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Page history last edited by Randal Brandt 2 months, 2 weeks ago

Dakan, Rick.

Geek Mafia. Blue King Studios, 2006.

| setting: Silicon Valley | series character: Paul Reynolds | find it |

Summary: Fired from a job he hated at a company he loved, videogame designer Paul Reynolds is drowning his sorrows in late-morning margaritas when he meets an alluring, pink-haired woman named Chloe. With the help of her gang of techno-pirate friends, Chloe helps Paul take revenge on his former employers. What more could a recently unemployed, over-worked videogame designer in Silicon Valley ask for? In the process, Paul finds himself drawn right into the center of their wild, seductive, underground world. He falls in love with their fun-loving, drug-fueled lifestyle almost as fast has he falls head over heels for Chloe. But can he trust any of them?

 

Daheim, Mary.

Dead Man Docking: A Bed-and-Breakfast Mystery. HarperCollins Publishers/Morrow, 2005.

| setting: San Francisco | series character: Judith Grover McMonigle Flynn (Bed-and-Breakfast Mysteries 21) | find it |

Summary: Judith Grover McMonigle Flynn takes a well-deserved break from her B&B in the Pacific Northwest, with her cousin graphic designer Serena Jones, to go on an 1930’s South Pacific-themed cruise. Thanks to cousin Renie, it is an all expenses trip paid by the head of the cruise line. When he turns up dead in a piano before the ship can even leave dock, the cousins find time to explore San Francisco. The San Francisco of the 21st century may not be as they remembered it from their youth -- boy, are those hills steep -- but they have a mystery to solve. With help from the rich and martini-swilling couple, Rick and Rhoda St. George, and their rag mop pooch, Asthma, they may just succeed in finding their killer and leave the shores of California.

 

Dal Poggetto, Newton.

Vintage of a Murder. Forerunner Enterprises, 1974.

Sonoma: The Night of the Assassin. Niche Publishing, 1999.

| setting: Sonoma County | find it |

 

Dalessandro, James.

Bohemian Heart. St. Martin’s Press, 1993.

1906. Chronicle Books, 2004.

Summary: In April 1906, San Francisco Evening Bulletin theater and opera critic Annalisa Passarelli is looking forward to meeting the great tenor Enrico Caruso on his first visit to the city. She is also assisting Byron Fallon, Chief of Detectives of the San Francisco Police Department, gather evidence of the graft and corruption of the city’s mayor, police chief, and political boss Adam Rolf. While crossing the Bay to deliver the evidence to the Graft Hunters, Byron is murdered, leaving it up to his sons Christian, a tough, brash police officer, and Hunter, a recent Stanford graduate who has new ideas about police work, along with a small group of honest cops known as the Brotherhood, to finish the job. As Annalisa and Hunter are trying to keep one step ahead of Rolf’s goons, led by Shanghai Kelly, they fall in love with each other and plan to marry as soon as the arrests are made on April 18th. The earthquake hits just as the Brotherhood is about to enter Rolf’s Nob Hill mansion. Rolf and his thugs use the ensuing chaos to turn the tables on their enemies and Annalisa and Hunter have to battle both the killers and the fire in order to save themselves and their city.

 

Dalton, Matthew D.

The Vertical Man. Creative Arts Book Company, 2002.

| setting: San Francisco | tpo | find it |

Summary: Thaddeus Nickels just lost his job. He has misplaced his wife. The bank is about to foreclose on his house, and his steroid-pumping neighbor wants to kill him. The author of a moderately successful science fiction series, Thaddeus is in San Francisco to put some distance between himself and his problems. He’s the reluctant keynote speaker at a sci-fi convention packed with love-starved, pimply-faced geeks. Enter Timothy Lance, a mysterious genius with an intriguing business proposition: he wants to buy the rights to a book about trading God on the stock market that Nickels hasn’t written yet. What follows is a 24-hour roller coaster ride through the damp streets of San Francisco. The cast of characters includes Joey, an overzealous fan; Lloyd, a homicidal maniac with cable-access dreams; Sophia, a seductive barfly-cum-Federal agent; Rome, Thaddeus’ doomed father; and Timothy Lance, the entrepreneur-king of a genetically-perfected human race, who wants Thaddeus to write the New, New Testament.

 

Daniel, David.

White Rabbit. Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin’s Minotaur, 2003.

Summary: The Sixties -- San Francisco, Haight-Ashbury, the Summer of Love. The search for a serial killer leads to an unusual collaboration between Sparrow, a no-frills San Francisco police officer, grieving for his dead wife, and a young hippie woman named Amy who writes for an alternative newspaper. Both seek the killer, working from opposite ends of society, and mistrusting each other. When Amy herself becomes the killer’s target, it is clear to Sparrow that he must confront his own demons in order to save her, his city -- and himself.

 

Daniel, John M.

Play Melancholy Baby. Perseverance Press, 1986.

| setting: “Santa Juanita, San Juan County” [San Francisco Peninsula] | tpo | find it |

Hooperman. Oak Tree Press, 2013.

| setting: Palo Alto (1972) | bibliomystery | tpo | find it |

Summary: Hooperman Johnson is a tall, bushy-bearded man of few words. He works as a bookstore cop, catching shoplifters in the act. It's a difficult job for a man with a stammer, but somebody's got to do it, because Maxwell's Books is getting ripped off big-time. And, more and more, it looks like the thief works for the store. Set in the summer of 1972, the summer of the Watergate break-in, Hooperman is a bookstore mystery without a murder, but full of plot, oddball characters, laughs-- and love, some of it poignant, some of it steamy.

 

Daniels, Claire. [Jaqueline Girdner]

Body of Intuition. Berkley Prime Crime, 2002.

Strangled Intuition. Berkley Prime Crime, 2004.

Cruel and Unusual Intuition. Berkley Prime Crime, 2005.

 

Daniels, Dorothy.

The Last of the Mansions. Lancer Books, 1966.

Circle of Guilt. Pocket Books, 1976.

Juniper Hill. Pocket Books, 1976.

| setting: San Francisco (1922) | Hubin | paranormal | pbo | find it |

Summary: A munificent inheritance from an unknown benefactor ... a fabulous Victorian mansion in San Francisco, the only one on Juniper Hill to escape destruction in the great earthquake ... a ghostly pianist who plays a locked grand piano in the depths of the night ... an eerie seance in the flickering candlelight ... a beautiful young woman -- very much in love -- threatened by a desperate killer as she unravels the mystery of the musical ghost.

 

Danklefs, Ron.

Radio Rage. Writers Club Press, 2000.

 

Datz, David N.

The Kaminsky Murders. Xlibris Corporation, 2000.

 

Davis, Kenn.

The Forza Trap. Avon, 1979.

Words Can Kill. Fawcett Gold Medal, 1984.

Melting Point. Fawcett Gold Medal, 1986.

Nijinsky is Dead. Fawcett Gold Medal, 1987.

As October Dies. Fawcett Gold Medal, 1987.

Acts of Jomicide. Fawcett Gold Medal, 1989.

Blood of Poets. Fawcett Gold Medal, 1990.

 

Davis, Kenn, and John Stanley.

The Dark Side. Avon, 1976.

 

Davis, Kyra.

Sex, Murder and a Double Latte. Red Dress Ink, 2005.

| setting: San Francisco (Russian Hill; Golden Gate Park Botanical Garden) | series character: Sophie Katz | find it |

Summary: Successful San Francisco mystery writer Sophie Katz -- who is half black, half Jewish, and single -- has lots of things going for her: she has a nice Russian Hill apartment, her latest book is selling well, she has just finished the manuscript for her next book, and she has a deal in the works to turn one of her novels into a screenplay for an A-list director. But, then the director is murdered in a method reminiscent of a scene from one of his films and Sophie’s Hollywood dreams are dashed. Soon she suspects that someone is stalking her and breaking in to her apartment. When her car is vandalized, she realizes that someone is acting out scenes from her books and fears that there is a serial killer at work and that she is going to be the next victim. Of course, the police think she just has an overactive imagination. So, with the help of her friends (the outgoing owner of a sex toy shop and a gay hairdresser) and her new boyfriend, a sexy Russian-American named Anatoly, whom she meets at Starbucks, uses herself as bait to catch the killer. The title of this “chick lit” mystery is a bit misleading: Sophie spends a lot more time thinking, talking, and writing about sex than actually having any, and her caffeine drink of choice is not a double latte, but rather a “Grande Caramel Brownie Frappucino.”

