Wednesday 28 September 2022



Synopsis/blurb ...

Beautiful young grifter Maggie Rohrer picks up rich businessmen in dark hotel bars, drugs their drinks, then lures them back to their rooms and robs them once they’ve passed out. It’s a lucrative con, until one night in New Orleans when a mark tricks her, forcing her into a dangerous swindle in Jamaica that could either bankroll a new life outside of the game…or get her killed.

An Edgar Award Finalist for Best First Mystery
Adapted into the movie Scam starring Christopher Walken & Lorraine Bracco.

Another cracking re-release from publisher Brash Books. As I'm a real sucker for a grifter and the tale of a con, Ladystinger was right up my street. Here we have them in the plural. It was also all the more interesting having the main character as a beautiful, young woman, with plenty of scope for extra tension and danger.

Hotel bars and bedrooms, marks and mickey finns, pluck equalling profits, a dead beat for a partner and when the player gets played - the tables turned. Maggie Rohrer goes into a hotel room with Jack Shanks. Barry Lander, her partner is waiting outside in a car. When the pair exit, the game has changed.

Mafia money, a laundry operation, a Caribbean bolthole, an accountant making plans, an ex-FBI agent with a scheme of his own and an unwilling accomplice. Cue high jinks in Jamaica.

Twisty, turny, funny, violent when necessary, clever, interesting and really satisfying. I love these kinds of tales, when you never quite know how events are going to turn out, when the players have their own secret plans and ruses, when you don't know who if anyone is going to be the last person standing. 

Ladystinger scratched every itch and a few more I never knew I had - pace, story, setting, characters, conflict, and outcome. Ticks in all the boxes. I wonder if the author has written anything else.

5 from 5    

Read - August, 2022
Published - 1992
Page count - 272
Source - review copy from publisher, Brash Books
Format - Paperback


  1. I really like the New Orleans setting for this, Col. To me, that just fits the sort of story this is. And you're right; it's interesting and clever to have a woman as the main character; you don't always have that with this sort of story. Glad you enjoyed this.

    1. Margot, it made a change having the lead as a woman. They can be just as underhand as us men!

  2. New to me, and one for the list. Thanks, Col.

  3. This looks great. A rival to The Burglar Who... When my reader's brain gets into gear, this is on the list.

    1. Nigel, I hope you enjoy it when the time comes.

  4. Well I'm going to impress you now - I think you mentioned obtaining this recently, and I was taken with the idea and read it before you! Though I haven't blogged on it. And I totally agree, my notes say Very enjoyable noir-ish thriller about female con artist. Makes clear the changes since written: no internet, names on tickets etc
    I loved the strong female character and following how her brain worked.

    1. Fell off my chair! I'm glad you enjoyed it, Moira, and yes I'm very impressed!