Mysteries Set in Massachusetts

Allen, Irene. Quaker Indictment, St. Martin's Press, 1998. ISBN 0312169701 Elizabeth Elliot, a widow and clerk of the Quaker Meeting House in Cambridge, MA is an unlikely sleuth. There are only three others in this series-Quaker Silence, Quaker Witness, Quaker Testimony.

Barnes, Linda. Lie Down with the Devil, St. Martin's Minotaur, 2008. 9780312332891 She is best known for her series featuring Carlotta Carlyle, a 6'1" redheaded detective from Boston. Carlotta Carlyle follows in the tradition of the hard-boiled female detectives created by Sue Grafton and Sara Paretsky.

Braver, Gary. Flashback, Forge, 2005. 0765302519  Flashback won the 2006 Massachusetts Book Award in Fiction and Honors from the Massachusetts Center for the Book. He writes medical suspense thrillers set in Massachusetts. Gary Braver is the pseudonym of Gary Goshgarian, Prof. of English at Northeastern Univ.

Conant, Susan. A New Leash on Death, Berkely Prime Crime, [1994], c1990. 0425146227  Dead and Doggone. A Bite of Death. She is best known for her "Dog Lover's Mysteries", featuring magazine writer Holly Winter. Conant was born in the Merrimack Valley of Massachusetts and lives in the Greater Boston area. Her latest is Turn Up the Heat, 2008, 9780425219478, co-authored with her daughter Jessica Conant-Park.

Connors, Rose. Absolute Certainty, Scribner, c2002. 0743229061 This series features Cape Cod attorney Marty Nickerson. False Testimony, Maximum Security, Temporary Sanity follow. Connors is a trial attorney who lives on Cape Cod.

Craig, Philip. Vineyard Chill, a Martha's Vineyard mystery. Scribner, 2008.  9781416535584  (b. Dec. 10, 1933-d. May 8, 2007) Since 1989, Scribner has published the J.W. Jackson series, all of which are set on Martha's Vineyard.

Daniel, David. The Marble Kite, Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin's Minotaur, 2005. 0312323514 P.I. Alex Rasmussen’s turf is Lowell, MA. Daniel teaches at Lowell Middlesex Academy Charter School and is an adjunct professor at the University of Massachusetts at Lowell. Goofy Foot, The Heaven Stone,The Skelly Man are other titles.

Devane, Terry (pseudonym for Jeremiah Healy). A Stain Upon the Robe, Berkley Books, 2004, c2003. 0425197425  The Mairead O’Clare legal thriller series is set in Boston. A Stain Upon the Robe has been optioned for Hollywood by Flatiron Films.

Dobson, Joanne. The Maltese Manuscript, IBooks, 2004, c2003. 0743480058  The Professor Karen Pelletier mystery series is set at Enfield College, a small, elite campus in New England, where the curriculum seems to offer a major in murder. Dobson is an English professor at Fordham University. http://library.minlib.net/record=b2141747

Dreher, Sarah. Shaman's moon: a Stoner McTavish mystery, New Victoria Publishers, c1998. 093467891X Shaman’s Moon won the Lambda Literary Award for Best Lesbian Mystery for 1998. Stoner McTavish is a Boston travel agent, lesbian, and amateur detective. Sarah Dreher is an author and clinical psychologist.


Gerritsen, Tess. The Mephisto Club, Ballantine Books, c2006. 9780345476999 This series features Boston detective Jane Rizzoli and Boston medical examiner Maura Isles - The Surgeon, The Apprentice, The Sinner, Body Double, Vanish, The Keepsake. She has won both the Nero Wolfe Award for Vanish and the Rita Award for The Surgeon.

Gunning, Sally.  Dirty water: a Peter Bartholomew mystery, Pocket Books, c1998. 0671017373 Peter Bartholomew investigates deaths on Nashtoba Island, Cape Cod. Sally Gunning lives on Cape Cod, the setting for her mysteries. She is presently writing fiction based on Cape Cod history.

Haddam, Jane. Cheating at Solitaire, St. Martin's Minotaur, 2008. 9780312343088 In this series Armenian-American, former FBI agent, Gregor Demarkian, sleuths in MA.

