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Must-Read Detective Novels!

July 30, 2021

There’s nothing better than a good detective novel to keep you turning the pages late into the night. Great stories with complex plots, quirky private investigators, dark back alleys and shocking villains.

This reading list is filled with twisted stories to keep you on the edge of your seat. Follow the clues along the way and bring out the inner detective in you.

Enjoy!

1 Detective In Time

Detective In Time

Uncle Jasper | Sci-fi Fantasy

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A fill-in detective is thrown through a hole in space to find a missing inventor and her beautiful daughter.

2 The Great Detective & the Missing Footballer

The Great Detective & the Missing Footballer

Gurmeet Mattu | Humor

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This affectionate parody sees the great Victorian detective transplanted to the modern day and investigating the disappearance of the captain of Manchester United. How will he and his sidekick cope with a grumpy Scots manager, a mini-skirted WAG, a gay midfielder and a landlady who insists on fusion cuisine?

3 Tom Sawyer, Detective

Tom Sawyer, Detective

Mark Twain | Fiction Classics

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Tom Sawyer, Detective is an 1896 novel by Mark Twain. It is a sequel to The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876), Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884), and Tom Sawyer Abroad (1894). Tom Sawyer attempts to solve a mysterious murder in this burlesque of the immensely popular detective novels of the time. Like the two preceding novels, the story is told using the first-person narrative voice of Huck Finn.

4 Cowboys, Detectives, And Horses

Cowboys, Detectives, And Horses

David V. Hesse | Short Stories

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A compilation of short stories regarding life and the quirky people that make it interesting.

5 The Honor of the Name

The Honor of the Name

Emile Gaboriau | Mystery Classics

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Detective Monsieur Lecoq finishes solving a bizarre triple murder on the streets of Paris.

6 Murder in the Gunroom

Murder in the Gunroom

Henry Beam Piper | Mystery Classics

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Detective Jefferson Davis Rand is hired to examine a large gun collection after the owner seemingly commits suicide, and he discovers foul play.

7 Vanished

Vanished

G. W. Boileau | Mystery

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A Supernatural Thriller Novelette. Detective Blake Gamble works homicide. But when an old college buddy goes missing, he disregards a direct order and investigates the disappearance. What he finds will make him wish he hadn’t…

8 O'Heavenly Murder

O'Heavenly Murder

Jennifer Northen | Mystery

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A Dark Spirit comes to Saint Cloud, Oklahoma in 1956, bringing death to the sleepy little township. Detective Thomas Miller and rookie Officer Sherry Hendrix seek to solve the series of murders, with help from their fellow officers. Their investigations reveal Psychics, Seances, Ghosts and all manner of Occult and Paranormal manifestations; not to mention the murderous intentions of the locals themselves. The lively townsfolk provide their own brand of small town shenanigans and hilarity as the death toll mounts.

9 Sherlock Holmes on Cape Cod

Sherlock Holmes on Cape Cod

Bill Russo | Mystery

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In Bill Russo's new adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's great detective series, Sherlock Holmes comes out of retirement in 1912 and travels to America to once again confront his arch rival Moriarty, who is poised to take over the United States, one piece at a time. As fishing with baited lines begins to give way to the age of steam powered trawlers dragging of the ocean bottom with massive nets, the Professor has plans of cornering the global fish market. Holmes, Watson, six brothers, and a little girl from Provincetown are the only things in his way.

10 The Best Mystery and Detective Stories

The Best Mystery and Detective Stories

Julian Hawthorne | Short Stories Classics

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The Best Mystery and Detective Stories edited by Julian Hawthorne.

