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Devil in a Blue Dress – (Walter Mosley, 1990) In 1948 Los Angeles, Easy Rawlings is a black war veteran just fired from his job at a defense plant. Easy is drinking in a friend’s bar, wondering how he’ll meet his mortgage, when a white man in a linen suit walks in, offering good money if Easy will simply locate Miss Daphne Monet, a blond beauty known to frequent black jazz clubs.

Farewell, My Lovely - (Raymond Chandler, 1940) Gritty, well-plotted and brutally realistic, Raymond Chandler's novels depict the lowlife of the City of Angels in the 30s and 40s. They feature tough guy Philip Marlowe, the archetypal private eye who spawned countless imitators.

Forgotten Garden, The - (Kate Morton, 2009) In 1913 London, a little girl plays hide-and-seek on the deck of a ship while waiting for the woman who left her there to return. But as darkness comes, the girl is still alone when the ship pulls out from the dock and steams away on a long, grueling journey to Australia. There, the dock master and his wife take in the small castaway who is carrying nothing but a child’s white suitcase containing a few clothes and a book of fairy tales.

 Maltese Falcon, The – (Dashielle Hammett, 1929) A treasure worth killing for. Sam Spade, a slightly shopworn private eye with his own solitary code of ethics. A perfumed grifter named Joel Cairo, a fat man named Gutman, and Brigid O’Shaughnessy, a beautiful and treacherous woman whose loyalties shift at the drop of a dime. These are the ingredients of Dashiell Hammett’s coolly glittering gem of detective fiction, a novel that has haunted three generations of readers.

 Nine Tailors, The – (Dorothy L. Sayers, 1934) The nine strokes from the belfry of an ancient country church toll out the death of an unknown man and call the famous Lord Peter Wimsey to one of his most brilliant cases. Steeped in the atmosphere of a quiet parish in the strange, flat fen-country of East Anglia, this is a tale of suspense, character, and mood by an author the critics rate as one of the greatest masters of the mystery novel.

Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary, The - (Simon Winchester, 1998) Part homage to the greatest reference work of all time, the Oxford English Dictionary, part mystery, part intellectual history of Victorian England, The Professor and the Madman tells the parallel stories of the dictionary's genius editor and one of his most prolific contributors, an insane American doctor committed to an asylum for murder.

Thief of Time, A - (Tony Hillerman, 1988)When two corpses appear amid stolen goods and bones at an ancient burial site, Leaphorn and Chee must plunge into the past to unearth the truth. A noted anthropologist vanishes at a moonlit Indian ruin where "thieves of time" ravage sacred ground for profit.

Time to Kill, A - (John Grisham, 1998) In this searing courtroom  drama, best-selling author John Grisham probes the  savage depths of racial violence...as he delivers  a compelling tale of uncertain justice in a small  southern town, Clanton, Mississippi. The life of a ten-year-old girl is shattered by two drunken and remorseless young man. The mostly white town reacts with shock and horror at the inhuman  crime. Until her black father acquires an assault rifle and takes justice into his own outraged hands.

Unsuitable Job for a Woman, An – (P.D. James, 1972) This whodunit follows a determined young lady detective along a trail of aristocratic secrets and sins as she reaches the conclusion that the nicest people can do the nastiest things. Time magazine calls P.D. James the “reigning mistress of murder.