1997 mystery; first of Granger's novels of Fran Varady. Fran is
unemployed, broke, and about to be turfed out of her London squat
along with her three housemates. But one of those housemates is soon
going to turn up dead.
1937 detective fiction; third of Heyer's novels of Detective
Inspector, later Superintendent, Hannasyde and Sergeant Hemingway.
Silas Kane is found at the foot of a cliff on the morning after his
sixtieth birthday party; obviously he slipped. But then his heir is
quite blatantly shot, and attempts are made on the life of the next
1946 detective fiction; third of Brand's novels of Inspector Cockrill.
Sir Richard's grandchildren visit his country house in the summer of
1944 as flying-bombs descend on London; he decides to disinherit them
all, goes to spend the night in the lodge dedicated to the memory of
his deceased first wife, and is found dead in the morning. US vt The
2004 historical detection, fourteenth in Greenwood's Phryne Fisher
series (1920s flapper detective in Australia). Phryne investigates a
disappeared "fast" girl, and one of her adopted daughters tries to
find her original father. But will Phryne manage to appear as Queen of
the Flowers at the St Kilda Festival? Of course she will.
1943 mystery, ninth in Innes' John Appleby series. At Nestfield
University, Professor Pluckrose is found dead in his deck-chair on the
Green, crushed by a meteorite; surely not an accident, and Appleby
2002 historical mystery, sixth of Douglas's novels about Irene Adler.
Following the events of Chapel Noir, our protagonists variously head
east to put an end to the Ripper mystery.
1945 classic English detective fiction; thirteenth of Marsh's novels
of Inspector Roderick Alleyn. Florence Rubrick, sheep station owner
and local MP, vanished one night from her home; her body was found
some weeks later, packed into a bale of wool. Eighteen months later,
Alleyn is hunting for spies in New Zealand, and informally takes on
2004 historical epistolary mystery. In Cambridge in 1888, a young
schoolmistress tries to solve the murders of three mathematicians
before her beau is convicted of them.
2001 historical mystery, fifth of Douglas's novels about Irene Adler.
In Paris in 1889, the Exposition Universelle is in full swing… but a
notorious killer seems to have come over from London.
2009 mystery, fifteenth in Barr's Anna Pigeon series, murder
mysteries in US National Parks. After the events of the last book,
Anna's on administrative leave; she travels with her husband to the
Rio Grande for a rafting trip. They come across a nearly-dead, very
pregnant woman; and apparently someone wants to finish the job.
1945 classic English detective fiction; twelfth of Allingham's novels
of Albert Campion. Back in London after three years overseas on
mysterious war work, Campion just wants to catch a train; but Lugg and
an unknown lady turn up in his flat with a corpse. US vt Pearls
1943 classic English detective fiction; twelfth of Marsh's novels of
Inspector Roderick Alleyn. At a run-down hot-springs resort in the back
country of New Zealand, one guest seems to be going out of his way to
offend everyone; then he vanishes.
1941 (some sources say 1942) classic English detective fiction;
eleventh of Marsh's novels of Inspector Roderick Alleyn. For his own
amusement, Jonathan Royal invites six mortal enemies to a party at his
house in Dorset. Really, the first surprise is that he isn't
1940 classic English detective fiction; tenth of Marsh's novels of
Inspector Roderick Alleyn. The Lampreys are an impoverished
aristocratic family; after Lord Charles's rich brother refused to give
them yet another handout, he was found stabbed to death. Mad wife?
Annoyed brother? Random stranger? Well, it'll never be that last in a
classic mystery. US vt Death of a Peer.
1996 mystery; second of Cutler's novels of Sophie Rivers, teacher in a
sixth-form college in Birmingham and part-time chorister. Sophie goes
on a residential writing course; one of her fellow students dies, and
a tutor goes missing.
1941 detective fiction; second of Brand's novels, and first to feature
Inspector Cockrill. A visitor to a country house says "I wouldn't be
seen dead in a ditch in a [hat] like that"… and is soon proved wrong.
The next night another woman is murdered.
1994 detective fiction; seventh of Cleeves's novels of amateur private
detectives George and Molly Palmer-Jones. Jimmy Morrissey was the
public voice of environmentalism and conservation, but killed himself
with an overdose of antidepressants. Or did he?
1941 detective fiction; first of Brand's novels, and first of two
featuring Inspector Charlesworth. One of the senior staff of a London
dress-shop dies of poison; her co-workers are the only plausible
2000 mystery, third in Whitelaw's Jordan Lacey series. Jordan takes
on a job following a woman suspected of compensation fraud against the
local department store, and then tries to track down vanishing stock
in the run-up to Christmas. And of course there's also a murder.
1940 classic English detective fiction; eleventh of Allingham's novels
of Albert Campion. An amnesiac Campion knows he was in the middle of
dealing with a truly serious plot… but what is it all about, and whom
can he trust? US vt The Sabotage Murder Mystery.
1990 mystery; ninth in Muller's series about Sharon McCone, private
investigator in San Francisco. Sharon's assigned to follow Frank
Wilkinson as he spends his Sunday going round the horticultural high
spots of San Francisco. But her client's obviously lying about why he
wants the job done, and soon he ends up dead.
1940 classic English detective fiction; ninth of Marsh's novels of
Inspector Roderick Alleyn. In an isolated village in Devon, a game of
darts at the pub ends in death. Accidental? Surely not.
1981 mystery, first of Caudwell's Hilary Tamar series. A young
barrister, Julia, is taking a tour in Venice; she gets a gorgeous
young man to bed, and a few hours later he's found dead, stabbed, with
her copy of the Finance Act next to the body.
1939 classic English detective fiction; eighth of Marsh's novels of
Inspector Roderick Alleyn. Miss Campanula was killed by a
booby-trapped piano, but was she really the intended victim?
1975 historical detective fiction; sixth of Lovesey's novels of
Sergeant Cribb, policeman in Victorian London. Two thefts during
séances conducted by the latest fashionable medium attract the
attention of the police, but when the next séance ends in a death,
mere spiritualism is clearly not the only deception going on.
