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Page history last edited by Randal Brandt 1 year, 8 months ago

Nardizzi, John F.

Telegraph Hill. Libboo, Inc., 2012.

| setting: San Francisco (Telegraph Hill) | series character: Ray Infantino | e-book | find it |

Summary: Private detective Ray Infantino searches for a missing girl named Tania. The case takes him to San Francisco, the city he abandoned years ago after his fiancée was murdered. Thrust into his old city haunts, Ray finds that Tania may not be lost at all. Tania saw a murder; and a criminal gang, the Black Fist Triad, wants to make sure she never sees anything again. Ray enlists help from an old flame, Dominique, but now he has three women on his mind. Meeting with various witnesses—ex-cops, prostitutes, skinheads—he relentlessly tracks the evidence. But the hunt for Tania fires his obsession with avenging the murder of his fiancée. When the triad retaliates, and blood begins to flow, Ray must walk the knife edge between revenge and redemption on the streets of San Francisco.


Nash, Jay Robert.

The Dark Fountain. A & W Publishers, Inc., 1982.

| setting: San Francisco, Winnipeg (Canada) | find it |

Summary: A fictional account of the life and career of Earle Leonard Nelson, a serial killer responsible for murdering over twenty women in the 1920’s. Nelson’s life of crime begins in 1919, when he meets, courts, and marries Gloria Stearn, a beautiful, young music teacher, in San Francisco. Although proper, respectful, and generous during their courtship, after the wedding Nelson (who calls himself Roger Wilson with Gloria) turns violent, brutally raping and torturing Gloria for several days. Gloria manages to escape and moves to Portland. Nelson, meanwhile turns his attention to a successive string of landladies, first in San Francisco, then in Santa Barbara. His routine is to rent a room, strangle the landlady, and then rape the corpse, all the while quoting Biblical scripture. Detective Sergeant John Davis of the San Francisco Police Department is assigned to the case and ends up becoming obsessed with catching the killer, whom the press start calling “The Gorilla Murderer” and “The Dark Strangler.” Nelson continually eludes capture by striking quickly, never staying long in the same place, and being extremely talented in his methods of escape (he had even escaped from San Quentin earlier in his life). Using a combination of luck, deductive reasoning, new scientific methods of policing, and assistance from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Davis finally runs Nelson to ground in Winnipeg, Canada, takes him into custody, and witnesses his execution by hanging.


Nathan, Will. [William McGrane]

Book of Business: A Novel of the Law. Philadelphian Press, 2006.

| setting: San Francisco (1994) | tpo | find it |

Summary: It’s the summer of 1994, and Gus Bondoc is going under. One of the best civil-defense lawyers in San Francisco, he’s survived by sheer cunning and strict control. But when everything goes wrong at once—when a jury hits his biggest client with a $12 million dollar penalty just after an entry-level employee helps a foreign government wrest $16 million from the most dangerous man he’s ever worked for and then sets out to seduce him—Bondoc falls back on his worst instincts and the wrong people. With his business and his life at risk, with plenty of enemies and few friends, he begins the grim process of preserving himself at all costs.


Nava, Michael.

The Little Death. Alyson Publications, 1986.

| setting: San Francisco | series characters: Henry Rios | tpo | Hubin | find it |

Summary: In the first book of the acclaimed Henry Rios series, a lawyer doggedly pursues a murder investigation into the lion's den of San Francisco's moneyed elite. A burnt-out public defender battling alcoholism, Henry Rios has reached a crossroads in his life. While interviewing his former lover Hugh Paris in jail, Rios goes through the motions, but notices that Paris is far more polished and well off than the usual suspects arrested for drug possession. Paris is mysteriously bailed out -- but a few weeks later, he turns up on Rios's doorstep. Skittish and paranoid, he admits to using heroin and says he's afraid that his wealthy grandfather wants to murder him. Rios tries to help Paris get clean, but when Paris is found dead of an apparent heroin overdose, Rios is the only one who considers foul play. Determined to find Paris's killer, Rios knocks on San Francisco's most gilded doors, where he discovers a family tainted by jealousy, greed, and hate. They've been warped by a fortune someone's willing to kill -- and kill again -- to possess.

