Novels to Media

Unless otherwise noted, summaries on this page are quoted from fantasticfiction.co.uk



Atkinson, Kate. Case Histories, 2004. TV series >>
Jackson Brodie series, #1.

  • Case one: A little girl goes missing in the night
  • Case two: A beautiful young office worker falls victim to a maniac’s apparently random attack.
  • Case three: A new mother finds herself trapped in a hell of her own making – with a very needy baby and a very demanding husband – until a fit of rage creates a grisly, bloody escape.

Thirty years after the first incident, as private investigator Jackson Brodie begins investigating all three cases, startling connections and discoveries emerge .


Christie, Agatha. The Mysterious Affair at Styles, 1920. Movie David Suchet version, 1990 >> 
Hercule Poirot series, #1.

Styles was Christie’s first published novel, introducing Hercule Poirot, Inspector (later, Chief Inspector) Japp, and Arthur Hastings. Poirot, a Belgian refugee of the Great War, is settling in England near the home of Emily Cavendish, who helped him to his new life. His friend Hastings arrives as a guest at her home. When the woman is killed, Poirot uses his detective skills to solve the mystery.
summary from amazon.com


Christie, Agatha. What Mrs. McGillicuddy Saw, aka 4:50 From Paddington, 1957.  Movie: Murder, She Said w/Margaret Rutherford. 1962 >>
Miss Marple series, #7.

For an instant the two trains ran together, side by side. In that frozen moment, Elspeth witnessed a murder. Helplessly, she stared out of her carriage window as a man remorselessly tightened his grip around a woman’s throat. The body crumpled. Then the other train drew away. But who, apart from Miss Marple, would take her story seriously? After all, there were no suspects, no other witnesses…and no corpse.


Conrad, Hy. Mr. Monk Gets on Board, 2014. TV Series >> (no corresponding episode)
Mr. Monk series, #2.

Of all the things that make Adrian Monk uneasy, change ranks high on the list. So when Natalie completes her P.I. license – and technically becomes Monk’s boss – it’s not easy for him to accept. Nor can he accept Natalie attending a business seminar at sea without him, even if it means spending a week with her on a cruise ship.

Between choppy waters and obnoxious kids, Monk finds himself in a perfect storm of anxiety. Luckily, Mariah, the cruise director, is always able to smooth things over… until someone pulls the man overboard alarm, the ship drops anchor – and the crew fishes Mariah’s dead body out of the water.

Finding alcohol in Mariah’s system, the ship’s doctor declares her death an accident, but Monk isn’t convinced. He knows that Mariah and the captain were having an affair. Could someone have pushed her overboard?

When the captain hires Monk and Natalie to look into a mysterious rash of vandalism onboard, Monk steers the investigation toward murder…


DeMille, Nelson. The General’s Daughter, 1992. Movie: 1999 >>
Paul Brenner series, #1.

Her murder was just the beginning. She was an army captain and the daughter of legendary General ‘Fighting Joe’ Campbell, when her body was found – naked and bound – on the firing range of Fort Hadley. This political powder keg of a case goes directly to elite army investigator Paul Brenner and rape specialist Cynthia Sunhill – and explodes.

Behind the military code of honour, Brenner and Sunhill uncover trails of corruption – all leading to the golden girl’s shocking secret life.


Dexter, Colin. The Silent World of Nicholas Quinn, 1977. TV Series:  season 1, episode 2 >>
Inspector Morse series, #3

After a hearing-impaired member of the Oxford Foreign Examinations Syndicate is found dead, Inspector Morse follows a murderous trail involving a Middle-Eastern oil magnate, an X-rated theater, and sexual and financial antics.


Dibdin, Michael. Back to Bologna, 2006. TV series:  2011 >>  (no corresponding episode)
Aurelio Zen series, #10.

When the corpse of the shady industrialist who owns the local football team is found both shot and stabbed with a Parmesan knife, Italian police inspector Aurelio Zen is called to Bologna to oversee the investigation. Recovering slowly from surgery, and fleeing an equally painful crisis in his personal life, Zen is only too happy to take on what at first appears to be a routine and relatively undemanding assignment. But soon a world-famous university professor is shot with the same gun, immediately after publicly humiliating Italy’s leading celebrity television chef, the case – intertwined with the fates of an earnest student of semiotics and a mysterious young immigrant who claims to be from Ruritania – spins out of control, and Zen is in no condition to rise to the challenge. There’s also a wild card in the pack – Tony Speranza, Bologna’s most flamboyant private detective.


Doyle, Arthur Conan. A Study in Scarlet, 1887. Movie:  1933 >>
Sherlock Holmes series, #1.

Dr John H. Watson meets the great detective Sherlock Holmes and together they solve a case of murder, in which Watson is amazed at Holmes’ “science of deduction”.