Passion, Betrayal and killer highlights. Red Dress Ink, 2006.

| setting: San Francisco | series character: Sophie Katz | find it |

Obsession, Deceit and Really Dark Chocolate. Red Dress Ink, 2007.

| setting: San Francisco | series character: Sophie Katz | tpo | find it |

Lust, Loathing and a Little Lip Gloss. Mira, 2009.

| setting: San Francisco | series character: Sophie Katz | tpo | find it |

Vows, Vendettas & a Little Black Dress. Mira, 2010.

| setting: San Francisco | series character: Sophie Katz | tpo | find it |

 

Davis, Robert.

Kimura. Walker and Company, 1989.

| setting: San Francisco (1943; 1970) | find it |

Summary: Janice Simms is murdered in 1943 and her supposed killer, Tanizani Kimura is tried and executed. 27 years later his niece discovers the real killer may still be alive and killing.

 

Davis, Robert Hart. [Michael Collins]

The Temple of the Golden Horde. Wildside Press, 2003. [based on characters created by Earl Derr Biggers]

 

Davis, Robert M.

The Ticker. Robertson Publishing, 2013.

| setting: San Francisco | tpo |  

Summary: Morgan Proffitt's cardiologist gives him life's two-minute warning. The diagnosis prompts an unusual reaction from the highly-principled Proffitt. In the hours he has left, Proffitt is dead set on killing the despicable person responsible for his daughter's death. Is it worth an eternity of damnation? Hell yes. Proffitt's motivation isn't fueled by revenge. He can't bring his daughter back. But he can save other sons and daughters from a similar fate.

Will to Kill. Robertson Publishing, 2014.

| setting: San Francisco (1950s) | tpo | find it |

Summary: An early morning knock on a motel door is often a harbinger of bad news. After nine futile years of playing professional baseball, Dean the Dream Mason learns his career has come to an end. Worse yet, Dean's only living relative was found dead in a nursing home, and the inheritance he is due, which is seven times greater than current President Dwight D. Eisenhower's annual salary, is no longer his. But Dean's troubles only worsen. If he can't track down the person who murdered his aunt, he will lose his last remaining asset: his life.

 

Dawes, Richard W.

Night Shadows. AuthorHouse, 2000.

 

Dawson, Janet.

Kindred Crimes. St. Martin’s Press, 1990.

Till the Old Men Die. Fawcett Crest, 1993.

Summary: Detective Jeri Howard investigates the death of an old family friend. She finds herself searching for information shrouded in secrecy and locked in the past. It’s the trail of treachery that cost him his life.

Take a Number. Fawcett Columbine, 1993.

Don’t Turn Your Back on the Ocean. Fawcett Columbine, 1994.

Nobody’s Child. Fawcett Columbine, 1995.

A Credible Threat. Fawcett Columbine, 1996.

Witness to Evil. Fawcett Columbine, 1997.

Summary: Bay Area private investigator Jeri Howard can scarcely believe that someone is actually paying her to go to Paris, even if it is only to fetch a wild teenager home. But the wanderer, eighteen-year-old Darcy, turns out to have a serious reason for her unauthorized jaunt: to visit Holocaust memorials and to meet the French family who sheltered her grandmother as a girl from the Nazis. But back home in California, Darcy stumbles on evidence that Nazism is alive and well in the terrifying present. And Jeri has the deadly work of trying to extricate Darcy from the frightening consequences of her discovery.

Where the Bodies Are Buried. Fawcett Columbine, 1998.

A killing at the Track. Fawcett, 2000.

Bit Player. Perseverance Press/John Daniel & Company, 2011.

| setting: Oakland, Los Angeles | series character: Jeri Howard | tpo | find it |

Summary: The elderly proprietor of an Alameda, California movie memorabilia shop starts digging into her grandmother's past after she overhears PI Jeri Howard mention her actress grandmother, Jerusha Layne, in connection with the unsolved 1942 murder of British actor Ralph Tarrant in Hollywood.

What You Wish For. Perseverance Press/John Daniel & Company, 2012.

| setting: Berkeley, San Francisco | series character: Lindsay Page | tpo | find it |

Summary: History professor Lindsey Page has a quiet, well-ordered life, but it's about to get complicated. Her daughter, with whom she has a troubled relationship, shows up on her doorstep. The immigrant woman Lindsey is interviewing for a book asks her for help in reclaiming the son taken from her during a massacre in her Salvadoran village. And her closest friends, the three women Lindsey has known since their college days in Berkeley where they witnessed the kidnapping of Patty Hearst, are hiding secrets that will forever change those friendships. Lindsey must grapple with questions of family identity, nature vs. nurture, truth in wartime, the ethics of power for latter-day robber barons in the US and Central America, and the law of unforeseen consequences. Moving back and forth from the 1970s to the present, from the San Francisco Bay Area to El Salvador this sprawling saga follows Lindsey, her friends, and family through tumultuous political, social, and cultural changes and choices.

Cold Trail. Perseverance Press/John Daniel & Company, 2015.

| setting: Oakland, Sonoma County | series character: Jeri Howard | tpo | find it |

Summary: Oakland PI Jeri Howard tackles her most personal case yet. Her brother, Brian, has disappeared and has been missing for four days before she is notified. The trail is getting colder as the anxious PI searches for Brian across Sonoma County for clues to explain why he disappeared. She'd thought Brian's life was in great shape. But her investigation uncovers cracks in his marriage and problems with his job. To complicate matters, there's a body on a boat along with Brian's MedicAlert bracelet, and two police detectives who think Brian is involved in the homicide.

Water Signs. Perseverance Press/John Daniel & Company, 2017.

| setting: Oakland | series character: Jeri Howard | tpo | find it |

Summary: Oakland is a city shaped by water. The waterfront, home to the port and the rail yards, is also ripe for development. The remnants of World War II shipyards are being bulldozed for retail shops and condos. There's money to be made, and where there's money, greed and crime follow, as Oakland PI Jeri Howard learns when she looks into the murder of a former co-worker. Cal Brady worked as a security guard at a construction site on the Embarcadero. Now he's dead, his body washed up on the Estuary shoreline. It's no accident, and Jeri is determined to find out who killed Cal, and why.

 

Day, Dianne.

The Strange Files of Fremont Jones. Doubleday, 1995.

Fire and Fog. Doubleday, 1996.

Summary: Caroline “Fremont” Jones is a plucky, independent typist-for-hire who has a knack for becoming an unwitting, amateur sleuth. She is in turn-of-the-century San Francisco, having left her family home in Boston to make her own way. This second book in the series opens at 5:12AM, April 18, 1906, as Fremont, in a Western Addition rooming house, is awoken from her dreams by the earthquake. At first, she is excited to be experiencing an earthquake. Her excitement quickly turns to terror as an armoire crashes onto her bed (barely missing her) and tumbles her onto the floor. The mystery in this novel begins when Fremont goes to her office to try to recover her typewriter and discovers several crates broken open in an adjacent room. They are filled with Japanese artifacts, which make her suspect that her landlords are involved in a smuggling operation. Unable to stay in her room or occupy her office, Fremont relocates to the tent city in Golden Gate Park, learns to operate an automobile, and makes herself useful driving for the Red Cross. Smuggling turns to murder as Fremont gets caught in the crossfire between the smugglers and the Japanese agents sent to recover the stolen treasures. In addition to a vivid description of the quake and the fires that followed it, this novel offers interesting visions of life in the Golden Gate Park tent city, the efforts of the Red Cross, the military, and others in the aftermath, and of the outdoor kitchens set up around the neighborhoods.

The Bohemian Murders. Doubleday, 1997.

Emperor Norton’s Ghost. Doubleday, 1998.

