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Page history last edited by Randal Brandt 5 months ago

McAllester, Melanie.

The Lessons. Spinsters Ink, 1994.

| setting: San Francisco | series character: Tenny Mendoza | Hubin | find it |

Summary: Two lesbian detectives join a homophobe to capture a serial rapist of lesbian women. It turns out to be a dangerous assignment, requiring the trio to rely on each other. In the process they come to accept their differences.


MacArthur, T. E.

The Yankee Must Die. Death and the Barbary Coast. TreasureLine Publishing, 2013.

| setting: San Francisco (1860s) | series characters: Tom Turner (Gaslight Adventures of Tom Turner 2) | tpo | find it |

Summary: There’s something nasty lurking in the thick fog of San Francisco, roaring in the dark, waiting to be unleashed. Leave it to lucky Tom Turner to have to find out, but first he must evade being shanghaied in the Barbary Coast, destroyed by the murderous ambitions of former Confederate ‘gentlemen,’ or punished as a consequence of his own past. Mechanical monstrosities show up on every gaslit street corner and in every suspicious warehouse, threatening the very fabric of his country. Civil War veteran, witness to Krakatoa’s deadly eruption, and survivor of Robur the Conqueror’s madness, Turner’s luck finally seems to be failing as he is thrust back into a war to save the Union...


MacAvoy, R. A.

Tea With the Black Dragon. Bantam Books, 1983.

Summary: Cryptic phone calls and a mysterious disappearance draw Martha to San Francisco in search of her estranged daughter. With the help of a philosophical stranger, Martha embarks on a dangerous adventure. Also published in a limited edition hardcover by Hypatia Press, 1987.


McCary, Reed. (pseud. of Ernie Rydberg) 

Sleep With the Devil. Original Books, 1952.

| setting: San Francisco, Panama, Bolivia and points south | reprinted as: Kiss and Kill (Avon, 1957) | pbo | find it |


McCord, David Wilson.

Shadow Lies. Caffeine Machine Publications, 1992.


McCormick, Susan.  

The Fog Ladies. Wild Rose Press, 2019.

| setting: San Francisco | series character: Sarah James (A San Francisco Cozy Murder Mystery 1) | tpo |

Summary: Young, overworked medical intern Sarah James has no time for sleuthing. Her elderly neighbors, the spunky Fog Ladies, have nothing but time. When, one by one, old ladies die in their elegant apartment building in San Francisco, Sarah assumes the deaths are the natural consequence of growing old. The Fog Ladies assume murder. Mrs. Bridge falls off a stool cleaning bugs out of her kitchen light. Mrs. Talwin slips on bubbles in the bath and drowns. Suddenly, the Pacific Heights building is turning over tenants faster than the fog rolls in on a cool San Francisco evening. Sarah resists the Fog Ladies' perseverations. But when one of them falls down the stairs and tells Sarah she was pushed, even Sarah believes evil lurks in their building. Can they find the killer before they fall victim themselves?


McCray, Joe.

Murder at the Thorn Tree Hotel. Vantage Press, 2006.

| setting: San Francisco (1970s) | series character: Joe Cleary | tpo | find it |

Summary: The scene is San Francisco in the mid-1970s. When the public defender has a conflict of interest, Joe Cleary is appointed to defend LaMonte Griffin. The charge in question is the murder of a vicious thug in one of the nastier sections of town. Joe's job is to now put together the pieces of this puzzle. Focusing on the most minute of details, he must figure out the truth -- the surprising truth. Based on a true story argued more than a quarter of a century ago.

Elusive Wisdom. Red Caboose Tales, 2011.

| setting: San Francisco; Mississippi | series characters: Daniel Dermot O’Neill; Joe Cleary | tpo | find it |

Summary: Having suffered the first trial loss of his career, Daniel Dermot O’Neil, a San Francisco civil trial lawyer, licks his wounds. Three years later, the foreperson on that case is murdered in rural Mississippi, leaving behind an envelope with O’Neil’s name and address. In it are copies of many canceled checks made out to the deceased for large sums, and a small, black and white photograph that provides a compelling clue as to the reason for the checks, if not the murder. O’Neil is enlisted by the Mississippi Attorney General to help solve the murder, which may also be connected to other Mississippi murders. Although highly improbable, the evidence mounts that the murder victim was bribed for her vote in the Pavlone case. A relentless and dangerous pursuit of answers follows a path of murdered suspects and eventually leads to an enigmatic supposed "insurance adjuster" who shows up in high stakes cases where catastrophic injuries are caused by defectively designed products. The pursuit of answers and of justice takes O’Neil around the country and into the arms of a brilliant, beautiful woman of diverse ancestry -- a woman he cannot relinquish. Ultimately, he must let his lifelong friend, Joe Cleary, actually try the civil case that extracts the fortunes and the licenses of the principal players who had managed to escape criminal prosecution.

The Wisdom of Rain. Red Caboose Tales, 2012.

| setting: San Francisco; Montana | series characters: Daniel Dermot O’Neill; Joe Cleary | tpo |

Summary: This story of the San Francisco trial lawyers DD O’Neil and Joe Cleary begins in the rugged, mountainous country southeast of Butte, Montana. There, in 1955, a fourteen-year-old Danny O’Neil witnesses the brutal torture and murder of a Chinese man by members of a nativist gang known as The Vengeance Legion. DD barely escapes with his own life. DD’s vicious captors are pursued by his famous Irish father, Mick, but a neighbor is shot and killed in the encounter. After another icy pursuit the perpetrators are captured and the trial of the Vengeance Boys becomes the town’s main attraction and a test of the legal system -- a test which it could not ultimately pass. But then, by a bold and murderous escape from jail, the convicted Legionnaires avoid the wrath of the law and escape to their lair across thawed terrain, only to be ambushed and each fatally shot by an unseen gunman. The gunman’s escape across the mountains during the raging rainstorm that obliterates all clues is the stuff of legend -- a legend recalled thirty years later in San Francisco. In 1985, O’Neil and Cleary, in a violent battle on the side of the rank and file of a large trade union against a ruthless empire builder and a self-anointed radical lawyer, have been wounded, others have been killed, and the perpetrators of what can only be called mayhem seem about to get away with it all. Unwinding the twisted campaign to maintain control of Construction Steel Workers, Local 66 -- from the schemes of an ambitious deal-maker to the warped machinations of a self-appointed revolutionary lawyer -- requires tenacity, brinkmanship and wit. Cleary, relentless in cross-examination, breaks a bemused lawyer on the witness stand in Federal Court and the scheme to destroy the movement begins to crumble. As in 1955, a strange justice is delivered, but not without rain.

Fool Gone Missing. Red Caboose Tales, 2013.

| setting: San Francisco | series characters: Daniel Dermot O’Neill; Joe Cleary | tpo | find it |

Summary: Unaware, and therefore not caring, that anyone occupied the universe but himself, Grant ‘Dash’ Jennings was clever enough to succeed in California. But there were others, and they were changing the world in which Jennings thrived. Among these were two victims of Jennings’ schemes: Gerald Mann, a politically astute San Quentin inmate and Roy Lindstrom, Mann’s monkish lawyer. More dangerously, there were also two San Francisco trial lawyers -- Daniel Dermot O’Neil and Joe Cleary -- who hailed from Butte, Montana, where being tough was a quality that transcended anything Dash Jennings could imagine. Jennings’ evil and ultimately desperate schemes cut a destructive swath from one end of California to the other. The instrument of that destruction was Jennings’ reliable killer, Clem DeFoe. Even DeFoe, with his special skills, was thwarted by the guys from Butte. Arrogantly, Jennings tried to save his crippled gubernatorial campaign by dispatching DeFoe to murder his antagonists. It wasn’t his last mistake but it was the most foolish. Oh, and there was someone else -- a brown-skinned teacher and union leader running against Jennings for governor. The ancestors of Bamba Priata in California went back in time longer than the forebears of Jennings or most any Anglo. It was a time of change in a place that nurtured change. Ultimately, Dash Jennings’ rottenness failed him and he had to run. But he was caught and—fool that he was -- rejoined DeFoe.


McCulloch, Derek, and Anthony Peruzzo.

Displaced Persons. Image Comics, 2014.

| setting: San Francisco (1939, 1969, 1999) | graphic novel | tpo | find it |


McDaniel, David.

The Dagger Affair. Ace Books, Inc., 1965. (The Man from U.N.C.L.E. #4)


McDonald, Gregory.

Who Took Toby Rinaldi? Putnam, 1980.


MacDonald, John D.

The Quick Red Fox. Fawcett Gold Medal, 1964.


Macdonald, John Ross. [Kenneth Millar; see also Macdonald, Ross; Millar, Kenneth]

The Way Some People Die. Alfred A. Knopf, 1951.

| setting: San Francisco (Golden Gate Bridge) | series character: Lew Archer | Herron; Bruccoli A7.1.a | find it |

Summary: Private eye Lew Archer is hired by Mrs. Samuel Lawrence of Santa Monica to find her missing daughter, Galatea (“Galley”) Lawrence. The search takes him from Palm Springs to San Francisco as he uncovers a heroin smuggling operation and several dead bodies along the way.


Macdonald, Ross. [Kenneth Millar; see also Macdonald, John Ross; Millar, Kenneth]

The Galton Case. Alfred A. Knopf, 1959.

| setting: San Francisco, Half Moon Bay | series character: Lew Archer | Baird & Greenwood 1732; Herron; Bruccoli A14.1.a | find it |

Summary: Private investigator Lew Archer is hired to find Anthony Galton, who disappeared twenty years earlier, taking several thousand dollars of the family fortune and a young pregnant bride with him. Archer discovers that Galton changed his name to John Brown and moved to San Francisco to become a poet, so he follows the trail north, attends a poetry reading at “The Listening Ear” in North Beach, and interviews Brown/Galton’s former nurse in Redwood City. A set of human bones, missing the head, turns up in Luna Bay, south of San Francisco, followed closely by a young man claiming to be John Brown, Jr. Before Archer can unravel the mystery, he gets beat up in Reno, visits Canada twice, tangles with several unsavory—and one very savory—characters, and makes some surprising discoveries.

The Wycherly Woman. Alfred A. Knopf, 1961.

| setting: San Francisco | series character: Lew Archer | Baird & Greenwood 1740; Bruccoli A16.1.a | find it |

Summary: Phoebe Wycherly -- twenty-one, rich, and beautiful -- has been missing for two months when her father, Homer, hires private investigator Lew Archer to locate her. The girl was last seen leaving the San Francisco docks after seeing her father off on a cruise. When she disappeared, she left college and a lovesick boyfriend behind her. Archer’s investigation leads him to Phoebe’s mother, Catherine, who is divorced from Homer and acting very strangely. Then the bodies start piling up: a real estate agent in Catherine’s Atherton home, a sound expert in San Mateo, and a naked woman in a Volkswagen at the bottom of San Francisco Bay. Archer eventually solves this case of missing persons, family secrets, blackmail, and murder.

The Zebra-Striped Hearse. Alfred A. Knopf, 1962.

| setting: San Francisco Bay Area | series character: Lew Archer | Baird & Greenwood 1732; Herron; Bruccoli A17.1.a | find it |

Summary: Isobel Blackwell comes calling on private investigator Lew Archer unexpectedly, just minutes before her husband is scheduled to meet with the detective. She is concerned about her stepdaughter, Harriet. The young woman is about to come into a large trust fund, and she wants to marry a handsome, penniless artist named Burke Damis. Isobel has no objection to the marriage, but Harriet’s father, Colonel Blackwell, is staunchly opposed. He asks Archer to investigate Damis, and Archer agrees, partly because he’s attracted to Mrs. Blackwell. Murders past and present crowd the investigation as various leads take Archer to Mexico, Lake Tahoe, the San Francisco Bay Area, and Los Angeles.

The Instant Enemy. Alfred A. Knopf, 1968.

| setting: San Francisco | series character: Lew Archer | Baird & Greenwood 1734; Bruccoli A21.1.a | find it |

Summary: Lew Archer is hired by Keith Sebastian, a Los Angeles business executive, to find his daughter Sandy, a high-school senior who has run off with a homeless boy. Sebastian and his wife, living on the edge of affluent bankruptcy, seem unable to communicate with their daughter. Archer finds the runaway easily enough, but before he can return Sandy to her parents, she has participated in a violent crime. Archer’s efforts to save the girl from the consequences of her actions, and to understand those actions, involve him in a savage plot twisting deep into the past. At least one old murder and some new ones confound him and the police. Archer himself is very nearly killed by an ex-cop who wants to keep the case closed, but he finally manages to open it and let some daylight in. Archer’s investigation takes him, once again, to San Francisco.

The Underground Man. Alfred A. Knopf, 1971.

| setting: San Francisco | series character: Lew Archer | Bruccoli A23.1.a; Herron | find it |

Summary: Sparks and embers were blowing down the canyon. Who started the fire and where it would end was something Lew Archer could not know. He had already found a dead man in a hastily dug grave and a dark secret that bound a group of very different people together for life. Fifteen years before an adulterous couple had run away from Santa Teresa. Now the world they had left behind -- of old money and new, of broken marriages and broken homes -- was burning. A seven-year-old boy and a distraught young blonde were missing. From L.A. to Sausalito and San Francisco, tracking down the runaways led Archer through another murder and into a deception as hot as human hate...


McDowell, James E.

Look Into the Darkness. Xlibris Corporation, 2012.

| setting: San Francisco | series character: Bill Ramsey |


McFadyen, Cody.

Shadow Man. Hodder & Stoughton, 2006; Bantam Books, 2006.

Summary: FBI agent Smoky Barrett, based in Los Angeles, leads a team of special agents assigned to deal with “the worst of the worst,” violent, psychopathic serial killers. Six months ago, Barrett herself became a victim when she was captured and tortured by a killer named Joseph Sands. The encounter -- in which her husband and young daughter died before she killed Sands -- left her horribly scarred, both physically and emotionally. Now, still trying to decide whether to kill herself or go back to work, Barrett learns that her best friend, Annie King, has been brutally raped and murdered in San Francisco, with Annie’s daughter in a catatonic state after witnessing the killing. Smoky has no choice but to join the investigation when she learns that the killer -- calling himself Jack Jr., and claiming to be a descendent of Jack the Ripper -- has left a personal message for her, promising to kill again and challenging her to catch him. The hunt moves back and forth between the San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles as Jack Jr. demonstrates his ability to strike her and team at will, and with extraordinary viciousness. As Smoky gets closer to the killer, history threatens to repeat itself as a terrifying connection between Jack Jr. and Joseph Sands is revealed.


MacFarlane, Peter Clark.

Held to Answer. Little, Brown and Company, 1916.

| setting: Oakland; San Francisco (1900s) | Baird & Greenwood 1613; Hubin | find it |

Summary: “Eternal loyalty is the price of true success!” This is the motto of young John Hampstead, who has the opportunity to put it to the ultimate test. The first half of this novel chronicles Hampstead’s career trajectory from railroad clerk in Los Angeles to stage actor in San Francisco to door-to-door book agent and, finally, to respected, self-sacrificing minister of All People’s Church in Oakland. Financially responsible for his sister and her two children, John has always been determined to be successful and has finally found his calling as a pastor who will go to any length necessary to aid those—the downtrodden, misfortunate, and sometimes even criminal—who need his help. Things change dramatically when Marien Dounay, a successful actress with whom Hampstead had formed a brief attachment when they were both ambitious, struggling thespians, returns to Oakland seeking to renew their relationship. Not interested in returning to his former lifestyle, John rejects her advances. Then, Rollo Charles Burbeck, a bank clerk and son of John’s fiercest supporters at the church, steals Marien’s diamond necklace in order to cover the fact that he had “borrowed” some of the bank’s money in order to pay off his gambling debts. When the robbery goes wrong, he comes to John for help. John agrees to help him replace the money as long as he returns the necklace to Marien and confesses his crime to her. Through Rollo’s cowardice and Marien’s desire for revenge, John is blamed for the crime. Refusing to name the real criminal—due to his concern for the fragile health of Rollo’s mother and his commitment to loyalty—John is held to answer the charge himself.


McGee, Marcus.

Legal Thriller. Pegasus Books, 2000.

| setting: San Francisco | series character: Destiny Mitchell | Hubin | find it |

Summary: It’s the story of a lurid murder in San Francisco. The case of Jordan Alexander, a socialite, would have never gone to trial if district attorney Peter Granucci hadn’t been preparing to run for mayor. Granucci chooses Destiny Mitchell, a young black woman, to prosecute Jordan, the mayor’s best friend, in this difficult and highly publicized case. Jordan is accused of brutally murdering his ex-wife in her Pacific Heights home. He denies any involvement and suggests his wife was murdered by black hoodlums. It is a case that no one, including Granucci, believes Destiny can win. The shocking conclusion comes 14 years later in a dramatic courtroom showdown. Disturbingly violent at times, sexy, racially-charged and full of intrigue, Legal Thriller will forever change the way readers evaluate trial and judgment.