Goldenboy. Alyson Publications, 1988.

| setting: San Francisco, Los Angeles | series characters: Henry Rios | find it |

Summary: A young restaurant worker is accused of killing a co-worker in Los Angeles to keep the victim from disclosing the accused man's homosexuality. Two days before the trial a gay activist comes to San Francisco to convince Henry Rios, a criminal defense attorney and gay rights activist himself, to take over the defense. After dinner in the Castro, a walk by Fisherman’s Wharf, and coffee in North Beach, Rios agrees. “But as gay lawyer Henry Rios investigates this case, he finds that the pieces of the puzzle don’t fit together the way everyone thinks. Too many people want Jim Pears to be found guilty, regardless of the truth. With so many committed to keeping it covered up, can Rios discover what the truth really is?” [dust jacket] The case against Pears is dismissed after he tries suicide and ends up in a coma. Rios returns to San Francisco briefly with his new lover (a witness in the case), but flies back to Los Angeles almost immediately to follow the clues to the identity of the killer. (P.B.)

Lay Your Sleeping Head. Kórima Press, 2016.

| setting: San Francisco | series character: Henry Rios | Revised edition of: The Little Death | tpo | find it |

Summary: Thirty years ago, The Little Death introduced Henry Rios, a gay, Latino criminal defense lawyer who became the central figure in a celebrated seven novel series. In a brilliant re-imagination of The Little Death, Lay Your Sleeping Head retains all the complexity and elegance of the plot of the original novel but deepens the themes of personal alienation and erotic obsession that both honored the traditions of the American crime novel and turned them on their head. Henry Rios, a gifted and humane lawyer driven to drink by professional failure and personal demons, meets a charming junkie struggling to stay clean. He tells Rios an improbable tale of long-ago murders in his wealthy family. Rios is skeptical, but the erotic spark between them ignites an obsessive affair that ends only when the man’s body is discovered with a needle in his arm on the campus of a great California university. Rios refuses to believe his lover’s death was an accidental overdose. His hunt for the killer takes him down San Francisco's mean streets and into Nob Hill mansions where he uncovers the secrets behind a legendary California fortune and the reason the man he loved had to die.

Carved in Bone. Persigo Press, 2019.

| setting: San Francisco (1984) | series character: Henry Rios | find it |

Summary: November, 1984. Criminal defense lawyer Henry Rios, fresh out of rehab and picking up the pieces of his life, reluctantly accepts work as an insurance claims investigator and is immediately is assigned to investigate the apparently accidental death of Bill Ryan. Ryan, part of the great gay migration into San Francisco in the 1970s, has died in his flat of carbon monoxide poisoning from a faulty gas line, his young lover barely surviving. Rios's investigation into Ryan's death -- which Rios becomes convinced was no accident -- tracks Ryan's life from his arrival in San Francisco as a terrified 18-year-old to his transformation into a successful businessman. What begins for Rios as the search for the truth about Bill Ryan's death becomes the search for the meaning of Ryan's life as the tsunami of AIDS bears down on the gay community.


Neary, Angela Crider.

Li'l Tom and the Pussyfoot Detective Bureau: The Case of the Parrots Desaparecidos. Tornado Alley Publications, 2015.

| setting: San Francisco | series characters: Li'l Tom; Lola | juvenile | tpo | | find it |

Summary: Someone is stealing the parrots of Telegraph Hill! San Francisco is plagued with a rash of exotic birdnappings, and it's up to Li'l Tom and Lola of the Pussyfoot Detective Bureau to track down the culprits and put an end to this sinister scheme. With the help of a motley crew of cats, rats, and one dog, they'll venture into the dangerous back alleys of Chinatown to rescue the brilliantly plumaged captives!