Summary: In 1910s San Francisco, typist and suffragette Fremont Jones hunts for the killer of two spirit mediums. The probe takes place against the background of a city rebuilding from the 1906 earthquake and fire.

 

Dean, Donna M.

Deep Six. Palo Alto Books, 2001.

| setting: Marin County | tpo | find it |

Summary: This is a murder mystery and a coming of age story. Tondelayo Du Bois was raised in Marin City, California during the 1950s. After she and her adopted sister, Barbara Nadine join the Navy, Barbara is found dead in a room locked from the inside with no signs of violence. Tondelayo knows it is murder and in attempting to bring the culprits to justice, she almost becomes a victim herself.

 

Dean, Sara.

Travers: A Story of the San Francisco Earthquake. Frederick A. Stokes, 1908.

| setting: San Francisco (1906) | Baird & Greenwood 619; Hubin | find it |

Summary: San Francisco socialite Gwendolyn Thornton awakens early one morning to discover a burglar in her bedroom pocketing her jewelry. As she confronts the thief, the earthquake strikes, destroying her house and killing her aunt as she sleeps. The intruder helps Gwen escape and takes her to the safety of a refugee camp on Twin Peaks. In the days that follow, Gwen learns to know her rescuer, a British ex-army surgeon named Keith Travers, as they face the horrors caused by the quake and fire. Travers had been dismissed from his regiment following a scandal in India, eventually turning to a life of crime. The earthquake—and Gwendolyn—offers him a last chance at redemption. This novel, written very shortly following the 1906 earthquake, features graphic descriptions of the city and it residents in the wake of the disaster.

 

Deaver, Jeffery.

The Blue Nowhere. Simon & Schuster, 2001.

| setting: Silicon Valley | find it |

Summary: A sadistic computer hacker, code-named Phate, sets his sights on Silicon Valley, infiltrating his victims’ computers, invading their lives, and luring them to their deaths. An imprisoned hacker named Wyatt Gillette is freed to aid in the investigation, and teams up with old-school homicide cop Frank Bishop, forming an uneasy alliance in which they must utilize every ounce of their respective talents to stop Phate.

The Never Game. G.P. Putnam's Sons, 2019.

| setting: Silicon Valley | series character: Colter Shaw (1) | find it |

Summary: A young woman goes missing in Silicon Valley and her father hires Colter Shaw to find her. The son of a survivalist family, Shaw is an expert tracker. Now he makes a living as a "reward seeker," traveling the country to help police solve crimes and private citizens locate missing persons. But what seems a simple investigation quickly thrusts him into the dark heart of America's tech hub and the cutthroat billion-dollar video-gaming industry. When another victim is kidnapped, the clues point to one video game with a troubled past-- The Whispering Man. In that game, the player has to survive after being abandoned in an inhospitable setting with five random objects. Is a madman bringing the game to life?

 

De Bra, Lemuel.

Ways That Are Wary. T. Butterworth, Limited, 1924; Edward J. Clode, Inc., 1925.

| setting: San Francisco (Chinatown) | Baird & Greenwood 620; Hubin | find it |

Summary: A novella and eleven short stories set in San Francisco’s Chinatown. The title novella tells the story of Lee Quan, an artist who has been educated in an American college, who is in competition with a wealthy butcher, Bo Ch’at, for the hand of Ah Chee in marriage. Bo Ch’at, who really makes his money smuggling opium and dealing morphine, tries to gain the upper hand by planting drugs in Lee’s room and then calling the cops. Agent Harry Brown, leader of the narcotics squad, investigates and with the help of Ah Chee and one of Bo Ch’at’s hatchetmen -- an opium addict who is related to Lee Quan and objects to framing him -- gets to the bottom of the plot, but not before Bo Ch’at pays the ultimate price for his evil ways.

 

Dedman, Stephen.

Foreign Bodies. Tor, 1999.

| setting: San Francisco (2014) | science fiction | find it |

Summary: When Mike Galloway, a regular sort of guy for San Francisco, 2014, descends into the nightmare world of poverty and joblessness, he finds he must face more than starvation and homelessness. He’s now at the mercy of a deadly world of political intrigue...from the future. He awakens to find his mind has been slipped into the body of a homeless woman, his body taken over by a man from the future, and nothing can ever be the same. Now, to survive, he must combat neo-Nazi forces from the future who are desperate to mold the world to fit their own twisted vision. Galloway might not have thought the world perfect as it was, but these men will stop at nothing to make it a living hell for everyone but their chosen few.

 

Dekker, Carl.

Paper Doll. Calvert, 1954.

 

Delo, David M.

The Right Touch. Northwest Publishing, Inc., 1995.

 

DeMarco, Gordon.

October Heat. Germinal Press, 1979.

The Canvas Prison. Germinal Press, 1982.

Frisco Blues. Pluto, 1985; West Coast Crime, 1995.

 

Denning, Mark.

Shades of Gray. Pyramid Books, 1976.

 

Dennis, Eve. [Miriam Alice (Gerstle) Wornum]

Death for Safety. London: John Gifford Limited, 1949.

| setting: San Francisco | find it |

 

Dennis, Robert C.

Conversations With a Corpse. Bobbs-Merrill Company, Inc., 1974.

| setting: "Orofino" (Napa Valley); San Francisco Peninsula | series character: Paul Reeder | find it |

 

De Puy, E. Spence.

Dr. Nicholas Stone. G.W. Dillingham, 1905; M.A. Donohue & Co., 1905.

 

Devlin, Frank. [Tim Farrington]

Love in All the Wrong Places. G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2004.

Summary: Helen and Henry meet in a bar and after some small talk he takes her home. In the middle of the sexual encounter, Helen takes a knife and puts it through his heart. She didn’t go to the bar for a pick-up; she went there to find a man who would hit on her so she could kill him. The police don’t give the case very much attention, figuring the woman knifed Henry because he was raping her. Not long afterward another man Helen meets in a bar gets killed in a car wash. San Francisco Police Department Inspector Rose Burke doesn’t link these two murders until a third body is discovered in Golden Gate Park with evidence from the first homicide. Rose assumes they have a serial murderer on their hands. Helen’s boyfriend Jimmy is her partner in crime and helps her with some of the killings. After a thorough investigation Rose and her partner zero in on the two suspects, but getting them to surrender will prove to be an impossible task.

 

Dewey, Thomas B.

Go, Honeylou. Dell Publishing Company, Inc., 1952.

| setting: California; San Francisco | series character: Pete Schofield | pbo (Dell First Edition B215) | find it |

Summary: Los Angeles detective Pete Schofield is hired to escort a beautiful Texas girl named Honeylou from Hollywood to her aunt's house in San Francisco. A road trip story involving kidnapping and murder that finally ends in Sacramento.

 

DeWitt, Patrick.

The Sisters Brothers. Ecco, 2011.

| setting: San Francisco (1851) | western | find it |

Summary: When a frontier baron known as the Commodore orders Charlie and Eli Sisters, his hired gunslingers, to track down and kill a prospector named Herman Kermit Warm, the brothers journey from Oregon to San Francisco, and eventually to Warm's claim in the Sierra foothills, running into a witch, a bear, a dead Indian, a parlor of drunken floozies, and a gang of murderous fur trappers.

 

Dier, Debra.

Surrender the Dream. Leisure Books, 1993.

 

Di Marco, Connie.

The Madness of Mercury. Midnight Ink, 2016.

| setting: San Francisco | series character: Julia Bonatti (Zodiac Mystery 1) | tpo | find it |

Summary: San Francisco astrologer Julia Bonatti's life is turned upside down when she becomes the target of the city's newest cult leader, Reverend Roy of the Prophet's Tabernacle. Driven out of her apartment in the midst of a disastrous Mercury retrograde period, she takes shelter with a client who's caring for two elderly aunts. One aunt appears stricken with dementia and the other has fallen under the spell of the Reverend Roy. To add to the confusion, a young man claiming to be a long-lost nephew arrives. The longer he stays, the more dangerous things become. Is the young man truly a member of the family? Can astrology confirm that? Julia's not sure, but one thing she does know is that Mercury wasn't merely the messenger of the gods -- he was a trickster and a liar as well.