Murder From the Grave. Pegasus Books, 2009.

| setting: San Francisco | series character: Deuteronomy Saint Claire | tpo |

Summary: While investigating a murder crime scene, San Francisco police find a letter addressed to the highly-respected and clever Inspector Deuteronomy Saint Claire, who is at odds with the city’s top brass for not sharing information over a career of twelve years. The letter is from a serial killer who tells Saint Claire that, despite being dead and in a grave for the last twelve days, he will murder seven people over the next thirty days. Because the planned murders are interdependent, with each killing setting off the next, the killer dares the secretive detective to either stop him or proclaim his genius to the world. Former Berkeley criminal psychology professor Saint Claire, convinced the letter is from the same killer who murdered his son, cautiously accepts the premise and the challenge. By preventing any one of the planned murders, Saint Claire can interrupt the sequence and save lives, but only if the killer’s claim to murder from the grave is true. Using clues from the letter and crime scenes, the detective is determined to defeat the killer, and if his instincts prove true, solve the murder of his son.


McGoon, Cliff.

Grannies Investigate the Tunnel of Death. Seecliff Publishing, 2005.

Summary: The Grannies—Diane, Trixie and Cheryl—find themselves neck-deep in mayhem when Trixie’s cousin, Joe, is accused of murdering his gypsy wife, Fatima. She’s found dead in the churning surf below Joe’s five acre estate on beautiful Belvedere Island, just across the Golden Gate from San Francisco. Wealthy and powerful residents are killing mad over Joe’s idea to bore a tunnel through the middle of the island for fire and traffic control. The crisis peaks when a ruthless San Francisco mobster kidnaps Trixie’s granddaughter. Snake bites, mob threats and grandkids moving in unexpectedly don’t deter Diane, Trixie and Cheryl from exposing the killer...


MacGowan, Alice, and Perry Newberry.

The Million-Dollar Suitcase. Frederick A. Stokes Company, 1922.

| setting: San Francisco; “Santa Ysobel” (Santa Clara County) | series character: Jerry Boyne | Baird & Greenwood 1617; Hubin; Herron | find it |

Summary: The directors of the Van Ness Avenue Savings Bank in San Francisco call in Jeremiah “Jerry” Boyne, head of the Bankers’ Security Agency, to investigate a mysterious theft. One of the bank’s tellers, Edward Clayte, simply walked out of the bank at the end of the day carrying a suitcase filled with nearly a million dollars in cash. Boyne’s agency was called immediately, but even though they were less than an hour behind Clayte (who, despite having worked at the bank for several years, no one can accurately—or adequately—describe), he seems to have vanished into thin air. In order to stave off the investor panic that would surely ensue when the bank was forced to announce the theft, Worth Gilbert, a young man recently returned from the war in France—and a major stockholder in the bank—offers to purchase the missing suitcase for $800 thousand. As the investigation gets under way, Worth and Jerry meet a young woman named Barbara Wallace, who had been a childhood acquaintance of Worth’s. She also has an overdeveloped ability to focus her concentration and deduce things that others are unable to see, making her an excellent detective. She quickly solves the riddle of Clayte’s “disappearance” and the trio soon locates the suitcase—empty, of course. Then Worth receives word that his father has killed himself at his home in Santa Ysobel (in Santa Clara County) and, as Boyne’s agents continue to track Clayte, Worth, Jerry, and Barbara go to investigate the death, and soon realize that he has been murdered. When Worth, who had argued with his father on the night of his death, is arrested, Jerry will need all of his detective skills and Barbara all of her powers of concentration to deduce the killer and uncover the secret of Clayte’s real identity.

The Mystery Woman. Frederick A. Stokes Company, 1924.

| setting: San Francisco | series character: Jerry Boyne | Baird & Greenwood 1618; Herron | find it |

Summary: San Francisco private detective Jerry Boyne, head of the Banker’s Security Agency, is hired to investigate the disappearance of John Scott Sargent. Sargent, president of the Russo-Siberian syndicate—an investment group dealing with mineral lands in Asiatic Russia—supposedly set sail twelve days earlier on a ship bound for Japan. Now, it appears that he was not even on the boat, has been in hiding, and no one, not even his private secretary (a man named Price Meade), knows where he has been. Just as he is beginning his investigation, a 19-year old girl reporter named Mary “Skeet” Thornhill drags Jerry down to a waterfront hotel on an errand of “justice, and mercy.” When they arrive, the police are on the scene, and Jerry and Skeet quickly learn that there is an unidentified dead man in one of the rooms. Another hotel resident, Ramon de Paez, is being held for questioning, and a mysterious woman was seen leaving the dead man’s room shortly before his body was discovered. Then Meade’s body is then discovered in San Francisco Bay off Fisherman’s Wharf, and Jerry realizes that the solution to the mystery of Sargent’s disappearance is closely tied into the identities of both the dead hotel resident and the mystery woman. Along the way, Jerry meets and falls in love with Mimi Cesana, an Italian actress who has close ties to the case and who causes Jerry to become “particeps criminis” when he agrees to protect her even though he believes that she is the guilty party.

Shaken Down. Frederick A. Stokes Company, 1925.

| setting: San Francisco (1906) | series character: Jerry Boyne | Baird & Greenwood 1620; Hubin; Herron | find it |

Summary: On an evening in April 1906, Patrolman Jerry Boyne of the San Francisco Police Department is walking his beat on Nob Hill when suddenly a horse-drawn cab hurtles past him and down the steep Mason Street hill. Fearing a certain smashup, he rushes to follow the cab. When a scream and a cry for the police diverts him to the Claiborne mansion, he discovers that four-year-old Jamie Claiborne has been kidnapped and his nurse-maid murdered. Thinking that this case will be what he needs to advance up the police ranks, Jerry immediately begins investigating. However, he is soon frozen out of the investigation when his captain, San Francisco’s political boss, and Hard Knox Gahagan, the youngest police commissioner in the city’s history, arrive to take over. Jamie’s father, James G. Claiborne, is convinced that his older daughter, Leonora, is behind the plot and declares that he will not be shaken down by her and her accomplices. At the urging of Norah, the Claiborne’s house-maid, with whom Jerry is in love, and believing that the runaway cab is a key to the case, he decides to conduct his own investigation and soon ends up on the wrong side of the law. Now he has both the kidnappers and the police after him. Just as he is about the break the case wide open—and expose some of San Francisco’s most powerful men—the earthquake strikes and the city itself is literally shaken down.

The Seventh Passenger. Frederick A. Stokes Company, 1926.

| setting: San Francisco (1907) | series character: Jerry Boyne | find it |

Who is This Man? Frederick A. Stokes Company, 1927.

| setting: “Monteco (Chagres County, Calif.)”; San Francisco (1921) | series character: Jerry Boyne | Baird & Greenwood 1621; Herron | find it |

Summary: It is 1921 and Jerry Boyne, private investigator and head of the Banker’s Security Agency, has been hired by a young woman, Loyall Tavenar, to accompany her from San Francisco to her childhood hometown (the fictional “Monteco” in the equally fictional “Chagres County”) in the Sierra foothill country of California. She has been summoned back home because the man accused of savagely murdering her entire family seven years ago has been captured and is being held in the local jail. Complicating matters is the fact that, at the time of the murders, the accused, Graham Marr, was Loyall’s star-crossed lover; the Marrs and Tavenars had been feuding for generations. Although everyone in town positively identifies the prisoner as the fugitive Marr, he steadfastly maintains that his name is actually Alonzo Crede and that he is a Texas cowboy, a veteran of the war in France, and a man with family roots in Pennsylvania. Then, friends and relatives start showing up and confirming the prisoner’s story, and the town’s residents split into those who believe he is Marr and those who believe he is Crede. Boyne realizes that, in order to determine the man’s real identity, he needs to find the answers to several questions about the fateful night of the murders: Why was Marr’s horse—which was trained to stay in place when the bridle reins were hanging on the ground—tied up outside the Tavenar rancho? Why was the Chinese cook killed? Was revenge really the motive behind the killings? Why would a man like Gray Marr, who everyone agrees was a stand-up guy, run away instead of facing the consequences of his actions? Once he knows the answers to these questions, Boyne can answer the title question. A note at the end of the novel claims that it is based on an actual "case of fivefold killing in a midland California city [that] resulted in … a tangle of identification, in which the whole town was rent asunder in opposing factions."


McGuire, Bob.

The Gate. St. Martin’s Paperbacks, 1997.


McGuire, Tim.

The Law of the Barbary Coast. Leisure Books, 2006.

Summary: Clay Cole came to San Francisco looking for one thing—a certain beautiful red-haired singer. But the man known as the Rainmaker found something else altogether—trouble. He hasn’t been in the city for more than a few hours when he’s tossed in a cell, then taken without explanation to meet some powerful strangers with an unexpected proposition. They’re looking for men who are good with a gun, men who can handle danger, and Clay clearly fits the bill. A battle is brewing over mining rights outside the city, and things are going to get rough pretty fast. It’s a powder keg ready to blow...


McHugh, Paul.

Deadlines. Lost Coast Press, 2010.

| setting: San Francisco; Sacramento; Las Vegas; Big Sur | series character: Colm MacCay | tpo | find it |


McInroy, Patrick.

The Reckoning. Writers Club Press, 1995.

Summary: Two years into the post-1906 Earthquake reconstruction period, a San Francisco silent-film scenario writer seeks to avenge the murder of a family member.

Never Say Frisco. Writers Club Press, 2000.


McKimmey, James.

Blue Mascara Tears. Ballantine Books, 1965.


MacLean, Alistair.

The Golden Gate. Doubleday & Company, 1976.


MacLean, Jane.

Deadfall. Dutton, 1979.


McMahon, Neil.

Twice Dying. HarperCollins Publishers, 2000.

Summary: Beautiful psychologist Alison Chapley wants to know why a string of NGIs—violent sociopaths found not guilty by reason of insanity—are being released into society and then systematically disappearing under mysterious circumstances. To assist her in her search for answers, she calls on her former lover, San Francisco emergency-room doctor and malpractice investigator Carroll Monks. Monks discovers that the NGIs are being ritualistically murdered by a serial killer, who begins to threaten Carroll and Alison when their investigation gets too close, leading them to a confrontation with a brilliant psychopath who calls herself Naia, Queen of Cobras.

Blood Double. HarperCollins Publishers, 2002.

Summary: San Francisco surgeon Dr. Carroll Monks is thrust into the world of high-powered corporate intrigue after he saves the life of a junkie who has overdosed on Demerol. Monks’ daughter, Stephanie, a medical school student, recognizes the drug abuser as Lex Rittenour, a reclusive software designer who is the power behind a major bio-tech company. Monks knows something is wrong even before a phalanx of lawyers and doctors appears out of nowhere to whisk his recovering patient away and a suspicious fire destroys all evidence that the man was ever there. Rittenour’s company is planning a major IPO and cannot afford any negative publicity. Monks’ suspicions lead him on an investigation into the ethical dark side of genetic research.

To the Bone. HarperCollins Publishers, 2003.

Summary: Eden Hale is a young beautiful woman who went from being a porn star to an actress getting good parts in daytime drama. She has just had breast augmentation surgery and the boyfriend who was supposed to be staying with her left her alone and in pain. As time goes on the pain becomes unbearable and Eden is barely able to make the 911 call for an ambulance before losing consciousness. By the time the she arrives at Mercy Hospital in San Francisco, she is barely breathing. Dr. Carroll Monks works on Eden but nothing he does is helping and he has no idea what is wrong with her until he sees bruising spreading across her skin. He administers a drug in hopes of stopping the blood from clotting but she dies before the drug can take affect. His peers criticize him for his treatment protocol, but when the pathologist finds a toxin in Eden’s blood Carroll thinks she has been murdered. He starts asking too many questions and winds up almost getting killed by someone who wants attention deflected from the plastic surgeon and those who work for him.

Revolution No. 9. HarperCollins Publishers, 2005.


McMorris, Kristina.

The Edge of Lost. Kensington Books, 2015.

| setting: San Francisco, Alcatraz Island (1937) | find it |

Summary: On a cold night in October 1937, searchlights cut through the darkness around Alcatraz. A prison guard's only daughter -- one of the youngest civilians who lives on the island--has gone missing. Tending the warden's greenhouse, convicted bank robber Tommy Capello waits anxiously. Only he knows the truth about the little girl's whereabouts, and that both of their lives depend on the search's outcome. Almost two decades earlier and thousands of miles away, a young boy named Shanley Keagan ekes out a living as an aspiring vaudevillian in Dublin pubs. Talented and shrewd, Shan dreams of shedding his dingy existence and finding his real father in America. The chance finally comes to cross the Atlantic, but when tragedy strikes, Shan must summon all his ingenuity to forge a new life in a volatile and foreign world. Skillfully weaving these two stories, Kristina McMorris delivers a compelling novel that moves from Ireland to New York to San Francisco Bay. As her finely crafted characters discover the true nature of loyalty, sacrifice, and betrayal, they are forced to confront the lies we tell -- and believe -- in order to survive.


McMullen, Beth.

Original Sin : A Sally Sin Adventure. Hyperion, 2011.

| setting: San Francisco | series character: Sally Sin (Lucy Hamilton) | find it |

Summary: On the surface, Lucy Hamilton looks just like all the other stay-at-home San Francisco moms. She takes her three-year-old son, Theo, to the beach, to the playground, and to the zoo. She folds laundry and plays on the floor with Matchbox cars until her knees ache. What no one knows about Lucy, not even her adoring husband, is that for nine years Lucy was Sally Sin, a spy for the United States Agency for Weapons of Mass Destruction. And that’s just the way Lucy wants to keep it—a secret. But when Lucy’s nemesis Ian Blackford, a notorious illegal arms dealer, hits the USAWMD’s radar, the Agency calls Lucy back to action to lure Blackford out into the open. As Lucy races to unravel the mystery that surrounds Blackford’s return, she realizes that the answers she needs lie in a past she’s tried very hard to forget. With the clock ticking, Lucy must fight to save herself and her loving family—and, oh yes—the world.

To Sin Again : Another Sally Sin Adventure. Hyperion/Voice, 2012.

| setting: San Francisco | series character: Sally Sin (Lucy Hamilton) | find it | Note: Also published in an omnibus volume with Original Sin as: Spy mom : The Adventures of Sally Sin (Hyperion, 2012)


McNamara, Joseph D.

The First Directive. Crown Publishers, Inc., 1984.

Summary: Out in Silicon Valley the microchips grow as quietly as the piles of money being made by the high-tech new rich. And Adolph Stone is as rich as any of them. He’s also a slumlord and a friend of the lieutenant governor. So when his beautiful 16-year-old daughter is missing, Sergeant Fraleigh of the homicide squad and his team (the Block, the human equivalent of a tank, and Detective English, who looks like Robert Redford and suffers from bad dreams about Vietnam) are called into action … Fraleigh finds himself ensnarled in a network of relationships built on dirty money and dirty secrets, a network that reaches to the top at the state capitol and deep inside Fraleigh’s own police department...

Fatal Command. Arbor House, 1987.

Summary: Fraleigh has a new job. His old friend Louis Robinson has just been appointed chief of police of Silicon City and he wants Fraleigh as his chief of detectives. It’s a dream job in a rich, high-tech, newly incorporated boomtown. No political machine. No graft. No red tape. No such luck. Within days, Fraleigh’s been caught in the middle of a machine gun shoot-out. He’s found out the mayor snorts coke the way other politicians eat jellybeans. And he thinks he’s falling in love with a woman he met in a male strip joint. Fraleigh is in so deep it’s going to take all his best moves to survive the deadly web of corruption he’s uncovered—including high level industrial espionage, the CIA, the FBI, and too many cops and politicians who have been seduced by money, power, and sex.

The Blue Mirage. William Morrow and Company, Inc., 1990.

Summary: Fraleigh has made it to the top of the Silicon City, California, police department, but can he stay there? His first major SWAT operation was a disaster. Not only is a cop in intensive care, but a trigger-happy psychopath is at large, gunning for anyone in uniform. Fraleigh’s torrid affair with an ambitious lady politician threatens to heat up into a media bonfire. He has never felt so shaken by doubts about the job and love, and he hasn’t even walked into The Blue Mirage yet. It began as a small-time operation. The cops would run a sting out of The Blue Mirage, a phony bar and grill, and bag some neighborhood fences. But suddenly, explosively, the routine plan turns into a big-time sting involving millions of dollars in stolen bonds, murder, and local politicians, and leaving Fraleigh in a most precarious position. When the case points to New York City, Fraleigh is almost relieved to be out of Silicon City. But it’s here, in his old hometown where he was a cop on the beat, that he must confront his cop brother and the ghosts of an old scandal within the New York City Police Department.

Code 211 Blue. Fawcett Gold Medal, 1996.

Love and Death in Silicon Valley. Xlibris Corporation, 2012.

| setting: Silicon Valley | series character: Sheriff Rusty Carter | find it |

Summary: After Sheriff Rusty Carter retires, gang-bangers try to kill him. The FBI and the DEA advise him to disappear, as the Mexican drug cartels and the local Surenos have put out a contract on him. Working to find out who has marked him for death, Rusty is pondering preemptive strikes.


MacPherson, Malcolm.

Deadlock. Simon & Schuster, 1998.


MacRae, Andrew.

