• Woman with a Blue Pencil The new novel from Gordon McAlpine

by Gordon McAlpine


Woman with a Blue Pencil

"Woman with a Blue Pencil is a brilliantly structured labyrinth of a novel -- something of an enigma wrapped in a mystery, postmodernist in its experimental bravado and yet satisfyingly well-grounded in the Los Angeles of its World War II era. Gordon McAlpine has imagined a totally unique work of 'mystery' fiction -- one that Kafka, Borges, and Nabokov, as well as Dashiell Hammett, would have appreciated." -- Joyce Carol Oates


Hammett Unwritten (as Owen Fitzstephen)

“Hammett Unwritten accomplishes the next-best thing to writing the unwritten—it satisfies the insatiable longing for another Dashiell Hammett novel… In a way far more satisfying than the truth could ever be, it also answers the nagging question of why Hammett never wrote another book....[giving] his life the hard-boiled second act it most certainly deserved.” -- Paste Magazine


Joy in Mudville

"An absolutely joyful novel ... a wonderfully funny and uplifting book. A mixture of fact and fantasy, fiction and frolic, this novel skips, jumps and ultimately flies... The author walks the tightrope between being fanciful and being just perfectly outrageous. He balances his story with just enough 'yarns' while keeping one foot set firmly in the reality of the Depression years." -- West Coast Review of Books

The Poes Boys Trilogy


The Tell Stale Start

“Entertaining and original. . . . Endlessly fun and ultimately very satisfying on every level.” — Publishers Weekly, starred review of The Tell-Tale Start audio-book, chosen Audible.com's 2013 Best Book of the Year for Children.


Once Upon a Midnight Eerie

"The clever twins, together with some new characters, must foil villainous plans and help uncover a long lost pirate treasure...intrigue as well as amusement as the clues unfold. Pen-and-ink drawings add to the quirky fun." -- School Library Journal. A Bank Street School Book of the Year for Children.


The Pet and the Pendulum

"Telepathically conjoined twins...fall into the clutches of their mad-scientist nemesis one last time in this truly explosive series finale....A fitting conclusion to a series as suspenseful as it is less-than-earnest, in which mad science, quantum entanglement, encounters with ghosts, and sly twists on literary figures and memes all figure." -- Kirkus Reviews

News & Events

L.A. Review of Books on Woman with a Blue Pencil

L.A. Review of Books on Woman with a Blue Pencil

                                                 LIKE ITS AMERICAN COUNTERPARTS, my Japanese-Canadian family was interned by their own government in the horrible years after Pearl Harbor. Most of my Canadian-born grandfather’s family lost their homes in Chemainus, an island mill-town,…

New McAlpine Guest Blog in Mystery Fanfare

New McAlpine Guest Blog in Mystery Fanfare

Is it “Write what you know,” or “Write to discover what you know”? Acclaimed author Gordon McAlpine explores this question, drawing from his experience writing the Edgar nominated novel, Woman with a Blue Pencil.  All…

Orange Coast Magazine Interview

Orange Coast Magazine Interview

In “Woman with a Blue Pencil,” Irvine novelist McAlpine tells dual stories: Takumi Sato is an L.A. writer from the 1940s at work on a detective novel, and Sam Sumida is the fictional Japanese-American PI…

Another Starred Review

Another Starred Review

Shelf Awareness For Readers is the latest to give a starred review to Woman with a Blue Pencil.  “In this refreshingly innovative detective novel…McAlpine ingeniously blends three plots to create a multi-dimensional, absorbing mystery, simultaneously…