All Signs Point to Murder. Midnight Ink, 2017.

| setting: San Francisco | series character: Julia Bonatti (Zodiac Mystery 2) | tpo | find it |

Summary: The stars predict a wedding-day disaster, but San Francisco astrologer Julia Bonatti never expected murder Julia Bonatti is alarmed by the astrological signs looming over Geneva Leary's wedding day, but nobody asked Julia's opinion and being a bridesmaid means supporting the bride no matter what. Even with the foreboding Moon-Mars-Pluto lineup in the heavens, no one's prepared for the catastrophes that strike: a no-show sister, a passed-out wedding planner, and a lethal shooting in the dead of night. With anger and grief threatening to tear the Leary family part, Julia is determined to understand how such a terrible tragedy could occur. As she digs deeper into the family's secrets, her astrological insights will lead her to the truth about a criminal enterprise that stretches far beyond the California coast.

Tail of the Dragon. Midnight Ink, 2018.

| setting: San Francisco | series character: Julia Bonatti (Zodiac Mystery 3) | tpo | find it |

Summary: San Francisco astrologer Julia Bonatti never thought murder would be part of her practice, but when her former boss and current client asks for help she agrees to go undercover at his law firm. Three people have received death threats and the only common denominator between them is a case long settled--the infamous Bank of San Francisco fire. Julia’s astrological expertise provides clues but no one wants to listen. Before she can solve the mystery, two people are dead and her own life is in danger. Julia must unmask the killer before he, or she, takes another life.

 

Distad, Merrill.

Sherlock Holmes and the Empire’s Gold. [self-published], 1991.

 

Dixon, Franklin W.

Terror on Track. Pocket Books, 1991.

| setting: San Francisco | series characters: Frank and Joe Hardy (Hardy Boys casefiles 57) | juvenile | pbo | find it |

Comic Con Artist. Aladdin Paperbacks, 2008.

| setting: San Francisco | series characters: Frank and Joe Hardy (Hardy Boys, undercover brothers 21) | juvenile | tpo | find it |

 

Dixon, H. Vernor.

Killer in Silk. Gold Medal Books, 1956.

 

 

Doctorow, Cory.

Little Brother. Tor Teen, 2008.

| setting: San Francisco | series characters: Marcus Yallow | juvenile | find it |

Homeland. Tor Teen, 2013.

| setting: San Francisco | series characters: Marcus Yallow | juvenile | find it |

 

Dodge, Alice M., and Madeleine Safónov.

The Eye of the Peacock. Bouregy/Avalon, 1966.

 

Dodge, David.

Death and Taxes. The Macmillan Company, 1941.

| setting: San Francisco | series character: James “Whit” Whitney | Herron; Hubin | find it |

Summary: San Francisco tax accountant James “Whit” Whitney is summoned home from a vacation in Santa Cruz to help his partner, George MacLeod, recover a hefty tax refund for a beautiful blonde client named Marian Wolff. When he returns to his office, Whit finds MacLeod dead in the firm’s vault, “with a small hole in the bridge of his nose.” In order to complete the tax return and uncover the murderer, Whit becomes a reluctant detective and nearly gets himself killed in the process. To prevent Whit’s murder, if possible, the SFPD assigns him a bodyguard named Swede Larson. Whit and Swede tangle with ex-bootleggers and Telegraph Hill gangsters in their efforts to unravel the mystery, which climaxes with a shootout in the Mission District and a dramatic car chase across the Bay Bridge. Along the way, Whit resists the advances of Marian Wolff and begins a romance with Kitty MacLeod, George’s widow.

Shear the Black Sheep. The Macmillan Company, 1942.

| setting: San Francisco, Los Angeles | series character: James “Whit” Whitney | Herron; Hubin | find it |

Summary: San Francisco tax accountant Whit Whitney reluctantly accepts a job offer from John J. Clayton, a wealthy wool-broker, to investigate Clayton’s son Bob, who runs the Los Angeles office of the family business. Whit’s assignment is to find out why Bob has been making unauthorized payments with company funds and, if possible, why he abandoned his wife and young child. Not only does the job involve more detective work than Whit is comfortable with, it takes him to Los Angeles over the New Year’s holiday and away from “the best-looking girl in San Francisco,” Kitty MacLeod. Whit quickly learns the answers to both of Clayton’s problems: Bob is involved in a high-stakes poker game with a bunch of card sharps and has taken up with a “killer-diller” of a redhead named Gwen, the sister of one of the poker-players. Whit is about to blow the lid on the whole setup when Bob drops over dead during one of the games, poisoned by strychnine-laced aspirin tablets. Also, the $25,000 in cash that Bob had brought with him has vanished. Kitty—who doesn’t like being stood up—joins Whit in L.A. and they hit the Hollywood nightclubs on New Year’s Eve, hobnob with movie stars, attend the Rose Bowl game, and both wind up in jail before the killer is run down and the money recovered.

It Ain’t Hay. Simon & Schuster, 1946.

| setting: San Francisco, Half Moon Bay | series character: James “Whit” Whitney | Herron; Hubin | find it |

Summary: San Francisco tax expert Whit Whitney is dragged into the world of marijuana smugglers when Barney Steele tries to hire him to cook his books in order to hide his illegal income. Whit pretends to be considering the job in order for the SFPD to get a look at Steele. When Whit then refuses to take the job Steele realizes that he is being set up, so he sends a trio of “zoot-suiters” to Whit’s office to pay him off—the hard way. They leave Whit with broken ribs, a bloody head, and an overwhelming desire for revenge. Whit’s pursuit of Steele leads him down a path of drugs, sex, and murder that ends on a wharf in Half Moon Bay.

 

Dodson, Sam.

Sausalito. Fawcett Books, 1978.

| setting: Sausalito | romantic suspense | pbo | find it |

 

Doherty, Jim.

An Obscure Grave. Pro Se Press, 2018.

| setting: Berkeley (UC Berkeley) | series character: Dan Sullivan | tpo |

Summary: Dan Sullivan, UC Berkeley undergrad and part-time cop, is working the tip-line for a missing-persons case that is getting national attention. DeeDee Merryweather, beautiful Cal co-ed, has disappeared. The prevailing theory is that she's been abducted. But one of the tipsters, an anonymous caller claiming psychic powers, believes it's a murder, because, she says, she's sensed DeeDee's corpse buried in a makeshift tomb. If she's right, the Berkeley Police and the FBI are on the wrong track. But will a part-time reservist be able to put them on the right one that leads to DeeDee's obscure grave? And, from there, to her killer? Editor's note: Loosely based on the case of Roberta "Bibi" Lee, a Cal student who was murdered in 1984.

 

Dokey, Cameron.

Haunted by Desire. Pocket Pulse, 2000.

| setting: San Francisco | series characters: Halliwell sisters (Charmed 6; based on the television series Charmed, created by Constance M. Burge) | juvenile; fantasy | pbo | find it |

Truth and Consequences Simon Pulse, 2003.

| setting: San Francisco | series characters: Halliwell sisters (Charmed 21; based on the television series Charmed, created by Constance M. Burge) | juvenile; fantasy | pbo | find it |

Picture Perfect. Simon Spotlight Entertainment, 2005.

| setting: San Francisco | series characters: Halliwell sisters (Charmed 31; based on the television series Charmed, created by Constance M. Burge) | juvenile; fantasy | pbo | find it |

Summary: A face revealed, and rage unleashed, old anger set upon the world. Three sisters must come together to fight or worse fates will surely be unfurled. The Bay Mirror is covering the grand reopening of Mural House, a San Francisco landmark built in the 1920s, and Phoebe invites her sisters to attend. Piper’s got her hands full with P3, but Paige happily tags along to see the once-famous artists’ colony that housed great art, passion, and scandal. Notable for all three is the story of the building’s architect, William Lancaster, who, during the construction, fell in love with an artist, a young divorceé named Isabella Marshall. Their relationship was tumultuous at best, eventually ending in tragedy...and in William’s disappearance. The hoopla surrounding Mural House’s reopening has made William and Isabella’s love affair legendary. With the permission of Isabella’s daughter, Lucile, Phoebe has been reprinting the couple’s love letters in her column. She joins Lucile, now an elderly woman, at the gala’s main event, the unveiling of a long-painted-over mural. Lucile is visibly upset when the mural is revealed; in fact, she seems horrified. Before passing out from fear, she whispers, ‘The evil has been released.’