Murder Misdirected. Mainly Murder Press, 2012.

| setting: San Francisco | series character: Gregory Smith (The Kid) | tpo | find it |

Summary: A fortune in diamonds is missing and everyone, including the FBI and an unknown killer, is after them. They’re also after The Kid, the professional who picked the pocket of the man last seen carrying the diamonds. Kid didn’t get the diamonds, he didn’t even know about them—but he’s finding that story hard to sell. His world spirals out of control as everyone he knows becomes either a suspect or the victim of a killer who won't stop until he gets the jewels back.

Murder Miscalculated. Mainly Murder Press, 2014.

| setting: San Francisco | series character: Gregory Smith (The Kid) | tpo | find it |

Summary: Gregory Smith thought he was through with his life as a master pickpocket until an overly ambitious federal agent coerces him into returning to the street as The Kid -- or else. As a reluctant crook once again, Greg has to keep one step ahead of the law, a gang of thugs, and a tenacious hit man, not to mention dealing with an arrogant author and his publicity rep, placating his own gorgeous and pissed-off wife, and keeping an elderly friend out of jail.


McRae, Diana.

All the Muscle You Need. Spinsters/Aunt Lute, 1988.


McReynolds, Glenna.

The Dragon and the Dove. Bantam Books, 1994.


Maddren, Gerry.

The Case of the Johannisberg Riesling. Cliffhanger Press, 1988.

Summary: Is there to be no peace for Jerry Cool? The poor guy can’t even visit the Carneros wine district north of San Francisco for the eccentric Stiver family’s promotional Grape Stomp without having a nice lady turn up dead. Bad PR, that! When a second corpse appears nearby, Jerry becomes the only likely suspect for both murders. Not to worry. Help is on the way. From North Beach to Polk Street to Pacific Heights, from Nob Hill to the Tenderloin, Jerry’s old pals rally round. Or could it be that ‘help’ is not always the intent?


Maerov, Lauri.

Copycat. Signet, 1995.

| setting: San Francisco | movie novel | Hubin | pbo | find it |

Summary: A serial killer was on the loose in San Francisco. But not your ordinary savage sicko. This one was special. He called his assassinations art and paid homage to the great masters of mass murder by mirroring their methods. The Boston Strangler, Son of Sam, and Ted Bundy were just a few of his role models as he turned a computer into a deadly weapon that left no one safe and the law far behind. Only two women—Dr. Helen Hudson, a world-renowned criminologist, and Mary Jane Monahan, a tougher-than-tough female cop—could hope to stop him. But the killer welcomed their pursuit with open arms. For they would be the final trophies that would make him the most successful slayer of them all... Novelization of the 1995 film starring Sigourney Weaver and Holly Hunter, directed by Jon Amiel. Based on the screenplay by David Madsen and Anne Biderman.


Magill, Eileen.

House of Homicide. Oak Tree Press, 2015.

| setting: Santa Clara (Silicon Valley) | tpo | find it |

Summary: A young widow... Cindy Fairbank is reeling from the loss of her husband. Suddenly a single mother of two children and the sole caretaker for her aging aunt, she finds the perfect house to start anew. A house with a past... A rundown house in the Silicon Valley suburbs needs a lot of work, but Cindy is willing to take it on to get her dream house. Disclosure documents indicate that someone had died in the house, but they don't tell the whole story of the house's evil past. A call for help from beyond the grave... Cindy's dreams are invaded by a woman who shows Cindy the horrible murders that had taken place in the house. Her message to Cindy: Your family is next. When repairs on the house uncover the missing murder weapon, Cindy begins to believe that the strange woman is something more than just a dream. Using her journalism skills to research the property, the dark past of the house is revealed: a series of murders starting when the house was built more than 40 years earlier. But her meddling into the history awakens a killer's need to keep the past quiet, and Cindy is thrust into a struggle to find the killer before she and her family become the next victims.


Mailman, Erika.

Woman of Ill Fame. Heyday Books, 2006.

Summary: Nora Simms, a beautiful, young prostitute from Boston, arrives in wide-open San Francisco in 1849, intent on starting a new life. Although she is a kind, sympathetic person, this is no hooker-with-a-heart-of-gold story. The only gold Nora is interested in is what she can get out of the miners’ pants in exchange for her considerable talents. But, before she even gets off the boat, she is victimized by a galley boy who steals the trunk containing all of her clothes and the stash of gold she had earned on the voyage. Then several of her fellow “women of ill fame” fall prey to a serial killer. When Nora realizes that all of the murdered girls were in possession of an article of clothing from her stolen trunk—and that the police have very little interest in investigating—she knows that the killer must be someone close to her and that it will be up to her to find him before she, herself, ends up dead.


Maiman, Jaye.

I Left My Heart. The Naiad Press, Inc., 1991.

Summary: Robin Miller travels to San Francisco following the apparently accidental death of her former lover Mary Oswell. When Robin learns that Mary died from anaphylactic shock she is positive it was no accident. Mary was working on a secret article on her lawyer; an article that could help earn Mary a promotion and help her boss right out of a job. Robin also learns that since their separation Mary was not wasting time pining away but involved with someone that no one knew about. As Robin gets closer to learning the truth she gets distracted by the possibility of a new romance until her own life is at risk. (A.E.B.)


Mair, George.

The Jade Cat. Pyramid Books, 1974.

Summary: Lou Brick: nationally-syndicated radio commentator, investigative reporter, ladies’ man, and man of action. He is naturally suspicious of every seemingly innocent situation, which keeps him from being killed in a variety of gruesome ways. He can also take on a gang of Chinese gangsters armed with nothing but bravado and a broken shard of glass. Brick’s only known adventure begins in St. Louis, where a Chicago millionaire, Herbert Pancellus, has summoned him for a top-secret meeting. As soon as he checks into his room, a sexy-sounding woman calls him and arranges to meet him in his room. Before she arrives, he sneaks out of the room—a move that keeps him alive when, instead of a sexy woman, a large black man arrives with a bomb and blows his room to bits. Brick has his meeting with Pancellus, learns that Pancellus is being robbed and blackmailed by a shadowy group called The Jade Cat, and narrowly gets out of town alive. The Jade Cat turns out to be a secret society, with ties to Communist China, operating out of San Francisco’s Chinatown, where the bulk of the action takes place. With Pancellus’ beautiful assistant, Nancy Forsythe (whom he, naturally, does not completely trust), at his side—and with the impressive investigative resources of news radio at his disposal—Brick tracks down the leaders of The Jade Cat, finds a particularly nasty torture device, and uncovers a much bigger plot than he expected.


Maleeny, Tim.

Stealing the Dragon. Midnight Ink, 2007.

| setting: San Francisco | series character: Cape Weathers | tpo | find it |

Summary: Soon after an ancient talisman is smuggled out of Hong Kong, a container ship filled with Chinese refugees runs aground on Alcatraz, the crew murdered. The Chinese Triads suspect one of their own, a female assassin named Sally known to have a complex relationship with a San Francisco detective named Cape Weathers. But when Sally goes missing, Cape becomes the focus of the Triads’ attention, and soon the police and FBI have him on their radar. Cape quickly realizes he’s screwed if he doesn’t find out what really happened on board the ship. He seeks the aid of two neurotic cops, a drug lord, an autistic computer genius, a mayoral candidate, and a reporter with sentient hair. From there it all goes to Hell.

Beating the Babushka. Midnight Ink, 2007.

| setting: San Francisco | series character: Cape Weathers | tpo | find it |

Summary: A movie producer hurtles to his death from the top of the Golden Gate Bridge, an apparent suicide that shocks the film community and puts a two hundred million dollar production in jeopardy. His colleague, Grace, doesn't believe it was suicide and turns to private detective Cape Weathers to find the truth. To solve the case, Cape and his friend Sally--an assassin raised by the Triads--take on the Russian mob, a major movie studio, and a recalcitrant police department by enlisting the help of rogue cops, computer hackers, and an investigative journalist who just doesn't give a damn. But with a sniper on their trail, the challenge will be staying alive long enough to find out the truth.

Greasing the Piñata. Poisoned Pen Press, 2008.

| setting: San Francisco, Mexico | series character: Cape Weathers | find it |

Summary: When her father, a former U.S. senator, and brother vanish, only to turn up dead on a Mexican golf course with body parts missing, the senator's estranged daughter Rebecca hires San Francisco P.I. Cape Weathers to uncover the truth. The investigation leads from corporate boardrooms in San Francisco to drug cartel stongholds in Mexico.

Jump. Poisoned Pen Press, 2009.

| setting: San Francisco (Downtown) | series character: Sam McGowan | find it |

Summary: Sam McGowan has been retired from the San Francisco Police Department for exactly one day when Ed Lowry, the landlord of Sam’s downtown San Francisco apartment building, plummets to his death from the twentieth floor. Although it looks like a clear-cut case of suicide, nearly everyone who knew Ed—especially his tenants—seems to have a motive for wanting him dead. Sam, whose wife Marie passed away two years earlier, is a loner whose work had always prevented him from interacting with the other residents. But, he is drawn into the investigation in an unofficial capacity when his former homicide partner, Danny Rodriguez, asks him to get to know his neighbors a little better. The quirky residents of the twentieth floor include: the elderly Gail, who knows everyone and has a fondness for baking cookies; her beau Gus, who is in a lot better physical shape than his advancing years would have one believe; roommates Tamara and Shayla, who are paying their ways through medical school and law school, respectively, by hosting and starring in a soft-core porn website with a live webcam; the “Sandwich Brothers,” Larry and Jerome, who supplement their sandwich delivery service by having cornered the downtown office marijuana market; Jill, a lonely jazz singer and web designer (she built Tamara and Shayla’s site); and, Walter, an overweight B-movie producer who wants to replace Ed as Larry and Jerome’s “silent partner.” To complicate matters, the Mexican mob supplying the weed has decided that it is time to crack down on the brothers and get their full share of the profits. With no shortage of suspects—including Sam himself, who had his own reasons for hating Ed—and more dead bodies turning up, Sam tries to untangle the complicated strands that connect the neighbors to each other before he becomes a victim himself.

Boxing the Octopus. Poisoned Pen Press, 2019.

| setting: San Francisco | series character: Cape Weathers | find it |

Summary: At the height of tourist season, an armored car drives off a crowded pier and sinks to the bottom of San Francisco Bay. By the time divers find the wreck, the cash is gone and the driver has vanished. The police are convinced it's an inside job, but local merchant Vera Young, whose boyfriend drove the armored car, claims it was much more than a simple heist.  Vera swears the missing driver is innocent and wants him found before the police can throw him in jail. Private investigator Cape Weathers reluctantly takes the case but warns Vera that her boyfriend is likely guilty -- or dead. What starts as a manhunt uncovers a criminal conspiracy of money laundering, illegal drug testing, and a network of corporations willing to do anything to protect their stock price. It's a case that Cape can't get his arms around, and his relationship with Vera is getting complicated while the list of people who want him dead is getting longer.


Mallory, Roosevelt.

San Francisco Vendetta. Holloway House Publishing Company, 1974.


Mamatas, Nick.

The Last Weekend: A Novel of Zombies, Booze, and Power Tools. Night Shade Books, 2015.

| setting: San Francisco | science fiction | tpo | find it |

Summary: Vasilis "Billy" Kostopolos is a Bay Area Rust Belt refugee, failed sci-fi writer, successful barfly and, since the exceptionally American zombie apocalypse, an accomplished "driller" of reanimated corpses. There aren't many sane, well-adjusted human beings left in San Francisco, but facing the end of the world, Billy's found his vocation trepanning the undead, peddling his one and only published short story, and drinking himself to death. Things don't stay static for long. Billy discovers that both his girlfriends turn out to be homicidal revolutionaries. He collides with a gang of Berkeley scientists gone berserker. Finally, the long-awaited "Big One" shakes the foundation of San Francisco to its core, and the crumbled remains of City Hall can no longer hide the awful secret lurking deep in the basement. Can Billy unearth the truth behind America's demise and San Francisco's survival -- and will he destroy what little's left of it in the process? Is he legend, the last man, or just another sucker on the vine?


Mandell, Mark.

Butcher Block. Pinnacle Books, 1982.


Maney, Mabel.

The Case of the Not-So-Nice Nurse. Cleis Press, 1993.


Manor, Jason. [Oakley Hall]

Too Dead to Run. The Viking Press, 1953.


Mann, Avery. [Bruce J. Janigian]

Angel Landing. Dog Ear Publishing, 2013.

| setting: Marin County | series character: Mark Jamison | tpo | find it |


Manthorne, Jackie.

Final Take. Gynergy, 1996.


Maravelis, Peter, ed.

San Francisco Noir. Akashic Books, 2005.

Summary: Welcome to a peninsula of broken dreams, shattered lives, and deadly liaisons.” In this anthology of short hard-boiled crime fiction each original story is tied to a specific San Francisco location. Authors and locations include: Domenic Stansberry (North Beach); David Corbett (Hunter’s Point); Sin Soracco (Russian River); Barry Gifford (The Bayview); Kate Braverman (Fisherman’s Wharf); Alvin Lu (Chinatown); Michelle Tea (Bernal Heights); Alejandro Murguía (The Mission); Peter Plate (Market Street); Will Christopher Baer (The Castro); Jim Nisbet (Golden Gate Bridge); Jon Longhi (Haight-Ashbury); Robert Mailer Anderson (The Richmond); Eddie Muller (South of Market); and David Henry Sterry (Polk Gulch).

San Francisco Noir 2: The Classics. Akashic Books, 2009.


Marcus, Daniel.

Burn Rate. Apodis Publishing, Inc., 2009.

| setting: East Bay; New York | tpo | find it |


Mariotte, Jeff.

Mirror Image. Simon Pulse, 2003. [based on the television series Charmed, created by Constance M. Burge]

Survival of the Fittest. Simon Spotlight Entertainment, 2004. [based on the television series Charmed, created by Constance M. Burge]


Marko, Zekial. [see Trinian, John]


Marlow, John Robert.

Nano. Forge, 2004.

Summary: During a press conference an assassin kills multi-billionaire Mitchell Swain just prior to his announcing an incredible technological-scientific breakthrough that allegedly will change humanity forever. Technology reporter Jennifer Rayne sees the murder first hand. She investigates the murder to learn what Swain was about to reveal. Jennifer’s inquiries take her to a weird recluse, scientific inventor John Marrek, who quietly received funding for his projects from the dead Swain. However, others, including the government, follow the same clues that led Jennifer to Marrek. These groups want the journalist dead and the recluse captured or dead. However, Marrek uses his invention, a self-replicating nanotechnologically-based machine that destroys his foes on the molecular level. As Marrek and Jennifer flee, the government follows. They want to use his invention as the ultimate weapon while he wants to help mankind. Marrek and the government eventually face off in the Bay Area, with the city of San Francisco caught in the crossfire.


Marlowe, Dan J.

Operation Drumfire. Fawcett Publications, Inc., 1972.

| setting: San Francisco | series character: Earl Drake (6) | pbo | find it |

Summary: Somewhere in the back alleys of San Francisco, a bunch of freaked-out fanatics had been triggered into a plot so fantastic as to stun the imagination. What's more, the deal was being bankrolled by somebody right in the government's very own secret defense organization. There was one way to pry loose the key to the lethal conspiracy. Drake didn't like it, but it was the way to save innocent lives -- like Hazel's. Who could get next to the man with the answers? Hazel.

Operation Checkmate. Fawcett Publications, Inc., 1972.

| setting: San Francisco; Taiwan | series character: Earl Drake (7) | pbo | find it |

Summary: When Hazel, Drake's gorgeous redhead, told him that she was going to accompany the lovely Chen Yi all the way from San Francisco to Taiwan for the reading of a will, the journey seemed innocent enough. Drake figured he'd go along just for the ride. Some ride. Before it even started a ghastly triple murder involving high-ranking Chinese and American diplomats exploded onto the front pages. Drake didn't know the killings concerned him. Not yet. He would find out soon enough. In a way he would never forget.


Marlowe, Derek.

Somebody’s Sister. Jonathan Cape, 1974; The Viking Press, 1974.

Summary: Walter Brackett, a transplanted English private eye now living in San Francisco, investigates the death of a young girl, her life cut short when her car crashes into the girders of the Golden Gate Bridge. Brackett soon realizes that the wrecked car wasn’t hers -- she was too young to be driving. Then the only witness to the “accident” is murdered. Who was this young girl, and was her death really an accident?


Marquand, John P.

Stopover: Tokyo. Little, Brown, 1957.


Marsh, Carole.

The Ghost of the Golden Gate Bridge. Gallopade International/Carole Marsh Books, 2008.

| setting: San Francisco | series: Real kids, real places 24 | juvenile | find it |


Martel, John.

Partners. Bantam Books, 1988.

Conflicts of Interest. Pocket Books, 1995.

Summary: A small-town lawyer’s attempt at big time. He obtains a job with a prestigious San Francisco law firm, but his probationary period ends in dismissal when he steps on vested interests. He will have another chance, though, in a lawsuit against the U.S. Air Force.

The Alternate. Dutton, 1999.

Summary: In San Francisco, a woman prosecutor and a man defense lawyer face off in the case of a former congressman accused of murdering his wife. What neither realizes is their strategies will be upset by an alternate juror—a woman with her own agenda.