1975 detective fiction; sixth of Aird's novels of Inspector Sloan and
Constable Crosby. Bill Fent, local landowner, died when his car hit
another at a notorious corner… but he'd have been dead before morning
anyway, from the poison in his system.
1939/1950 collection of short mystery stories featuring Albert
1975 detective fiction; first of Dexter's novels of Inspector Morse.
Two young women wait for the bus out of Oxford one night; one goes to
hitch a ride, and her dead body is found the next day.
1995 mystery; first of Cutler's novels of Sophie Rivers, a teacher in
a sixth-form college in Birmingham. Finding one of her students
stabbed to death in the lift is bad enough; when her best friend dies
in a way that seems plausibly accidental except to people who knew him
well, Sophie knows she'll have to look into the situation herself.
1975 detective fiction; first of Brett's novels of Charles Paris,
ageing actor. A friend and occasional lover of Charles's has been
dumped by her current sugar daddy, and she asks him to return some
compromising photographs. But getting in touch is going to be
something of a challenge.
1938 classic English detective fiction; seventh of Marsh's novels of
Inspector Roderick Alleyn. Someone's blackmailing London's high
society as the Season begins, and Alleyn asks a friend who moves in
those circles to look into it; murder will be done.
2011 historical mystery; fourth in Bradley's series about Flavia de
Luce, young amateur sleuth in 1950s Britain. As Christmas approaches,
Buckshaw is let to a film crew who'll be making The Cry of the
Raven, starring the famous Phyllis Wyvern. But not all of the company
will be leaving again.
1938 classic English detective fiction; sixth of Marsh's novels of
Inspector Roderick Alleyn. At an informal residential art school, the
model has been murdered – by a method all the students had talked
about some days before.
2011 historical mystery; third in Bradley's series about Flavia de
Luce, young amateur sleuth in 1950s Britain. A missing baby, an
assault on a Gypsy (sic) fortune-teller, and a murder in Flavia's own
home will all turn out to be connected.
1907 mystery. Mlle Stangerson, daughter of the famous scientist,
locked herself into her bedroom… then came the sound of a struggle,
shouts of "Murder", and gunfire. When her father broke down the door,
she was seriously injured and the only person there – and the
window-bars had not been moved.
1938 classic English detective fiction; tenth of Allingham's novels of
Albert Campion. Georgia Wells, actress and femme fatale, attracts
men like moths. But somehow, just as they start to get troublesome,
they seem to die. Is Georgia less silly, and more dangerous, than she
2010 historical mystery; second in Bradley's series about Flavia de
Luce, young amateur sleuth in 1950s Britain. Rupert Porson, the famous
puppeteer (at least to those who have televisions), was passing
through the village of Bishop's Lacey when his van broke down; since
he's stuck there overnight, he might as well put on a show. But it's
all going to go horribly wrong.
1981 somewhat parodic cosy detective fiction; second of Anderson's
novels of the Earl of Burford and Inspector Wilkins. After the last
one, the Earl swore off house-parties, but it seems it's all happening
again. Including the murder.
1937 classic English detective fiction; fifth of Marsh's novels of
Inspector Roderick Alleyn. This time he's on holiday in New Zealand,
sharing an overnight train with a touring theatrical troupe also from
England, when the manager says that someone's tried to murder him. The
next day, someone will succeed.
1982 mystery; second in Muller's series about Sharon McCone, private
investigator in San Francisco. One of Sharon's neighbours in her
apartment building is strangled, and it looks worryingly as if
Sharon's house-guest, who's prone to alcoholic amnesia, might have
2008 mystery, fourteenth in Barr's Anna Pigeon series, murder
mysteries in US National Parks. Anna returns to Isle Royale, this time
in winter, to join the wolf/moose wildlife study; it's disrupted by an
observer from Homeland Security, who clearly has a brief to shut it
down and instead open the park in winter to "beef up security". Then
traces of an unexpected large predator show up. Then people start to
1977 mystery; first in Muller's series about Sharon McCone, private
investigator in San Francisco. Sharon's been looking into arson and
vandalism on a street of junk and antique shops that's in the
crosshairs of gentrification. But now one of the shop owners has been
1937 classic English detective fiction; ninth of Allingham's novels of
Albert Campion. Campion is called to the village of Kepesake as the
recent rich incomer has clearly been murdered… but when Campion sees
the body, he realises he went to the same man's funeral five months
1994 historical detection, sixth in Greenwood's Phryne Fisher series
(1920s flapper detective in Australia). Phryne goes undercover in a
circus to try to find out who's sabotaging it; and a performer who's
moved on from it is accused of murder.
1993 historical detection, fifth in Greenwood's Phryne Fisher series
(1920s flapper detective in Australia). During a dance competition at
the Green Mill, a figure slumps to the ground. Was he the target of
his attacker – or was it Phryne? And why has her partner for the
1937 classic English detective fiction; eighth of Allingham's novels
of Albert Campion. Someone's playing silly pranks on Jimmy Sutane,
star of a successful musical; he invites Campion to look into it. But
then one of Sutane's house-guests dies: accident, suicide, murder?
Later US vt Who Killed Chloe?.
1992 historical detection, fourth in Greenwood's Phryne Fisher
series (1920s flapper detective in Australia). As Phryne is driving
home one night, someone shoots out her windscreen. As the gunfight
moves on, she gets out of the car to find an injured young man, who
dies in her arms.
1991 historical detection, third in Greenwood's Phryne Fisher series
(1920s flapper detective in Australia). Everyone in one of the
carriages on the overnight train to Ballarat is chloroformed; Phryne
retains just enough consciousness to shoot out the window and let in
some air. When everyone recovers, it's found that an elderly passenger
has vanished. But why?
1936 classic English detective fiction; fourth of Marsh's novels of
Inspector Roderick Alleyn. At a meeting of the House of the Sacred
Flame, a small cult, the Chosen Vessel drinks from the Flaming Cup,
gabbles nonsensically, and dies of a dose of sodium cyanide.