 

Dold, Gaylord.

Schedule Two. St. Martin’s Press, 1996.

| setting: San Francisco | Hubin | find it |

Summary: Undercover policewoman Grace Chu, a young Chinese-American, poses as a drug buyer to bust a ring in San Francisco. The probe is all the more dangerous because she has to work alone, her corrupt superior ready to sell her out.

The Devil to Pay. St. Martin’s Press, 1999.

| setting: San Francisco | Hubin | find it |

Summary: With his marriage to the beautiful Karla in disarray and his law practice in a state of neglect, wealthy San Francisco attorney Jack Darwin is also plagued with mounting financial problems, the result of his wife’s heedless extravagance. Then Karla, seeking a profitable divorce, escalates his troubles when she falsely charges him with sexual brutality. Bewildered, Jack turns for help to a fellow lawyer, an aggressive and enigmatic criminal defense attorney named David Avila, who has recently befriended him. It seems to Darwin that things can’t get worse, but he is proved wrong when he is accused of a series of rape-murders that have occurred in the city. Racked by increasing doubts about the motives of his own defense counsel, Darwin decides it’s more than time to take charge of his own life.

 

Dolinsky, Mike.

Golden Gate Caper. Dell, 1976.

| setting: San Francisco (Golden Gate Bridge) | pbo | find it |

Summary: The gang was holed up in an abandoned house in the hills beyond San Francisco. Nick Fowler, their leader, an ultra-cool descendant of a proud line of master thieves. Skinny John, a freaky ex-con who used Zen to try to control his crazy killer karma. Arny, a black drop-out from the Mafia who wanted nothing to do with whitey’s weird ways. Betty, a gorgeous blonde who believed in revolution, especially the sexual one. Michi, a beautiful and bitter oriental girl who had to be persuaded that all men were not poison. They were trapped. They knew it. The police knew it. The press knew it. They had tried a nice, medium-sized heist, and failed, and now it was just a matter of time before it was all over. That was when Nick looked down through a telescope at the Golden Gate Bridge gleaming in the sun. And suddenly he knew the action was only just beginning…

 

Dong, Eugene, and Spyros Andreopoulos.

Heartbeat. Coward, McCann & Geoghegan, 1978.

 

Donoghue, Emma.

Frog Music. Little, Brown and Company, 2014.

| setting: San Francisco (1876) | find it |

 

Donohue, Meg.

Dog Crazy. William Morrow, 2015.

| setting: San Francisco | series character: Maggie Brennan | tpo | find it |

Summary: As a pet bereavement counselor, Maggie Brennan spends her days helping patients come to terms with losing their four-legged friends, but she's struggling with major problems of her own and can't seem to take her own advice. When she meets a woman who claims her dog is not dead, but missing, Maggie finds herself entangled in a mystery that will force her to face her biggest fear--and maybe just find new love along the way.

 

Dorst, Doug.

Alive in Necropolis. Riverhead Books, 2008. 437 pp.

 

Douglas, John E., and Mark Olshaker.

Broken Wings. Pocket Books, 1999.

Summary: Fired for insubordination, FBI agent Jake Donovan is rehired to investigate the death of the agency’s director, apparently the victim of blackmail. Helping Donovan is another rebel, a lady agent suspended for modeling pantyhose.

 

Douglas, Michael. [Michael Crichton and Douglas Crichton]

Dealing, or, The Berkeley-to-Boston Forty-Brick Lost-Bag Blues. Alfred A. Knopf, 1970.

| setting: Berkeley, Boston | find it |

 

Dove, Michael A.

CRIM 279. iUniverse, 2004.

| setting: Berkeley (University of California) | tpo | find it |

 

Downing, David.

Jack of Wpies. Soho, 2014.

| settings: China, San Francisco, New York, Mexico, Britain (1913) | series character: Jack McColl | find it |

Summary: It is 1913, and those who follow the news closely can see the world is teetering on the brink of war. Jack McColl, a Scottish car salesman with an uncanny ear for languages, has always hoped to make a job for himself as a spy. As his sales calls take him from city to great city—Hong Kong to Shanghai to San Francisco to New York—he moonlights collecting intelligence for His Majesty’s Navy, but British espionage is in its infancy and Jack has nothing but a shoestring budget and the very tenuous protection of a boss in far-away London. He knows, though, that a geopolitical catastrophe is brewing, and now is both the moment to prove himself and the moment his country needs him most. Unfortunately, this is also the moment he begins to realize what his aspiration might cost him. He understands his life is at stake when activities in China suddenly escalate from innocent data-gathering and casual strolls along German military concessions to arrest warrants and knife attacks. Meanwhile, a sharp, vivacious American suffragette journalist has wiled her way deep into his affections, and it is not long before he realizes that her Irish-American family might be embroiled in the Irish Republican movement Jack’s bosses are fighting against. How can he choose between his country and the woman he loves? And would he even be able to make such a choice without losing both?

 

Doyle, Bill.

Swindled!: The Journal of Fitz Morgan. Little, Brown and Company, 2006.

| setting: San Francisco (1906) | series: Crime Through Time, 1906 | juvenile | find it |

Summary: All fourteen-year-old Fitz Morgan wants to be is a detective like his father. In April 1906, Fitz is finally old enough to travel alone by train from New York to San Francisco to visit family. The train is equipped with a couple of very special Pullman cars: one is a federal government car, the other belongs to the celebrated Pinkerton Detective Agency and is a rolling crime lab. Fitz meets nine-year-old Justine Pinkerton, also traveling alone across country. They soon are embroiled in a mystery involving cyanide poisoning, counterfeiting, and the 1898 sinking of the USS Maine in Cuba’s Havana harbor. As they get deeper into their investigations, they discover that many things are not what they seem and that it will involve all of their combined deductive skills to sort everything out. They are finally breaking the case as they pull into the San Francisco station at 5:00AM on April 18th, only to have “The Big One” throw everything into turmoil.

 

Doyle, C. W.

The Shadow of Quong Lung. J.B. Lippincott Company, 1900, c1899.

| setting: San Francisco (Chinatown) | Baird & Greenwood 685; Hubin; Herron | find it |

Summary: A “yellow peril” novel (told in a series of interconnected episodes) chronicling the evil career of the sadistic and powerful Quong Lung in San Francisco’s Chinatown underworld. Portions of the book originally appeared in 1897 and 1898 as prize-winning short stories in the San Francisco Examiner and the Argonaut. Quong Lung’s pastimes include extortion, kidnapping, subversion of the Chinese Exclusion Act, slavery, prostitution, revenge, and murder. Late in the book, it is revealed that Quong Lung is Yale-educated. Coincidence? Although many Chinese characters are portrayed sympathetically as innocent victims, insight into the author’s point of view can be found in a brief but telling preface: “This book does not set forth to be that detestable thing, a ‘book with a purpose’; but if it should incidentally draw attention to the terrible conditions of life of the slave girls in Chinatown, and if any amelioration of those conditions should ensue, I shall feel that I have not written in vain … Of course, the best thing to do with Chinatown would be to burn it down; but the scheme is too Utopian to be discussed in a mere preface.” Be careful what you wish for, Dr. Doyle.

 

Draine, Betsy, and Michael Hinden.