Li'l Tom and the Pussyfoot Detective Bureau: The Case of the New Year Dragon. Tornado Alley Publications, 2018.

| setting: San Francisco | series characters: Li'l Tom; Lola | juvenile | tpo | 

Summary: Li'l Tom, cat detective at the Pussyfoot Detective Bureau of Telegraph Hill, is back -- this time, to solve the case of the New Year Dragon! Small animal deaths, art and jewel thefts, and a sinister, perhaps even supernatural, being lurking in the fog and shadows have been plaguing San Francisco and making the city's four-legged residents afraid to venture out alone. Could these incidents be related? It's up to Li'l Tom to find out. With the help of his sidekick, the lovely Calico cat, Lola, and several other unlikely animal assistants, Li'l Tom plunges into San Francisco's Chinatown, Union Square, Russian Hill, and even the famous annual New Year Parade to crack the case. Along the way, improbable beasts and unhinged villains thwart his every move. Can he succeed in solving the case before it's too late -- before the Year of the Dragon is upon him?


Neely, Richard.

The Sexton Women. Putnam, 1972.


Neggers, Carla.

Just Before Sunrise. Pocket Books, 1997.


Nelson, Hugh Lawrence.

The Copper Lady. Rinehart & Company, 1947.

The Title is Murder. Rinehart & Company, 1947.

Fountain of Death. Rinehart & Company, 1948.

Dead Giveaway. Rinehart & Company, 1950.


Nelson, Mildred.

The Dark Stone. Pyramid Books, 1972.


Nelson, Peter.

First to Die. HarperCollins, 1992.


Nemec, David.

Stonesifer. Robert D. Reed Publishers, 1999.


Nesheim, Gisela.

High Tech Murder. Strategic Enterprise Consulting, 1998.


Nettmann, Nadine.

Decanting a Murder. Midnight Ink, 2016.

| setting: Napa Valley | series character: Katie Stillwell (A Sommelier Mystery 1) | find it |

Summary: Katie Stillwell, practicing for her Sommelier Certification, is thrown off by the discovery of a body at an exclusive Napa Valley winery party. When evidence points to Katie's friend, Katie drops everything to work on clearing Tessa's name, and in the process she learns that everyone's secrets must be uncovered--including hers.

Uncorking a Lie. Midnight Ink, 2017.

| setting: Sonoma Valley | series character: Katie Stillwell (A Sommelier Mystery 2) | find it |

Summary: It was the kind of invitation Katie Stillwell had only dreamed about: a dinner party at the Sonoma mansion of famed wine collector Paul Rafferty to celebrate a rare bottle of wine. Everyone enjoys drinking the $19,000 wine, but Katie realizes it's not the older vintage listed on the label. When she confides in Mr. Rafferty, he asks her to investigate, and she soon discovers the deception goes beyond money. As Katie falls deeper into the world of counterfeit wine, she learns everything is at stake--even her life.


Neville, Katherine.

A Calculated Risk. Ballantine Books, 1992.


Newman, Rand.

murder.com. Xlibris Corporation, 2000.

| setting: Silicon Valley (Palo Alto, Los Altos Hills, Santa Clara) | tpo | find it |

Summary: John Dudek, General Counsel of a Silicon Valley technology company, is murdered. The investigation centers on a staff lawyer, Bryce Sanders—handsome, brash, critic of Dudek, implicated in a romance with Dudek’s gorgeous widow. Desperate to prove his innocence, Bryce finds himself trapped in a dangerous maze of industrial espionage.


Newton, Michael.

Child of Blood. Bantam Books, 1988.

China White. Bantam Books, 1991.

Cat and Mouse. Pocket Books, 1995.

| setting: Santa Rosa | tpo | find it |

Summary: Gathering information about an executed convict whose biography he is writing, Adam Reed discovers letters written by a fan of the late criminal and begins to suspect that this fan may be responsible for serial killings in Santa Rosa, California.


Nicolai, Charles.

Murder in the Fine Arts. Hammond, 1964.


