Mysteries & Thrillers

Asphalt Jungle

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William Riley (W.R.) Burnett (1899-1982) was an American novelist and screenwriter, best known for his crime novel Little Caesar, the film adaptation of which was considered to be the first of the classic American gangster movies. Burnett's characters exist in a world of twilight morality — virtue can come from gangsters and criminals, malice from guardians and protectors. Above all his characters are human and this could be their undoing. In The Asphalt Jungle, published in 1949 and made into a movie in 1950, the most perfectly masterminded plot falls apart as each character reveals a weakness.


1st UK edition, published by Macdonald & Company, London, 1950; dust jacket in protective mylar cover; top edge shelf-worn; black cloth with gilt lettering on spine; endpapers very lightly tanned; binding tight; text clean and bright. VG/VG

Because the Night

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A botched liquor store heist leaves three grisly dead. A hero cop is missing. Nobody could see a pattern in these two stray bits of information–no one except Detective Sergeant Lloyd Hopkins, a brilliant and disturbed L.A. cop with an obsessive desire to protect the innocent. To him they lead to one horrifying conclusion--a killer is on the loose and preying on his city. From the master of L.A. noir comes this beautiful and brutal tale of a cop and a criminal squared off in a life and death struggle.

1st edition; published by The Mysterious Press, New York, 1984; "A Lloyd Hopkins Novel of Suspense." Dust jacket in protective mylar cover; light shelf wear; corners chipped; dark green cloth with silver lettering on spine; binding tight; text clean and bright. VG/VG

Behind that Curtain, A Charlie Chan Mystery

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Charlie Chan is in San Francisco for one week only – he absolutely must leave on Wednesday's boat to get back to Hawaii, where a new son awaits his return. Never mind that Sir Frederic Bruce, a former Scotland Yard detective he's only just met, but for whom he already has great respect, has been murdered at a dinner party he was attending. Never mind that Sir Frederic was hot on the trail of a fifteen-year-old mystery involving murder and a missing woman. Never mind that Chan catches twice as many clues as the bumbling San Francisco detective put on the case – he must get home to his son. But even Charlie Chan can't resist a challenge from a beautiful, intelligent woman like June Morrow, deputy district attorney and the lawyer in charge of prosecuting Sir Frederic's murder. One more week away from home should be plenty of time to catch a killer…

Published by Grosset & Dunlap, 1928. Dust jacket in protective mylar cover; some shelf wear to edges; small area of front cover rubbed; orange cloth with stylized lettering on cover and spine; small decoration on spine; endpapers slightly foxed from dj flaps. G/G

The Big Kiss-Off of 1944: A Jack Levine Mystery

Big Kiss-Off of 1944: A Jack Levine Mystery

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Searching for a chorus girl’s stag film, Jack LeVine stumbles on a sinister political plot
Like all chorus girls, Kerry Lane yearns to get her name on the marquee. After years of high-kicking, she lands a bit part in a Broadway smash hit which should lead to better things. The only thing holding her back is her past: specifically a series of stag films from her days as a struggling wannabe film starlet. When a blackmailer demands a payoff to keep them out of the public eye, Kerry comes to Jack LeVine. Stocky, sweaty, and bald, LeVine is a Jewish private detective who makes a living by being polite. But underneath his smile lies a bulldog. Lured by long legs and a roll of crisp twenties, LeVine takes Kerry’s case. But before he can speak to the blackmailer, the crook turns up dead. As LeVine hunts for Kerry’s pictures, he finds that the heart of this case is even uglier than greed, lust, or murder. It’s politics.

1st edition; dust jacket in protective mylar cover; head of spine chipped; covers lightly soiled; orange and white boards with black lettering; front free endpaper clipped; binding tight; text clean and bright. VG/VG-

Birds of a Feather

Birds of a Feather

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The second Maisie Dobbs mystery

Jacqueline Winspear's marvelous debut, Maisie Dobbs, won her fans from around the world and raised her intuitive, intelligent, and resourceful heroine to the ranks of literature's favorite sleuths. Birds of a Feather, its follow-up, finds psychologist and private investigator Maisie Dobbs on another dangerously intriguing adventure in London "between the wars." It is the spring of 1930, and Maisie has been hired to find a runaway heiress. But what seems a simple case at the outset soon becomes increasingly complicated when three of the heiress's old friends are found dead. Is there a connection between the woman's mysterious disappearance and the murders? Who would want to kill three seemingly respectable young women? As Maisie investigates, she discovers that the answers lie in the unforgettable agony of the Great War.