The Body in Bodega Bay. Terrace Books, 2014.

| setting: Bodega Bay | series characters: Nora Barnes and Toby Sandler | find it |

Summary: Life in Bodega Bay on the rugged, foggy coast of northern California has been pretty quiet since Alfred Hitchcock filmed The Birds there. But antiques dealer Toby Sandler learns that his new business partner Charlie has been found dead on an abandoned boat in the harbor. When the local sheriff discovers that Charlie’s newly acquired Hitchcock artifacts and a painting of an angel are missing, he enlists Toby and his wife, Nora Barnes, an art historian, in the investigation. Local tales about Hitchcock’s famous film, and some digging into the region’s past as a Russian outpost, provide Toby and Nora with clues to the existence of a lost masterpiece. Convinced that this forgotten work may hold the key to the murder, Nora and Toby set out to find it. When Nora’s trouble-prone sister Angie arrives, events take a surprising turn, leading to the uncanny realm of angel reading and putting Nora and her family in danger. As Nora and Toby investigate matters both criminal and otherworldly, Nora realizes that some mysteries in life may be too deep to solve.

 

Drake, Samuel Adams.

The Young Vigilantes: A Story of California Life in the Fifties. Lee and Shepard, 1904.

| setting: San Francisco (1850s) | Baird & Greenwood 690 | find it |

Summary: In the 1850s, young Walter Seabury, a runaway orphan in Boston, rescues the daughter of a wealthy merchant from drowning and is given a job in the merchant’s firm. When he is framed for embezzlement by one of the other employees, a clerk named Ramon Ingersoll, who then absconds to California with the money, Walter decides that the only way he can clear his name is to bring the embezzler to justice and return the money. Walter and his friend Bill, an old sailor, ship out of Boston to New York, on to Panama where they cross the Isthmus overland, and then catch a ship to San Francisco. They soon run across Ramon, who is a habitual gambler, and force him to confess his crimes by threatening to turn him over to the Committee of Vigilance.

 

Draper, John S.

Shams, or, Uncle Ben’s Experience With Hypocrites. Thompson & Thomas, 1887.

| setting: San Francisco | Baird & Greenwood 691 | find it |

Summary: A story of simple country life giving a humorous and entertaining picture of every day life and incidents in the rural districts, with Uncle Ben’s trip to the city of Chicago and to California, and his experience with the shams and sharpers of the metropolitan world.” Partly set in California: Truckee, Oakland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Sequoia.

 

Drier, Michele.

Ashes of Memories. Self-published, 2017.

| setting: San Francisco (Future) | tpo |

Summary: Getting what you wish for can bring unintended circumstances. Jennifer in New York and Matt in San Francisco worry that they're losing their memories. Jennifer from an earlier trauma and Matt while watching his father succumb to Alzheimer's. After finding a new medical technology designed to help people with cognitive disorders, they independently track down a grey-market supply, but when they meet they find unknown terrors.

 

Drury, Joan M.

The Other Side of Silence. Spinsters Ink, 1993.

| setting: San Francisco | series character: Tyler Jones | Hubin; MRJ | find it |

 

Duchin, Peter, and John Morgan Wilson.

Blue Moon. Berkley Prime Crime, 2002.

Summary: It is 1963 and, on the surface, Philip Damon has it all. He is the bandmaster of the Philip Damon Orchestra, lives in a beautiful apartment in New York City, and is on a first name basis with Jackie Kennedy and Truman Capote, among other notables. But deep in his heart he is still grieving for Diana and their unborn child, who were murdered in their apartment while Philip and his orchestra were on the road. The murderer was never caught. Philip and his company are performing at a charity gig in San Francisco’s Fairmont Hotel when he momentarily spots a woman who looks almost exactly like his dead wife. The woman, Lenore Ashley, is on the arm of real estate tycoon Terrence Collier III, with whom Diana had been involved before she and Philip met. During the performance, the lights go out momentarily. When they come back on Collier is dead, an ice pick in his chest. Philip is determined to find out if the murders are linked and, if so, how.

 

Duffy, Stella.

Wavewalker. Serpent’s Tail, 1996.

Summary: The British lesbian private investigator Saz Martin, goes undercover to investigate a San Francisco psychiatrist whose patients keep dying, the probe commissioned by an anonymous client. Part mystery, part lesbian romance.

 

Dugoni, Robert.

The Jury Master. Warner Books, 2006.

| setting: San Francisco (UCSF Medical Center), Washington, D.C. | series character: David Sloane | find it |

Summary: David Sloane is an extremely successful San Francisco trial lawyer with a dark past. He specializes in defending companies against wrongful death cases. His world unravels, however, after he receives a mysterious package from one of the president’s closest advisors—a man who has apparently just committed suicide in a West Virginia national park. Soon, a pair of hitmen are after him. After barely surviving one attack—an attack that leaves an elderly woman dead—Sloane manages to elude another attack at UCSF Medical Center. In order to figure out what is happening to him, Sloane travels to Washington, DC, eventually teaming up with a West Virginia police detective (who had been told not to investigate the “suicide”) and a former CIA agent who had once been the dead man’s partner. The mystery involves a covert CIA operation thirty years earlier and leads Sloane all the way to the Oval Office.

The 7th Canon. Thomas & Mercer, 2016.

| setting: San Francisco (Tenderloin) | tpo | find it |

Summary: In San Francisco's seamy Tenderloin district, a teenage street hustler has been murdered in a shelter for boys. And the dedicated priest who runs the struggling home stands accused. But despite evidence that he's a killer, and worse, Father Thomas Martin stands by his innocence. And attorney Peter Donley stands with him. But a ruthless DA seeking headlines and a brutal homicide cop bent on vengeance have their own agendas.

 

Dumas, Margaret.

Speak Now. Poisoned Pen Press, 2004.

Summary: As she returns from London to San Francisco, Charley Van Leeuwen wonders how her friends will react to the hunk sharing the first class row with her, as everyone knows Charley as the “most romantically challenged woman in the Western hemisphere.” Charley is bringing with her a husband—Jack Fairfax—whom she met six weeks ago, but the hunk’s eyes hooked the commitment phobic woman. Jack and Charley stay at the Mark Hopkins Hotel, but when she goes to turn on the water in the bathtub, Charley finds a corpse there. SFPD Inspector Yahata leads the investigation, but Charley asks all the questions. The honeymooners go to another room, but Charley’s ensemble of friends arrives to interrupt. Converting from single life to married becomes more chaotic as Charley is in the middle of a tangle involving a ransom and bullets aimed at her and Jack. Realizing her spouse is not just the weatherman, Charley takes charge of insuring he, Uncle Harry, other family members, and her friends are safe from kooks, killers and kidnappers, while also trying to keep her not-for-profit repertory theater from bankruptcy. Editor’s note: This novel was short-listed for Britain’s C.W.A. 2003 Debut Dagger Award.

How to Succeed in Murder. Poisoned Pen Press, 2006.

Murder at the Palace. Henery Press, 2019.

| setting: San Francisco | find it |

Summary: When Nora Paige's movie-star husband leaves her for his latest co-star, she flees Hollywood to take refuge in San Francisco at the Palace, a historic movie theater that shows the classic films she loves. There she finds a band of misfit film buffs as well as some shady financial dealings, a ghost of a 1930's usherette, and the body of a murdered stranger.

 

Duncan, David.

The Bramble Bush. Macmillan, 1948.

| setting: San Francisco, Palo Alto, Burlingame | Baird & Greenwood 708; Hubin | abridged as Sweet and deadly (American Mercury, 1948) and reprinted as Worse Than Murder (Pocket Books, 1954) | find it |

Summary: Mike Finney, a labor agitator wanted by the Feds because of his activities during the San Francisco dock strike of 1934, leaves the safety of a secluded beach near Acapulco to return to San Francisco to clear his name. Unable to travel using his own passport, he happens upon the wallet of Philip Tremaine, an acquaintance whose physical description is quite close to his own, and he uses Tremaine’s papers instead. Finney learns after he arrives in San Francisco that Tremaine is wanted for murder. Finney finds himself at a Twin Peaks mansion, flea-bag Mission Street hotel, modest Palo Alto bungalow, and cliff somewhere between South San Francisco and Burlingame before he is able to extricate himself from the wrongful murder charge. Reprinted as Worse Than Murder (Pocket Books, 1954) and in an abridged edition as Sweet and Deadly (American Mercury, 1948?).

 

Dunlap, Susan.

Karma. Raven House, 1981.

An Equal Opportunity Death. St. Martin’s Press, 1984.