1990 historical detection, second in Greenwood's Phryne Fisher
series (1920s flapper detective in Australia). Phryne takes on the
case of a son whose mother is worried he'll murder his father, and
then the father is indeed murdered; and she tracks down a kidnapped
1989 historical detection, first in Greenwood's Phryne Fisher series
(1920s flapper detective in Australia). Intelligent, beautiful, rich,
and bored, the Hon. Phryne Fisher travels to Australia in order to
find out whether John Andrews is poisoning his wife, her clients'
1930 classic English detective fiction; fifth of Sayers's novels of
Lord Peter Wimsey. Philip Boyes, writer on atheism, anarchy and free
love, died of quite a lot of arsenic; Harriet Vane, who had lived with
him without benefit of clergy for nearly a year until they had
quarrelled three months earlier, is accused of having poisoned him.
Wimsey, seeing the trial, is convinced of her innocence, not to say
smitten by her; when the jury cannot agree on a verdict, he makes it
his business to save her from the gallows in the month before the new
1988 mystery; eighth in Muller's series about Sharon McCone, private
investigator in San Francisco. Sharon's sister Patsy has a new
boyfriend, and a renovation project in the
But someone's playing tricks, sabotaging the project and scaring off
the workers; Sharon takes a long weekend away from her job to help
2008 mystery; ninth in Brett's Fethering Mysteries series (amateur
sleuthing). Jude drops into the local betting shop to take shelter
from a sudden hailstorm; another customer staggers out, and turns up
stabbed in an alley nearby.
2007 mystery; eighth in Brett's Fethering Mysteries series (amateur
sleuthing). Carole always has her hair cut at Connie's Clip Joint,
"same shape, but shorter". This time, Kyra, one of the juniors, hasn't
turned up, and she turns out to have been left dead in the back room,
strangled with the cord of a hair-dryer.
1936 classic English detective fiction; seventh of Allingham's novels
of Albert Campion. The Barnabas family publishing house is used to
strangeness; the founder's nephew disappeared in broad daylight while
walking between his house and the main road. Now Paul Brande, one of
the cousins who run the firm, is found dead inside a locked room. US
vt Legacy in Blood.
2006 mystery; seventh in Brett's Fethering Mysteries series (amateur
sleuthing). Jude's been asked to extend her healing practice to a
horse; but she doesn't expect to find the co-owner of the stables
stabbed to death. Obviously it was the local "Horse Ripper", caught in
the act. Or was it a jealous husband?
2005 mystery; sixth in Brett's Fethering Mysteries series (amateur
sleuthing). Carole's son is getting married, but the bride's parents
are oddly reluctant to have any announcements made… and then the
father is strangled.
1935 classic English detective fiction; third of Marsh's novels of
Inspector Roderick Alleyn. In a private hospital, the Home Secretary
was operated on for appendicitis: shortly afterwards he was dead,
poisoned with hyoscine (scopolamine). And all sorts of people seem to
have had motives.
2004 mystery; fifth in Brett's Fethering Mysteries series (amateur
sleuthing). Jude is helping out at the Hopwicke Country House Hotel,
but the morning after a boozy meeting of the Pillars of Sussex, an
organisation of local businessmen, one of them doesn't come down to
breakfast… because he's hanging from a beam of his four-poster bed.
Obviously a suicide…
…or obviously not, but proving it will be hard work, especially
when the Pillars of Sussex close ranks to disassociate themselves from
the victim. Everybody's far too willing to talk to Carole and Jude, as
usual, but a key player appears for the first time three-quarters of
the way through the book, which doesn't help matters.
Most of the investigation is a trudge through local businesses, and
Brett's usual cast of horrible people. Everyone has something to hide,
of course, and it usually reinforces how ghastly they are.
As in The Torso in the Town, the ultimate villain goes unpunished,
which again seems to be a violation of the principles of murder
mysteries: the detectives find themselves stymied and essentially give
up and go home. But they do that seemingly because there are only a
few pages left; if it were half-way through the book they'd go after
some alternative source of information, and for their behaviour to be
so blatantly affected by a non-diegetic element breaks my suspension
But in this book, the mystery is the bread on which the pâté of human
drama is spread: what are these people's secrets, and how do they
react as things come out? Also, this marks a significant achievement
in the process of Carole's transformation into a human being, as she
finds herself become able to talk with her son and his fiancée in a
way she certainly wouldn't have been when the series started.
(However, I think Brett realised that without having Carole as a
pompous prig he loses the contrast she strikes against free-spirited
Jude, so her progress from this point on is much slower and sometimes
Followed by The Witness at the Wedding.
2003 historical detection, thirteenth in Greenwood's Phryne Fisher
series (1920s flapper detective in Australia). Phryne investigates a
mummified corpse found in a carnival attraction.
2003; fourth in Brett's Fethering Mysteries series (amateur
sleuthing). Bracketts, an Elizabethan house, is to be turned into a
museum celebrating the life and work of the local poet Esmond
Chadleigh, its most famous resident. Then a skull is dug up in the
2015 mystery novel adaptation, 11 episodes:
"Everything Becomes F" or "The Perfect Insider". Shiki Magata killed
her parents when she was fourteen, but her mind was clearly disturbed,
and she's a brilliant programmer; for the fifteen years since then,
she's been confined to a few rooms within a research lab, with
extremely restricted communication with the outside world. And yet,
someone has managed to murder her.
2002 mystery; third in Brett's Fethering Mysteries series (amateur
sleuthing). The couple who've just moved into the Big House in
Fedborough, inland up the river from Fethering, throw a dinner party
to try to get into the local social scene… which is somewhat spoiled
when a limbless body is discovered in the cellar.
1935 classic English detective fiction; second of Marsh's novels of
Inspector Roderick Alleyn. When Arthur Surbonadier is fatally shot on
stage during the last act of The Rat and the Beaver, there's no
question about who pulled the trigger: the shooting was part of the
play. But there wasn't supposed to be live ammunition in the gun.
2001 mystery; second in Brett's Fethering Mysteries series (amateur
sleuthing). While out exploring the South Downs, Carole stumbles on a
human skeleton. Jude thinks she knows who it might have been.