11 Confession

Confession

Gary Whitmore | Mystery

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It’s 2005 and Sam Woods had been retired from the FBI for ten years and lived a quiet life in Florida. Then a book called A Killer’s Tale was published by author Allan Stein and became a best seller. Sam went on the hunt again when he learned that this best seller contained clues to a serial killer. The same serial killer called the October Slayer that taunted Sam back in the 1960s when he was an FBI Agent. But there’s a problem, Allan died after the book got published. So Sam dusted off his detective skills and conducted his own investigation into the identity of that serial killer he failed to capture so many years ago. His final discovery of the true identity of the October Slayer also revealed another a shocking truth that went unknown since the 1960s.

12 Malice

Malice

Angel Berry | Mystery

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While in the midst of a drug-related homicide investigation, Detective Justin Young's 7-year old niece, Lisa, vanishes from her mother's home. With a pedophile living nearby, Justin tries to control his anger, but loses his mind waiting for the slow wheels of justice to turn. Is it the usual suspect? Or is it a case where no one is who they appear to be... A short story from the anthology Telling Really Tall Tales by Angel Berry *This is a copyrighted work*

13 A Thousand Steps

A Thousand Steps

Chrys Romeo | Mystery

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A detective investigates unexplained events while accompanying a team of dancers to an international contest. Impressed by the charming dancers, he strives to be their protector. A series of adventures unfolds as they travel to their destination and he realizes things are not exactly as they appear to be. He has to find out the truth, from the many possibilities that reality presents along the way.

14 Blowing Smoke

Blowing Smoke

George L. Hiegel | Mystery

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Neal Caterski is a clinically depressed, middle aged private detective. His wife has left him, taking their only child with her. It's been years since he's seen either of them. His career is a dead end. Despair has made him nearly suicidal. A new case appears. It involves Donna Winters, the wife of a very rich and powerful man. It was a past affair with Donna Winters that led to the death of his marriage. The affair, like his marriage, ended badly. With this new case, old wounds are reopened and fresh scars join the old. The case isn't even 24 hours old. Donna is found dead in her car from a single bullet to the head. There is evidence of suicide. But there is also evidence of a cover up. Caterski wants to solve this case even if it kills him.

15 A Head Of The Game

A Head Of The Game

David Hesse | Mystery

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The first in the Max Fly, Private I series. See Cauliflower, More Than An Ear, also available on Free-Ebooks.net. Max had no idea he was about to get involved in what was to become the biggest case he ever covered and one that almost cost him and his friend Homicide Detective Harry Marshall his job and Max his PI license and job with the Daily Citizen as well as their lives; to say nothing about the indelible mark that was put on Max's relationship with the mysterious and beautiful Detective E J Williams. Watch for Max Fly's newest adventure, Blue Magic, scheduled to be published the beginning of 2016.

16 Untamed

Untamed

Steven Jeral Harris | Sci-fi Fantasy

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This gripping tale follows the life of a young woman named Iva Hill. Due to many ongoing health conditions, she has lived a life of hopelessness. Everything changes when her uncle, Detective Frank Lancaster, is investigating a series of gruesome murders. Unfortunately, Iva gets herself tangled in the middle. The serial killer is no other than a demonic being known as The Hellhound. Strange events leads Iva on the brink of death as she comes face to face with the hellish creature. Just before Hellhound is able to rip her apart, a powerful black lion saves her in the nick of time. A lion that calls himself Mane. Although death can come for her at any moment, she realizes with the help of her newly found friends, that it's never too late to hope and pursue happiness. Prepared to be taken on t

17 Psychodick

Psychodick

Bryan Murphy | Drama

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Paul Rand was destined to be England's next Prime Minister. Until a bullet in the brain stopped him. Can Micah Shaymo, psychic detective, bring his killer to justice?

18 Murder Most Stupid

Murder Most Stupid

David Brooklyn | Mystery

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Deep amongst the mountains of an unidentified European state, in a grand hotel snowed in by the sneering elements, in some unspecified epoch of the past, a master detective finds his transcendently brilliant attempts to identify a murderer frustrated by unappreciative, stupid guests and staff.