The novel is split into two quite separate halves. The first is titled “Being a Reprint from the Reminiscences of John Watson, M.D., Late of the Army Medical Department”. This part is told in first person by Sherlock Holmes’ friend Dr Watson, and describes his introduction in 1881 to Holmes through a mutual friend and the first mystery in which he followed Holmes’ investigations. The mystery revolves around a corpse found at a derelict house in Brixton, England with the word “RACHE” scrawled in blood on the wall beside the body. summary from wikia.com


Ellroy, James. LA Confidential, 1990. Movie: 1997 >>

The story revolves around a group of LAPD officers in the early 1950s who become embroiled in a mix of sex, corruption, and murder following a mass murder at the Nite Owl coffee shop. The story eventually encompasses organized crime, political corruption, heroin trafficking, pornograhy, prostitution, and Hollywood. The title refers to the scandal magazine Confidential, which is fictionalized as Hush-Hush. It also deals with the real-life “Bloody Christmas” scandal.


Flynn, Gillian. Dark Places, 2008.   Movie:  2015 >>

Libby Day was just seven years old when her Satan-worshipping older brother massacred her entire family while she hid in a cupboard. Ever since then she has been drifting, surviving for over twenty years on the proceeds of the ‘Libby Day fund’. But now people have moved on, the money is running out and Libby is desperate. When she is offered $500 to do a guest appearance at a club, she feels she has to accept. But this is no ordinary club – the Kill Club is a group of true-crime obsessives who share information on notorious murders and swap gruesome memorabilia. And what Libby doesn’t know is that most of the members of the Kill Club think her brother Ben is innocent. Brilliantly interwoven into Libby’s story are the events of Jan 2nd 1985, the day of the murders. Ben is a social misfit. His family is extremely poor, and his father Runner is violent, gambles and disappears for months on end. But Ben does have a girlfriend – a brooding heavy metal fan called Diondra and through her, Ben gets involved with a group of shady characters who use drugs and experiment in the dark arts. Then two traumatic events take Ben over the edge.


George, Elizabeth. Well-Schooled in Murder, 1990. TV series: season 1, episode 2 >>
Inspector Lynley series, #3.

The novel opens with the brutal murder of a young boy in a country churchyard. Complex and chilling in its implications, it brings Inspector Lynley and Sergeant Havers to an old and distinguished public school where scandal is set to shatter the calm and confident atmosphere.


Gordon, Neil. The Company You Keep,  2003.  Movie: 2012 >>

When Jason Sinai, one of the last Vietnam-era fugitives still wanted on murder charges for a robbery gone wrong in 1974, encounters a young newspaper reporter in search of a story, he must abandon years of safe underground life for the dangerous life of the road – traveling across America and deep into his past. It is a vivid recreation of lives lived underground – of battle-scarred veterans, ideologues, profiteers, criminals, and bystanders.


Graham, Caroline. The Killings at Badger’s Drift, 1989.  TV Series:  Midsomer Murder’s BBC production, Season 1, Ep. 1 >>
Chief Inspector Barnaby series, #1.

A spinster dies in a quiet English village and her best friend suspects foul play. When Barnaby and his eager-beaver deputy start poking around, they uncover a swamp of ugly scandals and long-suppressed resentments seething below the picture-postcard prettiness.


Greenwood, Kerry. Flying Too High, 1990. TV series:  Miss Fisher’s Mysteries >>  (No corresponding episode)
Phryne Fisher series, #2.

Phryne Fisher has her hands full in this, her second adventure. And just when we think she’s merely a brilliant, daring, sexy woman, Phyrne demonstrates other skills, including flying an airplane and doing her own stunts! Phryne takes on a fresh case at the pleading of a hysterical woman who fears her hot-headed son is about to murder his equally hot-headed father. Phryne, bold as we love her to be, first upstages the son in his own airplane at his Sky-High Flying School, then promptly confronts him about his mother’s alarm. To her dismay, however, the father is soon killed and the son taken off to jail. Then a young girl is kidnapped, and Phryne―who will never leave anyone in danger, let alone a child―goes off to the rescue. Engaging the help of Bert and Cec, the always cooperative Detective-Inspector Robinson, and her old flying chum Bunji Ross, Phryne comes up with a scheme too clever to be anyone else’s, and in her typical fashion saves the day, with plenty of good food and hot tea all around. Meanwhile, Phryne moves into her new home at 221B, The Esplanade, firmly establishes Dot as her “Watson,” and adds two more of our favorite characters, Mr. and Mrs. Butler, to the cast. summary from amazon.com


Hammett, Dashiell. The Maltese Falcon, 1929. Movie: 1941 >>

A treasure worth killing for. Sam Spade, a slightly shopworn private eye with his own solitary code of ethics. A perfumed grafter named Joel Cairo, a fat man name Gutman, and Brigid O’Shaughnessy, a beautiful and treacherous woman whose loyalties shift at the drop of a dime.


Harris, Thomas. Red Dragon (aka Manhunter) 1981. Movie:  Manhunter, 1986 >>

(precursor to Silence of the Lambs) A second family has been massacred by the terrifying serial killer the press has christened ?The Tooth Fairy.? Special Agent Jack Crawford turns to the one man who can help restart a failed investigation?Will Graham. Graham is the greatest profiler the FBI ever had, but the physical and mental scars of capturing Hannibal Lecter have caused Graham to go into early retirement. Now, Graham must turn to Lecter for help.