The American Lawyer. Vantage Point, 2012.

| setting: San Francisco; Guatemala | find it |

Summary: Jesse Hall is a 29 year-old lawyer who grew up in poverty and learned about injustice first hand. Upon graduation, he picked Caldwell & Shaw, a preeminent San Francisco silk-stocking firm, determined to learn about the use and abuse of power, then build a war chest, enter politics, and fight for the disadvantaged. The firm sends Jesse to Guatemala to vet the local lawyer defending the son of C&S’s biggest client, Calvin (Cal) Covington. Young Kevin is accused of murdering a popular Guatemalan human rights advocate, Marisa Andrade. Jesse is to ensure that the local lawyer is the very best and to find a replacement if he’s not. The case seems simple enough, which is just when things begin to go awry. Jesse quickly sees that the man is incompetent, and when no other local lawyer will take the case, he has no choice but to take it on himself, aided paradoxically by the victim’s own husband, Teodoro Andrade, an elderly alcoholic law professor. Teo believes Marisa was killed under orders of the current VP and Presidential candidate, Victor Carano, her prime journalistic target, and that Carano has framed young Kevin Covington. Teo wants revenge, so agrees to help the American lawyer reveal the truth. Together, this odd couple will take on drug lords, corrupt judges, murderers, the government—and their own fully justified fears and self-doubts.


Martin, Eric B.

Winners. MacAdam/Cage, 2004.


Martin, Kenneth.

Billy's Brother. Gay Men's Press, 1989.


Martin, William.

Bound for Gold. Forge, 2018.

| setting: San Francisco | series character: Peter Fallon | bibliomystery | find it |

Summary: Boston rare-book dealer Peter Fallon and his girlfriend, Evangeline Carrington, are headed to California, where their search for a lost journal takes them into the history of Gold Rush. The journal follows young James Spencer, of the Sagamore Mining Company, on a spectacular journey from staid Boston, up the Sacramento River to the Mother Lode. During his search for a "lost river of gold," Spencer confronts vengeance, greed, and racism in himself and others, and builds one of California's first mercantile empires. In the present, Peter Fallon's son asks his father for help appraising the rare books in the Spencer estate and reconstructing Spencer's seven-part journal, which has been stolen from the California Historical Society. Peter and Evangeline head for modern San Francisco and quickly discover that there's something much bigger and more dangerous going on, and Peter's son is in the middle of it. Turns out, that lost river of gold may be more than a myth. Past and present intertwine as two stories of the eternal struggle for power and wealth become one.


Martini, Steve.

The Simeon Chamber. Donald I. Fine, 1988.


Maslakovic, Neve.

Regarding Ducks and Universes. AmazonEncore, 2010.

| setting: San Francisco (Future, 2021) | series character: Felix Sayers | tpo | find it |

Summary: On a foggy Monday in 1986, the universe suddenly, without warning, bifurcated. Fast-forward to 35 years later: Felix Sayers is a culinary writer living in San Francisco of Universe A, who spends his days lunching at Coconut Cafe and dreaming of penning an Agatha Christie-style mystery. But everything changes when his Aunt Henrietta dies, leaving Felix a photograph of his father and himself—dated ten days before Felix was born. It can only mean one thing: Felix has an ‘alter’ in Universe B. Panicked that his mystery novel may exist already, Felix crosses to San Francisco B and proceeds to flagrantly violate the rules of both worlds by snooping around his alter’s life. But when he narrowly escapes a hit-and-run, it becomes clear that someone knows he’s crossed over ... and whoever it is isn’t happy about it. Now Felix must uncover the truth about his alter, the events of one Monday, and a wayward rubber duck before his time in both worlds runs out.


Massey, Sujata.

The Samurai’s Daughter. HarperCollins, 2003.

Summary: Antiques dealer Rei Shimura is in San Francisco visiting her parents and researching a personal project to trace the story of 100 years of Japanese decorative arts through her own family’s history. But Rei’s work is interrupted by the arrival of her long-distance boyfriend, lawyer Hugh Glendinning, who is involved in a class action lawsuit on behalf of people forced to engage in slave labor for Japanese companies during World War II. Suddenly, when one of Hugh’s clients is murdered, their two projects intertwine. Before long, Rei uncovers troubling facts about her own family’s actions during the war. As she starts to unravel the truth and search for a killer, the notions of family ties and loyalty take on an entirely new meaning.


Masterton, Graham.

Master of Lies. Tom Doherty Associates, 1992.


Matera, Lia.

Where Lawyers Fear to Tread. Bantam Books, 1987.

Summary: Lefty law student Willa Jansson is thrust into the position of editor-in-chief of her law review when fellow student Susan Green, who had been editor, is found murdered at her desk. The suspects include the other editors, several members of the faculty, a prominent alumna, and Willa herself. When two more members of the editorial staff end up dead, Willa and fellow editor Larry Tchielowicz determine to find the killer before they suffer the same fate. The novel is set in the fictional “Malhousie Law School” near San Francisco’s Civic Center. Malhousie is an obvious stand-in for Hastings College of the Law, author Matera’s alma mater (where she was also editor of the Constitutional Law Review).

A Radical Departure. Bantam Books, 1988.

Summary: Working for a San Francisco law firm, Willa Jansson thought she’d seen everything. Then her boss dies from hemlock poisoning. Things go from awful to outrageous when Willa’s mother, a former client of the deceased, is suspiciously named in his will to inherit his fantastic home in the hills. Poking into the recent past and the apolitical present, Willa fishes out an old boyfriend she’d rather forget, a cop she hates on principle, and a famous law firm that can barely make ends meet. It’s a pretty good catch for a first-year associate ... considering someone is trying to kill her.

The Smart Money. Bantam Books, 1988.

Summary: San Francisco attorney Laura Di Palma made a name for herself by successfully defending Wallace Bean, a man who had gunned down two conservative senators. He was found not guilty by reason of insanity and served a minimal sentence in a state mental facility. Now she has taken a leave of absence from her career at one of the city’s most prestigious law firms to return to her northern California hometown. She is still bitter over her failed marriage and, with the help of her cousin Hal and San Francisco PI Sander (Sandy) Arkelett, is determined to exact revenge on her ex-husband by ruining his career. Before she can set her plan in motion, Bean shows up at Laura’s door. When he turns up dead later that night—shot in the back of the head execution-style—Laura is forced to shift her energy toward catching a killer before he catches her.

Hidden Agenda. Bantam Books, 1988.

The Good Fight. Simon & Schuster, 1990.

Prior Convictions. Simon & Schuster, 1991.

A Hard Bargain. Simon & Schuster, 1992.

Face Value. Simon & Schuster, 1993.

Designer Crimes. Simon & Schuster, 1995.

Summary: Lawyer Laura Di Palma investigates an unusual vigilante operation in San Francisco. Employees unable to obtain recourse through regular channels can seek redress from “designer crimes,” the punishment tailored to fit the offending employer.

Last Chants. Simon & Schuster, 1996.

Summary: San Francisco lawyer Willa Jansson stages a phony kidnapping with herself in the role of hostage to permit a falsely accused friend to escape from police. But now they have to evade the real killer.

Star Witness. Simon & Schuster, 1997.

Summary: In San Francisco, lawyer Willa Jansson undertakes to defend a man who claims, not he but spacemen crashed his car into another, killing the driver. The man’s explanation stops being a joke when a hitchhiker corroborates the presence of a UFO.

Havana Twist. Simon & Schuster, 1998.

Summary: San Francisco attorney Willa Jansson’s mother has never balked at breaking the law, especially not for a good cause. So when Willa learns her mother has flouted federal regulations and gone off to Cuba, she figures it’s just a harmless pilgrimage to lefty Graceland. But when her mother doesn’t return with the rest of her peacenik tour group, Willa fears the feds might consider the trip “trading with the enemy”—with a penalty of ten years in prison and a $100,000 fine. Worse, her mother’s bleeding heart may finally have gotten her into more trouble than she can get herself out of. Willa risks her career and passport by rushing to Cuba to retrace her mother’s steps. But she finds that nothing there is quite as it seems. Following clues to neighborhoods tourists never see, through secret tunnels beneath the street, and into the finest luxury hotels, Willa is manipulated, misled, and nearly arrested. And in the meantime, newfound reporter friends—or are they CIA agents? —disappear as suddenly and inexplicably as her mother did. Soon the U.S. State Department, the Cuban Interior Ministry, and Willa’s old flame, San Francisco Homicide Lieutenant Don Surgelato, get into the act. But politics and police work are a poor substitute for those things only a daughter would know. So, in a deadly game of cat and mouse, Willa follows her mother’s trail from Havana to Mexico City, from California back to Havana...all the while keeping barely one step ahead of two angry governments and at least one ruthless killer.

Counsel for the Defense and Other Stories. Five Star, 2000.

| setting: San Francisco | series characters: Willa Jansson; Laura Di Palma | short stories | find it |


Mathes, Charles.

The Girl Who Remembered Snow. St. Martin’s Press, 1996.

Summary: After her grandfather is shot in an apparent mugging, San Francisco magician Emma Passant buries his ashes at sea. On the boat she meets a French antique dealer who is killed a few days later by the same gun. Emma decides to get to the bottom of the mystery, her probe taking her to Paris.


Matlack, W. H.

Dronefire. Solstice Publishing, 2016.

| setting: San Francisco | tpo | find it |

Summary: Young SFPD detective, Martin Brenner, and his mentor, a schizophrenic, forcibly retired detective, puzzle over the mysterious death of a woman in a dark alley in San Francisco. All the evidence points to an accidental fall in the alley, not an assault or attempted murder, so Brenner is ordered to close the case. But mysterious markings left at the scene and other compelling evidence point to a much broader case than just the accidental death of a young woman.


Matlock, Mona.

On the Edge of the Fault. Vici Publishing, 2001.


Mavity, Nancy Barr.

The Tule Marsh Murder. Published for the Crime Club by Doubleday, Doran, 1929.

Summary: Suffering cats! James Aloysius “Peter” Piper, ace reporter for the Herald, is drawn into the mystery surrounding a woman found murdered in the marsh near El Cerrito. The body has been burned beyond recognition, but bears a striking similarity to Sheila (O’Shay) Ellsworth, the missing wife of millionaire Don Ellsworth. Also on the case is Dr. Cavanaugh, a famous psychiatrist who has made a hobby of analysis of the criminal mind and is a frequent consultant for the police and expert witness in murder trials. Bigamy, amnesia, and conspiracy all come into play before Peter stumbles into the shocking conclusion and uncovers the killer.

The Body on the Floor. Published for the Crime Club by Doubleday, Doran, 1929.

Summary: By jiminy! A woman found dead in the kitchen of her ranch house in the village of Medbury, a short distance from the city, draws Herald reporter Peter Piper into the strange circumstances surrounding her death. Jealousy, revenge, psychological abuse, and bootlegging combine to make Peter doubt the police and coroner’s jury verdict—based on evidence including a detailed discussion of blood spatter trajectories—that rules it a suicide. Aided by cub reporter Jerry Dean, who is in love with the dead woman’s daughter, and his wife Barbara, Peter continues to investigate, solves the mystery, and earns himself a front-page byline.

The Other Bullet. Published for the Crime Club by Doubleday, Doran, 1930.

Summary: My—aunt—Maria! Hard-boiled, yet sentimental, Herald reporter Peter Piper and his wife Barbara go to the village of Hangtown in the Sierra foothills for a much-deserved vacation. On their first day there, a body turns up with two bullets in it. Aline Everett, the aloof wife of a local irrigation engineer, admits shooting the victim—but she swears she only shot him once. Peter calls in famed consulting criminologist Emil Kurtner to help out with the evidence. After Kurtner provides expert testimony about ballistics and chemistry, Aline is acquitted and all of the other newspapers consider the story put to bed. Peter is not satisfied, however, and continues to investigate back in the city. With help from a petty crook doing time in San Quentin and a lonely, keen-eyed old lady living in a mansion in Piedmont, Peter finally puts all the pieces together and figures out who fired the other bullet.

The Case of the Missing Sandals. Published for the Crime Club by Doubleday, Doran, 1930.

Summary: For the love of Mike! When the beautiful, charismatic, and mysterious Luna, leader of a witchcraft cult in the East Bay hills, is murdered, Herald reporter Peter Piper (who had interviewed Luna the day before her death) is drawn into the mystery of her death. With the help of Jackson—an old, blind, black man who is the gatekeeper of Luna Colony and can identify people by the sound of their footsteps—Peter uncovers more motives and suspects than he knows what to do with. The evidence is no help either: a smudged fingerprint, a batch of love letters, a rifle too old and worn to leave any identifying marks on the bullet, and a barefoot corpse. It’s not until he does some independent research into the occult that the significance of the missing shoes—and the true motive—becomes clear.

The man who didn’t mind hanging. Published for the Crime Club by Doubleday, Doran, 1932.

Summary: When San Francisco millionaire philanthropist Gabriel Jeffries is found murdered, the police announce that they have solved the crime—and have arrested the perpetrator—in just three hours. What appears to be an open-and-shut case against Jeffries’ Chinese servant Sing Wong (who also holds a Ph.D. from UC Berkeley) attracts the attention of three men: Fon Ng Chee, leader of San Francisco’s Chinese colony; Sam Hardwicke, brilliant, young, publicity-seeking defense attorney; and Peter Piper, crime reporter for the Herald. Together, the three set out to gain an acquittal for Sing Wong, who refuses to defend himself and claims to be prepared for any punishment that might come his way. As Peter investigates the circumstantial evidence against Sing Wong, which includes three cigarettes, a misplaced money box, and a mysterious stab wound, the details about Jeffries’ treatment of those closest to him begin to surface, showing that just about everyone Jeffries came into contact with had a motive to kill him—except Sing Wong.

The fate of Jane McKenzie. Published for the Crime Club by Doubleday, Doran, 1933.

Summary: King Charles’s head! Peter Piper, star reporter for the Herald, has been taken off the crime beat to cover a total eclipse of the sun, which has been attracting astronomers and the curious public to the top of Jane McKenzie’s mountain. Jane McKenzie is the tough-minded, domineering matriarch of the wealthy McKenzie family and when she disappears during the eclipse, Peter is on the spot to cover the story. After her body is discovered in a ravine—with a fatal head wound—everyone is a suspect in her murder: her eccentric family, a desperate astronomer, a reclusive novelist, and a gang of bootleggers running an illegal still on the mountain.


Maxwell, A. E.

Just Another Day in Paradise. Doubleday, 1985.

Gatsby’s Vineyard. Doubleday, 1987.


Maylon, B. J. [Barney Mayes and Joan London]

The Corpse With Knee Action. Phoenix Press, 1940.

| setting: San Francisco | find it |


Maynard, Joyce.

After Her. William Morrow, 2013.

| setting: Marin County (1979) | find it |

Summary: Marin County, California, summer, 1979. When young women start turning up dead on the mountain behind the home of Rachel and her devoted eleven-year-old sister, Patty, their father—a larger-than-life, irresistibly handsome (and chronically unfaithful) detective—is put in charge of finding the ‘Sunset Strangler.’ Watching her father’s life slowly unravel as months pass and more women are killed, Rachel embarks on a dangerous game to catch the killer. Her actions will destroy her father’s career and alter forever the lives of everyone she loves. Thirty years later, believing that the wrong man was arrested for the crimes, leaving the true killer at large, Rachel constructs a new strategy to smoke out the Sunset Strangler and vindicate her father—and discovers more than she bargained for. Loosely inspired by the Trailside Killer case.


Melinek, Judy, and T.J. Mitchell.

First Cut. Hanover Square Press, 2020.

| setting: San Francisco | series character: Jessie Teska | find it |

Summary: For San Francisco's newest medical examiner, Dr. Jessie Teska, it was supposed to be a fresh start. A new job in a new city. A way to escape her own dark past. Instead she faces a chilling discovery when an opioid-overdose case contains hints of something more sinister. Jessie's superiors urge her to close the case, but as more bodies land on her autopsy table, she uncovers a constellation of deaths that point to an elaborate plot involving drug dealers and Bitcoin brokers. Autopsy means "see for yourself," and Jessie Teska won't stop until she has seen it all--even if it means that the next corpse on the table could be her own.

Aftershock. Hanover Square Press, 2021.

| setting: San Francisco | series character: Jessie Teska | find it |

Summary: There's a body crushed under a load of pipes on a San Francisco construction site, and medical examiner Dr. Jessie Teska is on call. So it's her job to figure out who it is -- and her headache when the autopsy reveals that the death is a homicide staged as an accident. Jessie is hot on the murderer's trail, then an earthquake sends her and her whole city reeling. When the dust clears, her case has fallen apart and an innocent man is being framed. Jessie knows she's the only one who can prove it, and she races to piece together the truth -- before it gets buried and brings her down in the rubble.


Mencher, Brooks.

The Yarn Woman. Early Morning Press, 2014.

| setting: San Francisco | series character: Ruth M (Yarn Woman Mystery 1) | find it |

Summary: She lives above a retired Art Deco theater in San Francisco's Sunset District with an old long-haired cat, her harpsichord and enough yarn to fill a railroad car. The police call her their Yarn Woman. Her specialty is the forensic study of textiles. But they ask for her help with some trepidation because they know that whatever crime she's unraveling for them comes with a lot of knots and baggage. And ghosts. There are always the ghosts. A collection of three novellas.