19 Wicked John: A Victorian Mysterie

Wicked John: A Victorian Mysterie

Joseph R. Doze | Horror-Gothic

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In private detective Clayton Lane's world, the glass is always half-empty, and it's usually half empty of cheap whiskey. When a timid little man walks into Lane's office hoping to find his runaway wife, Clayton assumes it will be much of the same old thing; a wife hitting the sheets with another man and a brokenhearted husband left behind. What he wasn't ready for was a case that kept going further down the rabbit hole. What started as a simple case leads Clayton into a world of prostitution, sapphic trysts, drugs, and the Montreal Mafia culminating in a tangled web of deceit and political intrigue. Join Clayton Lane, P.I. as he navigates the dangerous streets of 1950's Albuquerque and tries to untangle the web of lies and find the truth that lies atop the Ivory Tower.

20 Ivory Towers

Ivory Towers

Joseph R. Doze | Mystery

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In private detective Clayton Lane's world, the glass is always half-empty, and it's usually half empty of cheap whiskey. When a timid little man walks into Lane's office hoping to find his runaway wife, Clayton assumes it will be much of the same old thing; a wife hitting the sheets with another man and a brokenhearted husband left behind. What he wasn't ready for was a case that kept going further down the rabbit hole. What started as a simple case leads Clayton into a world of prostitution, sapphic trysts, drugs, and the Montreal Mafia culminating in a tangled web of deceit and political intrigue. Join Clayton Lane, P.I. as he navigates the dangerous streets of 1950's Albuquerque as he tries to untangle the web of lies and find the truth that lies atop the Ivory Tower.

21 The Mysterious Affair at Styles

The Mysterious Affair at Styles

Agatha Christie | Mystery Classics

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The Classic book The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie. The first of Christie’s works to introduce the famous detective Hercule Poirot who would be featured in over 30 novels. Poirot’s dear friend Hastings and Inspector Japp also make their initial appearances in this book. The story revolves around the poisoning of wealthy Emily Inglethorp in her home. All those within are suspects.

22 A Study in Scarlet

A Study in Scarlet

Arthur Conan Doyle | Mystery Classics

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The Classic book A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle. The first Sherlock Holmes story! And while it wasn’t an instant hit, Holmes along with his companion Dr. Watson would become the most famous detectives. In their first case, the pair investigate a bizarre murder in which a man is found alone in his apartment with a contorted face, but other visible signs of violence. Their main clue is a word written in blood on the wall.

23 The Murder on the Links

The Murder on the Links

Agatha Christie | Mystery Classics

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The Classic book The Murder on the Links by Agatha Christie. The third appearance of the famous detective Hercules Poirot. When a man writes to Poirot pleading for his assistance, he and his friend Hastings travel to France to meet him. But upon their arrival, the man has been found murdered. As always, an intriguing murder mystery written by one of the masters.

24 To Ward's Answers!

To Ward's Answers!

Adam Stark | Mystery

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Could the perfect crime be committed? On a massive scale? How can so many families go missing at the same time a serial killer escapes prison? Follow one retired gold-shield detective's journey to figure out why no clues are left, and no witnesses to turn to. What would you do to create new leads?

25 Bat Wing

Bat Wing

Sax Rohmer | Mystery Classics

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Paul Harley is a private detective who investigates a strange case in London which involves murder, voodoo, and vampires.

26 Blood on the Potomac

Blood on the Potomac

Joseph J. Albert | Fiction

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Washington, D.C. is the murder capital of the United States and D.C. Metro Homicide is one of the busiest departments in the country. When a friend of the First Lady is brutally murdered, the detective team of Steve Ciminelli and Linda Hannigan are ordered to solve the case—without stepping on any powerful toes—easier said than done. They've been partners for a long time and never allowed their personal attraction to affect their work—until now.

27 Copycat Ripper

Copycat Ripper

Bryan Stark | Fiction

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Murders resembling the original ripper occur but another motivation is suspected by Detective Chief Inspector Anderson.

