We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access.
Call anytime(888) 283-5051
The Penguin Pool Murder: Hildegarde Withers, Book 1 | [Stuart Palmer]

The Penguin Pool Murder: Hildegarde Withers, Book 1

Although the Stock Market had crashed recently, it was too early for most people to predict that the Great Depression was about to get underway. For 39-year-old spinster schoolteacher Hildegarde Withers, it’s business as usual. And part of her usual business is taking her class for an outing to the aquarium to see the penguins. Instead, she spots the floating corpse of Wall Street broker Gerald Lester and quickly realizes that Inspector Oscar Piper of NYPD Homicide isn’t up to solving this tricky case.
Regular Price:$19.95
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Your Likes make Audible better!

'Likes' are shared on Facebook and Audible.com. We use your 'likes' to improve Audible.com for all our listeners.

You can turn off Audible.com sharing from your Account Details page.

OK

Publisher's Summary

Although the Stock Market had crashed recently, it was too early for most people to predict that the Great Depression was about to get underway. For 39-year-old spinster schoolteacher Hildegarde Withers, it’s business as usual. And part of her usual business is taking her class for an outing to the aquarium to see the penguins. Instead, she spots the floating corpse of Wall Street broker Gerald Lester and quickly realizes that Inspector Oscar Piper of NYPD Homicide isn’t up to solving this tricky case, especially when he appears ready to accept he confession of an obviously innocent young man. Red herrings, not penguins, abound.

Miss Withers has a number of questions that need answers before she’s willing to reel in the real murderer: Who did Lester’s wife meet behind the stairs? What did the pickpocket see? Who was the man in the fedora? And just how did Miss Withers’ hatpin turn into a lethal weapon?

First published in 1931, The Penguin Pool Murder was as big a hit with book lovers as it was with moviegoers when it was filmed the following year starring Edna May Oliver as Miss Withers and James Gleason as Inspector Piper.

©1931 Brentano's, Inc. Copyright renewed. (P)2013 Audible, Inc.

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.4 (40 )
5 star
 (8)
4 star
 (10)
3 star
 (13)
2 star
 (6)
1 star
 (3)
Overall
3.6 (37 )
5 star
 (11)
4 star
 (9)
3 star
 (10)
2 star
 (5)
1 star
 (2)
Story
3.1 (35 )
5 star
 (8)
4 star
 (7)
3 star
 (7)
2 star
 (8)
1 star
 (5)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Kathi Sterling, VA, United States 05-04-13
    Kathi Sterling, VA, United States 05-04-13 Member Since 2010

    Love books! Classics and lighter fiction, mysteries (not too violent please :-). And selective non-fiction--whatever takes my fancy.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    1115
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    448
    246
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    225
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Absolutely delightful!"

    Nothing makes me happier than discovering a vintage mystery series I didn't know about, unless it is also discovering that it turns out to be a great read! I gather that this book, starring Miss Withers and Inspector Piper was made into a movie at the time, and I hope to find it.

    Miss Withers, a teacher who has brought her young class to the aquarium, is there when a murder occurs at the penguin pool. She demonstrates very quickly that she has a good, grounded sort of common sense, and is able to point out things to the inspector to keep him on track during the inspection. She tends to be immediately accepted by the inspector, who realizes that as she offers good ideas and takes conversations down in shorthand, she is indispensable to solving the crime. Even though she is not officially part of the case, one quickly realizes that the author intends her to be the brains behind the process of solving it.

    This book is written with a bit of comedic touch, but I doubt the author could have possibly anticipated how much more enjoyable it would become 80 years later to a completely different audience. In these days, we have authors who create female sleuths, trying to insert them into this same time period (just around the timeout of the stock market crash), and they are are fun to read. But this is the "Real McCoy," a woman who was developed into a clever and observant detective (of sorts), even though she is not really acknowledged that way around 1930 or so.

    I love this book, and cannot wait for the next ones. The narrator does a very good job, getting the accents just right! This has been a total treat! Thanks, Audible, for bringing this one on board!

    17 of 17 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nancy J Tornado Alley OK 11-28-13
    Nancy J Tornado Alley OK 11-28-13 Member Since 2011

    Mystery reader (especially series) and Austen lover

    HELPFUL VOTES
    481
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    207
    110
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    163
    16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Good start to a Vintage Series"


    It's always nice to find a good "new" old mystery series that's been around for decades but is completely unknown to me. That's one of the things I love about Audible. Reading other listeners' reviews sometimes gives me great leads to excellent books I've never heard of before. That's how I came across the Hidlegarde Withers series. So far, I've only read the first book, "The Penguin Pool Mystery," and I would classify it as good but not yet excellent. I expect that there will be improvement in future books, and I enjoyed this first one enough to want to read more.