Black  Money  (1st  edition)

Black Money (1st edition)

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When Lew Archer is hired to get the goods on the suspiciously suave Frenchman who's run off with his client's girlfriend, it looks like a simple case of alienated affections. Things look different when the mysterious foreigner turns out to be connected to a seven-year-old suicide and a mountain of gambling debts. Black Money is Ross Macdonald at his finest, baring the skull beneath the untanned skin of Southern California's high society.

1st edition; dust jacket in protective mylar cover; top edge shelfworn; head of spine creased; small (3/4") tear on top back cover; blue boards with brown cloth spine; gilt lettering and decoration on spine; binding tight; text clean and bright. VG/G+

Booked to Die: A Mystery Introducing Cliff Janeway (USED)

Booked to Die: A Mystery Introducing Cliff Janeway

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Booked to Die, the first book in John Dunning’s bestselling, award-winning Cliff Janeway series, is “a joy to read for its wealth of inside knowledge about the antiquarian book business and its eccentric traders” (TheNew York Times Book Review).

Denver homicide detective Cliff Janeway may not always play by the book, but he’s an avid collector of rare and first editions. Bobby Westfall is a local bookscout, a gentle and quiet man who has sold enough valuable books to keep himself and his cats fed and housed. When Bobby is murdered, Janeway would like nothing better than to rearrange the suspect’s spine. But the suspect, local lowlife Jackie Newton, is a master at eluding the law, and Janeway’s wrathful brand of off-duty justice costs him his badge.

Turning to his lifelong passion, Janeway opens a small bookshop—all the while searching for evidence to put Newton away. When prized volumes in a highly sought-after collection begin to appear, so do dead bodies. Now Janeway’s life is about to change in profound and shocking ways as he attempts to find out who’s dealing death along with vintage Chandlers and Twains.

“One of the most enjoyable books I’ve read” (The Denver Post), Booked to Die is the first in the Cliff Janeway series. It is “a standout piece of crime fiction…Compelling page-turning stuff” (The Philadelphia Inquirer).

1st edition, 4th printing; dust jacket shows minor wear; small closed tear at top of front cover on flap side; navy cloth over blue boards; lettering on spine in metallic blue; binding good; text clean. G+/G+

BRUTAL TELLING

BRUTAL TELLING

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The wise and beleaguered Chief Inspector Armand Gamache returns to Three Pines for the fifth book in Louise Penny's award-winning and critically revered mystery series

Chaos is coming, old son.

With those words the peace of Three Pines is shattered. Everybody goes to Olivier's Bistro--including a stranger whose murdered body is found on the floor. When Chief Inspector Gamache is called to investigate, he is dismayed to discover that Olivier's story is full of holes. Why are his fingerprints all over the cabin that's uncovered deep in the wilderness, with priceless antiques and the dead man's blood? And what other secrets and layers of lies are buried in the seemingly idyllic village?

Gamache follows a trail of clues and treasures--from first editions of Charlotte's Web and Jane Eyre to a spiderweb with a word mysteriously woven in it--into the woods and across the continent, before returning to Three Pines to confront the truth and the final, brutal telling.

Bury Me Deep (USED)

Bury Me Deep (1st edition)

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The first novel to introduce lawyer and detective Scott Jordan. Dust jacket art by Bayre Phillips.

1st edition; "An Inner Sanctum Mystery;" dust jacket in protective mylar cover; head of spine and bottom of front cover creased; corners chipped; back cover soiled; inner edges of dj foxed; black cloth with gilt lettering on spine; pages tanned. G/G

The Butterfly (USED)

Butterfly (1st edition)

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James M. Cain (1892-1977) was a novelist whose "violent, sexually obsessed, and relentlessly paced melodramas epitomized the “hard-boiled” school of writing that flourished in the United States in the 1930s and ’40s. He was ranked with Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler as one of the masters of the genre. Three classics of the American screen were made from his novels: Double Indemnity (1936; film 1944), Mildred Pierce (1941; film 1945, TV miniseries 2011), and The Postman Always Rings Twice (1934; stage version 1936, films 1946, 1981)."  [https://www.britannica.com/biography/James-M-Cain].

The Butterfly tells the story of an Appalachian coal miner who has been separated from his family for years; his life is drastically changed and complicated as he seeks revenge when his daughter suddenly appears in his cabin, and he discovers the true identity of her illegitimate child.

New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1947. 1st edition. Dust jacket in protective cover; spine edges creased and chipped; beige cloth with green decoration and lettering on cover and spine; binding tight; text bright. G/G