Summary: Veronica “Vejay” Haskell is a Pacific Gas & Electric meter reader in the small town of Henderson, along the Russian River. She calls in sick to work one day and makes plans to go to San Francisco with Frank Goulet, owner of a local tavern, Frank’s Place (she and Frank both recently relocated to Sonoma County to escape the pressures of the city). When Frank abruptly cancels the trip, they argue and she leaves. Later she returns to Frank’s Place to apologize, only to find that Frank has been shot and that she is the county sheriff’s prime suspect. Vejay begins her own investigation into Frank’s murder and uncovers more information about his past than she cares to know. The investigation takes her to San Francisco and attracts the attention of the real killer.

As a Favor. St. Martin’s Press, 1984.

The Bohemian Connection. St. Martin’s Press, 1985.

Summary: It is Bohemian Week in the Russian River Resort Area—ten days in July when the business and political leaders of the nation descend on the Bohemian Grove and the area fills with their entourages, the media, and hordes of tourists. Vejay Haskell, a PG & E meter reader in the fictional town of Henderson, is asked by a co-worker to investigate the disappearance of her niece, Michelle—a beautiful, young wife and mother who makes a habit of annoying her neighbors. When Vejay discovers Michelle’s body in the bottom of a sewer hole being dug next door, she becomes convinced that the murderer is the “Bohemian Connection,” the unofficial supplier of all things illicit to the Grove’s revelers.

Not Exactly a Brahmin. St. Martin’s Press, 1985.

The Last Annual Slugfest. St. Martin’s Press, 1986.

Too Close to the Edge. St. Martin’s Press, 1987.

A Dinner to Die For. St. Martin’s Press, 1987.

Diamond in the Buff. St. Martin’s Press, 1990.

Summary: In the middle of a summer heat wave, Berkeley homicide detective Jill Smith is called in to investigate an assault on a nude dentist in the Berkeley Hills. The victim, Hasbrouck Diamond, claims a eucalyptus tree attacked him. At first, Jill thinks this is just another episode in an ongoing feud between the dentist and his masseuse neighbor, Leila Sandoval … until it is followed by a murder. “From the sidewalk tie-dye tables on Telegraph Avenue to the quaint ambiance of Panoramic Way, Jill’s case is as quirky a Berkeley in the ‘90s—a volatile mix of money, New Age, and murder.

Death and Taxes. Delacorte Press, 1991.

Rogue Wave. Villard Books, 1991.

| setting: San Francisco, San Diego, Big Sur | series character: Kiernan O’Shaughnessy | Hubin | find it |

Summary: Guts and honesty got Kiernan O’Shaughnessy fired from her job as medical examiner in San Francisco. Now she runs her own detective agency and is successful enough to have a handsome housekeeper who doubles as gourmet chef. When the wife of brain-damaged hit-and-run victim Garrett Brant gets a lead on who was behind the wheel, she hires Kiernan to follow up the clue. The suspect in the ‘accident’ is Robin Matucci, the femme fatale captain of a charter fishing boat that caters to the rich and powerful. Unfortunately for Kiernan, Matucci mixes with a crowd known for shady business dealings, hired thugs, and making people—especially nosy private eyes—sleep with the fishes. To get the evidence that will put the bad guys behind bars, Kiernan is forced to confront her ex-lover—now the acting coroner of San Francisco—who has some skeletons in his own closet.

Time Expired. Delacorte Press, 1993.

Summary: In Berkeley, someone is waging guerrilla warfare on the city’s meter maids, vandalizing parking meters. When the prankster leads police detective Jill Smith and her colleagues on a wild chase into an overgrown ravine, the game leads to murder. The victim is Madeleine Riordan, a former attorney famous for defending civil liberties, who had been battling cancer, living in a nursing home perched on the edge of the ravine. Jill discovers a strange connection between the meter capers and the dead woman; and then she uncovers a crime that Madeleine had witnessed—and died trying to stop.

Sudden Exposure. Delacorte Press, 1996.

Summary: Where else but in Berkeley, could naked protesters, competing health clubs, and ex-sixties radicals add up to murder? During a protest of the recent city ordinance against nudity, police detective Jill Smith is called in to put a stop to a slew of naked protesters. While she’s at it, she meets the founder of a local gym, who complains of vandalism, and suspects that the culprit is a hostile ex-sixties radical who owns a competing health club. Jill starts to investigate, but the case takes a drastic turn when the gym founder is shot at point-blank range. Jill must solve a mystery involving politics, murder—and nudity.

Cop Out. Delacorte Press, 1997.

Summary: In Berkeley, Jill Smith, the people’s policewoman, investigates the disappearance of an informant. The department disapproves of this; they think she devotes too much time to bums and nobodies, but Jill feels nobodies deserve police protection too. The missing man is Jill’s friend, counter-cultural private eye Herman Ott, who vanishes when a flamboyant mediator of civic disputes is found shot to death in his office. Fearing for his safety, and defying the wishes of her department, Jill wades into the wild world of Berkeley’s most contentious citizens to find out why Herman Ott is running for his life.

The Celestial Buffet and Other Morsels of Murder. Crippin & Landru, 2001.

A Single Eye. Carroll & Graf Publishers, 2006.

| setting: Northern California (“five hours north of Santa Rosa”) | series character: Darcy Lott | find it |

Summary: Professional stuntwoman Darcy Lott has an unusual phobia. She has no hesitation about falling off of a high building but is deathly terrified of being alone in the woods. Having found the practice of Zen Buddhism comforting and helpful in dealing with her fears, she decides to attend an intensive two-week long sesshin—retreat—a monastery in the Northern California wilderness north of Santa Rosa. Although she now lives in New York, Darcy was born and raised in San Francisco—where the bulk of her extended family still lives—and the source of her fears has deep roots in the Bay Area. Soon after she arrives at the monastery, the roshi—teacher—Leo Garson, is poisoned and Darcy is drawn into the mysteries surrounding the monastery, including the suspicious disappearance of a student six years earlier. Although the action takes place very nearly exclusively outside of the Bay Area proper, much of the extensive backstory has its origins in San Francisco and Berkeley.

Hungry Ghosts. Counterpoint, 2008.

| setting: San Francisco | series character: Darcy Lott | find it |

Civil Twilight. Counterpoint, 2009.

| setting: San Francisco | series character: Darcy Lott | find it |

Power Slide. Counterpoint, 2010.

| setting: San Francisco, Los Angeles | series character: Darcy Lott | find it |

No Footprints. Counterpoint, 2012.

| setting: San Francisco | series character: Darcy Lott | find it |

Switchback. Severn House, 2015.

| setting: San Francisco | series character: Darcy Lott | find it |

Summary: When her Zen teacher is attacked in front of her by a silent, hoodie-clad assailant, Darcy Lott feels uncharacteristically helpless. If she cannot identify Garson-roshi's attacker, she cannot protect him. For whoever it is will surely strike again. But who would have a reason to assault this wise and gentle man? As she questions her fellow students and other acquaintances of the Zen master, it becomes clear that Garson-roshi has been keeping secrets from Darcy. What happened while he was living in Japan? And where does he disappear to on the last Wednesday of every month? Distracted by the possibility of her big career break on a new action movie, Darcy finds herself unprepared when the case takes a shocking twist.

Out of Nowhere. Severn House, 2016.

| setting: San Francisco | series character: Darcy Lott | find it |

Summary: Zen student and stunt double Darcy Lott is thrilled to be reunited with her brother Mike, who disappeared twenty years earlier. But her joy at bringing him home to San Francisco turns to fear when she learns that he has become the victim of escalating attacks -- and he has no idea who is targeting him. Darcy determines to find out who is after him and why -- before the attacks turn deadly. However, when Darcy searches Mike's apartment, a disturbing discovery makes her question whether she really knows her brother any more...or trusts him.

 

Dunning, John.