    Copyrighted in 1931, Penguin Pool introduces us to Miss Hildegarde Withers, 39-year-old "spinster" school teacher, who has brought her third grade class to the NYC Aquarium on a field trip, and has the misfortune to spot a dead body in the penguin tank. We also meet Inspector Piper, Inspector of Detectives in the NYPD, who is in charge of the investigation of the death. Not surprisingly, Miss Withers has many observations to contribute to the investigation, and after one of her suggestions helps to avoid a mistake in the investigation, Piper begins to welcome her participation. The story is ingeniously plotted, and the setting of early-depression New York City is well done.

    I would have given a higer rating if the narrator had been able to make the 30's-era dialog more believable. This was distracting and reduced the overall enjoyment of the book. Still, it was enjoyable, and I will be listening to more of this series.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer park forest, illinois, United States 05-16-13
    Amazon Customer park forest, illinois, United States 05-16-13 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    38
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Bad narrator"

    I read most of the Miss Withers books many years ago and enjoyed the 1930's movie series starring Edna Mae Oliver as Miss Withers. I was pleased to learn that the books were going to be released by audible.com.

    I'm sorry to say that my enjoyment of this book was greatly marred by the narrator. I would recommend anyone considering the purchase of this book to listen to the sample.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Yvette San Jose, CA, United States 12-22-13
    Yvette San Jose, CA, United States 12-22-13 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    243
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1033
    38
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    44
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "I Loved it!"

    I was delighted with my first encounter with Stuart Palmer's Hildeguard Withers. It was s fun trip though a contemporary 1931 mystery ... so the listener has to remember that this is NOT a historical mystery, it is a mystery WRITTEN in the early 1930s. It is a product of its time and culture ... and as such, it was a little progressive when it was written, even though it is a little behind by our standards. Julie McKay was a little rough in places, but did a good job over all.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    dub Ottawa, ON, Canada 01-26-14
    dub Ottawa, ON, Canada 01-26-14 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    42
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    34
    22
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    2
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Period mystery romp reads like a current headline"

    A murder mystery set in the New York Public Aquarium and written shortly after the 1929 Stock Market Crash in New York has 21st century sensibilities; you could see the characters in any current reality show. (No spoilers)
    Like many, I was introduced to this series from the fun 30's movies starring Edna May Oliver and James Gleason as the spinster teacher/would-be sleuth and the New York Chief of Detectives Oliver Piper. I could buy the whole series, except for the terrible narrator; I found using my device to play at 2x speed made her bearable. It also irks me when neither the narrator nor the producer/director can be bothered to check pronunciations; a clang to hear sisal [as in the hemp rope for hanging] pronounced as 'sizzle'! It's also a bit rough to hear the sexism and prejudices of almost a century ago, going downhill from the big dumb strong Swede and slaloming through many minorities, but at least we've come quite a ways since.
    An above-average who-dunnit which will keep you guessing until the end, with a prickly but likeable heroine and hero. But try the sample to see if you can stand the narrator, and/or try listening at double-speed.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Reading Tyme Santa Cruz, CA USA 07-11-13
    Reading Tyme Santa Cruz, CA USA 07-11-13 Member Since 2005

    readingtyme

    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    253
    11
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Hildegarde Withers first adventure!"
    If you could sum up The Penguin Pool Murder in three words, what would they be?

    Wonderful Vintage Mystery.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Penguin Pool Murder?

    A proposal to end all marriage proposals.


    Would you listen to another book narrated by Julie McKay?

    Yes, (she reads all the other books in this series) but I wish she'd work on her male voices, she's got the main male character in this book sounding like a teenager who is recovering from laryngitis. not pleasant.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    Something fishy is going on at the New York Aquarium


    Any additional comments?

    I've loved this book since I first read it in my teens. I never dreamed it would be available on audible, I almost didn't think to search for it. The story is the same as it was in 1930, Hildegarde and Oscar Piper are together in their first mystery, where something awfully fishy is going on at the New York Aquarium. Where there are love triangles, puns, fish, hatpins, penguins, Piper's (pied and otherwise) and a marriage proposal to end all marriage proposals. My only gripe is that the narrator, who does a good job with most of the characters does NOT do what I consider to be a good interpretation of Oscar Piper, who sounds like a disgruntled 13 year old, not an inspector of police. In my head he always sounded like Gene Hackman (Or James Gleason once I got to see the movies).

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-6 of 6 results

    There are no listener reviews for this title yet.

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank You

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.