Hill, Reginald. Bones and Silence, 1990.  TV series:  Dalziel and Pascoe. Season 3 ep. 3 >>

One woman dead and one threatening to die set Yorkshire’s police superintendent Dalziel and Inspector Pascoe on a chilling hunt for a killer and a potential suicide. A drunken Dalziel witnesses the murder that others insist is a tragic accident. Meanwhile the letters of an anonymous woman say she plans to kill herself in a spectacular way…unless Pascoe can find her first. Dalziel has been picked to play God in a local Mystery Play, but can he live up to his role by solving this puzzling psychological thriller…or unveiling the passions and perversions that lie hidden in the human heart?


Johnson, Craig. Death Without Company, 2006. TV series: Longmire >> (no corresponding episode)
Walt Longmire series, #2.

With his debut novel, The Cold Dish, Craig Johnson proved himself a strong new voice in the realm of literary mystery. In his newest work, Johnson again takes us to Sheriff Walt Longmire’s Absaroka County, Wyoming.

When Mari Baroja is found poisoned at the Durant Home for Assisted Living, Sheriff Longmire is drawn into an investigation of her death that proves to be as dramatic as her life. Her connections to the Basque community, the lucrative coal-bed methane industry, and the personal life of the previous sheriff, Lucian Connally, lead to a complex web of half-truths and assumed allegiances. As the specter of Mari’s abusive husband arises, Sheriff Longmire, aided by his friend Henry Standing Bear, Deputy Victoria Moretti, and newcomer Santiago Saizarbitoria, must connect the past to the present to find the killer among them. Death Without Company is a riveting tale of the unspeakable viciousness that can lurk in the most beautiful and unlikely of places.


Lehane, Dennis. Gone Baby Gone, 1998. Movie: 2007 >>

The tough neighborhood of Dorchester is no place for the innocent or the weak. A territory defined by hard heads and even harder luck, its streets are littered with the detritus of broken families, hearts, dreams. Now, one of its youngest is missing. Private investigators Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro don’t want the case. But after pleas from the child’s aunt, they open an investigation that will ultimately risk everything—their relationship, their sanity, and even their lives—to find a little girl-lost.


Levin, Ira. Sliver, 1991.  Movie: 1993 >>

Kay Norris, a successful and lovely book editor, moves into the posh Carnegie Hill district of Manhattan, into an apartment in a slender high-rise. A man watches her. He watches her unpack, watches her make her bed. He owns the building: a shocking secret is concealed within its brick and concrete. Sliver is a sinuous erotic thriller, a hypnotic story of obsession, suspense, and stunning surprises. It is a novel about the ultimate power, and the temptations the use of that power brings.
summary from amazon.com


Lippman, Laura. Every Secret Thing, 2003. Movie: 2014 >>

It is early evening, summer time and hot. Two eleven year old girls, Alice and Ronnie, are on their way home from a swimming party when they happen to see a baby’s stroller, with baby girl sleeping inside, left unattended on the top step of a house. Ronnie says to Alice: ‘We have to take care of this baby.’ But what exactly does she mean? Four days later the body of little Olivia Barnes is discovered in a hut in Baltimore’s rambling Leakin Park by a young rookie detective, Nancy Porter. What can have happened in those four days to bring about this appalling crime? The girls are arrested and found guilty. Seven years later Ronnie and Alice, now eighteen, are released from their separate prisons, back into their old neighbourhood where the mother of baby Olivia still lives. Another child goes missing, and Nancy Porter and her partner get the case …


Robinson, Peter. Gallows View, 1987. TV Series DCI Banks >>  (no corresponding episode)
Inspector Banks series, #1.

Former London policeman Alan Banks relocated to quiet Yorkshire seeking some small measure of peace. But as he soon learns, evil and violence are not unique to large cities.

When an elderly woman is found brutally slain in her home in the quaint village of Eastvale, Chief Inspector Banks wonders if a local voyeur has crossed the line from menace to murderer. And before long, Banks finds himself caught in a web of increasingly deadly crimes; a net of danger that threatens his suddenly vulnerable personal life, forcing this dedicated law officer to make hard choices he’d dearly hoped would never be necessary.  summary from amazon.com


Turow, Scott.  Presumed Innocent,  1987. Movie: 1990 >>
Kindle County series, #1.

Rusty Sabich is chief deputy prosecuting attorney in a large mid-western city. His boss is in the midst of a bitter campaign for re-election. A fellow prosecuting attorney, Carolyn Polhemus, has been brutally murdered. Rusty is handling the investigation– and he needs results.

Before election day.

Before his illicit affair with Carolyn is uncovered.

Election day brings a new prosecuting attorney into office. A political enemy who wants Rusty out. A man whose own secret investigation has revealed Rusty’s relationship with Carolyn. A man who takes Rusty off the case– and charges him with murder. Rusty now faces a long battle in court. Each side will twist the evidence to win its case, and try any procedural ploy, any courtroom trick that might ensure victory. Rusty’s ordeal will uncover corruption, deceit, depravity and incompetence– and keep you spellbound. Who did kill Carolyn Polhemus?
summary from goodreads.com


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