Nisbet, Jim.

The Gourmet. Pinnacle Books, 1981.

| setting: San Francisco | pbo; Re-issued as The damned don’t die. Berkeley, Calif.: Black Lizard Books, 1986 | Hubin | find it |

Summary: Martin Windrow, an ex-cop turned private eye, gets drawn into a bizarre murder case when a man on whom he has been hired to serve divorce papers becomes the prime suspect. After a night of noisy sex, Virginia Sarapath is found brutally stabbed and mutilated in the bathroom of her apartment. Her next-door neighbor, Herbert Trimble, has vanished, leaving one provocative typewritten line on a sheet of paper: “I’ve always wanted to skin a woman.” The police also find Trimble’s fingerprints in Virginia’s apartment and a bloodstain on his inside doorknob. Determined to serve the divorce papers on Trimble before the police catch up to him, Windrow plunges into the investigation and winds up in San Francisco’s kinky underbelly, exposing a scene that prefers to stay hidden from the light of day.

Prelude to a Scream. Carroll & Graf Publishers, 1997.

| setting: San Francisco | Hubin | find it |

Summary: San Francisco truck driver Stanley Ahearn is slipped a pill by a prostitute and awakens in a park with a kidney cut out. The doctor who examines him discovers he has a kidney disease and will soon require a new kidney himself. Ahearn goes after the thieves.

The Price of the Ticket. Dennis McMillan Publications, 2003.

| setting: San Francisco | find it |

The Syracuse Codex. Dennis McMillan Publications, 2005.

| setting: San Francisco | find it |

Dark Companion. Dennis McMillan Publications, 2006.

| setting: Walnut Creek, Las Vegas | find it |

Summary: In Walnut Creek, Banerjhee Rolf, an unemployed chemist (recently laid off from his job at a pharmaceutical company) and amateur astronomer, is passing his days catching up on his reading, tending to his backyard garden, and trying to avoid tedious over-the-fence conversations with his next-door neighbor, Toby Pride, a dope-dealing slacker with a fondness for playing Lotto. Banerjhee can’t wait until the bamboo he planted along the fence grows tall enough to restore his peace and quiet. Unfortunately, his peace and quiet is disturbed forever on the night his wife leaves for a two-week trip to Chicago when he gets drawn into an apparent domestic dispute between Toby and his girlfriend, Esme. Inside Pride’s house, Banerjhee learns Toby’s and Esme’s secrets, secrets that leave several people dead and send Banerjhee on the run to Las Vegas, driving Pride’s black BMW with $45,000 in cash and a double-barreled derringer in his pockets.

The Octopus on my Head. Dennis McMillan Publications, 2007.

| setting: San Francisco | find it |

Windward Passage. The Overlook Press, 2010.

| setting: San Francisco; Caribbean | find it |

Summary: In the parallel near-future, a ship named for a jellyfish sinks into the Caribbean with its captain chained to the mast. Left behind is a logbook missing ten pages, presidential DNA hidden in a brick of smuggled cocaine, and a nearly-completed novel. Tipsy, the dead sailor’s sister, and Red Means, his erstwhile employer, travel from San Francisco to the Caribbean and back as they attempt to unravel a mystery that rapidly widens from death at sea to international conspiracy.

A Moment of Doubt. PM Press, 2010.

| setting: San Francisco | novella | tpo | find it |

The Spider's Cage. Overlook Press, 2011.

| setting: San Francisco | series character: Martin Windrow | find it |

Summary: When Jodie O'Ryan, the country singer he adores, disappears after the death of her grandfather, a millionaire oil man, P.I. Martin Windrow sets off on her trail. Strangers and storytellers cross his path: friendly tarantulas, a Verlaine-reading prostitute, an androgynous bodyguard, a pimp-entrepreneur-singer, a Salvadorean revolutionary, a car salesman hooked on tranquilizers, a cop who treats the common cold with cocaine cut with amphetamines ... Windrow travels from surprise to nightmare, and from body to body, up until the dark-as-night finale.

