Unless otherwise noted, summaries on this page are quoted from fantasticfiction.co.uk
Block, Lawrence. Burglars can’t be Choosey. 1977.
Bernie Rhodenbarr series, #1.
Introducing Bernie Rhodenbarr, N.Y.C.’s prince of thieves – who really should have known better! When the mysterious pear shaped man with a lot of uncomfortably accurate information about Bernie and his career offered him five big ones to liberate a blue leather box – unopened – from an East Side apartment, it would have been a good time to plead a previous engagement..but times were tough. Everything was straightforward – the box was where it should have been but before the liberation took place, two men in blue coats turned up. Still all was not lost, there was always a way to work things out…that was before they discovered the body in the bedroom and Bernie decided to leg it.
Churchill, Jill. The House of the Seven Mabels, 2002
Jane Jeffry series, #13.
Homemaking is about to take on a whole new meaning for Jane Jeffry now that she’s agreed to help restore and redecorate a decrepit old neighborhood mansion. The home’s owner, the prosperously divorced Bitsy Burnside, considers herself to be a feminist to the max and wants an almost all-female crew to do the dirty work – prompting the quick-witted Shelley Nowack to dub the project “the House of Seven Mabels”.
With her best friend and decorating whiz Shelley on the estrogen-heavy team, Jane thinks this exhausting, plaster-dusty job may not be as unpleasant as it initially appeared to be.
Until, of course, things start to get very messy. It begins with a series of mean-spirited “pranks” – strange odors, mysterious electrical shorts, a myriad of petty annoyances designed to impede the progress of the fixer-uppers. And then the pranks turn deadly, leaving one of the workers lying lifeless at the foot of a staircase.
Tragic, yes, but an accident? Jane thinks not. And with the able assistance of Shelley, not to mention a little help from her best beau, Chicago detective Mel VanDyne, Jane’s hoping she can construct a solid case and nail the assassin. Suspects are certainly in abundant supply. The surviving members of Bitsy’s building brigade all had the opportunity. Joe Budley – the contractor originally hired, then fired when Bitsy had her “no men allowed” epiphany – had a motive. But the more Jane saws away at the truth, the more complicated the criminal blueprint appears. And she may be painting herself into a corner, leaving no exit if a crafty killer decides to make Jane Jeffry the next demolition project.
Cohen, Jeffry. A Farewell to Legs, 2009.
Aaron Tucker series, #2.
Work-at-home dad, devoted husband, aspiring screenwriter – all ways to describe the unwilling sleuth Aaron Tucker, whom one re-viewer dubbed a combination of “Bart Simpson and James Bond.” In A Farewell to Legs, the second installment of the Aaron Tucker Mystery Series, Aaron is back on the trail again, this time trying to ferret out the murderer of a former classmate, a D.C. lobbyist whose enemies finally stick it to him, literally – with a six-inch steak knife. The deceased leaves behind a bombshell of a widow, a hidden bankroll of $13 million, and a cloud of political controversy, all of which lead Aaron to a barrel of red herrings.
But in the life of Aaron Tucker, one mystery is never enough (though he’d be quick to tell you otherwise). He’s also been dele-gated the odious task of tracking down Buzbee School’s secret stink-bomber, and his wife, the beautiful attorney Abby Stein, is being stalked by a former client. All in a day’s work for the 5’4″ freelance writer, who, as procrastinator extraordinaire, would rather be doing anything but investigating.
Evanovich, Janet. One for the Money, 1994.
Stephanie Plum series, #1.
Stephanie Plum is is a failed lingerie buyer, newly turned bond agent. Her first job is to find Morrelli, a policeman/murder suspect on the run and her childhood sweetheart. Real menace enters the story when Stephanie attracts the psychopathic attentions of boxer Benito Ramirez.
Evanovich, Janet. Seven Up, 2002.
Stephanie Plum series, #7.
Stephanie thinks she’s going after an easy FTA: a senior citizen charged with smuggling contraband cigarettes. But when she and Lula show up at his house, they get more than they bargained for – a corpse in the woodshed and an old man on the lam. Stephanie’s mind is on other matters, however, because she has two proposals to consider: vice cop Joe Morelli is proposing marriage, and fellow bounty hunter Ranger is proposing a single perfect night…
Evanovich, Janet. Twelve Sharp, 2006.
Stephanie Plum series, #12.
FIRST A STRANGER APPEARS
While chasing down the usual cast of miscreants and weirdos, Stephanie discovers that a crazed woman is stalking her.
THEN THE STRANGER REVEALS HER SECRETS
The woman dresses in black, carries a 9mm Glock, and has a bad attitude and a mysterious connection to dark and dangerous Carlos Manoso …street name, Ranger.
NEXT, SOMEBODY DIES
The action turns deadly serious, and Stephanie goes from hunting skips to hunting a murderer.
