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Mysteries Set in New York

Crime, Thriller & Mystery

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May 6, 2007, 3:32pm Top

Inspired by the previous thread on London, I wonder if anyone can recommend mysteries set in New York (present-day or historical). I loved Caleb Carr's books, and I'm grieved that he hasn't continued the series. Where can I turn for another fix?

Edited: May 6, 2007, 4:10pm Top

Try Paula Cohen's Gramercy Park, an operatic historical romantic mystery...a fine New York read, indeed.

(By the way, the touchstone and the author info is incorrect on LT, HER name is Paula Cohen not Paul A. Cohen).

3bfister First Message
May 7, 2007, 9:17am Top

Lawrence Block is quintessential New York. I particularly like his Scudder series. Another person who really gets the city is S. J. Rozan - and do try Jim Fusilli - great stuff. Oh, and the Artie Cohen series by Reggie Nadelson.

May 7, 2007, 9:18am Top

Oh! and how could I forget Ed Dee?

May 7, 2007, 1:08pm Top

Here's my list of some I have read.

Lydia Adamson has more than one series set in New York. I only read one, don't remember which. They all have 'cat' in the title.

I liked the Richard Barth series about a set of elderly friends in New York. The series starts with The Rag Bag Clan.

And I like the new Rhys Bowen series featuring Irish immigrant Molly Murphy. It's historical, but I don't remember when it takes place. 1900's, I think. I like the Evan Evans series better though.

I also like the Elizabeth Daly books which feature Henry Gamadge. Several in that series, all out of print, I'm afraid.

And who could forget Rex Stout's sleuth Nero Wolfe?

May 7, 2007, 1:45pm Top

Thanks very much to everyone for the recommendations!

May 7, 2007, 2:28pm Top

Kind of outside ye olde box, but there's Paul Auster's New York Trilogy ...

May 7, 2007, 5:00pm Top

Hugh Pentecost wrote a number of mysteries set in the Hotel Beaumont in New York.

May 8, 2007, 7:49am Top

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May 11, 2007, 3:29pm Top

for present day crime/mystery fiction, you may enjoy Linda Fairstein's Alex Cooper series. The stories usually focus on sites throughout the city, most of them being well-known.

You may also enjoy Brooklyn Noir and Brooklyn Noir 2. Each book is a series of short stories whose setting is a different section of Brooklyn (Williamsburg, Brooklyn Heights, Park Slope, Bensonhurst, etc.) I found them while browsing at BN on Court Street in Brooklyn.

There are many others. The mystery bookshop in Greenwich Village used to feature mysteries set in NYC.

May 11, 2007, 5:42pm Top

I forgot to list one of my favorite series. It's by Emma Lathen, which is a team of two women, one an economist and one a stockbroker or something. Anyway, they are all set on Wall Street and feature banker John Putnam Thatcher as the sleuth. They start with Accounting for Murder. I think some of the later ones are still in print, like Brewing Up a Storm. They each focus on a particular industry and are dang funny at times.


May 23, 2007, 6:53pm Top

If you'd like to get out of the city, Julia Spencer Flemings series which is set in upstate New York and begins with In a Bleak Midwinter is excellent.

May 30, 2007, 12:37am Top

Thanks to Quartzite, I just discovered Carol O'Connell, a new (to me) author, whose noir (again, to me) mystery thrillers are set in New York City. I'm in the middle of the first of the series, Mallory's Oracle, and so far it is stunningly good! I just love the main character, Kathleen Mallory, a sociopathic young woman who interacts best with computers, is compulsively neat and orderly, is a brilliant thief and able to hack into any computer network in the world, and who also happens to be a cop. But then I simply adore Dexter. ;)

May 30, 2007, 12:39am Top

The Screaming Room by Thomas O'Callaghan is set in NY. Great book! :)

May 30, 2007, 5:31am Top

Jed Rubenfeld's The Interpretation of Murder is set in a meticulously researched 1909 New York city. A good read too.

Jun 2, 2007, 2:49am Top

Um. Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe books, although I have to say the city isn't particularly a character in any of them.

17jmcclain19 First Message
Jun 28, 2007, 10:40pm Top

I would say you can't go wrong with Nelson DeMille either - especially Plum Island - but his tend to be more Long Island based than NYC.

Jun 29, 2007, 9:44am Top

I just started The blackest bird by Joel Rose. It takes place in Manhattan around 1840s.

Jun 29, 2007, 10:34am Top

How about comic-mysteries?

Kinky Friedman's series featuring a detective named Kinky Friedman are mostly set in New York.

It starts with:
Greenwich Killing Time
A Case of Lone Star
When the Cat's Away
Frequent Flyer
Musical Chairs
Elvis, Jesus and Coca-cola
Armadillos and Old Lace
God Bless John Wayne
and there are several more.

Edited: Jun 29, 2007, 4:23pm Top

April Woo series by Leslie Glass.