Old and Cold. Overlook Press, 2012.

| setting: San Francisco | tpo | find it |

Snitch World. PM Press; The Green Arcade, 2013.

| setting: San Francisco | tpo | find it |

Summary: The ‘Snitch World’ in question is actually made up of different worlds both old and new, populated with the old-time petty criminals, like Chainbang and Klinger, but also with the modern, including a nouveau femme fatale whose tools of the criminal trade are from the new economy. Snitch World takes place in a San Francisco of menacing technology, where the old cons come up short and the crimes of the night turn into crimes done in the light of modern day, all from the glow of a smartphone. Klinger hangs out at the Hawse Hole Bar and Grille, a pretty bad dive where all he really wants is enough to have a cup of coffee, buy some cigarettes, make it through the day, and find a warm, dry place to sleep; all things that can be accomplished by the next easy grift. Little does Klinger know that the rules of the game have changed, and the stakes are higher than he could ever guess or care about. The seemingly simple act of rolling a drunk begins a series of events that get stranger and more complicated by the moment.


No rest for the dead. [see Gulli, Andrew]


Noble, Diane.

Tangled Vines. Alabaster Books, 1998.


Nolan, William F.

The Black Mask Murders. St. Martin’s Press, 1994.

| setting: Los Angeles (Hollywood), San Francisco (Chinatown) | series characters: Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, Erle Stanley Gardner | find it |

Summary: Everyone wants the jewel encrusted cat skull even though it has been knocking around for centuries, and carries a deadly curse for those who possess it. The editor of The Black Mask pulp magazine has it until he gets a note that his recently rediscovered daughter’s life depends on his turning it over to the kidnapper who has her and who killed her movie star mother. Dashiell Hammett, though struggling to finish his latest screenplay, signs on to make the exchange of skull for girl as a favor to the man who jump-started his career by publishing his earliest stories, but, of course, the exchange doesn’t go smoothly. Hammett, in turn, calls on fellow writers Erle Stanley Gardner and Raymond Chandler to help him find the girl and recover the cat skull. Their chase takes them around Los Angeles, to off-shore gambling boats, to San Francisco’s Chinatown, and to Big Bear Lake and calls on their skills and connections as plot-masters, linguists, bowmen, and men-about-town. Along the way the body count rises, and they cross paths with many of the leading men and women of Hollywood. Hammett recognizes the obvious parallels with his most famous book, but even that knowledge can’t keep him and his pals out of harm’s way. (P.B.)


Noonan, Rosalind.

Whispers From the Past. Pocket Pulse, 2000. [based on the television series Charmed, created by Constance M. Burge]


Norris, Dennis.

The Northern. self-published, 2014.

| setting: San Francisco | tpo | find it |

Summary: In San Francisco's Tenderloin District, truth is always stranger than fiction. Allen Tooley has been dishonorably discharged from the US Navy and makes his way from his home in Knoxville, Tennessee to the Tenderloin District of San Francisco. There he meets Emerald Strapp, the local methamphetamine distributor. Tooley soon finds himself at odds with Strapp and is left to support his growing meth habit by smashing the San Francisco Chronicle paper boxes and collecting the spillage. Unfortunately for him, the midnight watch cops of San Francisco Police Department's Northern Station have a tradition of grabbing the sports page and cup of coffee in the morning, and Tooley is unwittingly defiling their culture. The cops want him badly. Woven within the search for Tooley is a typical night in The Northern, bringing to life the various police partnerships and frequent station wallflowers. What follows is a fast-paced, raunchy and realistic dance of cops and criminals that is dead-on in terms of language, incessant practical joking, highs and lows of emotion, and occasional misuse of power.


Norris, Frank.