28 The Case of the Deadly Ring: An Alexander Steele Investigation

The Case of the Deadly Ring: An Alexander Steele Investigation

Larry J. | Short Stories

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The Case of the Deadly Ring lures Philly private detective Alex Steele into the secret world behind the scenes in the Vatican. Follow Steele as he attempts to solve this baffling case while preserving old traditions and avoiding a major scandal in the church. A man who holds a powerful secret has been found murdered in the middle of the night on the steps of the Philadelphia Library downtown. He has no ID,no phone not even a watch. Steele's only clue a teaspoon tucked inside his sock. Case of the Death Dealer is the next book in this series.(Book is 13 Pages)

29 The Innocence of Father Brown

The Innocence of Father Brown

G. K. Chesterton | Mystery Classics

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The beloved fictional detective Father Brown solves 12 of his most puzzling cases in this copiously annotated edition.

30 Raffles

Raffles

E. W. Hornung | Mystery Classics

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Raffles is the story of a detective.

31 The Count's Millions

The Count's Millions

Emile Gaboriau | Mystery Classics

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The Count's Millions is a detective novel by Emile Gaboriau.

32 The Poison Belt

The Poison Belt

Arthur Conan Doyle | Sci-Fi Classics

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Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is remembered almost solely for his creation of the detective Sherlock Holmes.

33 Round the Red Lamp

Round the Red Lamp

Arthur Conan Doyle | Short Stories Classics

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Conan Doyle's detective stories often turn on medical principles. Their plots often seem like extended medical analyses, moving from hypothesis to diagnosis through the accumulation of facts and Holmes' characteristic deductive reasoning.

34 Average Jones

Average Jones

Samuel Hopkins Adams | Fiction Classics

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In this detective novel, Adrian Jones searches through personal advertisements in order to find any which may involve criminal activity which he then investigates.

35 The Mayor's Wife

The Mayor's Wife

Anna Katharine Green | Mystery Classics

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An American detective-story writer, Green's many thrillers were characterized by logical construction and a knowledge of criminal law.

36 Codename: Chimera

Codename: Chimera

Jake & Kate Persy | Mystery

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How do you track down a killer when he has no face? The corpse of a millionaire antique collector is found in New York on the eve of a major auction. The last thing he saw in the darkness, seconds before his grisly demise, was something that terrified him beyond imagination and was enough to end his life. But was it a man or was it a ghost? Now detective Kevin Kris must draw on all of his considerable skills in what amounts to the most challenging case of his career, as he sets out to track a murderer who is known as The Man With No Face. This cozy, fast-paced, whodunnit mystery is packed full of twists and turns that will leave you as breathless as Kris, as he tries to keep pace with a foe who is every bit his equal.

37 The Feathers

The Feathers

Rcheydn | Fiction

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A serial killer is terrorizing London – but not the normal serial killer. This murderer is experimenting – just how long can he control his victims, torturing them in the most unusual way, before they die? He is getting better with the feathers each time – but that does not mean he will stop. Detective Inspector David Maguire and his partner are on the trail of the killer, but it is a trail that has baffled them from the start – what is the killer trying to prove? What is his aim? At the same time investigative reporter Zack Tighe is following the story closely – perhaps a little too closely – and is proving to be far from helpful.

38 Govicide: Comply

Govicide: Comply

Edward Dentzel | Fiction

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Homicide Detective Michael Locke is an obedient subject of the Masses. However, after an interrogation with his latest catch, the serial killer Hamilton, and being promoted to Govicide Agent, Locke starts to suspect all is not as it seems within the One World Government.