SOON, THE CHASE IS ON
Ranger needs Stephanie for more reasons than he can say. And now, the two are working together to find a killer, rescue a missing child, and stop a lunatic from raising the body count. When Stephanie Plum and Ranger get too close for comfort, vice cop Joe Morelli (her on-again, off-again boyfriend) steps in. Will the ticking clock stop at the stroke of twelve…or will a stranger in the wind find a way to stop Stephanie Plum…forever? summary from amazon.com
Evanovich, Janet. Takedown Twenty, 2013.
Stephanie Plum series, #20.
Stephanie is angry. Someone is killing old women and leaving them in dumpsters, and she’s risking the wrath of the local police by investigating behind their backs. And to top that, her latest bounty is the town’s much-beloved vicious mobster, ‘Uncle Sunny’ Sunucchi.
Stephanie doesn’t mind (that much) that the local Godfather is her boyfriend Morelli’s actual godfather – but since they are almost her in-laws, she could do with the Family not trying to kill her for a while…
Ewan, Chris. The Good Thief’s Guide to Amsterdam. 2007
Charlie Howard series, #1.
Charlie Howard travels the globe writing suspense novels for a living, about an intrepid burglar named Faulks. To supplement his income—and to keep his hand in—Charlie also has a small side business: stealing for a very discreet clientele on commission.
When a mysterious American offers to pay Charlie 20,000 euros if he steals two small monkey figurines to match the one he already has, Charlie is suspicious; he doesn’t know how the American found him, and the job seems too good to be true. And, of course, it is. Although the burglary goes off without a hitch, when he goes to deliver the monkeys he finds that the American has been beaten to near-death, and that the third figurine is missing.
Back in London, his long-suffering literary agent, Victoria (who is naive enough to believe he actually looks like his jacket photo), tries to talk him through the plot problems in both his latest manuscript and his real life—but Charlie soon finds himself caught up in a caper reminiscent of a Cary Grant movie, involving safe-deposit boxes, menacing characters, and, of course, a beautiful damsel in distress.
Freeman, Gwen. Murder, Suicide…Whatever, 2007.
Fifi Cutter series, #1.
Fifi Cutter is an acerbic, bi-racial twenty-something, with family issues and a delightfully cynical world view. Just fired from her boring, but steady job at Colchester Casualty, she is barely making it as an independent insurance adjustor when her freeloading half-brother, Bosco Dorff, shows up with the news that their Uncle Ted has been murdered. Fifi is hired to investigate. Ted was an insurance broker to the stars-porn stars. Posing as grief counselors, Fifi and Bosco interrogate a colorful array of suspects, including Ted’s smoking hot mistress, his portly assistant, and his deadly competition, Corazon Villareal. Fifi zips around LA to check out the various and vaguely guilty suspects — all classic LA characters. When Bosco disappears, however, Fifi is catalysed into immediate action, finding the unlikely killer and gaining an unlikely accomplice.
George, Anne. Murder Shoots the Bull, 1999
Southern Sisters series, #6.
Sisters Patricia Anne and Mary Alice find murder and mayhem when they decide to make a fortune by joining a local investment club, and Arthur, the husband of the club’s leader Mitzi, is accused of killing his supposed mistress.
Gregory, Daryl. Afterparty, 2014.
In the years after the smart drug revolution, any high school student with a chemjet can print drugs… or invent them. A teenaged girl finds God through a new brain-altering drug called Numinous, used as a sacrament by a Church that preys on the underclass. But she is arrested and put into detention, and without the drug, commits suicide. Lyda Rose, another patient in the detention facility, has a dark secret: she was one of the original scientists who developed the drug, and is all too aware of what it can do; she has her own personal hallucinated angel to remind her. With the help of an ex-government agent and the imaginary, drug-induced Dr. Gloria, Lyda sets out to find the other three survivors of the five who made the Numinous to try and set things right…
Hall, Parnell. A Clue for the Puzzle Lady, 1999.
Puzzle Lady series, #1.
Cruciverbalists, rejoice! Pick up a pencil and get ready to solve a puzzling murder-and an actual crossword puzzle-in this sparkling debut of a unique amateur detective: Miss Cora Felton, an eccentric old lady with a syndicated puzzle column, an irresistible urge to poke into unsettling events, and a niece who’s determined to keep her out of trouble.
When the body of an unknown teenage girl turns up in the cemetery in the quiet town of Bakerhaven, Police Chief Dale Harper finds himself investigating his first homicide. A baffling clue leads him to consult Bakerhaven’s resident puzzle expert-his first big mistake. Soon Cora’s meddling, mischief-making behavior drives Chief Harper to distraction and inspires many cross words from her long-suffering niece, Sherry. But when another body turns up in a murder that hits much closer to home, Cora must find a killer-before she winds up in a wooden box three feet across…and six down.