Healy, Jeremiah. Spiral, a John Francis Cuddy mystery, Pocket Books, 1999. 0671009559 Jeremiah Healy, a graduate of Rutgers College and Harvard Law School, was a professor at the New England School of Law for eighteen years. He is the creator of the John Francis Cuddy private-investigator series and (under the pseudonym "Terry Devane") the Mairead O’Clare legal-thriller series, both set primarily in Boston.

Kemelman, Harry. Friday the Rabbi Slept Late, Fawcett Crest, 1984, c1964. 0449211800 Kemelman, 1908-1996, was born in Boston, graduated from Boston University (English Literature) and Harvard (English Philology). He taught in the Boston schools. The Rabbi mystery series are set in MA. http://library.minlib.net/record=b2118283

Langton, Jane. The Transcendental Murder, Penguin Books, 1989, c1964. 0140113843  Homer Kelly is a retired homicide detective; series set in Concord, Massachusetts. Murder at the Gardner was written before the 1990 art thefts at the Isabella Stewart-Gardner Museum. Her novel Emily Dickinson is Dead, St. Martin's Press, c1984. 0312244347 was nominated for an Edgar Award and received a Nero Award.

Lee, Wendi. The Good Daughter, St. Martins Press, 1994. 0312112599 Missing Eden, Deadbeat, He WhoDies, Crazy Like a Fox. In the Angela Matelli Series, a good Italian-American girl from East Boston, just out of the marines becomes a private investigator back near her family in Boston.

Lehane, Dennis. Gone, Baby, Gone, W. Morrow and Co., c1998. 0061374199 The novel was a finalist for the PEN/Winship Award and won the Anthony Award and the Barry Award for Best Novel, the Massachusetts Book Award in Fiction, and France's Prix Mystère de la Critique. Mystic River was made into an Academy Award-winning film. His book, Gone, Baby, Gone from his series featuring Boston private detectives Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro was adapted into an Academy Award-nominated film.


MacLeod, Charlotte. The Palace Guard, Doubleday, 1981. 0385175337  The plots feature Beacon Hill couple Sarah Kelling and Max Bittersohn investigating theft in the art world amidst the crazy shenanigans of the Kelling family. Her Professor Shandy series includes The Corpse in Oozak's Pond Mysterious Press, c1987. 0892961880 for which she received a Nero Award and which was also nominated for an Edgar Award. She also wrote about Canada under the pen name Alisa Craig.


Matthews, Francine. (pseudonym of Stephanie Barron) Death in the Off Season, W. Morrow, c1994. 0688134432 Death in Rough Water, Death in a Mood Indigo, Death in a Cold Hard Light. This series of mysteries features Meredith (Merry) Folger, a police detective in Nantucket, MA. Stephanie Barron grew up spending summers in Cape Cod. Her Jane Austen mysteries are well-known. Jane and the Barque of Frailty, 2006 is the most recent.

Minichino, Camille. The Hydrogen Murder, Avalon Books, c1997. 0803492685 Camille Minichino has published eight novels in the periodic table mystery series. She received her Ph.D. in physics from Fordham University. The central character, Gloria Lamerino is an Italian American physicist in Revere Beach, MA. Her new series, The Miniature Mysteries, is based on her lifelong miniatures hobby.

Neely, Barbara. Blanche Cleans Up, Viking, 1998.0670876267  African-American cook/housekeeper/maid, Blanche White, investigates out of Roxbury, MA. Blanche on the Lam won the Agatha, the Macavity, and the Anthony awards.

Page, Katherine Hall. The Body in the Snowdrift, William Morrow, c2008. 9780060763671 This one won the 2006 Agatha Award for Best Mystery Novel. Her series features Boston Brahmin, caterer, and minister's wife, Faith Fairchild. She is a MA resident and a graduate of Wellesley (English) and Harvard (Education and Administration).

Parker, Robert. Looking for Rachel Wallace, Dell, 1981, c1980. 0440153166 Part of the Spenser series. This early mystery is set in Belmont, MA. Night Passage. Jove, 1998, c1997. 0515123498 is the first of the Jesse Stone series, set in a fictitious Massachusetts town.

Tapply, William G. Hell Bent, a Brady Coyne novel, St. Martin's Minotaur, 2008. 9780312358303 Prof. of English at Clark University, Worcester, MA. Brady Coyne is a Boston-based attorney/sleuth and New England is his territory.

April 2012, CMC