2000 mystery; first in Brett's Fethering Mysteries series (amateur
sleuthing). Carole Seddon, conventional, divorced, and retired from
the Home Office, moves to the small seaside town of Fethering
(inspired by the real Tarring in West Sussex). But her neighbour Jude
turns out to be distressingly bohemian, and she finds a dead body
while walking her dog on the beach… but by the time the police turn
up, it's gone.
1993 detective fiction; fifth of Cleeves's novels of amateur private
detectives George and Molly Palmer-Jones. Elderly Ursula Ottway lives
in a cottage on an estate in the Cumbrian fell country; when she finds
her cats dead from eating poisoned bait, she threatens to expose her
landlord, rising politician Marcus Grenville, since he's obviously
been illegally poisoning raptors to improve the grouse shooting. The
next day she's dead. But she was Molly's aunt, and George and Molly
were on their way to visit.
2016 SF/mystery; fifty-third (roughly) of J. D. Robb's In Death
series. Dennis Mira went to confront his cousin Edward over plans to
sell the family house, but found him tied up in a chair; then someone
knocked Dennis on the head. Now Edward's missing. Fortunately Dennis
is married to Charlotte Mira, police profiler and friend of Lieutenant
2000 mystery, eighth in Barr's Anna Pigeon series, murder mysteries
in US National Parks. Newly promoted to District Ranger on the Natchez
Trace Parkway, Anna finds herself the object of resentment by her
time-serving underlings, then discovers the body of a young woman (who
"had accrued a surprising number of reasons to be done to death for a
girl of her tender years").
1999 mystery, seventh in Barr's Anna Pigeon series, murder mysteries
in US National Parks. With her sister hospitalised in New York, Anna
stays on Liberty Island (where the statue is) and explores Ellis
Island outside hospital visiting hours. Then a young girl falls to her
death from the statue.
1934 classic English detective fiction; sixth of Allingham's novels of
Albert Campion. The great artist John Lafcadio left twelve final
paintings, to be shown one per year after his death. At the unveiling
of the eighth, a young artist is fatally stabbed with a pair of
1998 mystery, sixth in Barr's Anna Pigeon series, murder mysteries
in US National Parks. Lechugilla Cavern is a huge and largely
unexplored cave in Carlsbad Caverns National Park; whena friend and
fellow ranger is injured there, Anna swallows her claustrophobia and
goes in to help with the evacuation.
1997 mystery, fifth in Barr's Anna Pigeon series, murder
mysteries in US National Parks. After the events of the previous book,
Anna's sent to Cumberland Island Park for "pre-suppression" fire duty,
and a bit of a lighter posting. But she and another ranger spot a
plume of smoke, which turns out to be the fresh wreckage of the
island's drug-interdiction plane.
1933 classic English detective fiction; fifth of Allingham's novels of
Albert Campion. The Fitton family operate a run-down watermill in
Suffolk, but may be the forgotten heirs of Averna, a tiny European
principality that may suddenly be terribly important. US vtt Kingdom
of Earth and The Fear Sign.
1996 mystery, fourth in Barr's Anna Pigeon series, murder
mysteries in US National Parks. Anna's called in to help fight a
wildfire in Lassen Volcanic National Park, but the wind shifts and a
firestorm overtakes the team. When they come out of their protective
tents, one of them's been stabbed in the back.
1995 mystery, third in Barr's Anna Pigeon series, murder mysteries
in US National Parks. Visitors to Mesa Verde Park and the Anasazi
cliff dwellings have been coming away with a strange and deadly
1931 classic English detective fiction; fourth of Allingham's novels
of Albert Campion. The very elderly Caroline Faraday has a house in
Cambridge run on strict Victorian lines; her ageing son, daughters and
nephew put up with the lack of freedom for the free bed and board,
having variously failed at their own lives. But everyone's fairly
horrible, and it seems that one of them is also a murderer.
1944 detective fiction; second of Brand's novels of Inspector
Cockrill. At a military hospital during the Blitz, a patient dies
under anæsthetic. Later, someone who'd claimed to know who was
responsible is stabbed to death. Six suspects are left, and there's
not a visible motive among them.
1994 mystery, second in Barr's Anna Pigeon series, murder mysteries
in US National Parks. In the Isle Royale park off the Michigan coast,
one of the dive operators turns up dead in a long-sunken shipwreck.
1993 mystery, first in Barr's Anna Pigeon series, murder mysteries
in US National Parks. After the death of her husband, Anna fled from
her life in New York to find solitude as a ranger in the Guadalupe
Mountains National Park, home to a few mountain lions among other
species. But when a colleague is found dead, the paw prints round the
body and claw marks on the throat seem to point a little too
perfectly to a killer animal.
1931 classic English detective fiction; third of Allingham's novels of
Albert Campion. The Gyrth Chalice is unique and unsaleable… but it
seems that someone is setting up to steal it anyway, for a private
collection. US vt The Gyrth Chalice Mystery.
1930 classic English detective fiction; second of Allingham's novels of
Albert Campion. Multiple attempts have been made to murder an American
judge; Campion does his best to keep him safe.
2001 mystery, second in Whitelaw's Jordan Lacey series (private
investigation in a small seaside town). Jordan investigates stolen
water-lilies, vandalism, theft of a wedding cake, arson, and an errant
husband. Oh, and a Second World War aircraft wreck.
1929 classic English detective fiction; first of Allingham's novels of
Albert Campion. George Abbershaw, expert pathologist who unexpectedly
finds himself in love, goes down for the weekend to the remote country
house called "Black Dudley"; but the gathering is afflicted with
murder… and then taken over by gangsters. US vt The Black Dudley
The mystery story when done well is an extreme form of the story
problem, which one can enjoy both on the level of normal fiction
with characters and plot and setting and so on and on the level of
working out whodunnit before the author reveals the solution.
1931 English detective fiction, in fourteen chapters by fourteen
authors. The body of retired Admiral Penistone is found in a small
boat on the river, stabbed through the heart. Everyone has a story,
and everyone has something to hide.
