That Would Be Ma'am to You

Sue Grafton

A tough-talking former cop, private investigator Kinsey Millhone has set up a modest detective agency in a quiet corner of Santa Teresa, California. A twice-divorced loner with few personal possessions and fewer personal attachments, she's got a soft spot for underdogs and lost causes. Eight years ago, Nikki Fife was convicted of killing her philandering husband. Now she's out on parole and needs Kinsey's help to find the real killer. If there's one thing that makes Kinsey feel alive, it's playing on the edge. When her investigation turns up a second corpse, more suspects, and a new reason to kill, Kinsey discovers that the edge is closer--and sharper--than she imagined.

Linda Barnes

TROUBLE…
Since being bounced from the Boston police for insubordination after six years of service, Carlotta Carlyle has set up shop as a private investigator ready to deal with anything from lost pets to substantially grander larcenies. Though Carlotta, a six-foot-tall, redheaded ex cop, part-time cabbie, and neophyte private eye, works out of her home, it's rare that clients stop by unannounced. Especially clients like the genteel, reserved, elderly spinster Miss Margaret Devens.

ALWAYS COMES…
With cash flow problems and a caseload so light that she's taken to reading her cat's mail, Carlotta accepts the case of Miss Devens's missing brother Eugene. Oddly enough, Carlotta knew Eugene when they worked together back at Green and White Cab. As far as Carlotta sees it, this case should be a pinch--until two thugs looking for money send her client to the hospital.

WHEN YOU LEAST EXPECT IT…
The old lady's missing brother seems to have been involved in something much more dangerous than simply driving a cab. Carlotta is determined to do whatever it takes?work the cops, pose as a hooker, and even drive a cab again--to find Eugene before it's too late."

Linda Grant
"When private investigator Catherine Sayler is called in by the Systech corporation to find out who's sending lewd messages through the company's E-mail, the case seems merely routine. The situation changes for the worse when female employees start receiving photographs of women being tortured.

"But those incidents seem like childish pranks compared to Catherine's next discovery: a brutal murder. When the perverted killer begins to stalk Catherine with his twisted games, she finds it will take all her strength and intelligence to meet the inevitable confrontation. And only one of them will survive...."

P.D. James
Handsome Cambridge dropout Mark Callender died hanging by the neck with a faint trace of lipstick on his mouth. When the official verdict is suicide, his wealthy father hires fledgling private investigator Cordelia Gray to find out what led him to self-destruction. What she discovers instead is a twisting trail of secrets and sins, and the strong scent of murder.
G. A. McKevett
Establishing her own business as a private detective in San Carmelita, California, karate expert and sleuth Savannah Reid is hired by real-estate broker Brian O'Donnell to find his long-lost sister, but the case soon becomes complicated by murder.
Lynda La Plante

The author of the Emmy Award-winning TV series Prime Suspect now pens her first thriller. Lorraine Page, a down-on-her-luck ex-cop, finds herself in recovery the hard way, when she winds up on the trail of a serial killer.

Eric Wright

"Lucy Trimble Brenner, middle-aged, part-time librarian, has sought refuge from a crumbling marriage by establishing a bed-and-breakfast in the sleepy northern Ontario town of Longborough. When a distant relative suddenly bequeaths her his ailing Toronto detective agency, Lucy soon enough finds reasons to suspect that her relative's death, despite appearances, may not have been natural or accidental at all.

"Throwing caution aside, she begins to investigate Trimble's operations and comes into contact with the raffish world of horse racing and its fringe characters, some quaint, others sinister. When finally brought to light, Trimble's journals prove to be part fact, part fiction, and it becomes progressively more difficult to determine whether or not their hints of danger are false or all too real.

"Meanwhile, to earn a living Lucy takes on as her first client a man who wants her to tail his agoraphobic wife on her occasional mysterious forays into Toronto's nightlife. And seasoned investigator Jack Brighton hires her to locate the missing legatee to a handsome fortune left him by his English mother, a case that leads to a squalid rural farmhouse and a fifty-year-old mystery."

Carol Higgins Clark
Her college friends had thought she had simply run away, but when Athena Popolous's body is discovered in an excavation during a ten-year reunion, the victim's former roommate, private eye Regan Reilly, makes a vow to find the killer.
Janet Dawson

Beautiful Ariel Logan was last seen quarreling with her boyfriend outside a Monterey pub. Now she lies dead on a California beach. An autopsy reveals that Ariel's death is no accidental drowning, but a cold-blooded killing. Vacationing private investigator Jeri Howard has more than professional interest in the case: Ariel's boyfriend, the prime suspect, is Jeri's rowdy cousin, Bobby Ravella.

Marcia Muller
"Sharon McCone, a tough-minded investigator for a legal services cooperative, noses her way through the tainted underbelly of a San Francisco street occupied by an eclectic assortment of dealers in antiques, pseudo art and junk. She's after a killer who slashed a diminutive victim, antique dealer Joan Albritton, with the victim's own bone-handled knife."
On audio.
Sara Paretsky
Meeting an anonymous client late on a sizzling summer night is asking for trouble. But trouble is Chicago private eye V.I. Warshwski's specialty. Her client says he's the prominent banker, John Thayer. Turns out he's not. He says his son's girlfriend, Anita Hill, is missing. Turns out that's not her real name. V.I.'s search turns up someone soon enough -- the real John Thayer's son, and he's dead. Who's V.I.'s client? Why has she been set up and sent out on a wild-goose chase? By the time she's got it figured, things are hotter -- and deadlier -- than Chicago in July. V.I.'s in a desperate race against time. At stake: a young woman's life.
Karen Kijewski

KAT COLORADO
A thirty-something California bartender-turned-P.I.--a curious lady with nine lives, nerves of iron. . .and a passion for justice.

KATAPULT
A murderer has struck home--and Kat Colorado is taking it personally. Her cousin Johnny has been found stabbed to death in the parking lot of the Homestead Cafe. And now Kat's on the prowl--trailing a killer through a dangerous world of shady real estate shenanigans and teenage hookers. And she's about to uncover a closetful of sordid family secrets almost certain to get an overly inquisitive Kat skinned.

Marie Smith, editor
"'Ms. Murder' includes some of the best fiction by such writers, including Amanda Cross, Ruth Rendell, Dorothy L. Sayers, Agatha Christie and Antonia Fraser. The book traces the evolution of the female sleuth from F. Tennyson Jesse's Solange Fontaine (in a newly discovered story making its first appearance here in any book) to Sarah Paretsky's tough Chicago investigator V. I. Warshawski, who lives life entirely on her own terms.

"The detectives in these stories are shrewd, sophisticated, even hard-boiled. Amateur or professional, they unravel mysteries that involve the reader right from the start. From Edwardian London to sleek modern Chicago, from discerning academics to gun-toting P.I.'s, 'Ms. Murder' presents the best by the best. It is destined to become a collectable classic."

Sarah Shankman
"With fascinating characters and pungent dialogue, this spirited, rollicking mystery crackles with danger and excitement when Atlanta journalist/detective Samantha Adams accepts an invitation to visit the Big Easy--New Orleans at the height of Mardi Gras."
Charlaine Harris

Lily Bard is a loner. Other than the day-to-day workings of her cleaning and errand-running service, she pays little attention to the town around her. But when her landlord is murdered, Lily is singled out as the prime suspect, and proving her innocence will depend on finding the real killer in quiet, secretive Shakespeare.

T. J. MacGregor
CIA spooks and spirits of the dead unite with a violent tropical storm to complicate the latest murder case of Quin St. James and Mike McCleary.