The Rusalka Wheel. Early Morning Press, 2017.

| setting: San Francisco (Chinatown) | series character: Ruth M (Yarn Woman Mystery 3) | find it |

Summary: Helen Oliver discovers an unusual spinning wheel in a Chinatown alley shop. Though the light is poor and the wheel is obscured by a mountain of antique furniture, it seems strangely familiar. She takes a few photos with her cell phone, and tries to buy it with what little money she has. When Helen mysteriously disappears, all that can be found is her purse and phone, discarded amid the trash along San Francisco's northern piers. Realizing the photos are the only clue to San Francisco's latest serial killings, Police Detective William Chu turns to textile forensics consultant Ruth M, the Yarn Woman, to help identify the wheel and the shop. As Chu pursues the Pier Killer through San Francisco's Chinatown and port districts, Ruth's own investigation into the rare spinning wheel carries her to the roots of Slavic mythology. Legend and history interweave as Ruth peels back the centuries like pages in a book until at last she connects centuries-old myth to modern murder.


Menkes, John H.

The Angry Puppet Syndrome. Demos Medical Publishing, Inc., 1999.

| setting: Various places, including: San Francisco; Stinson Beach | find it |

Summary: From the moment Dr. Dan Lerner discovers a bizarre behavior pattern, he is plunged into a maelstrom. Patient after patient is experiencing violent outbursts for no apparent reason. And they all feel manipulated by a sinister force. As he tries to diagnose and treat ‘The Angry Puppet Syndrome,’ he is drawn along a terrifying path. He confronts not only a hit-and-run killing and anonymous threatening phone calls, but also murder and suicide. How do his patients figure in a web of deceit and lies involving a major pharmaceutical company? How could they tip the scales of justice in a legal case that is being conducted by Dan’s lover, Maureen? It is not until Dan unearths a long-hidden secret about his own past and Maureen is kidnapped that he learns the truth about a so-called genius on the staff of the university hospital and a deadly conspiracy.


Merrick, Mollie.

Mysterious Mr. Frame. Ives Washburn, Inc., 1938.


Mersereau, John.

Murder Loves Company. J.B. Lippincott Company, 1940.

| setting: San Francisco | Baird & Greenwood 1708; Herron; Hubin | find it |

Summary: James Yeats Biddle is the youngest professor at the University of California, Berkeley. His specialty is horticulture and he is responsible for the ancient olive trees that have been transplanted on Treasure Island for the 1939 San Francisco World’s Fair, the Golden Gate Exposition. While driving across the Bay Bridge in the company of beautiful Kay Ritchie, girl-reporter for the San Francisco Sun-Telegraph, James narrowly avoids a head-on collision with a car being “driven” by two dead Japanese gardeners. Although he is uncomfortable around pretty young women and wants nothing to do with a murder investigation, James reluctantly finds himself involved with both when the police discover that the dead men had been working with the olive trees. A tale of herbicide and homicide.


Messel, Greg.

Last of the Seals. Sunbreaks Press, 2012.

| setting: San Francisco (1957) | series character: Sam Slater | tpo | find it |

Summary: The year is 1957 in San Francisco. Sam Slater is a lifetime minor league baseball player for the San Francisco Seals. The Seals have just one more season left as San Francisco is about to become a major league city. The Giants are coming to town in 1958 and the Seals will be displaced. Sam has come to the end of his baseball career and is going to join the private detective agency of his best friend. When his friend is brutally murdered, Sam must go it alone and try to find out why. Along the way he is swept off of his feet by a beautiful Elvis-obsessed TWA stewardess named Amelia Ryan. Sam and Amelia try to unravel the mystery together. Sam’s best friend, Jimmy inadvertently saw something he shouldn’t have. Sam and Amelia have pictures in their possession that have crime families in San Francisco and Chicago very worried. Then a young woman Sam has been searching for is found dead on the beach. Suddenly, Sam and Amelia find themselves in danger. On dark and foggy San Francisco nights, trouble is lurking just around the next corner.

Deadly Plunge. Sunbreaks Press, 2012.

| setting: San Francisco (1958), Golden Gate Bridge | series character: Sam Slater | tpo | find it |

Summary: Set in 1958, baseball player-turned-private investigator Sam Slater is hired to find out why a rich, politically well-connected, San Francisco man, Arthur Bolender, suddenly ended his life by plunging off of the Golden Gate Bridge. All those who know Arthur say unequivocally that he did not commit suicide. However, Bolender’s body was found floating in San Francisco Bay and, his car was abandoned in the traffic lane of the bridge. Meanwhile, Sam’s romance with glamorous TWA stewardess Amelia Ryan continues to blossom and deepen. She is now his secret fiancée. Amelia also eagerly helps Sam solve his cases when she’s in town. The key to unraveling the mystery seems to be a strange old Victorian-style house. Bolender’s widow, a rich, seductive socialite named Maggie Bolender, was not even aware that her husband owned the house. What is really going on behind the doors of the mysterious house? Finding the answers will plunge Sam and Amelia into a dangerous world of political intrigue....

San Francisco Secrets. Sunbreaks Press, 2013.

| setting: San Francisco (1958) | series character: Sam Slater | tpo | find it |

Summary: As the spring of 1958 arrives in San Francisco, it seems that baseball player turned private eye, Sam Slater and his fiancée, TWA stewardess Amelia Ryan, are surrounded by people who have secrets. A prominent doctor, John O’Dell is being blackmailed by someone who has discovered a dark secret from his past. When the private investigator trying to catch the blackmailer is murdered, Dr. O’Dell hires Sam Slater to try to pick up the pieces. Someone is playing for keeps and will do anything to protect their own secrets. Meanwhile, Amelia begins her new job as an international stewardess which takes her on adventures to New York City, London, Paris and Rome. In hot pursuit is a womanizing older pilot who has his sights set on Amelia. Matters are made even more complicated when a mysterious woman from Sam’s past returns. Sam and Amelia’s relationship will be tested as they work together to solve the mystery on the foggy streets of San Francisco.

Fog City Strangler. Sunbreaks Press, 2013.

| setting: San Francisco (1958); Stinson Beach | series character: Sam Slater | tpo |

Summary: As 1958 nears an end San Francisco is being terrorized by a man who calls himself the ‘Fog City Strangler,’ who preys on pretty young blonde women. The strangler announces each murder by sending a note and piece of the victim’s clothing to the local newspapers. Angst mounts as the strangler continues to claim more victims. Private eye Sam Slater is worried that the Fog City Strangler may be eyeing his beautiful blonde wife, TWA stewardess Amelia Ryan. His anxiety is further fueled when TWA launches an advertising campaign with Amelia’s picture on a series of billboards plastered all over the city. Sam fears the billboards may attract too much attention—the wrong kind of attention. Meanwhile, Sam and Amelia are hired to try to find the missing daughter of a wealthy dowager who fears she has lost her only child. The missing woman went for a walk with her dog on Stinson Beach, near San Francisco, and seemingly vanished into thin air. The woman’s husband arrived at their beach house and found the dog running loose but there was no trace of his wife. The police are stumped in their investigation. As Sam and Amelia look into the disappearance of the woman on the beach they discover that nothing is as it seems at first glance. On a stormy night a shadowy figure sets fire to the beach house where the couple is staying—hoping to stop their investigation.

Shadows in the Fog. Sunbreaks Press, 2014.

| setting: San Francisco (1959; Chinatown) | series character: Sam Slater | tpo | find it |

Summary: The story begins on a stormy morning in February of 1959. The front page of the morning paper is dominated by news of the plane crash which killed rock ‘n roll stars Buddy Holly, the Big Bopper and Richie Valens. Private eye Sam Slater is hired to perform what he thinks is a routine two-day job as a favor for a friend. However, it all goes terribly wrong when a young San Francisco policeman is gunned down while sitting in a parked car with Sam. The murder sets off a chain of events which will pull Sam and his wife and partner, Amelia, into a dangerous web of intrigue in the dark, shadowy alleys and back rooms of San Francisco’s Chinatown. In the winter of 1959, Amelia resigns as a TWA stewardess and is now Sam’s full-time partner in the private eye business. Sam and Amelia inadvertently come in conflict with the San Francisco mob boss after helping a crusading newspaper reporter who is working to expose corruption in Chinatown. Now a mysterious dark car follows the Slaters everywhere they go. Sam and Amelia discover a hidden world of corrupt cops, gambling parlors, brothels and human trafficking exists right under their noses. At the same time, a rising California politician hires Sam and Amelia to find his daughter who disappeared without a trace three years earlier. The search is prompted by the sudden appearance of a letter from the woman, who was presumed dead. As Sam and Amelia pursue these cases, they discover that all the clues lead them back to Chinatown. The Slaters want to avoid taking on the San Francisco crime lords head-on. However, when Amelia is kidnapped in an alley during the Chinese New Year’s celebration, Sam plunges himself into danger desperately searching Chinatown to find her before it’s too late.


Michaels, Jesse.

Whispering Bodies: A Roy Belkin Disaster. Soft Skull Press, 2013.

| setting: San Francisco | series character: Roy Belkin | tpo | find it |

Summary: Meet Roy Belkin, a reclusive man, Internet troll, and neurotic ritualist who must begin each day with the task he calls The Service: visiting Christian chatrooms to reply to users’ innocent questions with mocking answers. At forty-seven and balding, with mild agoraphobia, Belkin is a man without direction. He rarely leaves his apartment (he refers to the outside world as The Pounding), and when he must leave, he meticulously recounts the day in his Thunder Book, a journal where he lists all that repulsed him that day. But everything changes the day Belkin returns to his apartment to find the building ablaze, and learns about the suspected murder of the apartment building’s maintenance man. As police question him, Belkin meets the mysterious Pernice Balfour, the alluring, religiously obsessed neighbor accused of the crime. And soon, Belkin has no choice but to come out of his shell (and his apartment) to try to clear her name. But the more that Belkin investigates, the less clear things become. Wandering through San Francisco’s seedy Tenderloin district, Belkin begins to unravel the truth behind the murder, and along the way, he encounters a bizarre series of characters and situations, including a ‘pansexual’ crime-scene photographer, an idiot detective, and an all-knowing government operative.


Michaels, Melisa C.

Through the Eyes of the Dead. Walker Publishing Company, 1988.

| setting: San Francisco | series character: Aileen Douglass | Hubin | find it |

Summary: Chalk it up to the heat...or to hormones, but when San Francisco P.I. Aileen Douglass catches the sexy young Gypsy man trying to hot-wire her car, she doesn’t call the cops. Instead she gives him a lift into Oakland...and lands herself in a twisted case of murder. Nick inhabits the strange world of the Romany, a dangerous one, as Aileen learns, when she stumbles across a dead fortune-teller, then dodges a hail of bullets. Next, Aileen’s only paying client—a jilted fiancé searching for his missing bride—is murdered, her office ransacked and her partner drugged, and she discovers these cases are connected...by a missing $100,000. Tough and resourceful, but a sucker for a gorgeous young man in distress, Aileen’s got more than a professional interest in the case. Luckily love—unlike murder—isn’t fatal.... She hopes.

Cold Iron. Roc, 1997.

| setting: San Francisco | series character: Rosalynd (Rosie) Lavine | fantasy | pbo | find it |

Summary: California P.I. Rosie Lavine thinks she’s seen it all. Been there, done that, didn’t bother to buy the t-shirt. So, when she’s hired to protect Jorandel, charismatic lead singer of the elfrock band Cold Iron, Rosie thinks it will be an easy ride. Even their wild-living reputation doesn’t do more than annoy her. But Cold Iron is more than a bunch of spoiled elves playing guitars, no matter how talented. Behind the Fairie magic of their music are dark secrets a mere human like Rosie may find hard to understand. And unless she pulls off an amazing performance of her own, those secrets have the power to destroy Jorandel, Cold Iron—and Rosie herself.

Sister to the Rain. Roc, 1998.

| setting: San Francisco | series character: Rosalynd (Rosie) Lavine | fantasy | pbo | find it |

Summary: The last time P.I. Rosie Lavine got involved with elves, she almost didn’t survive. This time the case seems much simpler: investigate strange noises and petty disturbances occurring at a secluded mixed-race artists’ colony in the California hills. For Rose and her partner, Shannon, uncovering the identity of the Trouble is a priority—until a human is killed and the stakes are suddenly raised. Now they must uncover the secrets of this seemingly peaceful enclave. Secrets that could land them right in the middle of an elven revolution!


Michelson, Miriam.

A Yellow Journalist. D. Appleton and Company, 1905.

Summary: The adventures of Rhoda Massey, girl reporter for the News, the “biggest and yellowest paper in San Francisco.” In her pursuit of scandal, Miss Massey covers several interconnected stories, including gambling and white slavery in Chinatown, political corruption, bribery, and murder cases. Her unscrupulous methods, and the fact that she is a woman, make her very good at her job. She rises up the ranks from reporter to City Editor (the first woman to hold such a post) to membership in the Ex-City Editors Club when she refuses to obey the proprietor’s orders to sell out the paper’s editorial integrity.


Millar, Kenneth. [see also Macdonald, Ross]

The Three Roads. Alfred A. Knopf, 1948.


Millar, Margaret.

The Listening Walls. Random House, 1959.


Miller, John, and Tim Smith, eds.

San Francisco Thrillers: True Crimes and Dark Mysteries from the City by the Bay. Chronicle Books, 1995.

Summary: The first anthology of mysteries and thrillers set in the City by the Bay.” Includes short stories (Bill Pronzini, Dashiell Hammett, Joe Gores, Ambrose Bierce, and Marcia Muller), excerpts from novels (Jim Thompson’s Ironside, Mabel Maney’s The Case of the Not-So-Nice Nurse, John Lantigua’s Heat Lightning, and Gloria White’s Murder on the Run), a scene from Alfred Hitchcock’s film Vertigo, true crime accounts by Hildegarde Teilhet (Theo Durrant case, 1895) and Oscar Lewis (J. Milton Bowers case, 1885), and a vignette by Mark Twain. Illustrated with historical photographs by Francis Bruguiére.


Miller, John A.

Cutdown. Pocket Books, 1997.

Causes of Action. Pocket Books, 1999.

Summary: In San Francisco, lawyer Claude McCutcheon joins a woman FBI agent to search for a war buddy among the burnt-out Vietnam War veterans living as street people. The buddy, who is a computer engineer, is being pursued by killers for a disk in his possession.


Miller, Marc. [Marceil Genéc Kolstad Baker]

The Plaid Shroud. Arcadia House, 1957.

Death is a Liar. Arcadia House, 1959.

Room, Board and Death. Arcadia House, 1960.

| setting: San Francisco | find it |


Miller, Michelle.

The Underwriting. G.P. Putnam's Sons, 2015.

| setting: Silicon Valley; Stanford University | find it |

Summary: The Social Network meets The Wolf of Wall Street in The Underwriting, as it takes you behind closed doors into a post-recession world of sex scandals, power plays, and underhanded dealings. Todd Kent is young, hot, and on his way to the top of Wall Street when the eccentric founder of Hook, the popular new dating app, handpicks him to lead its IPO. Given just two months to pull it off, Todd and his investment banking team--brainy Neha, party-boy Beau, and old college flame Tara Taylor -- race to close the $14 billion deal of the decade. It's the chance of a lifetime for Tara, too, who sees her opportunity to break through the glass ceiling and justify six years of sacrifices for her career. But nothing is what it seems in Silicon Valley, and when tragedy strikes Stanford University's campus, there's no telling where the sparks will fly.


Miller, Peter B.

Tales of Celine. Incanto Press, 2012.


Miller, Sherry Ann.

Scottish Legend. Granite Publishing and Distribution, 2007.


Miller, Susan Cummins.

Fracture. Texas Tech University Press, 2011.

| setting: San Francisco Peninsula, Tucson, Arizona | series characters: Frankie MacFarlane; Philo Dain | find it |

Summary: P.I. Philo Dain, just back from Afghanistan, and geologist Frankie MacFarlane are packing for an R&R trip to a cooler clime, when Philo’s aunt is murdered in her empty Tucson mansion. Her husband, developer and power player Derek Dain, is the prime suspect. The day before, Heather had left town with the Dain coin collection, worth millions. Now it’s missing. Though Philo and his uncle have been estranged for years, Philo and Frankie agree to backtrack Heather and attempt to recover the coins. The quest takes them from the sun-baked Tucson Basin to the fog-shrouded San Francisco Peninsula. The fault-scarred hills hold painful secrets from Philo’s past—and clues to a mysterious chess set, worthy of kings, protected for generations by one family, coveted by another. A treasure worth killing for.


Miner, Valerie.

Murder in the English Department. Women’s Press, 1982; St. Martin’s Press, 1982.


Minichino, Camille. [see also Grace, Margaret]

The Beryllium Murder. William Morrow and Company, Inc., 2000.

The Nitrogen Murder: A Periodic Table Mystery. Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin’s Minotaur, 2005.


Minton, Paula. [Paul Hugo Little]

Fog Hides the Fury. Lancer Books, 1967.

| setting: San Francisco | Hubin | pbo | find it |

Summary: The mansion on Telegraph Hill had been the scene of many tragic deaths. Arlene Dade's parents had moved away from it because of its overwhelming air of gloom and darkness. Now they too were dead, and the house was hers. Would it bring another tragedy to her, or could it hold the chance for a bright new life? She didn't know. And she had many doubts about her new husband, the dashing but unpredictable Alan Caswell. Did he love her, or was he merely using her as a key to unlock a hidden fortune? Did the fog outside hold menace... and was there a worse, more sinister fog within?