Alexandra Cooper series by Linda Fairstein. First book is Final Jeopardy.

Both books are set in modern NYC.

Edited: Jun 29, 2007, 8:01pm Top

An old series I'm particularly fond of---The Mr. and Mrs. North mysteries by Francis and Richard Lockridge are set in NYC of the '40's and later. An extra bonus for cat-lovers are the couple's various Siamese housemates. The first title is The Norths Meet Murder You can check my library for others--I have most, if not all of them.

Jun 29, 2007, 10:26pm Top

Selma Eichler writes a cozy series, featuring P.I. Desiree Shapiro, set in New York City.

Jun 29, 2007, 10:34pm Top

Hugh Pentecost wrote several mysteries starring Pierre Chambrun as manager of a luxury hotel in a city which, if not named as NY, pretty clearly was.

Jun 30, 2007, 11:14pm Top

One of my favourite New York detectives is Jane Bauer by Lee Harris. She is in mid-career and thinking of leaving the NYPD when she is assigned to a cold case squad. To date there are just 3 titles in the series, Murder in Hell's Kitchen, Murder in Alphabet City and Murder in Greenwich Village. Lee Harris also write the Christine Bennett mysteries.

Jun 30, 2007, 11:21pm Top

Since this is a NYC + crime thread, thought I'd piggyback onto the post above to recommend a non-fiction work: The restless sleep : inside New York City's Cold Case Squad by Stacy Horn.

Jul 1, 2007, 3:26pm Top

If you're into police procedural mysteries, there's always Ed McBain's 87th Precinct Series, which is set in Isola, a fictional version of New York City.

Also, William J. Caunitz wrote some NYPD police procedurals including One Police Plaza.

Jul 1, 2007, 6:40pm Top

#21 and #23 - I enjoy both of those series, even if they are out of print.

I am really enjoying this thread, BTW.


Sep 14, 2010, 2:54pm Top

Dr. Robert,

You may want to check out Crown of Serpents set in the Finger Lakes Region of western NY. It is a present-day mystery thriller involving a military historian on a hunt for an ancient Iroquois Indian artifact. Sort of a cross between Tony Hillerman and Clive Cussler. Or as one critic put it, "Indiana Jones meets The Godfather."

Visit www.crownofserpents.com

Sep 15, 2010, 9:28am Top

Margaret Maron's Sigrid Harald series is set in New York City. I like it better than the Deborah Knott series - more depth to the characters. She is a policewoman.

Joyce Christmas has a series featuring Lady Margaret Priam. She is an antiques dealer in NYC.

Sep 15, 2010, 2:04pm Top

Cleo Coyle writes a series of myteries set in a coffee shop in NYC

Sep 18, 2010, 8:35pm Top

William Marshalls:

New York Detective
Faces in the Crowd

Featuring City Detective Virgil Tillman -- New York City's "first thinking detective" -- and his partner, patrolman Ned Muldoon of the Strong Arm Squad.


Sep 30, 2010, 12:00pm Top

For any 'Castle' fans...you can now buy books by Richard Castle. I bought Heat Wave as a novelty just because I love the show so much. Apparently, Nathan Fillion is doing book tours as Rick Castle. I died laughing when my friend told me. They are obviously set in NY.

Oct 1, 2010, 8:36pm Top

Sheridan Hay's The Secret of Lost Things is a mystery/coming-of-age story set in a fictionalized version of Strand Books in New York City.

Oct 2, 2010, 6:14pm Top

A strong second on the recommendation for S.J. Rozan's Lydia Chin / Bill Smith series. It's an excellent hard-boiled series where New York is a definite presence.

An interesting historical series is the Tonneman family series by Mann Meyers. It follows descendants of some original settlers of New Amsterdam (what New York was called before the Brits came in and chased the Dutch out), with books that take place several decades or even 100 years after the previous book in the series. I've only read the first in the series so far, High Constable, and really enjoyed it. I have the others in my TBR list.

Oct 3, 2010, 5:28pm Top

#34 The first book in that series is actually The Dutchman, which I started and got sidetracked on by the need to read and review three consecutive ER acquisitions. I'm going to go back to it one of these days, because it was very good. High Constable is No. 4, I believe.

Oct 6, 2010, 10:12am Top

Try Reed Farrel Coleman. His Moe Prager series (4 books). One of the best series out there. Very literate and emotionally gut-wrenching.

Edited: Oct 9, 2010, 6:26pm Top

#35 You are right. When I got home I realized my memory was off and The Dutchman was actually the book I've read. I've finally ordered the 2nd book in the series, The Kingsbridge Plot, from interlibray loan, so I don't yet know when that one takes place, tho I suspect it's during the Revolutionary War. The only Tonneman series book I own is the Victorian era House on Mulberry Street which I haven't read yet because I prefer to read most series in order.

Oh, before I get corrected on series order, I'm talking publication order. The authors have written a 2nd Dutchman book plus a short story collection featuring the Dutchman.

