Hildegarde Withers

13 books in series
4 out of 5 stars 215 ratings

The Penguin Pool Murder 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.
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  • Book 1

    • The Penguin Pool Murder

    • Hildegarde Withers, Book 1
    • By: Stuart Palmer
    • Narrated by: Julie McKay
    • Length: 7 hrs and 27 mins
    • Unabridged
    • Overall
      3.5 out of 5 stars 96
    • Performance
      3.5 out of 5 stars 89
    • Story
      3.5 out of 5 stars 88

    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.

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • Absolutely delightful!

    • By Kathi on 05-04-13

    Regular price: $19.95

  • Book 2

    • Murder on Wheels

    • Hildegarde Withers, Book 2
    • By: Stuart Palmer
    • Narrated by: Julie McKay
    • Length: 7 hrs and 13 mins
    • Unabridged
    • Overall
      4 out of 5 stars 35
    • Performance
      4 out of 5 stars 31
    • Story
      4 out of 5 stars 31

    Thick flakes of snow are falling on Fifth Avenue at twilight - and then the body of a young man suddenly falls among them, mysteriously out of the sky. Momentarily the wheels of traffic are halted, but other wheels spin relentlessly on - the wheels of death, the wheels on which bloody murder moves silently through Manhattan’s streets. Once again Miss Hildegarde Withers, the schoolteacher-detective, matches her wits against an unknown X, armed only with the precious gift of common sense and a cotton umbrella.

    • 4 out of 5 stars
    • If you can get past the narrator......

    • By FlyGirl on 06-29-15

    Regular price: $19.95

  • Book 3

    • Murder on the Blackboard

    • Hildegarde Withers, Book 3
    • By: Stuart Palmer
    • Narrated by: Julie McKay
    • Length: 7 hrs and 7 mins
    • Unabridged
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 19
    • Performance
      4 out of 5 stars 15
    • Story
      4 out of 5 stars 15

    Hildegarde Withers, schoolteacher and amateur detective, stumbles onto the corpse of Jefferson Grammar School's attractive young music teacher. When Miss Withers goes for help, the body plays hooky, and when Homicide Inspector Oscar Piper starts to investigate, somebody tries to brain him with a shovel. The rest of the cops want to throw the book at the school janitor, who has flunked their pop quiz. But Miss Withers disagrees and decides to stay after school to ask her own questions.

    Regular price: $19.95

  • Book 4

    • The Puzzle of the Pepper Tree

    • Hildegarde Withers, Book 4
    • By: Stuart Palmer
    • Narrated by: Julie McKay
    • Length: 8 hrs and 4 mins
    • Unabridged
    • Overall
      4 out of 5 stars 11
    • Performance
      4 out of 5 stars 10
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 10

    “I don’t want to die,” said the man in the brown suit, who was the last passenger to board the little airplane, but he did. The other passengers thought he was just airsick and the pilots of the Dragonfly assumed it was a heart attack, but when they landed on Catalina Island where Miss Hildegarde Withers was enjoying her first vacation in five years, they bowed to her insistence that the body be examined by the island doctor as well as the chief of police.

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • Ms. Withers at her best

    • By Amazon Customer on 01-16-17

    Regular price: $19.95

  • Book 5

    • The Puzzle of the Silver Persian

    • Hildegarde Withers, Book 5
    • By: Stuart Palmer
    • Narrated by: Julie McKay
    • Length: 8 hrs and 32 mins
    • Unabridged
    • Overall
      4 out of 5 stars 8
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 7
    • Story
      4 out of 5 stars 7

    Crusty schoolteacher/sleuth Hildegarde Withers can't escape mysterious deaths, even on a trans-Atlantic crossing on an ocean liner. En route to England she spends part of her time (when not feeling queasy) sizing up her fellow passengers. Her intuition helps when passengers and crew start dropping over the side, or just dropping, period.

    • 3 out of 5 stars
    • Convoluted.

    • By Lynn on 07-26-17

    Regular price: $19.95

  • Book 6

    • The Puzzle of the Red Stallion

    • Hildegarde Withers, Book 6
    • By: Stuart Palmer
    • Narrated by: Julie McKay
    • Length: 8 hrs and 14 mins
    • Unabridged
    • Overall
      4 out of 5 stars 6
    • Performance
      4 out of 5 stars 5
    • Story
      4 out of 5 stars 5

    Top model Violet Feverel should be a pretty picture riding the big red thoroughbred Siwash - but the front page photo on the tabloids is ugly as death. The police dub the tragedy an unfortunate accident. But Miss Hildegarde Withers, who stumbled across the girl's body on the Central Park bridle path, knows they are, unfortunately, wrong. Just plain horse sense tells her it was murder....

    • 2 out of 5 stars
    • Couldn't finish it.