Thunder Over the Reefs. Prestige Books, 1967.

| setting: San Francisco, Hawaii | Hubin | pbo | find it |

Summary: Half-Hawaiian Audrey Mason came to San Francisco... to the strange and gloomy old mansion where under the guise of kindness, someone spun a web of intrigue around her and her inheritance.... Audrey Mason, grown to womanhood, returned to her beloved Hawaii... to blue skies and sand and the crash of foaming surf... where in the midst of beauty lurked evil waiting to clutch at her, to betray all the promise of happiness life and love held out.


Mitchell, Kirk.

With Siberia Comes a Chill. St. Martin’s Press, 1990.


Mitchell, T. J. See Melinek, Judy.


Mofina, Rick.

If Angels Fall. Pinnacle Books, 2000.

| setting: San Francisco | series characters: Tom Reed, Walter Sydowski | Hubin | pbo | find it |

Summary: There are some horrors a man can never forget. Sounds so chilling that they can never be silenced. The frantic screams of drowning children. The anguished sobs of the father who couldn’t save them. How long before those echoes give way to whispers only he can hear? To voice that promise redemption—from his private hell...

Blood of Others. Pinnacle Books, 2002.

| setting: San Francisco | series characters: Tom Reed, Walter Sydowski | pbo | find it |

No Way Back. Pinnacle Books, 2003.

| setting: San Francisco | series characters: Tom Reed, Walter Sydowski | pbo | find it |

Summary: San Francisco crime reporter Tom Reed is burnt out. The breaking story of a jewel heist gone violently awry—with the murder of a cop and the abduction of a female hostage—is one most journalists would kill for. Tom hopes it will be his last. But this time, there’s more at stake than a Pulitzer. Because the woman taken by the two homicidal fugitives is Ann Reed, Tom’s wife. And her capture wasn’t random...it was personal.

Be Mine. Pinnacle Books, 2004.

| setting: San Francisco | series characters: Tom Reed, Walter Sydowski | pbo | find it |


Monday, T. T. [Nicholas Taylor]

The Setup Man. Doubleday, 2014.

| setting: San Jose | series character: Johnny Adcock | find it |

Double Switch. Doubleday, 2016.

| setting: San Jose; Denver | series character: Johnny Adcock | find it |

Summary: Relief pitcher/private investigator Johnny Adcock doesn't have an office; he has the bullpen. That's where he sits shelling sunflower seeds when in walks a femme-fatale blonde claiming to be a TV reporter. She is Tiff Tate, the highly-paid stylist responsible for half the looks in Major League Baseball, from Brian Wilson's beard to Big Papi's gold ropes. Tiff has a problem. Yonel Ruiz -- the rookie phenom who infamously escaped from Cuba by surviving for a week on the open sea in an inflatable raft-is her new prize client... but there is much more to his story than the media know. With his life threatened by a cartel of people smugglers and his family still vulnerable in Cuba, Ruiz can't go to the cops or the press. Johnny Adcock is his only hope.


Montandon, Pat.

The Intruders. Coward, McCann & Geoghegan, 1975.


Monte, Bonnie C.

The Sleeping Lady. She Writes Press, 2018.

| setting: San Francisco | series character: Rae Sullivan | tpo |

Summary: Thirty-five-year-old Rae Sullivan owns a thriving home décor shop in the San Francisco Bay Area, near majestic Mt. Tamalpais (to locals, The Sleeping Lady). But when her business partner, Thalia, confides that she has a lover in France, Rae's comfortable life starts to unravel. Soon, an anonymous note-writer threatens to reveal the affair, and Thalia -- who, unswayed by Rae's warnings, insists on confronting the blackmailer -- turns up dead in Golden Gate Park. The police, convinced the crime was a random mugging, are dismissive of Rae's story of blackmail. Then a scandal from Rae's past job comes to light, and the police start to eye her as a suspect. To clear her reputation and ensure justice for Thalia, Rae decides it's up to her to unmask the murderer -- despite her husband's objections. Rae's sleuthing leads her to France, where she enlists the help of Thalia's handsome half brother. As they collaborate to catch the killer, sparks fly between them, and Rae has to contend with these newly aroused feelings -- even as she strives to outmaneuver a cold-blooded murderer who wants to silence her.


Moody, Bill.

Shades of Blue. Poisoned Pen Press, 2008.

| setting: San Francisco; Russian River Region (Sonoma County); Los Angeles | series character: Evan Horne | find it |

Fade to Blue. Poisoned Pen Press, 2011.

| setting: San Francisco; Russian River Region (Sonoma County); Los Angeles | series character: Evan Horne | find it |


Moody, Susan.

Penny Pinching. Fawcett Gold Medal, 1989.


Moore, Christopher.

A Dirty Job. William Morrow, 2006.

| setting: San Francisco | series character: Charlie Asher | find it |

Secondhand Souls. William Morrow, 2015.

| setting: San Francisco | series character: Charlie Asher | find it |

Summary: Something really strange is happening in the City by the Bay. People are dying, but their souls are not being collected. Someone--or something--is stealing them and no one knows where they are going, or why, but it has something to do with that big orange bridge. Death Merchant Charlie Asher is just as flummoxed as everyone else. He's trapped in the body of a fourteen-inch-tall "meat" waiting for his Buddhist nun girlfriend, Audrey, to find him a suitable new body to play host. To get to the bottom of this abomination, a motley crew of heroes will band together: the seven-foot-tall death merchant Minty Fresh; retired policeman turned bookseller Alphonse Rivera; the Emperor of San Francisco and his dogs, Bummer and Lazarus; and Lily, the former Goth girl. Now if only they can get little Sophie to stop babbling about the coming battle for the very soul of humankind ...

Noir. William Morrow, 2018.

| setting: San Francisco | find it |

Summary: Madcap, zany noir set on the mean streets of post-World War II San Francisco. Sammy "Two Toes" Tiffin is the bartender in a scruffy gin joint, with street connections that make him the go-to guy for just about everything. When one of his schemes goes south and his lady vanishes, Sammy follows a tortuous trail from Chinatown to Telegraph Hill to a hidden forest enclave in a desperate search to find his girl.


Moore, Jonathan.

The Poison Artist. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016.

| setting: San Francisco | find it |

Summary: Dr. Caleb Maddox is a San Francisco toxicologist studying the chemical effects of pain. After a bruising breakup with his girlfriend, he's out drinking whiskey when a hauntingly seductive woman appears by his side. Emmeline whispers to Caleb over absinthe, gets his blood on her fingers and then brushes his ear with her lips as she says goodbye. He must find her.  As his search begins, Caleb becomes entangled in a serial-murder investigation. The police have been fishing men from the bay, and the postmortems are inconclusive. One of the victims vanished from the bar the night Caleb met Emmeline. When questioned, Caleb can't offer any information, nor does he tell them he's been secretly helping the city's medical examiner, an old friend, study the chemical evidence on the victims' remains. The search for the killer soon entwines with Caleb's hunt for Emmeline, and the closer he gets to each, the more dangerous his world becomes.  From the first pages up to the haunting, unforgettable denouement, The Poison Artist is a gripping thriller about obsession and damage, about a man unmoored by an unspeakable past and an irresistible woman who offers the ultimate escape.

The Dark Room. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017.

| setting: San Francisco | find it |

Summary: Gavin Cain, an SFPD homicide inspector, is in the middle of an exhumation when his phone rings. San Francisco's mayor is being blackmailed and has ordered Cain back to the city...a helicopter is on its way. The casket, and Cain's cold-case investigation, must wait. At City Hall, the mayor shows Cain four photographs he's received: the first, an unforgettable blonde; the second, pills and handcuffs on a nightstand; the third, the woman drinking from a flask; and last, the woman naked, unconscious, and shackled to a bed. The accompanying letter is straightforward: worse revelations are on the way unless the mayor takes his own life first.

The Night Market. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2018.

| setting: San Francisco | find it |

Summary: It's late Thursday night, and Inspector Ross Carver is at a crime scene in one of the San Francisco's last luxury homes. The dead man on the floor is covered by an unknown substance that's eating through his skin. Before Carver can identify it, six FBI agents burst in and remove him from the premises. He's pushed into a disinfectant trailer, forced to drink a liquid that sends him into seizures, and is shocked unconscious. On Sunday he wakes in his bed to find his neighbor, Mia -- who he's barely ever spoken to -- reading aloud to him. He can't remember the crime scene or how he got home; he has no idea two days have passed. Mia says she saw him being carried into their building by plainclothes police officers, who told her he'd been poisoned. Carver doesn't really know this woman and has no way of disproving her, but his gut says to keep her close. The Night Market follows Carver as he works to find out what happened to him, soon realizing he's entangled in a web of conspiracy that spans the nation. And that Mia may know a lot more than she lets on.

Blood Relations. Mariner Books, 2019.

| setting: San Francisco; Boston | find it |

Summary: "Who is Claire Gravesend? So PI Lee Crowe wonders when he finds her dead, in a fine cocktail dress, on top of a Rolls Royce in the most dangerous neighborhood in San Francisco. Claire's mother, Olivia, is one of the richest people in California. She doesn't believe the coroner: her daughter did not kill herself. Olivia hires Crowe, who -- having just foiled a federal case against a cartel kingpin -- is eager for distraction. But the questions about the Gravesend family pile up fast. To start: the autopsy reveals round scars running down Claire's spine, old marks Olivia won't explain. Then, Crowe visits Claire's Boston townhouse and has to fend off an armed intruder. Is it the Feds, out for revenge? Or is this connected to the Gravesends? He leaves Boston afraid, but finds his way to Claire's secret San Francisco pied-à-terre. It's there that his questions come to a head. Sleeping in an upstairs bedroom, he finds Claire -- her face, her hair, her scars -- and so far as he can tell, she's alive. And Crowe's back at the start: Who is Claire Gravesend?"


Moore, T. J.

Mind Games. Self-published, 2015.

| setting: San Francisco | tpo | find it |

Summary: In San Francisco, CSI Photographer Cameron Frost spends his nights capturing evidence from the latest crime. And he's good at it. So when San Francisco citizens start disappearing, Cameron and his team jump on the case. But the trail of missing people leads Cameron straight into the den of a self-proclaimed mastermind bent on one terrifying goal. Cameron and his team must outwit the evil at the center of this crime web before time runs out. TJ Moore tells a gripping and thought-provoking story of manipulation and twisted motives in this beat-the-clock thriller.


Moreira, Peter. 

The Haight. Poplar Press, 2018.

| setting: San Francisco (Haight-Ashbury; 1968) | series character: Jimmy Spracklin (Haight Mystery Series 1) | find it |

Summary: Jimmy Spracklin thinks he knows Haight-Ashbury when he's called out to the neighborhood to investigate the murder of artist John Blakely in the spring of 1968. Marie, Spracklin's beloved step-daughter, ran away to the birthplace of acid rock during the Summer of Love the previous year. What Spracklin learns quickly is that heroin is now replacing acid as the most popular drug in Haight-Ashbury. Gangs are taking over. The scene is getting violent. Now Spracklin, the head of the San Francisco Police Department's famed Bureau of Inspectors, must catch Blakely's killer while he struggles to bring his daughter home.

A Hitman on Haight Street. Poplar Press, 2019.

| setting: San Francisco (Haight-Ashbury; 1960s) | series character: Jimmy Spracklin (Haight Mystery Series 2) | find it |

Summary: Detective Jimmy Spracklin is already being hounded by Internal Affairs officers when the headless body of a hippie heiress is found in Golden Gate Park. Now he must solve the high-profile murder while fighting off the IA probe, which is targeting not only Spracklin but also his daughter Marie. One misstep could result in Marie facing a murder charge. 


Morgan, Richard K.

Altered Carbon. Victor Gollancz Ltd., 2002; Del Rey, 2003.

Summary: In the twenty-fifth century, humankind has spread throughout the galaxy, monitored by the watchful eye of the U.N. While divisions in race, religion, and class still exist, advances in technology have redefined life itself. Now, assuming one can afford the expensive procedure, a person’s consciousness can be stored in a cortical stack at the base of the brain and easily downloaded into a new body (or ‘sleeve’) making death nothing more than a minor blip on a screen. Ex-U.N. envoy Takeshi Kovacs has been killed before, but his last death was particularly painful. Dispatched one hundred eighty light-years from home, re-sleeved into a body in Bay City (formerly San Francisco, now with a rusted, dilapidated Golden Gate Bridge), Kovacs is thrown into the dark heart of a shady, far-reaching conspiracy that is vicious even by the standards of a society that treats ‘existence’ as something that can be bought and sold. For Kovacs, the shell that blew a hole in his chest was only the beginning... An old-fashioned 25th century hardboiled detective story.


Morgan, Seth.

Homeboy. Random House, 1990.

Summary: Baby Jewels murders her best friend, thus beginning a game of hot potato with the blue Jager Moon, a huge diamond. The fabulous diamond quickly falls into the hands of dope fiend Joe Speaker, landing him in jail. Yet even behind bars, Joe is not safe from those chasing the blue Jager Moon. Editor’s note: This was the author’s first and only book; he was killed in a motorcycle accident shortly after publication.


Morgan, Wesley.

The Enforcer. Warner Books, 1976.

Summary: San Francisco detective Dirty Harry Callahan and his female partner track down psychopathic hoodlums terrorizing the city. Novelization of the 1976 film starring Clint Eastwood and directed by James Fargo. Based on a screenplay by Stirling Silliphant and Dean Riesner, from a story by Gail Morgan Hickman and S.W. Shurr; based on characters created by Harry Julian Fink and Rita M. Fink.


Morken, John F.

The Green Teas Cave. Lulu Publishing Services, 2017.

| setting: San Francisco | tpo | find it |

Summary: Conrad Olsen is the son of a once famous San Francisco trial attorney who takes on the representation of Leo and Siri Dubrovsky after their unique home is red-tagged by county inspectors for building without permits. This seemingly innocuous problem soon unravels into a race against time when Conrad discovers dangerous secrets about his clients and the century old cave located on their property -- Shangri La. Conrad's once comfortable world of power and privilege rapidly starts to fall apart the more he uncovers and learns about his client's past and their secrets. The deeper his involvement with his new clients, the more dangerous the case becomes. Attorney Conrad Olsen must overcome tragedy and personal loss while he struggles with his own inner demons, love sickness, secrets and transparent success. Ultimately, Conrad's own redemption depends upon the personal choices he has made and whether they have become unfixable or just another problem he was raised to solve.


Morrison, Patricia.

Ungrateful Dead: Murder at the Fillmore. Lizard Queen Press, 2007.

| setting: San Francisco (Haight-Ashbury; Fillmore Auditorium; 1966) | series character: Rennie Stride (The Rock & Roll Murders 1) | tpo | find it |

Summary: March 1966, not quite the Summer of Love: Rennie Stride is twenty-two, with a journalism degree from Columbia, and unhappily married in San Francisco. The source of her unhappiness is not her husband, but rather her husband’s overbearing, and impossibly wealthy, family, who live in a Pacific Heights mansion and have firmly held beliefs in the proper role and attitude for the wife of their son and heir. Rennie, however, has other ideas. She’s a hippie chick, who makes her own clothes, smokes dope, has no maternal inclinations (at least not yet), and dreams of being a rock journalist. So, she has moved into her own flat in Haight-Ashbury and has a job writing about the burgeoning San Francisco music scene for the San Francisco Clarion. When Rennie’best friend, emerging rock singer Prax McKenna, is busted for being at two savage crime scenes—one of them backstage at the newly opened Fillmore Auditorium and the other at Rennie’s own apartment—despite her own problems, Rennie sets out to clear her friend’s name. But nobody expects what happens next. Especially not Rennie.


Morrison, Scott Allan.

Terms of Use. Thomas & Mercer, 2015.

| setting: San Francisco | find it |

Summary: Circles is the most popular social network in the world: vast, ubiquitous, and constantly evolving. Days before expanding into China, Circles suffers a devastating cyberattack -- and a key executive is brutally murdered. As he fights to save the company he helped build, top engineer Sergio Mansour uncovers evidence of a massive conspiracy that turns the power of Circles against its users. But as Sergio investigates, someone is watching his every move--someone ruthless enough to brand him a criminal and set a vicious hit man on his trail. Desperate to clear his name, Sergio turns to Malina Olson, a beautiful and headstrong doctor who has an agenda of her own. Now, he and Malina must survive long enough to expose the truth in a world without hiding places, where a single keystroke can shift the global balance of power.


Morrow, J. T.

Prophet. PaperJacks, Ltd., 1988.

| setting: San Francisco | series character: Jason Prophet | Hubin | pbo | find it |

Summary: When his ex-lover is thrust into a world of international espionage and computer tampering, Jason Prophet decides to investigate. He had been asked by his one-time lover, private detective Lynn McColl, for help on a simple case involving computer research. Now Lynn is missing—and Prophet realizes that beneath this ‘simple’ case lies a deadly world of intrigue, cocaine and murder! As Prophet digs deeper, it becomes clear that the Soviet Consulate in San Francisco is involved—and that Lynn is in grave danger. Working against the clock, Prophet forges and fumbles his way through false clues and secret computer programs in a desperate attempt to solve the case—and save his ex-girlfriend.