39 Unlawful Identity

Unlawful Identity

Amy Shannon | Fiction

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NYPD Detective, Samantha Lange--distraught over the sudden and visual death of her brother, is succumbed by the charms of FBI Agent, Parker Carlisle. Her involvement with him has a price: She must leave her old life behind in order to work for him--as a hit-woman. Parker and Sam become close… Extremely close, with the ultimate goal just within hand’s reach: She must work for and then take down a local crime boss, Jack Morrison. Neither Parker nor Sam reveal to each other their motive nor deep connection to Morrison, as Sam falls deeper and deeper into her role... Download this FREE e-book today!

40 A Deadly Suggestion

A Deadly Suggestion

R. W. Williams | Fiction

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When a single vehicle rollover on Interstate 5 shows a suspicious circumstance, Washington State Patrol, Detectives Trotman and Carver are on the case. A sinister plan reveals itself as the pieces fall together and the suspected murder is linked to more states. But tragedy strikes and the case come to a screeching halt with the death of Special Investigator Max Torkelson, known for thinking outside of the box when it comes to hard-to-solve crimes. Fortunately, a like-minded and up and coming Detective, Sheree Williams, steps to the fore. Her innate ability to decipher the cryptic notes left behind on Max’s files flings the case into overdrive. Unless she presses forward, one of the most frightening mass murder plots in U.S. History will launch within days or even hours.

41 Jeanne of the Marshes

Jeanne of the Marshes

E. Phillips Oppenheim | Mystery Classics

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A well plotted American detective novel.

42 The Mystery of Orcival

The Mystery of Orcival

Emile Gaboriau | Mystery Classics

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The Mystery of Orcival is a detective novel by Emile Gaboriau.

43 The Lost Symbol - Devil's Bible

The Lost Symbol - Devil's Bible

Richard Stan Brown | Fiction

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The German author, writer of detective stories and well known under the pseudonym Ron B. Dawn, travels to the Baltic, finally to write the story of his life. A thriller about the perfect crime. During his journey on various trains, the writer comes to know a fellow traveler, one who makes him understand, that no perfect human crime will ever be comfortable. Only one existed, and that took place some 2000 years ago. Furthermore, the stranger warns strictly to read any books, defining books to be of a dangerous nature. Especially the mysterious Devil's Bible, as this book turns the Holy Bible completely upside down.

44 A Season of Revenge

A Season of Revenge

P. J. Dunn | Mystery

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Description Retired Detective Mac O’Hara returns to the St. Louis Police Department to help solve a murder, only to find out there are four bodies and about to be more. The evidence points to the implications of voodoo and black magic. But, the investigation takes on a new light, when Mac’s wife is kidnapped. Set in 1890's St. Louis, where serial murder, revenge, and the occult, all add mystery and intrigue to the Mound City Serial Murder File.

45 Where's My Hat

Where's My Hat

Jean Marie Romana | Mystery

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A mysterious lady is missing her necklace. But Private Detective Maxine Peters has bigger problems to deal with. Her hat has been stolen!!! Oh crap! Also, it's the future.

46 Guess What She Did

Guess What She Did

Ann Rearden | Mystery

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She's a rising star on Wall Street. He needs cash for his startup. She has a boyfriend problem. He's recently divorced. They could do a deal—in more ways than one. Too bad she's playing him. Georgina Graham doesn't relish lying to Dr. Nate Carmichael. But if the ruse works, she'll make a quick score. The deception plunges Georgina deep inside the swirling vortex of a wealthy California enclave's colorfully scheming inhabitants—Alejandro, the shady vulture capitalist—Lauren, the social-climbing diva—Jake, the wily racehorse trainer out of Kentucky—and scary smart Detective Sam Mori, a strangely beautiful woman in the grips of a bizarre obsession. And now the ever-so-engaging Dr. Carmichael has just laid a tender kiss smack on Georgina's mouth. Can her already chaotic life g...