2015 SF/mystery novella; fifty-second (roughly) of J. D. Robb's In
Death series, published as part of Down the Rabbit Hole, a
multi-author anthology of stories loosely inspired by Alice's
Adventures in Wonderland. Apparently Darlene Fitzwilliams fatally
stabbed her brother, then jumped off his fifty-second floor balcony.
But there's no sign that she was the sort of person who'd do that.
1934 classic English detective fiction; first of Marsh's novels of
Inspector Roderick Alleyn. At Sir Hubert Handesley's country house
weekend, five guests play a game of "Murder". But when the lights come
1983, cozy American detective fiction; fourth of MacLeod's novels of
Boston Brahmin Sarah Kelling and art investigator Max Bittersohn.
Sarah and Max, teetering on the brink of getting engaged, visit
Sarah's summer home on Cape Cod. But someone has covertly added a
valuable antique mirror to the furnishings; and a nasty old gossip
turns up with an axe in her chest.
2015 mystery novel adaptation, 12 episodes:
"Beautiful Bones: Sakurako`s Investigation" or "A Corpse is Buried
Under Sakurako's Feet". Kujou Sakurako, osteologist and amateur
forensic anthropologist, investigates the remarkable number of human
bones to be found locally.
2014; fifteenth in Brett's Fethering Mysteries series (amateur
sleuthing in small-town Sussex). After a rehearsal for a village-hall
production of The Devil's Disciple, the lead is found strangled on
the "absolutely safe" gallows.
1985 mystery; seventh in Muller's series about Sharon McCone, private
investigator in San Francisco. Someone's causing minor troubles for
the inhabitants of a hotel in the Tenderloin, most of them recent
Vietnamese immigrants; Sharon's employed by the Refugee Assistance
Committee to look into it. Then things turn deadly.
1994 mystery, fourth of Douglas's novels about Irene Adler; here she
returns to Prague, to solve a problem for the Queen. Espionage, the
Golem, femmes fatales, and really nice dresses ensue. (Retitled as
Another Scandal in Bohemia in recent reissue.)
2015 SF/mystery; fifty-first (roughly) of J. D. Robb's In Death
series. Two serial killers have crossed the USA and landed in New
York; Lieutenant Eve Dallas tracks them down.
Contemporary fantasy, fourth in the series. Peter Grant, Metropolitan
Police constable and magician, looks into a number of cases that seem
to be tying back to a Brutalist tower block in Southwark.
2009 mystery, third in the series. Constable "Thorny" Deepbriar goes
to the local seaside town while his broken leg finishes healing, but
he can't leave detection alone. Not only is someone stealing garden
gnomes, but a body found on the beach is someone Deepbriar thought had
died when he was a very green copper sixteen years ago during the war.
2016 supernatural mustery, sixth in Oswald's Inspector McLean
series. A police raid following a tip-off about a brothel goes wrong:
there's sex being had, but it all seems to have been consenting
swingers, except for one registered sex offender. Then people start
2002 historical detection, twelfth in Greenwood's Phryne Fisher
series (1920s flapper detective in Australia). Phryne looks into
trouble at a French restaurant, the disappearance of a young woman,
and the murder of old soldiers.
Collection of six short mystery stories from 1902-1903. Madame Sara,
the best "beautifier" in London, is also a master criminal – one might
even say a veritable Napoleon of crime.
2005 mystery, thirteenth in Barr's Anna Pigeon series, murder
mysteries in US National Parks. In Rocky Mountain, three young girls
went missing a few months back, and were never found. But now two of
them have walked out of the woods…
1992 mystery, third of Douglas's novels about Irene Adler. In Paris in
1888, a stranger in Oriental garb falls poisoned at the feet of
Irene's narrator, Nell Huxleigh. But why does he claim to know her?
(Retitled A Soul of Steel in recent reissue.)
1997 humorous detective fiction; first of Alcorn's novels of Norman de
Ratour, Recording Secretary at the Museum of Man, an anthropological
museum somewhere in New England. Dean Fessing goes missing, and most
of him turns up expertly cooked. That inevitably starts rumours of
cannibalism, but there may be fire to go with this smoke…
2011 detective fiction parody, collection of seven short stories.
Colonel Sebastian Moran, a cad and a bounder, works for Professor
Moriarty the consulting criminal.
1993 detective fiction; sixth of Cleeves's novels of amateur private
detectives George and Molly Palmer-Jones. On a bird-watching boat
trip, the sighting of a rare petrel is much more interesting than a
birdwatcher who isn't where he should be. But then he turns out to
have been murdered...
1975 cosy detective fiction; first of Anderson's novels of the Earl of
Burford and Inspector Wilkins. Some time in the 1930s, there's a house
party at Alderley, including the Earl's political brother and the
foreign dignitaries he's negotiating with, an American millionaire
called Hiram, and various others. Nobody is quite what they seem, and
that's even before jewels start going missing and guests start turning
1980 historical mystery. In 1327, Friar William of Baskerville and his
novice Adso of Melk try to solve a series of murders at a monastery in
2009 mystery, the tenth book in Lovesey's Peter Diamond series.
After a Civil War battle re-enactment on Lansdown Hill near Bath, one
of the soldiers disappears. Later the police find a headless skeleton
in the same area. Later still, a homeless man is found dead with a
major head wound. Are the cases connected? DI Peter Diamond is
determined that they are.
2006 alternate-history mystery, first in the "Small Change" trilogy.
In 1949, Britain is at peace with the Reich, which is still fighting
in Russia. At Farthing, a country house in Hampshire, one of the
architects of that peace is murdered. Jews and Bolshevists are
immediately blamed, but Inspector Carmichael thinks it's more
complicated than that.
1991 mystery, second of Douglas's novels about Irene Adler. Bored in
Paris, Irene takes on the mystery of a series of tattooed suicides.
(Retitled The Adventuress in recent reissue.)