    • By Persia Walker on 11-22-15

    Regular price: $19.95

  • Book 7

    • The Puzzle of the Blue Banderilla

    • Hildegarde Withers, Book 7
    • By: Stuart Palmer
    • Narrated by: Julie McKay
    • Length: 6 hrs and 41 mins
    • Unabridged
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 4
    • Performance
      5 out of 5 stars 4
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 4

    Hildegarde Withers heads down Mexico way where the death in the afternoon involves neither a matador nor a bull. Inspector Oscar Piper is off on a junket to Mexico in the summer of 1937 (surrounded by a bunch of Democrats, huffed Miss Withers) when a customs inspector on a train headed for Mexico City sniffs a very potent bottle of cheap perfume and promptly drops dead. Quite naturally, Oscar telegraphs Hildegarde in Manhattan about the perfume and quite naturally Miss Withers packs her bags and heads south of the border, figuring Oscar is out of his depth if he has to rely on deductive reasoning rather than a rubber hose.

    Regular price: $19.95

  • Book 8

    • The Puzzle of the Happy Hooligan

    • Hildegarde Withers, Book 8
    • By: Stuart Palmer
    • Narrated by: Julie McKay
    • Length: 6 hrs and 15 mins
    • Unabridged
    • Overall
      4 out of 5 stars 6
    • Performance
      4 out of 5 stars 4
    • Story
      3.5 out of 5 stars 5

    Hildegarde Withers is on the hunt again, as a vacation in California lands her a movie job and two dealers to clear up. Her own death brings Inspector Piper to the scene, and her resurrection cuts through Hollywood red tape as she becomes a target for the killer.

    • 2 out of 5 stars
    • Great book - awful narration

    • By Becki on 02-15-15

    Regular price: $19.95

  • Book 9

    • Miss Withers Regrets

    • Hildegarde Withers, Book 9
    • By: Stuart Palmer
    • Narrated by: Julie McKay
    • Length: 6 hrs and 48 mins
    • Unabridged
    • Overall
      4 out of 5 stars 9
    • Performance
      4 out of 5 stars 7
    • Story
      3.5 out of 5 stars 8

    When Inspector Oscar Piper asks his old friend Hildegarde Withers to stop meddling in murder, she surprisingly agrees. But old habits die hard and Hildy soon finds herself back in harness, investigating suspects and snooping for clues. Oddly enough, she spots a vital clue while looking at her own tank of tropical fish.

    Regular price: $19.95

  • Book 10

    • Four Lost Ladies

    • Hildegarde Withers, Book 10
    • By: Stuart Palmer
    • Narrated by: Julie McKay
    • Length: 7 hrs and 37 mins
    • Unabridged
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 5
    • Performance
      4 out of 5 stars 5
    • Story
      5 out of 5 stars 5

    No use to scream. No use at all. One of the proudest boasts of the Hotel Grandee was that its thousand rooms were all completely soundproof. She could shriek until she was blue in the face, but nobody would hear her. Nobody but the man who blocked her way to the door, to the phone. Love-starved Harriet Bascom was dressed for the occasion…unmentionables trimmed with Chantilly lace; the sheerest of dark, flattering nylons; a daringly décolleté gown with a Paris label.... It was her armor.

    Regular price: $19.95

  • Book 11

    • The Green Ace

    • Hildegarde Withers, Book 11
    • By: Stuart Palmer
    • Narrated by: Julie McKay
    • Length: 7 hrs and 9 mins
    • Unabridged
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 5
    • Performance
      4 out of 5 stars 5
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 5

    A young man is stopped by the police, a body is found in his backseat, and he is convicted of murder. While he awaits execution, he makes out a will leaving all his money to the police lieutenant who handled his case. The lieutenant learns of this when Hildegarde Withers, schoolteacher and hard-boiled private eye, stops by. She determines to clear the man in the few days left before his execution. The opening paragraphs bear comparison with the opening of Chandler's short story "Red Wind".

    Regular price: $19.95

  • Book 12

    • Nipped in the Bud

    • Hildegarde Withers, Book 12
    • By: Stuart Palmer
    • Narrated by: Julie McKay
    • Length: 8 hrs and 8 mins
    • Unabridged
    • Overall
      4 out of 5 stars 9
    • Performance
      3.5 out of 5 stars 9
    • Story
      4 out of 5 stars 9

    When pretty little Ina Kell arrived in Manhattan full of foolish dreams about making it big in show business, she had no idea how quickly she’d be in the headlines. But when TV personality Tony Fagan is murdered in the apartment building where she’s staying and she disappears shortly thereafter, the search is on, led by Inspector Oscar Piper and his long-time friend Hildegarde Withers.

    Regular price: $19.95

  • Book 13

    • Cold Poison

    • Hildegarde Withers, Book 13
    • By: Stuart Palmer
    • Narrated by: Julie McKay
    • Length: 5 hrs and 35 mins
    • Unabridged
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 2
    • Performance
      3.5 out of 5 stars 2
    • Story
      5 out of 5 stars 2

    Miss Hildegarde Winters, accompanied by her poodle, Talleyrand, is ready, willing, and able when nasty valentines upset a cartoon studio. With one murder down and three to go, Miss Withers and New York's Inspector Piper delve into poison ivy and a fantasy land when snooping around a school.

    Regular price: $19.95