Edited: Oct 9, 2010, 6:45pm Top

Wow, this is an old thread. I'm surprised the Alexandra Cooper series isn't on here. It's a legal thriller series set in modern day NYC. They're cozies for me...like Nancy Drew all grown up, but they contain a lot of historical information and I enjoy that aspect a lot. I always learn something.

Edited to add the first book - Final Jeopardy.

Oct 21, 2010, 1:33pm Top

I hope it is not against the rules, but I would recommend my recently released novel titled "The Ghost Of A Flea" that takes place primarily in New York City, with incidents in Yonkers and New Jersey. It is a romantic mystery/thriller that has gotten some nice reviews.
I hope you find what you are looking for.

Nov 2, 2010, 6:31am Top

I enjoy the crime novels by Gabriel Cohen, which are mostly set in Brooklyn. The series follows a NYC detective Jack Leightner.

Feb 21, 2011, 10:39am Top

Historical-19 Century-The Gaslight mysteries by Victoria Thompson. They're not too bad either.

Feb 21, 2011, 11:02am Top

oh that reminds me of The Alienist another late 19th cty mystery. Very well done. Holmesque.

Feb 21, 2011, 11:52am Top

You might find some more by paging through a copy of the Mystery Reader's Walking Guide: New York. It also breaks down which neighborhoods each book takes place in.

Feb 21, 2011, 12:42pm Top

>43 timepiece: Wish I'd had that one before our trip to Manhattan. We did track down one of Poe's homes though. They've hung a large portrait of him in the front window so passers-by can see it.

Edited: Feb 28, 2011, 3:22pm Top

I'm currently reading an advance review copy of KISS HER GOODBYE, a collaboration between Mickey Spillane (posthumously) and Max Allan Collins (not to be confused with an Allan Guthrie book with the same title). It's a Mike Hammer novel, but it takes place in the 1970s. Hammer is aging, ailing, and taking it easy in the Florida Keys, but he's called to New York for the funeral of his long-ago mentor, and it takes off from there. You know you're in New York when you're reading a Mike Hammer novel.

Feb 28, 2011, 5:53pm Top

I'm fascinated to know how Mickey Spillane collaborated from the grave...;>)

Dec 22, 2012, 1:21pm Top

The Michael Bennett series by James Patterson. He's a detective who is in the Bronx's 49th Precinct. He then transferred to the NYPD's Hostage Negotiation Team and remained there until he moved to the Manhattan North Homicide Squad.

Dec 22, 2012, 2:46pm Top

Patterson. Bah! Humbug!

Aug 26, 2016, 8:45pm Top

Hi Robert. It's been ages waiting to hear a reply, I'm sure, but I noticed your question while doing a Google search. I can give you my choice for best mystery set in New York, and it is historical as well, with just a touch of sci-fi (but not much). The book is Time and Again by Jack Finney, and it is amazing. Also, read anything by Lawrence Block, as well as the writer who wrote 'A is for Alibi' (can't remember her name at the moment). Cheers!

Aug 27, 2016, 3:06pm Top

Sue Grafton wrote A is for Alibi, but none of her books are set in New York---she's a California girl all the way.

Aug 28, 2016, 1:56pm Top

I found the Simon Ziele Mysteries by Stefanie Pintoff to be reminiscent of Carr's The Alienist. The trilogy (which is really a set of three separate mysteries featuring the same main character), starts off with In the Shadow of Gotham, followed by A Curtain Falls, and Secret of the White Rose. Personally, I liked the 2nd book best while I found the 3rd book to be the weakest. All three were well-written. Word of warning, the first book does start off with a rather gruesome murder. On the plus side, as a period piece, Pintoff does a great job of bringing turn-of-19th-century New York City to life on the page. The mysteries aren't bad either.

Edited: Aug 28, 2016, 7:47pm Top

>51 ScoLgo: Thanks for the reccie, ScoLgo! I'll be checking Pintoff's trilogy out. Reminds me of another really good historical mystery trilogy set in NYC that I recently read and enjoyed - Gods of Gotham is the first in the series by Lindsey Faye.

ETA I'd already put the first in the Simon Ziele trilogy on my Wishlist. Seems another LT friend had recommended it awhile back and I'd forgotten about it, so thanks for putting it back on my radar!

Edited: Aug 28, 2016, 9:15pm Top

A book that suits this topic to a 'T' is Manhattan Mayhem. It's a collection of all-new short stories, each set in a different neighborhood of Manhattan, written by such luminaries as Mary Higgins Clark and Lee Child. The book is produced by the Mystery Writers of America to commemorate their 70th anniversary and edited by Clark.

Aug 28, 2016, 8:05pm Top

>52 Storeetllr: My pleasure! Hope you enjoy it!

Feb 12, 8:51am Top

Amanda Cross - pen name of Carolyn Heilbrun. Murder in academia, lots of literary allusions eg The James Joyce murder

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