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Robin Light Books In Order

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Publication Order of Robin Light Books

Chutes and Adders (1994)Description / Buy at Amazon
Twister (1995)Description / Buy at Amazon
In Plain Sight (1996)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Scent of Murder (1997)Description / Buy at Amazon
Vanishing Act (1998)Description / Buy at Amazon
Endangered Species (1999)Description / Buy at Amazon
Blowing Smoke (2001)Description / Buy at Amazon
Rubbed Out (2002)Description / Buy at Amazon
Salt City Blues (2005)Description / Buy at Amazon
No Good Deed (2007)Description / Buy at Amazon

The name ‘Robin Light’ refers to a series of mystery novels written by Barbara Block. The books follow the exploits of a widow who runs a pet store and solves crimes in her spare time.

+The Story

The Robin Light series began publication in 1994 with ‘Chutes and Adders’. The first book in the series, ‘Chutes and Adders’ introduces readers to Robin Light, the owner of a Pet store in Syracuse.

Noah’s Ark belonged to her late husband. Murphy was a troubled, secretive man who died of a drug overdose. Robin thought that her husband had taken all his problems to the grave with him but she quickly finds that things are not quite as simple.

In ‘Chutes and Adders’, Robin is doing what she can to keep her business afloat. She deals with everything from bunnies to puppies and even snakes. Robin chose to take over the running of the business because she’s always had a soft spot for animals.

The heroine cannot resist rescuing every kitten and puppy that she comes across. But running pet stores is hardly a straightforward process. Robin Light quickly realizes that it takes more than a few cute animals and a little bit of luck to keep a pet store afloat.

Her life takes a turn for the worse when an employee opens a package and a snake bites him to death. The police immediately put Robin at the center of their investigation. Robin initially believes that the whole situation will blow over.

But then a small fortune is found hidden in her store’s heating vent. Suddenly the police have plenty of reasons to suspect her of murder. It occurs to Robin Light that if she wants to get justice for herself and her employee, she must throw on her amateur sleuthing hat and find the killer.

The task is easier said than done, though. The police hinder the heroine’s efforts at every turn. This is on top of all the mistakes that Robin makes as she learns the ropes of private investigative work. But Robin eventually comes out on top.

The rest of the Robin Light series is an exploration of her life as she accepts the mantle of amateur sleuth. Robin does not initially set out to make a business of sleuthing.

However, once she solves her first case and gets a taste of Private Eye work, she finds that she can no longer look on as injustices are carried out. Whenever suspicious occurrences play out before the heroine’s very eyes or within her vicinity, she cannot help but investigate.

Over time, the heroine develops a bit of a reputation. And it isn’t long before people start flocking to Robin’s door looking for help. All the cases that the sleuth initially encounters are of a personal nature.

They include the murder case of an old friend that has confessed to a crime she did not commit and a girl that might be Robin’s late husband’s daughter.

The Robin Light series initially reads like a cozy mystery. However, Barbara Block surprises her fans by taking a much darker turn. For one thing, there is very little humor in these novels.

Robin Light lives a difficult life. She struggles to keep her pet store afloat and it isn’t like she has completely overcome her husband’s death. It doesn’t help matters that Murphy’s passing was hardly peaceful.

There is little in the way of quirky aspects and elements to the sleuth’s murder cases or even her friends and neighbors. For the most part, Robin is working really hard and barely getting by.

The heroine has very few sympathetic readers. A surprisingly large portion of Barbara Block’s audience thinks she’s a little too stupid for a primary protagonist. This assessment emanates from the fact that Robin Light makes a lot of bad decisions.

Her panicky personality and confusion are initially accepted as a sign of her immaturity as a sleuth, especially in the first couple of books. Robin shows a penchant for always doing the wrong thing and a lot of the trouble in which she finds herself is incited by her own foolishness.

Over the course of the Robin Light series, the heroine shows no signs of growing or learning from her mistakes. She continues to stumble into all the wrong places and make the worst possible decisions for her clients, and that has made her a divisive figure.

A section of the audience has expressed appreciation for what they believe to be the rational faults of a woman that is always overwhelmed by her cases. They have also shown appreciation for the fact that so many of the Robin Light novels have no computers or mobile phones.

Barbara Block shows them how sleuths go about solving crimes in the absence of the internet.

+The Author

Barbara Block was a freelance writer for a very long time. She contributed articles and reviews to magazines before finally securing her place in the publishing industry as an author of female sleuths.

A former student of the New York University and Columbia University from where she got her Degree and Master’s in Spanish, Barbara has always been a lover of animals.

+Chutes and Adders

Robin Light runs a pet store called Noah’s Ark. The business belonged to her husband. He died of a drug overdose. Robin is doing what she can to reassemble her life. And the fact that she loves animals has helped her make the transition to business manager.

Robin is catapulted into the spotlight when her employee opens a package and a viper rushes out and attacks him. Robin tried and failed to save him. Now the police think that Robin might have gotten him killed.

They seem to believe that the fortune they find hidden in the heating vents of her pet store might have had something to do with it. Robin knows she didn’t kill her employee. And since the police have refused to believe her, she’s decided to find the real killer on her own.


Robin Light was drawn into the amateur sleuthing business when she was accused of murder and she took to private eye work to find the real killer. Now she’s back on the job. Her old friend has confessed to a murder Robin knows she did not commit and she won’t stop until she proves her innocence.

Book Series In Order » Characters » Robin Light

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