Hiaasen, Carl. Skinny Dip, 2004.
Mick Stranahan series, #2 and Skink series, #5.
Marine biologist Chaz Perrone can’t tell a sea horse from a sawhorse. And when he throws his beautiful wife, Joey, off a cruise liner, he really should know better. An expert swimmer, Joey makes her way to a floating bale of Jamaican pot-and then to an island inhabited by an ex-cop named Mick Stranahan, whose ex-wives include five waitresses and a TV producer. Now Joey wants to get revenge on Chaz and Mick’s happy to help her.But in swampy South Florida, separating lies from truths and stupidity from brilliance isn’t easy. Especially when you’re after a guy like Chaz-who’s bad at murder, great at fraud, and just terrible at getting caught…
Hess, Joan. The Murder at The Murder at The Mimosa Inn. 1986.
Claire Malloy series, #2.
When you make a game of murder, be careful who the players are…
Who could resist the mock-murder weekend at the charming Mimosa Inn– certainly not bookstore owner and amateur sleuth Claire Malloy, who decides to bring her petulant daughter Caron along for some detecting. As the guests settle in for a weekend of sleuthing, dressed as their favorite literary detectives, many a Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot stand poised to solve a murder. But fiction becomes alarmingly real, as the mock-murder victim isn’t just playing dead– he’s really been bashed to death. More determined than even to find the killer, Claire combs the grounds of the lovely inn for this most uninvited guest. summary from amazon.com
Hunter, Maddy. Alpine For You, 2003.
Passport to Peril series, #1.
Accompanying her grandmother on a seniors tour of Switzerland, Emily Andrew had envisioned a vacation straight out of a travel brochure: spectacular scenery, great food, and a classy European hotel, all worlds away from her rural Iowa hometown. But her dream trip quickly snowballs into mayhem when smooth-talking tour escort Andy Simon is found dead. To be sure, Andy was as randy as a mountain goat on Viagra, hitting on every miss — Swiss or otherwise — within striking distance. His constant advances were driving Emily cuckoo — but had someone orchestrated his untimely death?
For savvy, resourceful Emily, leading the tour in Andy’s place is only natural. But she can’t remain neutral when a fellow traveler takes a fatal plunge — she’s convinced a murderer lurks among them. With precision timing, sexy Etienne Miceli steps in to investigate, and Emily warms to the suave detective. Still, with the group roster suddenly sprouting more holes than the local cheese, Emily wonders: is there a safe haven anywhere in the shadow of the Alps?
Lutz, Lisa. Heads, You Lose, 2011.Co-written with David Hayward.
Meet Paul and Lacey Hansen: orphaned, pot-growing twentysomething siblings eking out a living in rural Northern California. When a headless corpse appears on their property, they can’t exactly dial 911, so they move the body and wait for the police to find it. Instead, the corpse reappears, a few days riper . . . and an amateur sleuth is born. Make that two.
When collaborators Lutz and Hayward (former romantic partners) start to disagree about how the story should unfold, the body count rises, victims and suspects alike develop surprising characteristics (meet Brandy Chester, the stripper with the Mensa IQ), and sibling rivalry reaches homicidal intensity. Think Adaptation crossed with Weeds. Will the authors solve the mystery without killing each other first?
Rehders, Ben. Buck Fever, 2002.
Blanco County, Texas series, #1
It’s one week before the start of deer hunting season, and everyone in town has come down with a case of…Buck Fever.
The fury begins with Red O’Brien and Billy Don Craddock, two drunken poachers who fire a shot in the direction of Blanco County’s most important resident: a wide-eyed, white-tailed deer named Buck who lives on the Circle S ranch. Now Buck is on the loose, and no one knows where to find him: not Trey Sweeney, the man who took the bullet meant for Buck, albeit right in the flank of his own deer costume; not Tim Gray, the veterinarian who can’t function very long without popping a few canine tranquilizers; and especially not Roy Swank, owner of the Circle S, who wants desperately to find Buck for reasons no one can quite understand. Navigating all this turmoil is Blanco County Game Warden John Marlin, with a little help from his best friend Phil and a beautiful nurse named Becky who seems too good to be true. But when a dead body turns up, the real mystery in madcap Blanco County soon boils down to a single question: Just who is hunting whom?
Semple, Maria. Where’d You Go, Bernadette? 2012.
Bernadette Fox is notorious.To Elgie Branch, a Microsoft wunderkind, she’s his hilarious, volatile, talented, troubled wife.To fellow mothers at the school gate, she’s a menace. To design experts, she’s a revolutionary architect. And to 15-year-old Bee, she is a best friend and, quite simply, mum. Then Bernadette disappears. And Bee must take a trip to the end of the earth to find her.