1982 cosy American detective fiction; third of MacLeod's novels of
Professor Peter Shandy, set at an agricultural college in
Massachussetts. Hilda Horsefall is 105 years old and still keeping the
family farm going, until her farmhand is horribly murdered. But is it
just part of a land-grab, and if so who's trying to do it? And how is
the Viking runestone on her land connected to everything?
2011; fourteenth in Brett's Fethering Mysteries series (amateur
sleuthing). Jude's new lover Piers is a tennis fanatic – real tennis –
but when she turns up for a lesson one of the other club members is
found dead. Heart attack, clearly, but why is everyone acting so
cagey? Meanwhile Jude's friend Carole conducts a separate
2004 mystery, twelfth in Barr's Anna Pigeon series, murder mysteries
in US National Parks. After four seasonal park employees disappear on
the same day in Yosemite, Anna Pigeon goes undercover to try to find
out what happened.
2015 supernatural mystery, fifth in Oswald's Inspector McLean
series. In a network of man-made caves under Edinburgh, a journalist
turns up with his throat cut. Why there, why then, and why him?
1982, cozy American detective fiction; third of MacLeod's novels of
Sarah Kelling and Max Bittersohn. At a private art museum, a guard
falls to his death, having been complaining that his favourite Rubens
is different these days.
1984 mystery; sixth in Muller's series about Sharon McCone, private
investigator in San Francisco, and at the same time fourteenth in
Pronzini's "Nameless Detective" private eye series. Both detectives
are at a convention of private eyes in San Diego, McCone also visiting
her family and an old friend who's now head of hotel security. But
then the dying starts.
2008 mystery, second of the "Thorny" Deepbriar series. In rural
Yorkshire in 1957, Thorny the village bobby is still trying to get
into the CID. But his superiors want him walking the beat where he is.
He'll need to pull off an impressive feat of detection, but how can he
do that in a village where nothing much happens?
2014 SF/mystery; forty-ninth (roughly) of J. D. Robb's In Death
series. Just before Christmas, a personal trainer is found in his
home, with a nasty head wound and a knife in his chest. He seems to
have been a thoroughly nasty person, but for Eve Dallas the homicide
cop's job is still the job.
2001 historical detection, eleventh in Greenwood's Phryne Fisher
series (1920s flapper detective in Australia). Miss Lavender, an
author and illustrator of overly-twee fairy stories, has died after
receiving threatening letters. Phryne is called in by the police as
someone who might be able to spot something amiss in the sea of
cuteness that is Miss Lavender's home, and finds rather more motives
than anyone could reasonably have expected.
1981, cozy American detective fiction; second of MacLeod's novels of
Sarah Kelling and Max Bittersohn. While the family affairs get
straightened out, the recently-widowed Sarah needs an income; she
remodels her house to take in boarders. But one of them falls under a
subway train, or maybe he was pushed…
2000 mystery, first in Whitelaw's Jordan Lacey series. Asthmatic
ex-policewoman Jordan Lacey starts a private investigation business in
the seaside town of Latching, West Sussex. Will there be enough work
to pay the bills? Surprisingly, yes.
1990, first of Douglas's novels about Irene Adler, opera singer,
adventuress, and foil to Sherlock Holmes.
2003 mystery, eleventh in Barr's Anna Pigeon series, murder
mysteries in US National Parks. At Fort Jefferson in the Dry Tortugas,
seventy miles off the end of Florida, Anna replaces a chief ranger who
went mad. A boat explosion and anonymous body parts are troubling
enough; but then Anna starts to see ghosts…
2008 mystery. A woman is found on the beach at Selsey, drowned –
forcibly. But she isn't going to be the only victim.
1981, cosy American detective fiction; second of MacLeod's novels
of Professor Peter Shandy, set at an agricultural college in
Massachussetts. A few days before the Annual Competition of the
Balaclava County Draft Horse Association, the college's farrier has
been murdered. And the prize pig has gone missing. Is it a school
prank gone horribly wrong, or something more sinister?
2014 supernatural mystery, fourth in Oswald's Inspector McLean
series. A body is found in the North Esk, dead of a fall, and tattooed
all over. A prominent politician shoots his wife and children, then
himself. Tony McLean is more interested in the former, but gets the
latter on his plate as well.
2007 mystery, the ninth book in Lovesey's Peter Diamond series. A
woman is found hanged in a park in Bath; a few days later her partner
turns up in the same state. A suicide pact?
1981, cosy American detective fiction; first of MacLeod's novels
(as "Alisa Craig") of Dittany Henbit and the Lobelia Falls
Grub-and-Stakers Gardening & Roving Club. In a small town in Ontario,
the local villain has a plan to build houses on a wilderness area. But
one of his patsies ends up shot.
1981, cosy American detective fiction; second of MacLeod's novels
(as "Alisa Craig") of Madoc and Janet Rhys. In a remote country house
in Canada, old Granny Condrycke has died peacefully in her sleep. With
the house cut off, the family decides to go ahead with Christmas
festivities. But Madoc Rhys, a Mountie who's there accidentally
undercover with his fiancée Janet, reckons there was more to it.
2012 historical detection, fourth in Dean's Dido Kent series. Dido
is forced to act as companion to her elderly and wealthy aunt, but the
house they visit has its own problems: a young lady has disappeared,
perhaps to Gretna Green, but her guardian is curiously unconcerned
1998 lesbian noir mystery/romance; first in Griffith's series about
Aud Torvingen, bodyguard and borderline psychopath in Atlanta. An art
historian's house is burned to the ground, with him in it; six kilos
of cocaine are found in the garage. A drug-related execution, or
1984 mystery; fifth in Muller's series about Sharon McCone, private
investigator in San Francisco. A major player in the flea-markets
wants help dealing with a stalker, but his business is not as honest
as it could be, and soon people start turning up dead.
2012 mystery, twelfth in King's series about Mary Russell, wife of
Sherlock Holmes. In Morocco in 1924, rebellion is in the air, and fell
plots with international ramifications are being prepared.
2014 mystery, third in Oswald's Inspector McLean series. Bodies are
found hanging in their homes in Edinburgh, apparently suicides. But
how did they all come to do it in just the same way at the same time?
