Two novellas and two short stories featuring Mystery Writers of America Grandmaster Bill Pronzini’s iconic Nameless Detective
“Zigzag” is an original novella, in which a safe and simple accident investigation becomes the unraveling of a twisted murder scheme.
“Grapplin’,” which first appeared in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, deals with the kind of missing person case that can end in only one of two ways, closure or heartbreak.
In the second short, “Nightscape,” listeners discover how, indeed, one thing just leads to another. (This story was first published in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine as “The Winning Ticket.”)
“This so-called novel in MWA Grandmaster Pronzini’s consistently superior Nameless Detective series consists of two new novellas and two previously published short stories set in the San Francisco Bay area…Pronzini is economical with his details, providing just the right ones to bring each scene to life.”—Publishers Weekly
When Nameless is hired by Cory Beckett, a beautiful young woman who claims to be a model, to find her missing brother, Kenneth, it seems to be a routine matter. Kenneth has fled San Francisco in a drug-induced panic to avoid trial on a charge of stealing a valuable necklace from the alcoholic wife of the man for whom he works, wealthy yachtsman Andrew Vorhees. When agency operative Jake Runyon locates and questions the frightened young man, Cory's motives come into question and the case takes on darkly sinister complexities.
Cory lied to Nameless about her livelihood, her relationship with Vorhees, her brother's alleged drug use, and the nature of his alleged crime. Not only is she Andrew Vorhees' mistress, Cory has a secret second lover, factory owner Frank Chaleen, with whom she conspired to frame Kenneth. This bizarre sibling betrayal is part of a diabolical plan that reveals her to be a deadly, designing woman who will stop at nothing to achieve her warped desires.
A series of twists and turns drive the story to a truly shocking climax, for not until then do the detectives realize how devilish Cory Beckett really is, a femme fatale who has brought something new to the species-new, and terrible.
Bill Pronzini's Vixen is the latest in the Nameless Detective series, the longest-running PI series currently in print.
Bill Pronzini is crime-writing royalty. His more than eighty published novels have won or been nominated for Edgar, Hammett, Anthony, Shamus, and Macavity awards-a clean sweep of the crime fiction award field-and received rave reviews from critics. He crafts masterful stories, often from multiple perspectives, in which the human condition is on full display. The Violated is no exception.
In Echo Park, in the small town of Santa Rita, California, the mutilated body of Martin Torrey is found by two passersby. A registered sex offender, Torrey has been a suspect in a string of recent rapes, and instant suspicion for his murder falls on the relatives and friends of the women attacked. Police chief Griffin Kells and detective Robert Ortiz are under increasing pressure from the public and from a mayor demanding results in a case that has no easy solution.
Pronzini cleverly unfolds the case through alternating perspectives-Martin Torrey's wife, caught between her grief and the fear her husband was guilty; the outraged husbands of the women violated; the enterprising editor of the local paper; the mayor concerned most with his own ratings; the detectives, often spinning in circles-until a surprising break leads to a completely unexpected conclusion. The Violated is Bill Pronzini at the height of his storytelling powers.
The Stolen Gold Affair is the latest charming historical mystery in Mystery Writers of America Grand Master Bill Pronzini’s detective series.
In response to a string of gold thefts in a Mother Lode mine, Quincannon goes undercover as a newly hired miner to identify and capture the men responsible.
Meanwhile, Sabina finds herself not only making plans for her and Quincannon’s wedding, but also investigating both an audacious real estate scam and an abusive young man’s villainous secret.
A debutante’s missing body, murder most foul, and weird spectral lights in the fog make for a thrilling gaslight-era tale of mystery and detection.
In 1895 San Francisco young debutantes don’t commit suicide at festive parties, particularly not under the eye of Sabina Carpenter. But Virginia St. Ives evidently did, leaping from a foggy parapet in a shimmer of ghostly light. The seemingly impossible disappearance of her body creates an even more serious problem for the firm of Carpenter and Quincannon, Professional Detective Services.
Sabina didn’t want to take the case, but her partner John Quincannon insisted it would serve as entrée to the city’s ultra rich and powerful. That means money, and Quincannon loves the almighty dollar—which is why he is hunting the bandit who robbed the Wells Fargo office of $35,000.
Working their separate cases—while Sabina holds John off with one light hand—the detectives give readers a tour of the city the way it was. From the infamous Barbary Coast to the expensive Tenderloin gaming houses and brothels frequented by wealthy men, Quincannon follows a danger-laden trail to unmask the murderous perpetrators of the robbery. Meanwhile, Sabina works her wiles on friends and relatives of the vanished debutante until the pieces of her puzzle start falling into place. But it’s an oddly disguised gent appearing out of nowhere who provides the final clue to both cases—the shrewd “crackbrain” who believes himself to be Sherlock Holmes.