McTeague: A Story of San Francisco. Doubleday & McClure Co., 1899.

| setting: San Francisco | Baird & Greenwood 1879 | find it |

Summary: Avarice. In his classic of American naturalism, Frank Norris explores how one woman’s consuming desire to accumulate wealth leads to an even deadlier sin—murder. McTeague is a poor, inarticulate, self-taught dentist who practices out of modest “parlors” on Polk Street. His chief goals in life are to eat and drink well, do his job, care for his pet canary, play his concertina, and someday have a gold sign shaped like an oversized molar outside his office. When he meets and successfully woos the lovely Trina Sieppe, McTeague’s life seems utterly complete. On the eve of their wedding, Trina finds out that she has won $5,000 in the lottery. Suddenly wealthy, Trina is hesitant to part with a single penny of her newfound treasure. She sets about scrimping and saving to add to her hoard, setting in motion a series of events that lead to the collapse of McTeague’s practice, the loss of their home, the deterioration of her marriage, and ultimately her murder at the hands of her husband. Although not traditionally considered a crime novel (and certainly not a mystery) it is an examination of how circumstances can drive a person to commit the ultimate crime—the taking of another person’s life.


Norris, Kathleen.

Mystery House. Doubleday, Doran & Company, 1939.

| setting: San Mateo County (south of Half Moon Bay, near Pescadero), San Francisco | Baird & Greenwood 1902 | find it |

Summary: Page Hazeltyne is a young woman, trained as a nurse but currently at loose ends. She is living in a boarding house in San Francisco and longing for adventure when she is offered the job of caring for Mrs. Prendergast, a wealthy, eccentric, elderly woman living in a large, secluded house on the coast south of Half Moon Bay. The house, which has been under construction for decades, has been given the moniker “Mystery House” and, as far as Page is concerned, it certainly lives up to its name. The other residents of the house include: Flora Mockbee, the sulky daughter of Mrs. Prendergast’s previous companion, who died mysteriously several months earlier; Rand Harwood, a handsome doctor recently arrived from an extended stay in China who is staying on as Mrs. Prendergast’s personal physician; and, Lynn, a gentle young man who is suffering from a mysterious mental illness. Page soon discovers that the famous Prendergast diamond, a fabulous pink stone the size of a pigeon’s egg named the “Ked Anna,” is missing. She also discovers that some people are willing to kill to possess it. Editor’s note: Although set on the San Mateo County coast, the titular “Mystery House” is clearly inspired by the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, with many of the same qualities: perpetual construction, numerous rooms and hallways with secret passages, and a séance room.


Nottenkamper, Andy.

Rule Number One. iUniverse, Inc., 2006.

| setting: San Francisco | series character: Harrison Pius | tpo | find it |

Rule Number Two. Outskirts Press, Inc., 2007.

| setting: San Francisco | series character: Harrison Pius | tpo | find it |

Rule Number Three. iUniverse, Inc., 2008.

| setting: San Francisco, Las Vegas | series character: Harrison Pius | tpo | find it |

Rule Number Four. AuthorHouse, 2010.

| setting: San Francisco | series character: Harrison Pius | tpo | find it |


Nunn, Kem.

Chance. Scribner, 2014.

| setting: San Francisco | find it |

Summary: Dr. Eldon Chance is a brilliant, lonely, forensic neuropsychologist with a long track record of getting involved with damaged, complicated women. While apartment hunting after separating from his wife, a series of bad decisions leads to Chance sleeping with a patient named Jaclyn Blackstone. Unfortunately her ex-husband is an Oakland homicide detective and the jealous type. Meanwhile, Dr. Chance meets a young man who goes by "D"; Chance believes he is a war-veteran, but he is in fact a deranged loner and self-styled Samurai skilled in the art of the blade. D is fascinated by Chance's tales of his tormented and increasingly dangerous affair with Jaclyn and advises him that her ex-husband will find a way to destroy Chance. As Detective Blackstone does indeed threaten the doctor, Chance and D plan a counter-strike. Meanwhile Chance continues his steamy affair with Jaclyn Blackstone (or is it one of her multiple personalities?) But the sexually voracious "Jackie Black" has a story that is far more complex and darker than he could have ever imagined.




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