47 Blind Overlook

Blind Overlook

J. C. Simmons | Mystery

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In Blind Overlook we find Leicester (pronounced "Lester") doing a favor for an attorney friend and taking a case far removed from aviation. It involves something he knows nothing about, the art world. A beautiful, but an enigmatic young woman who owns an art gallery in New Orleans hires him to travel to Maine, where a body has been found fitting the description of her brother and partner in the gallery. The brother has not been heard from and the young lady grows concerned as he was traveling with four hundred and fifty thousand dollars in cash with which to buy a collection of work by an artist named, Rockwell Kent. Delving into this situation leads Leicester straight into a confrontation with the most powerful Mafia figure in the United States, a local detective, a police sergeant, local fishermen, and a friendly, but the suspicious waitress at a local cafe. The entire populace of the small community seems involved in the murder, the missing brother and his money. Maine coastal locals and offshore islands provide a unique setting for a powerful work reminiscent of Ross MacDonald or John D. McDonald. Character driven and plot oriented, this is a must read for the serious Mystery/Thriller 'aficionado.' There is a total of 10 ebooks in the Jay Leicester Mysteries Series by JC Simmons: Blood of the Vine Some People Die Quick Blind Overlook Icy Blue Descent The Electra File Popping the Shine Four Nines Fine The Underground Lady Akel Dama The Candela of Cancri

48 Hole 7

Hole 7

Ellen Vander Heyden | Mystery

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When the body of a young, aspiring golf player is found on the course, two detectives have to dig into the depths of cryptology to find their answers.

49 On the Street Where You Die

On the Street Where You Die

Al Stevens | Mystery

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Stanley Bentworth is not all that tough. Previously a homicide cop, he drank his way out of a job and now runs a one-man private eye agency finding people who don’t want to be found. He doesn’t accept tough-guy assignments. Calling himself a "soft-boiled detective,". But a recession is on, and business is off, so when a wealthy financier, formerly a mob enforcer, needs an anonymous blackmailer found in a life and death situation, Stanley seizes the chance to earn a fee. If he fails, the blackmailer outs his client to the wise guys, in which case the client gets a one-way ticket to the landfill, and Stanley risks becoming an unwilling passenger on that ride. He knows he must not fail, no small feat given that Stanley Bentworth is not all that tough.

50 The Profiler (Book One in the Munro Family Series)

The Profiler (Book One in the Munro Family Series)

Chris Taylor | Romance

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A psychopathic killer is stalking the women of Sydney . . . Federal Agent Clayton Munro, a criminal profiler with the Australian Federal Police (AFP), has been called upon to assist in hunting down a vicious murderer who is intent upon carving up his victims while they’re still alive. Detective Ellie Cooper is also no stranger to heartache. Pregnant and abandoned at the altar by a fiancé intent on pursuing a career with the AFP, her opinion of the elite body of officers is anything but favorable. Angered when her boss orders her to partner with the Fed, she’s determined not to cut him any slack.But women are dying on the streets of western Sydney and the pressure is mounting to find the killer. Can they work together and find the monster before it\'s too late...?

51 An Individual Will

An Individual Will

J.G. Ellis | Mystery

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DCI Barbara Black investigates the curious death of Adrian Mansfield, an artistic young man cast adrift in a boat on Amberton lake. He has been tied into a sitting position with an insulting sign hung about his neck. Murder is assumed, but Barbara's investigations take us into the escalating family tragedy and Adrian's dark, antinatalist philosophy. No-one seems surprised that Adrian has died. He was, we learn, obsessed with his dead sister, a talented young writer, who took her own life a few years earlier. So, indeed, is Martha Bottomley, a retired social worker and friend of the family, who has, according to Barbara's sergeant, a morbid interest in the deaths of young people. Philosophical and thought-provoking detective fiction - a why rather than who dunnit.

52 The Murders in the Rue Morgue

The Murders in the Rue Morgue

Edgar Allan Poe | Short Stories Classics

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"The Murders in the Rue Morgue" is a short story by Edgar Allan Poe published in Graham's Magazine in 1841. It has been claimed as the first detective story; Poe referred to it as one of his "tales of ratiocination".