2010 historical detection, third in Dean's Dido Kent series. On a
visit to a supposedly-haunted ruined abbey, a young lady slips and
falls, saying in her delirium only "I saw her – it was her". Was it
the Grey Nun of legend?
1999 historical detection. Tenth in Greenwood's Phryne Fisher series
(1920s flapper detective in Australia). Phryne is in Sydney, nominally
to watch a cricket match, at the request of two university students,
whose friend has been accused of stealing exam-papers: an obvious
setup. But it seems that there's more to it than that.
2010 mystery, seventeenth in the series about Kate Shugak, part-time
private investigator in a national park in Alaska. The gold mine has
come to the Park, and that's changing everything; but murder is still
2011; thirteenth in Brett's Fethering Mysteries series (amateur
sleuthing). Jude and Carole go to a private viewing by a consciously
controversial artist at a local gallery, but the evening ends in
violent death. The police reckon it's suicide, but…
2013 cosy mystery, fifth in Bradley's series set in the early 1950s
about child detective Flavia de Luce. The corpse of the
angelic-looking young organist has been hidden in a saint's tomb that
hasn't been opened for years. But how and why did he die?
2014 urban fantasy, sequel to London Falling. As protests brew
into riots during a hot summer, important people are being murdered in
a bizarre and impossible way. Fortunately, the Met has four officers
who specialise in the impossible.
2009 historical detection, second in Dean's Dido Kent series. Rich
invalid Mrs Lansdale has died, of an overdose of laudanum. Her nephew
stands to inherit. But did he do it?
2012 mystery, first in Oswald's Inspector McLean series. A
prominent city elder in Edinburgh is killed, but less than a day later
his killer commits a public and messy suicide. Case closed, and the
police are happy. But McLean won't let it lie, especially when the
same thing happens again.
1980, cosy American detective fiction; first of MacLeod's novels of
Sarah Kelling and Max Bittersohn. In Boston, an old family vault is
opened for the first time in thirty years… to reveal the corpse of a
well-known burlesque dancer.
2007 mystery. In rural Yorkshire in 1956, Constable "Thorny" Deepbriar
is a village bobby who's always longed to try his hand at detection.
Now he's going to get his chance.
2005 mystery. A publisher's house is burned down, with him in it.
What's the connection with the local circle of unpublished writers?
2008 historical detection, first in Dean's Dido Kent series. In 1805
at Richard Montague's engagement party, he suddenly puts off his
fiancée Catherine and leaves for parts unknown. And a woman's body is
found in the shrubbery. Catherine's spinster aunt Dido tries to clear
up the mystery. US vt Bellfield Hall.
2013 urban fantasy. Rhian, a young woman from the valleys with some
unusual talents, finds herself in east London, where ancient magics
are mixing with modern in a distinctly unpleasant way.
1997 historical detection. Ninth in Greenwood's Phryne Fisher series
(1920s flapper detective in Australia). A man drops dead of
strychnine poisoning in a bookshop; the owner's the obvious suspect.
But Phryne is unconvinced.
2012 mystery, second in Oswald's Inspector McLean series. Twelve
years ago Tony McLean caught the Christmas Killer, whose last victim
was McLean's fiancée. Now that man's been killed in prison, but
another young woman's corpse has just turned up, killed in the same
way. A copycat? Or did McLean get the wrong man?
2015 SF/mystery; fiftieth (roughly) of J. D. Robb's In Death
series. At the end of 2060, Homicide Lieutenant Eve Dallas comes up
against a new threat: a murderer who's such a fan that he's killing
people who've offended Dallas. And there are a lot of them.
2003 mystery, the eighth book in Lovesey's Peter Diamond series. Is
a killing on a beach connected with the murder of a celebrity film
2012 urban fantasy. The big crime boss is finally arrested, curiously
easily, but explodes in a shower of blood while he's being
interviewed. In trying to work out what happened, four coppers
accidentally step into a much larger world.
1980, cosy American detective fiction; first of MacLeod's novels
(as "Alisa Craig") of Madoc and Janet Rhys. In a small Canadian town,
the local old biddy has died of eating her own contaminated preserves.
But was she really that careless?
2009 historical mystery. In Boston in 1773, Abigail Adams (wife of
lawyer and future president John Quincy Adams) tries to solve the
murder of one woman and the disappearance of another.
1868 mystery; often considered the first detective novel in English.
The huge diamond, looted from India, goes missing after a birthday
party. Who took it? And how was the trick managed?
2011; twelfth in Brett's Fethering Mysteries series (amateur
sleuthing). Carole Seddon takes over the rental of a beach hut along
the shore from Fethering, only for human remains to turn up underneath
1949 mystery. Simon Ashby is about to come of age and inherit the
family estate Latchetts (sadly fallen, but still worth a bit). Eight
years ago, after the sudden death of their parents, his older twin
Patrick committed suicide, or so everyone thought; but now someone
claiming to be Patrick has turned up to take over again.
1979, cosy American detective fiction; first of MacLeod's novels of
Professor Peter Shandy. In a New England agricultural college, the
local busybody has had an accident, or been murdered. But was it
really over the question of Christmas decorations?
Contemporary fantasy. Peter Grant, Metropolitan Police constable and
magician, investigates the death of a man found stabbed on Baker
2005 SF/mystery. Turing Hopper, an AI emergent from research assistant
software, looks into the affairs of a techie who's been hit by a car
and is now in intensive care. Was it an accident?
1997; third of Hayter's mysteries about TV journalist Robin Hudson.
Robin's just trying to find her intern and other co-workers for a
girls' night out, but somehow it doesn't seem to come together.
2004 SF/mystery. Turing Hopper, an AI emergent from research assistant
software, follows up on a lead to an old enemy.
1984; fourth in Muller's series about Sharon McCone, private
investigator in San Francisco. McCone investigates the disappearance
of a famous photographer's roommate, which leads to secret goings-on
in a decaying coastal town.
