together, they haven’t killed each other. Yet.

In other good news, their fourth book collector mystery, The Marsh Madness, won the 2016 Bony Blithe award for ‘mysteries that make us smile’.

You can find more at: www.victoria-abbott.com or www.maryjanemaffini.com.

You can sign up for their e-newsletter (contests, book news, dog fashions, nonsense and recipes) through either website.

All comments are welcomed.

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win. The giveaway ends October 8, 2016 at 11:59 AM EST. Good luck everyone!

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