The Bookwoman’s Last Fling. Scribner, 2006.

| setting: Idaho, East Bay (Golden Gate Fields) | series character: Cliff Janeway | find it |

Summary: Cliff Janeway, a bookseller—and ex-homicide detective—from Denver, is hired to appraise the book collection of the recently-deceased Harold Ray Geiger, who owned and trained champion race horses. Geiger’s fabulous collection of juvenilia was inherited from his young and beautiful wife, Candice, who had died several years earlier due to complications from her severe allergy to peanuts. But the job seems fishy from the start. The estate manager, Junior Willis, is more concerned with Janeway doing the job quickly than thoroughly. He and one of Geiger’s three sons want the estate settled soon so that they can resume the horse racing operations. From even a cursory examination of the collection, Janeway can tell that several volumes have been replaced with old but cheap reprints. Janeway refuses to do the job the way Willis wants and goes to work for Geiger’s daughter, Sharon, a veterinarian who specializes in rescuing horses from “the killers.” She has a spectacular book collection—also inherited from her mother—in her own right. Sharon wants Janeway to look into her mother’s death—officially ruled accidental—and discover what has happened to the missing books. The case takes Janeway to the Bay Area, into the world of professional horse racing at Golden Gate Fields, where the Geigers had a great deal of success, and to their ranch nearby where Candice had died. As he begins to piece together the story of Candice’s secret life, Janeway discovers another of Geiger’s sons murdered and he himself is attacked and nearly killed. The investigation leads him south to Santa Anita and then back to Idaho, as a desperate case of bibliomania—the obsessive hoarding of books—devolves into murder.

 

Durrant, Theo.

The Marble Forest. Alfred A. Knopf, 1951.

| setting: San Francisco | find it |

 

Dwight, Jennifer.

The Tolling of Mercedes Bell. She Writes Press, 2016.

| setting: San Francisco (1980s) | find it |

Summary: Recently widowed and adapting to the challenges of single motherhood, Mercedes Bell is a paralegal at Crenshaw, Slayne & McDonough when she meets Jack Soutane, a dashing San Francisco lawyer who has recently begun leasing office space from the firm. It’s the 1980s. While the crack epidemic, homelessness and AIDS explode on the scene, Jack’s law practice booms -- and the Crenshaw firm eagerly shares his bounty. Meanwhile, despite all the warning signs, Mercedes and others fall under Jack’s spell. When calamity strikes and Jack succumbs to his own dark surprise, Mercedes finds herself in a race to survive and to protect her daughter. In order to do so, she must make sense of wildly inconsistent information -- and face the truths that emerge.

 

Dwyer, K. R. [Dean Koontz]

Shattered. Random House, 1973.

 

Dyer, George.

The Three-Cornered Wound. Houghton Mifflin Company, 1931.

| setting: Napa | Baird & Greenwood 725 | find it |

The Five Fragments. Houghton Mifflin Company, 1932.

| setting: San Francisco | Baird & Greenwood 722; Hubin; Herron | find it |

The Catalyst Club. Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1936.

| setting: San Francisco, Burlingame | series character: The Catalyst Club | Baird & Greenwood 721; Hubin; Herron | find it |

Summary: “Every city has strange little gatherings of men, pursuing curious ends in hidden corners of the sprawling chessboard of streets ... San Francisco has her share of these associations, and none of them more extraordinary in its aims and achievements than the Catalyst Club.” (p. 5) The Catalyst Club is a group of six amateur detectives in San Francisco who meet weekly in Golden Gate Park (at “Capsten Memorial Circle,” an outdoor picnic area, complete with fireplace) to discuss local crimes and deduce solutions to mysteries that have the police stumped. They always turn the results of their work over to the authorities and shun the public eye. The members are: Leonard Sloat, a retired criminal attorney who now rarely leaves the confines of his house on Lincoln Way; Dr. Alexander MacCarden, a psychiatrist who also lectures at the University of California, Berkeley; Theodore Lempereur, a chemist who operates his own commercial laboratories; Cyriak Brill-Jones, an ichthyologist at the San Francisco Aquarium who also serves as the Club’s official secretary; Newton Bulger, a “rowdy, informally educated, ex-cowpuncher, ex-mechanic, with a genius for machinery ... and an unequalled knowledge of the State of California;” and Persen “Buzz” Drake, a police reporter for the San Francisco Times. All of the Club members’ particular skills are put to the test as they investigate the bizarre death of Brenda Chalis, a beautiful Stanford co-ed whose naked, brutally mutilated body is discovered on the grounds of her wealthy father’s Burlingame estate. Suspects include a couple of current and former boyfriends (one of whom is a Stanford football player), a cousin whose house neighbors the estate, and Brenda’s own two West Highland terriers, whose lifeless bodies are found nearby. While the police struggle to even figure out what the cause of death (wild dogs? mountain lion?) or whether it was murder or an accident, the Club pursues a wide array of leads that eventually leads to the only logical—if improbable—answer.

The Long Death. Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1937.

| setting: San Francisco, South San Francisco, Sonoma County | series character: The Catalyst Club | Baird & Greenwood 723; Hubin; Herron | find it |

Summary: The Catalyst Club—a publicity-shy group of six amateur detectives in San Francisco—tackles a triple mystery. John Gregory Hunter, a renowned physicist and close personal friend of Club president T.M. Lempereur, has died, seemingly of natural causes. However, the symptoms of his illness were very strange and doctors could not provide an adequate explanation for them. Combined with the fact that his research notes are now mysteriously missing (he had built a cyclotron—“much more efficiently designed than [Lawrence’s] pioneer apparatus across the Bay”—and was experimenting with splitting atoms), the circumstances of his death attract the Club’s attention. Before they can get the investigation started, though, Lempereur receives a threat from the editor of The San Francisco Star, a rival newspaper to The San Francisco Times (employer of Club member Buzz Drake and frequent benefactor of the Club’s activities). Since the Club operates in secret, giving all credit for their work to the police, the local news media has an unofficial agreement to keep the Club out of the papers. The Star threatens to break that agreement—thereby exposing the Club members to unwanted attention from the criminal element that they routinely thwart—unless the Club agrees to give them exclusive scoops on any new stories. When Club member Cyriak Brill-Jones is then kidnapped and a Star reporter is murdered, the Club has to marshal all of its collective forces to save one of its own. Is there a connection? Lempereur arrives at the answer during a gun battle between federal agents and the desperate Collighan brothers at their hideout near Mount St. Helena in Sonoma County.

The People Ask Death. Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1940.

| setting: San Francisco | series character: The Catalyst Club | Baird & Greenwood 724; Hubin; Herron | find it |

Summary: San Francisco’s shadowy crime-busting Catalyst Club faces a grave threat—and its greatest challenge—when one of its members, Persen “Buzz” Drake, ace crime reporter for The San Francisco Times, is arrested following the murder of Police Commissioner F. Austin Scarborough. The case against Drake is seemingly airtight. Scarborough was shot in the back in the pool room of the exclusive Thermopylæ Club; the only other person in the room was Buzz Drake, who had accompanied him there following a public argument in the Hall of Justice. For Drake’s defense, the Club turns to young attorney, Richard Victor, who takes what looks like a hopeless case and becomes an unofficial member of the Club. At nearly every turn, the defense efforts are countered by damning stories in the Times’ chief rival, The San Francisco Star (whose editor had tangled with the Club in their previous outing, The Long Death (1937)). Most of the stories are by-lined by the Star’s star reporter, Aram Bagration, who, along with editor Abel Brander, has a personal vendetta against Buzz and the Times. As he sits in jail awaiting the start of his trial, Buzz’s case is also hurt by a series of “sob-sister” columns by the pretty and ambitious Lee Randall. Lee eventually realizes that Buzz is getting a raw deal by her employer and quits, taking a new job with yet another San Francisco paper, The San Francisco Journal, and turning her talents to Buzz’s favor. Even though Catalyst Club applies all of its collective talents to proving Buzz’s innocence, the evidence the members gather still predominantly points to his guilt. The case finally starts to break when Lee remembers a fragment of a conversation she overheard in the Star newsroom between Brander and another reporter, Edgar McGonnigle, on the night of the murder. McGonnigle had been at the Thermopylæ Club the same night, leaving as Buzz and the commissioner were arriving, and had seen—and recognized—someone following them in. But, now McGonnigle is missing and any hope that Richard has of his client escaping with his life is rapidly vanishing....

 

 

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