2003 SF/mystery. Turing Hopper, an AI emergent from research assistant
software, has just lost a friend and employee: he's been murdered. The
police reckon it was random drug-related violence; she tries to find
1907; romantic melodrama-cum-mystery story. Who killed Robert
Courthope? Why did Philip Warren flee from the scene?
Sixth mystery starring Meg Lanslow, contemporary blacksmith. Meg and
her boyfriend have bought a huge old house very cheaply, on condition
that they clear out and sell the accumulated junk left by the previous
owner. But during the sale, a dubious dealer in antiquities turns up
Tenth in Barr's Anna Pigeon series, murder mysteries in US National
Parks. Back on the Natchez Trace Parkway in Mississippi, a body's been
found in an old plantation house, left in a manner suggestive of
Contemporary fantasy. Peter Grant, Metropolitan Police constable and
magician, investigates the sudden deaths of jazz musicians.
Eleventh in King's series about Mary Russell, who… well, this is
basically Sherlock Holmes fanfiction, but against all the odds it
manages to work. Strange things have been happening around a film
crew; Russell joins it to work out what's going on.
Third in Muller's series about Sharon McCone, private investigator in
San Francisco. McCone investigates the murder of a painter and
decorator in a rough area that's being gentrified.
Second of Hayter's mysteries about TV journalist Robin Hudson. This
time her new gynæcologist has been found, handcuffed and then shot in
the head, and there's no shortage of people who might have wished him
Sixteenth mystery in the series about Kate Shugak, part-time private
investigator in a national park in Alaska. Gold's been found on park
lands, and that means mining, and that means objections from the
locals. The mining company's hired a minor celebrity to be their
spokeswoman. But that doesn't solve everything.
Novella; eleventh in Lippman's contemporary mystery series about Tess
Monaghan, private investigator in Baltimore. Restricted to bed thanks
to difficulties with her pregnancy, Tess passes the time watching
people in the park outside, particularly a young woman in a green coat
(with a greyhound in a matching one). One day, the greyhound passes by
on its own…
Thirteenth in Fairstein's contemporary mystery series about Alexandra
Cooper, sex crimes prosecutor in Manhattan. When a burned, decapitated
body is found on the steps of a church that used to be a synagogue,
there could be any number of reasons. When a second body is found at
another church, things start to come together.
Contemporary fantasy ("urban fantasy" gives the wrong idea now, even
if it's much more appropriate to this book than to many published
under that banner). New constable Peter Grant is about to be sent off
to the paperwork unit, but while he's standing guard over a murder
scene in the small hours a ghost starts to talk to him. Then things
SF/mystery. Turing Hopper, an AI emergent from research assistant
software, is worried about her programmer: he seems to have vanished,
and the records she can find aren't helping. So she turns for help to
the two humans who are aware of her nature.
Robin Hudson had a promising career as a TV journalist, but blew it
with some public embarrassment. Now her ex-husband has a younger and
prettier fiancée, her job for not-CNN involves investigating a sperm
bank, and she's about to be blackmailed. Then the blackmailer turns up
Fourth mystery book about Bernard Rhodenbarr, professional burglar in
1970s New York.
Classic detective fiction; fourth, roughly, of Tey's novels of
Inspector Alan Grant. An unreasonably beautiful young man visiting
from America goes to the country to stay with casual acquaintances in
a village that's been Discovered by writers and artists, causes social
ructions, then disappears. What happened, and was it murder?
Eleventh in Brett's Fethering Mysteries series (amateur sleuthing).
A local bric-a-brac shop is burned down, but the body found inside it
was shot first. Carole Seddon and Jude investigate again.
Bernard Rhodenbarr, the closest New York in the 1970s can get to a
gentleman burglar, is back for his third mystery book appearance. This
is the one where the formula changes a bit.
Eighth in Greenwood's Phryne Fisher series (1920s flapper detective in
Australia); a homage to the novels of Agatha Christie.
Bernard Rhodenbarr, the closest New York in the 1970s can get to a
gentleman burglar, is back for his second book appearance, and the
formula sets in: while our hero the burglar is hiding from his victim
who's come home unexpectedly, she gets murdered.
First in Block's slightly less-well-known series. Bernard Rhodenbarr
is a burglar, and a good one. It's bad enough when the cops walk into
the apartment where he's doing his latest job. But then one of them
discovers a recently-dead body nearby.
Ninth in Barr's Anna Pigeon series. In Glacier National Park, a trip
to move sampling traps for bear DNA is disrupted by an odd bear
attack, and the next morning a woman is found dead and mutilated… by
Second in Brookmyre's new literary direction, moving from the tartan
insanity of his earlier books to strictly conventional crime writing.
Diamond Dust is the seventh book in Lovesey's Peter Diamond
series, and one that makes for a very substantial change in tone.
Tenth in Brett's Fethering Mysteries series. Several pubgoers go
down with food poisoning, and other events start to make it look like
a concerted campaign against the pub. But who's doing it? And why?
Concealed in Death is the forty-eighth story of J. D. Robb's In
Death series, and a huge improvement on its immediate predecessor
Thankless in Death. It drops many of the science-fictional trappings
of the setting to deliver a powerful and well-told story.
Seventh in Greenwood's Phryne Fisher series.
Eighth and final book in Ferrars' Andrew Basnett series.
I picked up this collection of novellas for the Robb story, as I was
clearly intended to. All the stories here are loosely based on, or
more properly inspired by, fairy stories (something of a coincidence
given the Elemental Masters series I've also been reading).
The tenth book in Leon's Commissario Brunetti series, as with other
series entries I've been reading lately, offers more of the same:
descriptions of the seamy underside of Venice interspersed with
lightweight police work.
The Vault is the sixth book in Lovesey's Peter Diamond series. I'm
definitely liking Lovesey: like any good author of detective fiction,
he plays fair with the reader, giving all the necessary clues while
hiding them under a chaff-screen of red herrings and misdirection.
Thankless in Death is the forty-sixth of J. D. Robb's In Death
series. It's also, for me, the first disappointment.
As one can see from the title, this is the nineteenth full novel in
Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series. And, well, it feels like a
nineteenth novel: it's tired.