Morrow, Susan.

Murder May Follow. Published for the Crime Club by Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1959.

The Rules of the Game. Published for the Crime Club by Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1964.


Morse, George Henry.

Gold Dust Tom, or, Ambergris Ben’s Double Match. Beadle and Adams, September 23, 1884. (Beadle’s Half-Dime Library No. 374)

Summary: Opium traffic and smugglers in San Francisco and vicinity.


Moser, Milena.

Corpse Pose: A Yoga Mystery. Virtual Book Worm Publishing, 2005.

| setting: San Francisco | tpo | translated from German | find it |


Mosley, Walter.

Cinnamon Kiss. Little, Brown and Company, 2005.

| setting: San Francisco (1968), Los Angeles | series character: Easy Rawlins | find it |

Summary: In 1968 Los Angeles, with the Watts riot over but still fresh in everyone’s minds, Easy Rawlins needs money to take his beloved daughter Feather to the specialized Bonatelle Clinic in Switzerland; the cost is $35,000. At the Cox Bar, his pal Mouse suggests they hold up an armored vehicle, but after almost running over a mother with babies, Easy decides that is too dangerous of an approach to gaining the money, especially since he is over the edge and fears everything will go wrong and then his daughter will have nobody. Instead he obtains work from a white friend, private investigator Saul Lynx, who gets him a job in San Francisco with mysterious sleuth Robert E. Lee to locate two missing persons for $10K. Though expecting treachery—as no one outside of entertainment pays a black man with cash—Easy searches for wealthy attorney Axel Bowers and his assistant/lover, Cinnamon Cargill, who have vanished.


Mowry, Jess.

Way Past Cool. Farrar Straus Giroux, 1992.

Summary: Gordon, age thirteen, is the leader of the Friends, a gang of young black boys who struggle to hold a few blocks of bleak, ragged turf in Oakland—known to the homeboys as Oaktown—California. When a more powerful sixteen-year-old drug dealer tries to set the Friends against their neighboring rival gang, the Crew, the dealer’s unwilling bodyguard emerges as the key player in a drama that illuminates America’s urban reality in a totally new way. Released as a motion picture in 2000.


Moyer, Jamie Lee.

Delia’s Shadow. Tor, 2013.

| setting: San Francisco (1915) | series character: Delia Martin | find it |

Summary: It is the dawn of a new century in San Francisco and Delia Martin is a wealthy young woman whose life appears ideal. But a dark secret colors her life, for Delia’s most loyal companions are ghosts, as she has been gifted (or some would say cursed) with an ability to peer across to the other side. Since the great quake rocked her city in 1906, Delia has been haunted by an avalanche of the dead clamoring for her help. Delia flees to the other side of the continent, hoping to gain some peace. After several years in New York, Delia believes she is free...until one determined specter appears and she realizes that she must return to the City by the Bay in order to put this tortured soul to rest. It will not be easy, as the ghost is only one of the many victims of a serial killer who was never caught. A killer who after thirty years is killing again. And who is now aware of Delia's existence.

A Barricade in Hell. Tor, 2014.

| setting: San Francisco (1917) | series character: Delia Martin | find it |

Against a Brightening Sky. Tom Doherty Associates, 2015.

| setting: San Francisco (1919) | series character: Delia Martin | find it |

Summary: By 1919 the Great War has ended, peace talks are under way in Paris, and the world has been forever changed. Delia Martin, apprentice practitioner of magical arts, and her husband, Police Captain Gabriel Ryan, face the greatest challenge of their lives when fragments from the war descend on San Francisco. As Delia prepares to meet friends at a St. Patrick's Day parade, the strange ghost of a European princess appears in her mirror. Her pleasant outing becomes a nightmare as the ghost reappears moments after a riot starts, warning her as a rooftop gunman begins shooting into the crowd. Delia rushes to get her friends to safety, and Gabe struggles to stop the killing-and to save himself. Delia and Gabe realize all the chaos and bloodshed had one purpose-to flush Alina from hiding, a young woman with no memory of anything but her name. As Delia works to discover how the princess ghost's secrets connect to this mysterious young woman, and Gabe tracks a ruthless killer around his city, they find all the answers hinge on two questions: Who is Alina...and why can't she remember?


Muller, Eddie.

The Distance. Scribner, 2002.

| setting: San Francisco (1948) | series character: Billy Nichols | find it |

Summary: It’s 1948 and San Francisco sportswriter Billy Nichols (“Mr. Boxing”) is right where he wants to be, until he stumbles onto a shocking crime scene. Heavyweight boxer Hack Escalante has killed his manager, and for reasons Billy doesn’t fully understand, he makes a spur-of-the-moment decision to protect the prizefighter. Soon Billy’s in too deep, caught in a conspiracy of desire, deceit, and betrayal, and he sets off a chain of events whose consequences may cost him his beloved career—and his life. As Billy himself struggles to escape suspicion, he must square off against relentless police detective Francis O’Connor, carry on business as usual with his colorful cronies in the boxing world, and resist his overwhelming passion for a woman he dare not love.

Shadow Boxer. Scribner, 2003.

| setting: San Francisco (1948) | series character: Billy Nichols | find it |

Summary: Boxing writer Billy Nichols is back on the beat for the San Francisco Inquirer. By aiding a beguiling woman, Billy stumbles on evidence that could exonerate one of San Francisco’s top fight promoters, who is in jail accused of murder. One big problem—the victim was Billy’s secret lover, and he has no desire to help set her killer free. But once his reporter’s instincts kick in, Billy can’t let go of a twisting trail of suspense that stretches from Tenderloin fight clubs to Marina District mansions, from mountain retreats to the Hall of Justice.


Muller, Marcia.

Edwin of the Iron Shoes. David McKay Company, Inc., Ives Washburn, Inc., 1977.

| setting: San Francisco | series character: Sharon McCone | Hubin; Herron; MRJ | find it |

Summary: Sharon McCone is a young woman trying to make it as a private eye in San Francisco. She works as the staff investigator for All Souls Cooperative, a legal aid agency for low-income clients. When Joan Albritton, the owner of antique shop, is found murdered in her store, Sharon is assigned to the case. Joan was one of several small-time curio shop owners who were in the process of deciding whether or not to sell their businesses to real estate speculators (the shops are located in the vicinity of a proposed new convention center and land values are expected to soar). Although there are several suspects, the only witnesses to the crime were Joan’s longtime “friends:” Clothilde, a headless French dressmaker’s dummy; Bruno, a stuffed German shepherd; and Edwin, a little boy mannequin with iron shoes who has a taste for art. Despite threats on her life, Sharon is determined to stay on the case, especially after she is patronized and discouraged by the police lieutenant in charge of the homicide. Setting out to prove her competence in the face of his disapproval, she encounters further mayhem and death as she discovers that neither antiques nor people are exactly what they seem. Muller’s first novel, and the first in the long-running Sharon McCone series.

Ask the Cards a Question. St. Martin’s Press, 1982.

Summary: Murder strikes close to home for San Francisco PI Sharon McCone when one of her Mission District neighbors is found dead. The unlikely victim is Molly Antonio, the nicest person in Sharon’s apartment building. There is no shortage of suspects, however, including: Gus Antonio, Molly’s eccentric, estranged husband; Sebastian, a blind man who delivers brushes in the neighborhood; Herb Clemente, who is the director of the local center for the blind; the enigmatic Madame Anya, who also lives in Sharon’s building and tells fortunes at $5 a pop; Mr. Moe, an Arab grocery owner with his own tragic history; and Linnea Carraway, Sharon’s childhood friend who is staying with her. Linnea, who is recovering from a messy divorce, has a serious drinking problem and was the last person to see Molly alive—facts that make it hard for Sharon not to see her as the prime suspect. In the meantime, San Francisco Homicide Inspector Greg Marcus continues to pursue a romantic relationship with Sharon, even though he doesn’t fully respect her as a detective. Before she tracks down the killer, Sharon uncovers an elaborate black market plot operating in the heart of the city.

The Cheshire Cat’s eye. St. Martin’s Press, 1983.

Summary: San Francisco private investigator Sharon McCone finds a dead body in a Victorian mansion on Steiner Street. The victim is Jake Kaufmann, a house painter and former client of Sharon’s employer, All Souls Legal Cooperative, who had been desperate to talk to her. The house Jake was working on is one of several Western Addition Victorians undergoing renovation so Sharon begins her investigation with members of the city’s architectural community. She soon finds herself squarely in the middle of an ongoing conflict between preservationists, who advocate strict historical accuracy, and renovators who are proponents of turning the homes into flamboyant “painted ladies.” As she investigates the murder, Sharon learns more than she ever really wanted to know about Victorian architecture, rekindles her romance with SFPD homicide lieutenant Greg Marcus, and pursues an extremely valuable, one-of-a-kind Tiffany lamp emblazoned with the grinning face of the Cheshire Cat.

Games to Keep the Dark Away. St. Martin’s Press, 1984.

Summary: Reclusive photographer Abe Snelling hires San Francisco private investigator Sharon McCone to find his missing roommate, Jane Anthony. Jane has disappeared from the Potrero Hill home that she shares with Abe and he is concerned for her safety. The search takes Sharon to Jane’s hometown of Salmon Bay, on the Central California coast. Sharon meets several people from Jane’s past, including her mother, her former boss, her former lover, and other acquaintances, but no one wants to talk. Even Abe seems to be keeping secrets. Then Sharon discovers Jane’s body lying in the surf under an old pier and a simple missing persons case has suddenly become much more serious. Before she moved to San Francisco, Jane had been a social worker at a local hospice called The Tidepools. She left The Tidepools after a several patients apparently committed suicide, choosing to end their suffering sooner rather than later. But were they really suicides? Or something more sinister? Sharon’s investigation takes her back to San Francisco, then back to Salmon Bay and neighboring Port San Marco, turns up another murder victim, earns her an unplanned swim in the ocean, and even leads her to a little bit of romance.

Leave a Message for Willie. St. Martin’s Press, 1984.

Summary: Reluctantly, San Francisco private investigator Sharon McCone takes a case working for Willie Whelan, a local flea market vendor. Her reluctance stems from Willie’s other job: he is a fence, dealing in a wide variety of stolen goods. But, she decides that, in her line of work, knowing more about the criminal underworld is probably a good thing. Willie hires Sharon to find out why he is being stalked by a mysterious stranger who dresses in dark clothes and wears a yarmulke. She soon confronts the stranger, who tells her that his name is Jerry Levin and that he is working on behalf the Torah Recovery Committee, seeking to recover a collection of sacred Hebrew scrolls that have been stolen from synagogues around the country. He believes that Willie is in possession of the Torahs and is following him in order to get them back. When Sharon asks Willie about the Torahs, he denies knowing anything about them. Shortly after, Levin is found murdered in his garage, making Willie the prime suspect and making Sharon’s job much more complex. Then Willie’s girlfriend, Alida, turns up murdered and Willie disappears. Now, she not only has to locate the missing scrolls, but she has to find Willie and clear his name with the police—and stay out of the reach of a killer, herself.

There’s Nothing To Be Afraid Of. St. Martin’s Press, 1985.

Summary: Private eye Sharon McCone is hired by a group of Vietnamese refugees, led by the Vang family, living in the shabby, residential Globe Hotel in San Francisco’s Tenderloin to investigate a series of disturbing events taking place in the hotel. Children are being frightened in stairwells, the heat and electricity are being tampered with, and someone has destroyed the Christmas tree in the lobby. At first, Sharon suspects the hotel’s owner of trying to drive the residents away so that he can sell the building (something that he has been unable to do because of tenants occupying the rent-controlled building). But, the list of suspects soon expands to include Sallie Hyde, one of the Globe’s residents who was convicted of murder and served out her sentence, Otis Knox, the owner of a nearby adult theater, Brother Harry, a manic street preacher, and Harry’s nemesis, Jimmy, a homeless, mentally-ill poetry lover. Sharon’s investigation gets serious when one of the teen-aged Vietnamese residents is found in the boiler room with his skull bashed in and the eldest Vang son, Duc, goes missing.

The Cavalier in White. St. Martin’s Press, 1986.

Eye of the Storm. The Mysterious Press, 1988.

There’s Something in a Sunday. The Mysterious Press, 1989.

Summary: Sharon McCone’s latest case starts off simple enough: tail Frank Wilkonson—a ranch manager from Hollister (in San Benito County)—through the streets of San Francisco to find out where he is going and who he is meeting and report back to her client, Rudy Goldring, a South of Market tailor. Wilkonson, who has been making weekly trips to San Francisco, takes Sharon on a tour of the city’s horticultural centers—from garden shows in Golden Gate Park to local nurseries to the California Flower Mart. Sharon is convinced that she has not been given the whole story about Wilkonson, and when Goldring is found murdered, Sharon determines to uncover the reason for Wilkonson’s visits. Her investigation takes her to Hollister and then back to San Francisco, from an enclave for the rich and privileged in Haight-Ashbury to a homeless encampment in Golden Gate Park, in a case involving adultery, rape, and murder.

Dark Star. St. Martin’s Press, 1989.

The Shape of Dread. The Mysterious Press, 1989.

Trophies and Dead Things. The Mysterious Press, 1990.

Summary: Perry Hilderly, a client of All Souls Legal Cooperative, is killed by a sniper who is committing seemingly random murders in San Francisco. PI Sharon McCone is called into the case after a holograph will is discovered among the victim’s affects. Hilderly had been a founder of the Free Speech Movement as a student at UC Berkeley in the sixties and had served with Sharon’s boss, Hank Zahn, in Vietnam. The new will disinherits Hilderly’s children and leaves his entire estate to four strangers. Although it is perfectly legal, Hank is puzzled by his late friend’s action. Sharon’s investigation uncovers both the strange connection between Hilderly and the beneficiaries—a connection that leads back to the turbulent times of the anti-war movement in the Bay Area—and the previously unknown connection between the sniper victims. When Hank becomes a victim, himself, Sharon finds out exactly what she is capable of when it comes to protecting someone she loves.

Where Echoes Live. The Mysterious Press, 1991.

Summary: At the request of her friend and All Souls Legal Cooperative colleague Anne-Marie Altman, San Francisco PI Sharon McCone travels to the high desert community of Tufa Lake in Mono County. Anne-Marie is working as chief counsel for a group of environmental activists committed to saving and restoring Tufa Lake (much as the Mono Lake Committee had recently saved Mono Lake from excess diversions by the city of Los Angeles). At Tufa Lake the threat is not diversions, however; it is a potential gold mining operation near a ghost town called Promiseville, being promoted by the Hong Kong-based Transpacific Corporation. Sharon’s investigation starts with a series of suspicious land deals, then takes her back to San Francisco where Transpacific CEO Lionel Ong maintains a home. The case involves land fraud, kidnapping, and murder and introduces Sharon to the mysterious Hy Ripinsky.

Pennies on a Dead Woman’s Eyes. The Mysterious Press, 1992.

Summary: Sharon McCone takes on a cold case when her All Souls Legal Cooperative colleague Jack Stuart asks her to investigate a murder that took place thirty-six years ago. The woman convicted of the crime, Lisbeth Benedict, has just been paroled to San Francisco. Her daughter Judy—who is also Jack’s girlfriend—wants her mother’s case re-tried before the city’s Historical Tribunal, a quasi-legal body dedicated to righting old wrongs. Although reluctant at first, Sharon agrees to investigate. In 1956, on a foggy night in the exclusive Seacliff area of San Francisco, the mutilated body of Cordelia “Cordy” McKittredge was found on the grounds of an international think tank. Cordy, who was a thoroughly liberated—and promiscuous—young woman, had been having an affair with one of the institute’s married fellows, Vincent Benedict. His wife had the motive and opportunity to commit the murder and was subsequently convicted of the crime. Sharon soon discovers that there are gaps in the official records and develops a list of suspects who have no desire to resurrect the old case. The past collides with the present when one of Cordy’s old friends, a former airline stewardess who has fallen on hard times, is murdered and Sharon’s quest for the truth leads her into the dark heart of the 1950’s, to an era of anti-Communist paranoia that drove ordinary citizens to desperate measures.

Wolf in the Shadows. The Mysterious Press, 1993.

Summary: This time it’s personal. San Francisco PI Sharon McCone investigates the disappearance of her lover Hy Ripinsky, whom she had last seen at the Oakland Airport several days earlier. Putting her job at All Souls Legal Cooperative into jeopardy, she traces him to the San Francisco offices of Renshaw and Kessell International, a high-powered security firm. There she learns that Hy had been contracted to deliver the ransom for one of RKI’s clients, who had been kidnapped from his Novato home. But, it is clear that something went horribly wrong: Ripinsky has disappeared—with the ransom—and the kidnappers have gone to ground. Sharon traces Hy to her home town of San Diego and into the desperate world of illegal Mexican immigrants and the coyotes who profit from them. Fearing the worst, that Hy and the kidnap victim have both been murdered, she follows the trail south of the border into Baja, California, where the stakes are raised even higher.