“Muller and Pronzini’s latest entry in their mystery series featuring Carpenter and Quincannon excels at evoking the time period of 1895 San Francisco…Social hierarchy plays a key role in both how the characters interpret the clues, and how the other characters treat the two detectives. An appearance by a detective who could be Sherlock Holmes adds to the puzzle.”—RT Book Reviews
Bill Pronzini's riveting western mystery, The Peaceful Valley Crime Wave, takes on the modern world with old-fashioned violence-and his Peaceful Valley is anything but ...
Nothing much happens in Peaceful Valley, Montana. And that's just how Sheriff Lucas Monk likes it.
Aside from the occasional drunken brawl or minor disturbance out on the reservation, he hasn't had to resort to his fists or sidearm in years.
That is, until mid-October, 1914, when the theft of a wooden cigar store Indian sets off a crime wave like nothing Lucas has ever seen. Teenager Charity Axthelm goes missing, Reba Purvis' housekeeper is poisoned with cyanide Reba is sure was meant for her, and Lucas' gut tells him that this is only the beginning.
It's not long before the first corpse shows up, bringing the peace in the valley to a thundering end.
Mystery Writers of America Grand Master Bill Pronzini's next historical mystery The Paradise Affair, perfect for fans of Peaky Blinders and The Alienist.
The latest Carpenter & Quincannon mystery: "Attractive characters, a finely tuned plot, and fascinating snippets of California history. Who could ask for more?"-Publishers Weekly on The Stolen Gold Affair
Quincannon's pursuit of two con men who have absconded to Hawaii with a considerable sum of his employer's assets dovetails nicely with Sabina's vision of a second honeymoon.
But neither is wont to stay out of trouble, and Sabina inadvertently becomes involved in a locked room/dying message murder in Honolulu.
When his wife finally left him and filed for divorce, Rick Fallon put his house up for sale and took the last two weeks of his vacation. Then he loaded his Jeep and drove straight to Death Valley, the one place he truly belonged. On his third day in Death Valley, Fallon comes upon a deserted car, and soon thereafter, the almost-dead body of Casey Dunbar. Having rescued her, Fallon soon learns what had driven her to give up on life and—his own life on hold—he resolves to unravel the twisted and dangerous strands of hers, a quest that leads him to the glitter dome of Las Vegas among other destinations.
“A good old-fashioned search-and-capture mission with all the usual Pronzini virtues: a simple yet disciplined prose style; a strong, multilayered central character; and a compelling plot that builds to a nice little closing twist.”--Publishers Weekly
A series of seemingly random murders along a fifty mile stretch of the rugged northern California coast, committed by an unknown dubbed the “Coastline Killer.” A young couple with marital problems, Shelby and Jay Macklin, decide to spend the week between Christmas and New Year’s at a friend’s remote coastal cottage. Two couples in a neighboring home whose relationships are thick with festering menace and a fierce winter storm that leads to a night of unrelenting terror. These are the main ingredients in Bill Pronzini’s chilling and twist-filled tale about the hidden nature of crime and its motives.
“Pronzini has written seventy-plus novels, and The Hidden demonstrates that he’s aging like fine wine. Jay, Shelby, and even the Coastline Killer are complex and engaging characters. The Mendocino coast and its storms are portrayed in all their palpable beauty and danger.”--Booklist
Ravaged by time and abandoned by the people who once flocked there in search of golden nuggets, Ragged-Ass Gulch is a ghost town. What’s left is a small, proud, and close pack of people who aren’t looking for change. But change seems to be afoot as several mysterious fires plague the town. That’s where the Nameless Detective comes in.
Popular author Bill Pronzini is renowned for his best-selling, action-packed westerns. After Roy Boone's wife is murdered, he wanders out into the wastelands of southwestern Arizona. Looking for water, Roy encounters a pretty young woman named Jennifer who bears the marks of an abusive husband. Roy rides on, but when he returns to check on her safety, she is gone. Now two dark riders have their rifle sights on Roy.
The Flimflam Affair is the latest charming historical mystery in Mystery Writers of America Grand Master Bill Pronzini's detective series.
Carpenter and Quincannon, Professional Detective Services is a fixture in San Francisco at the dawn of a new century. While the future is unclear, Sabina and John know one thing for certain: they will protect their clients from flimflammers, thieves, and murderers, and do whatever it takes to run these dregs of society into the arms of the law.
Sometimes, that requires a subtle touch. Professor A. Vargas, self-styled medium extraordinaire, and his partner Annabelle, use guile and trickery to swindle bereaved men and women eager to contact the spirits of deceased loved ones. John and Sabina must not only unmask these charlatans, but also solve the riddle of an impossible murder in the midst of a seance.
Other cases involve brute force and personal danger. Such as the theft of a burglarproof safe mysteriously emptied of gold bullion. And John's pursuit of a ruthless gang of counterfeiters, whose leader appears to be a man from John's past in the Secret Service-a man thought long dead.
Adding spice to these exploits is Sabina and John's personal relationship, which is rapidly progressing to an exciting new level.