Till the Butchers Cut Him Down. The Mysterious Press, 1994.

Summary: A hippie drug dealer from her college days hires PI Sharon McCone of San Francisco. Now a “turnaround man” who fixes corporations in trouble, he has many enemies and needs protection. No sooner does Sharon take the case, than the man’s wife is murdered and he disappears.

The McCone Files. Crippen & Landru, 1995.

Summary: The volume gathers all of Sharon McCone’s short cases into a single volume covering her entire career as staff investigator at All Souls Legal Cooperative in San Francisco. The author writes in the introduction, ‘Over the seventeen years since that slim first novel [Edwin of the Iron Shoes, 1977], very little about McCone except her voice has remained the same, and the stories in this collection trace her development’ ... From the death of a clown in Diablo Valley to the disappearance of a young socialite on the Golden Gate Bridge, from the murder of a teenage gang leader in San Francisco to the drowning of an aged Japanese herb-gatherer, and from streets filled with juvenile runaways to the quietness of a mausoleum, Sharon investigates not only who committed the crimes but also what they say about our world toward the end of the twentieth century.” Fifteen Sharon McCone short stories, with an introduction by the author.

A Wild and Lonely Place. The Mysterious Press, 1995.

Summary: San Francisco PI Sharon McCone goes after a terrorist who is bombing diplomatic posts in the U.S. He is threatening to bomb the consulate of an Arab country, and in arranging protection Sharon becomes involved in a kidnapping as well.

The Broken Promise Land. The Mysterious Press, 1996.

Summary: San Francisco PI Sharon McCone investigates threatening letters to a famous country music singer from a woman who was also a singer and with whom he had an affair. A tale of vengeance, ending in bloodshed.

Both Ends of the Night. The Mysterious Press, 1997.

While Other People Sleep. The Mysterious Press, 1998.

Summary: Private investigator Sharon McCone of San Francisco hunts for the woman who is impersonating her. The impostor claims to be a private eye, she charges purchases to Sharon’s credit cards and even pretends she is Sharon when sleeping with men.

A Walk Through the Fire. The Mysterious Press, 1999.

Summary: Detective Sharon McCone of San Francisco flies to Hawaii to investigate sabotage on a film set. The film is about Hawaiian legends and the suspects include Hawaiian nationalists.

Listen to the Silence. The Mysterious Press, 2000.

McCone and Friends. Crippen & Landru, 2000.

Summary: A collection of short stories about San Francisco private investigator Sharon McCone’s cases, told from different viewpoints. Includes three stories that are told by McCone herself, a novella and a short story narrated by the agency’s investigator, Rae Kelleher, a story from the viewpoint of its office manager, Ted Smalley, an investigation conducted by McCone’s nephew, Mick Savage, and one by her long-term lover, Hy Ripinsky. With an introduction by the author. Issued simultaneously in a limited hardcover edition (350 copies signed and numbered by the author) and a trade paper edition. The limited edition is accompanied by a separately printed pamphlet, The Time of the Wolves, by Marcia Muller.

Dead Midnight. The Mysterious Press, 2002.

The Dangerous Hour. The Mysterious Press, 2004.

Summary: In San Francisco, the staff of McCone Investigations holds a meeting to discuss the success of the business, which has tripled in less than two years, branching out into new areas like computer forensics, and how bright the future seems. The meeting is barely over when the SFPD Fraud Detail Mirandizes trainee Julia Rafael for illegally purchasing items with a credit card belonging to jobs training program supervisor Alex Aguilar. The victim claims she stole and used his card after he rejected her sexual advances. McCone thinks Alex was a satisfied customer who is now accusing one of Sharon’s operatives of grand theft. She also realizes that since Julia, as a trainee, was unlicensed with the Department of Consumer Affairs, Sharon and her company are liable, which could lead to a loss of their license. Insisting she is innocent, Julia observes that she is too small a target to matter. Sharon agrees that the goal has to be a bigger fish, probably herself, but by whom, why and the tie in to Aguilar, a potential Mayoral candidate, remain unknown. She and her crack staff plan to find out and prove her trust in Julia was, and is, the right thing.

Vanishing Point. The Mysterious Press, 2006.

Summary: It’s cold case time again for newlywed PI Sharon McCone. At the party celebrating her wedding to longtime lover Hy Ripinsky, Sharon is approached by her close friend—and former colleague—Rae Kelleher with a job proposition. Twenty-two years ago, Laurel Greenwood, an artist and young mother, disappeared without a trace from the Central California coast town of Morro Bay. Now, her grown daughter, Jennifer (a friend of Rae’s), is desperate to find out what happened to her mother. Although she does not believe that anything good can come from finding out what happened to Laurel—especially if Laurel is still alive—Sharon agrees to take the case. The search leads from the coastal towns of Paso Robles and Morro Bay to a flat on Fell Street in San Francisco, to Santa Rosa, Crescent City, Klamath Falls, and Crater Lake. Along the way, Sharon exposes not one, but two highly dysfunctional marriages, and brings her up against someone willing to kill in order to keep the past buried.

The Ever-Running Man. Warner Books, 2007.

Somewhere in the City. Pegasus Books, 2007. [short stories]

Locked In. Grand Central Publishing, 2009.

| setting: San Francisco | series character: Sharon McCone | find it |

Summary: Shot in the head by an unknown assailant, San Francisco private eye Sharon McCone finds herself trapped by locked-in syndrome: almost total paralysis but an alert, conscious mind. Since the late-night attack occurred at her agency’s offices, the natural conclusion was that it was connected to one of the firm’s cases. As Sharon lies in her hospital bed, furiously trying to break out of her body’s prison and discover her attacker’s identity, all the members of her agency fan out to find the reason she was assaulted. Meanwhile, Sharon becomes a locked-in detective, evaluating the clues from her staff’s separate investigations and discovering unsettling truths that could put her life in jeopardy again. As the case draws to a shocking conclusion, her husband, Hy, must decide whether or not to surrender to his own violent past and exact fatal vengeance on Sharon’s would-be killer.

Coming Back. Grand Central Publishing, 2010.

| setting: San Francisco | series character: Sharon McCone | find it |

City of Whispers. Grand Central Publishing, 2011.

| setting: San Francisco | series character: Sharon McCone | find it |

Looking for Yesterday. Grand Central Publishing, 2012.

| setting: San Francisco | series character: Sharon McCone | find it |

The Night Searchers. Grand Central Publishing, 2014.

| setting: San Francisco | series character: Sharon McCone | find it |

Someone Always Knows. Grand Central Publishing, 2016. 

| setting: San Francisco | series character: Sharon McCone | find it |

Summary: Finally settled into their new home after losing their house in a fire, and fully established in their new shared offices, private investigator Sharon McCone and her business partner husband Hy are starting to feel comfortable. That calm is shattered when Hy's former colleague Gage Renshaw -- a shady troublemaker who they had presumed dead -- reappears, and it's unclear what he wants from his prosperous former associate. Meanwhile, Sharon has a new client with a desire to rid a derelict house he's just bought in the city's notorious Western Addition neighborhood from intruders, drug users, and thugs. However, the abandoned house holds its share of secrets, and soon Sharon is contending with more than a simple eyesore as she searches for the individual who is obsessed with destroying her life.

The Color of Fear. Grand Central Publishing, 2017. 

| setting: San Francisco | series character: Sharon McCone | find it |

Summary: When her father is left in a coma by a racially driven beating during the holiday season, private investigator Sharon McCone resolves to bring the attackers to justice, only to find herself targeted by hate-filled, racist threats.

The Breakers. Grand Central Publishing, 2018. 

| setting: San Francisco | series character: Sharon McCone | find it |

Summary: On a foggy summer morning, private investigator Sharon McCone receives a call from her former neighbors, the Curleys. Their usually dependable daughter Chelle hasn't been answering their calls for weeks. Would Sharon check on her? Sharon arranges to visit the building Chelle had been living in and rehabbing in southwest San Francisco. Once it was a nightclub and bar, she learns, and a favorite destination for the city's elite during Prohibition. But there's something sinister about the space, and Sharon quickly discovers why. Lurking behind a divider screen is a ghastly art gallery: portraits and caricatures of mass murderers, long ago and recent. Jack the Ripper. The Zodiac and Zebra killers of the 1970s. Charles Manson and his girls. Scott Peterson, who killed his pregnant wife, Laci, and dumped her body into the Bay on Christmas Eve. What, an alarmed Sharon wonders, was Chelle doing in this chamber of horrors? And where is she now?


Muller, Marcia, and Bill Pronzini.

Beyond the Grave. Walker and Company, 1986.

| setting: San Francisco (1986, 1894) | series characters: Elena Oliverez, John Quincannon | find it |

Summary: The two authors have brought together Muller’s amateur sleuth Chicana Elena Oliverez, and Pronzini’s nineteenth-century private eye, John Quincannon, in a daring collaboration that stretches across the span of nearly a century. A case of San Francisco detective Quincannon’s in 1894 is never solved; it remains to be re-opened in 1986 by the young museum director.

The Bughouse Affair. Forge, 2013.

| setting: San Francisco (1890s) | series characters: Sabina Carpenter, John Quincannon | find it |

Summary: In this first of a new series of lighthearted historical mysteries set in 1890s San Francisco, former Pinkerton operative Sabina Carpenter and her detective partner, ex-Secret Service agent John Quincannon, undertake what initially appear to be two unrelated investigations. Sabina’s case involves the hunt for a ruthless lady ‘dip’ who uses fiendish means to relieve her victims of their valuables at Chutes Amusement Park and other crowded places. Quincannon, meanwhile, is after a slippery housebreaker who targets the homes of wealthy residents, following a trail that leads him from the infamous Barbary Coast to an oyster pirate’s lair to a Tenderloin parlor house known as the Fiddle Dee Dee. The two cases eventually connect in surprising fashion, but not before two murders and assorted other felonies complicate matters even further. And not before the two sleuths are hindered, assisted, and exasperated by the bughouse Sherlock Holmes.

The Spook Lights Affair. Forge, 2013.

| setting: San Francisco (1895) | series characters: Sabina Carpenter, John Quincannon | find it |

The Body Snatchers Affair. Forge, 2015.

| setting: San Francisco (Chinatown; 1890s) | series characters: Sabina Carpenter, John Quincannon | find it |

The Plague of Thieves Affair. Forge, 2016.

| setting: San Francisco (1890s) | series characters: Sabina Carpenter and John Quincannon | find it |

Summary: Sabina Carpenter and John Quincannon are no stranger to mysteries. In the five years since they opened Carpenter and Quincannon, Professional Detective Services, they have solved dozens, but one mystery has eluded even them: Sherlock Holmes or, rather, the madman claiming his identity, who keeps showing up with a frustrating (though admittedly useful) knack for solving difficult cases. Roland W. Fairchild, recently arrived from Chicago, claims Holmes is his first cousin, Charles P. Fairchild the Third. Now, with his father dead, Charles stands to inherit an estate of over three million dollars -- if Sabina can find him, and if he can be proved sane. Sabina is uncertain of Roland's motives (he will inherit if Charles can't), but agrees to take the case. John, meanwhile, has been hired by the owner of the Golden State brewery to investigate the "accidental" death of the head brew-master, who fell into a vat of his own beer, and drowned. When a second murder occurs, and the murderer escapes from under his nose, John finds himself on the trail not just of the criminals, but of his reputation for catching them. But while John is certain he can catch his quarry, Sabina is less certain she wants to catch hers. Holmes has been frustrating, but useful, even kind. She is quite certain he is mad, and quite uncertain what will happen when he is confronted with the truth. Does every mystery need to be solved?

The Dangerous Ladies Affair. Forge, 2017.

| setting: San Francisco (1890s) | series characters: Sabina Carpenter and John Quincannon | find it |

Summary: For the firm of Carpenter and Quincannon, Professional Detective Services, stopping extortionists is not only grand, but excitingly lucrative.When a pleasant afternoon's bicycling through Golden Gate Park with a friend ends with the revelation of threatening letters, followed by a gunshot in a mansion garden, Sabina Carpenter knows this is a case that demands her immediate and undivided attention.The questions her partner John Quincannon has to unravel are not difficult: Wrixton, a wealthy banker, has met his extortionist's first demand, but the order to pay another $5,000 is too much to face. The banker's real problem is something he doesn't want to reveal. That was fine with the detective, and when he was informed that some private letters were involved and Wrixton absolutely needed them back, there was nothing more Quincannon needed in the way of background. As with so many of San Francisco's elite, the bedroom doors never seemed to stay shut.That was the easy part; far more difficult was the matter of the dead courier, murdered most foully in a locked room within a locked room, creating a trail that will take John Quincannon through most of San Francisco's less savory places and end with a riverboat trip that is anything but a relaxing cruise.


Munsey, Terence.

Obsession: A Novel of Mystery—Intrigue. Munsey Music, 1997.


Murphy, Warren. [see also Sapir, Richard]

Pigs Get Fat. New American Library, 1985.

| setting: San Francisco | series character: Devlin Tracy (Trace 5) | Hubin | pbo | find it |

Summary: In the fifth entry of Murphy’s Trace series, Las Vegas insurance investigator Devlin “Trace” Tracy and his Japanese-Italian, blackjack-dealer, part-time-hooker girlfriend Michiko “Chico” Mangini go to San Francisco with Chico’s mother to attend a convention of American citizens born in Japan. Although he tells his boss at Garrison Fidelity that he’s on vacation, Trace takes his tape-recording equipment along, just in case. This turns out to be a good idea. Since most of the convention is held in Japanese, Trace finds that he’s got enough time on his hands to look into the case of Thomas Collins, a missing real estate magnate, who recently took out a large insurance policy on himself. As Trace works his way through a series of Collins’ wives, girlfriends, secretaries, and prostitutes, he uncovers a trail of blackmail and murder. Editor’s note: Winner of the 1986 Edgar for Best Paperback Original, even though the hero is misogynistic, homophobic, alcoholic, and border-line racist.


Murphy, D. C.

Rooster: A Badge, Gun and Heartache. AuthorHouse, 2013.

| setting: Mill Valley, San Francisco (1978) | series character: Sean Patrick Murphy | find it |

Summary: Corruption is everywhere. Near San Francisco, a small town is riddled with bad cops and cocaine dealers; Mill Valley sits nestled in the shadow of the Sleeping Princess Mountain in southern Marin County and, at first glance, appears to be a quiet, tranquil little town populated by rock stars, writers, and artists. But a closer look reveals a dark side: corruption has reached the top levels of the police department, and white powder cocaine is the locals’ drug of choice. Sean Patrick Murphy, nicknamed Rooster by his supervising sergeant, Dante John Castigari, is a burnt-out Irish cop on a rampage on San Francisco’s skid row. He carries a badge, gun, and heartache, but all he ever wanted was to be a country singer. But so far, that doesn’t seem to be in the cards. The year is 1978. But the story begins in Mill Valley, early in 1973: Sergeant Castigari hates dope dealers and dirty cops. So does Murphy, but his passion to become a country singer soon starts to interfere with his commitment to protect and serve. When Castigari plunges into the dangerous business of cleaning up the town and eradicating the Colombian drug cartel from their stronghold, Rock Star Hell, Murphy has to decide among his music, his job, and his mentor. The corruption and greed start to take a toll on everybody involved, including Murphy’s girlfriend, the sultry singer Peggy Sue Barnes. Then Murphy is offered immortality with a record contract; but not without a price. Soon Castigari is asking: Are you pulling pistols or strumming guitars? It’s down to the wire, but Murphy has already made up his mind. Now it’s a waiting game, and both the cops and the Colombians await Rooster’s next move.

The Elephants Graveyard. AuthorHouse, 2014.

| setting: Mill Valley, San Francisco (Tenderloin; 1982) | series character: Sean Patrick Murphy | find it |


Murphy, Shirley Rousseau.

Cat Fear No Evil. HarperCollins, 2004.

| setting: San Francisco | series character: Joe Grey | find it |


Murray, Lynne.

Termination Interview. St. Martin’s Press, 1988.

| setting: San Francisco | series character: Ingrid Hunter | Hubin, MRJ | find it |

Summary: Everyone who knew Miranda Falk believed that if she was honestly dead, it would be the first honest thing she’d ever done. And indeed, the much-loathed personnel director at a posh San Francisco law firm had plummeted from her office window to an honest-to-goodness death. Murder or suicide? Aspiring photographer Ingrid Hunter had known Miranda in high school. She didn’t like her then and didn’t like her now—especially since Miranda was into some sordid business in which Ingrid was unwittingly involved. Corruption, arson, blackmail and Ingrid’s own dark past are exposed in the wake of Miranda’s death as Ingrid races to bring a killer into focus—before she’s too dead to do the job.

A Ton of Trouble. St. Martin’s Minotaur, 2002.

| setting: Napa Valley | series character: Josephine Fuller | find it |

Summary: In the wine country of Napa Valley, plus-sized sleuth Jospehine Fuller is once again caught in the middle of a gruesome murder. When she receives a note from Wolf Lambert, the director of X-rated films starring XXL women, Josephine decides to stop and visit him at his winery. Her spur of the moment impulse, however, leads her right into the middle of a murder investigation when a body is found in one of Wolf’s wine barrels and her friend Thelma, a super-sized porn queen, is one of the leading suspects.



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