In New York there was a contract on his life. In Nebraska there was an unscrupulous plastic surgeon guarded by a punch-drunk fighter. And somewhere in New Jersey there was an armored car stuffed with money. In the middle of it all was Parker.
Parker goes under the knife in The Man with the Getaway Face, changing his face to escape the mob and a contract on his life. Along the way he scores his biggest heist yet, but there’s a catch—a beautiful, dangerous catch who goes by the name Alma.
Ministers of Fire: A Novel
Mark Harril Saunders Ohio University Press, 2001 Library of Congress PS3619.A8248M56 2012 | Dewey Decimal 813.6
Kabul, Afghanistan, 1979: CIA station chief Lucius Burling, an idealistic but flawed product of his nation’s intelligence establishment, barely survives the assassination of the American ambassador. Burling’s reaction to the murder, and his desire to understand its larger meaning, propel him on a journey of intrigue and betrayal that will reach its ultimate end in the streets of Shanghai, months after 9/11. A Chinese dissident physicist may (or may not) be planning to sell his country’s nuclear secrets, and in his story Burling, now living quietly as consul, recognizes the fingerprints of a covert operation, one without the obvious sanction of the Agency. The dissident’s escape draws the violent attention of the Chinese internal security service, and as Burling is drawn inexorably into their path, he must face the ghosts of his past misadventures and a present world of global trafficking, fragile alliances, and the human need for connection above all.
Reminiscent of the best work of Graham Greene and John le Carré, Ministers of Fire extends the spy thriller into new historical, political, and emotional territory.
The Monkey and The Tiger includes two detective stories, "The Morning of the Monkey" and "The Night of the Tiger." In the first, a gibbon drops an emerald in the open gallery of Dee's official residence, leading the judge to discover a strangely mutilated body in the woods—and how it got there. In the second, Dee is traveling to the imperial capital to assume a new position when he is separated from his escort by a flood. Marooned in a large country house surrounded by fierce bandits, Dee confronts an apparition that helps him solve a mystery.
This second collection of defective detective stories features some of the best of the period, including Russell Gray’s gimpy hero Ben Bryn, Edith and Ejler Jacobson’s hemophiliac gum-shoe Nat Perry, John Kobler’s glaucomatous troubleshooter Peter Quest, and Leon Byrne’s deaf detective Dan Holden.
The Mourner: A Parker Novel
Richard Stark University of Chicago Press, 2009 Library of Congress PS3573.E9M6 2009 | Dewey Decimal 813.54
The Mourner is a story of convergence—of cultures and of guys with guns. Hot on the trail of a statue stolen from a fifteenth-century French tomb, Parker enters a world of eccentric art collectors, greedy foreign officials, and shady KGB agents. Hired by a shifty dame who has something he needs, Parker will find out just who intends to bury whom—and who he needs to kill to finish the job.
Judge Dee—Confucian Imperial magistrate, inquisitor, and public avenger, based on a famous statesman—was Dutch diplomat and Chinese cultural historian Robert van Gulik’s (1910–67) lasting invention. A welcome addition to the elite canon of fictional detectives, the Judge steps in to investigate homicide, theft, and treason and restores order to the golden age of the Tang Dynasty. In Murder in Ancient China’s first story, we watch as Judge Dee attempts to solve the mystery of an elderly poet murdered by moonlight in his garden pavilion; in the second, set on the eve of the Chinese New Year, the Judge makes two rare mistakes—will peril result?
Brought back into print in the 1990s to wide acclaim, re-designed new editions of Robert van Gulik's Judge Dee Mysteries are now available.
Written by a Dutch diplomat and scholar during the 1950s and 1960s, these lively and historically accurate mysteries have entertained a devoted following for decades. Set during the T'ang dynasty, they feature Judge Dee, a brilliant and cultured Confucian magistrate disdainful of personal luxury and corruption, who cleverly selects allies to help him navigate the royal courts, politics, and ethnic tensions in imperial China. Robert van Gulik modeled Judge Dee on a magistrate of that name who lived in the seventh century, and he drew on stories and literary conventions of Chinese mystery writing dating back to the Sung dynasty to construct his ingenious plots.
Murder in Canton takes place in the year 680, as Judge Dee, recently promoted to lord chief justice, is sent incognito to Canton to investigate the disappearance of a court censor. With the help of his trusted lieutenants Chiao Tai and Tao Gan, and that of a clever blind girl who collects crickets, Dee solves a complex puzzle of political intrigue and murder through the three separate subplots "the vanished censor," "the Smaragdine dancer," and "the Golden Bell."
An expert on the art and erotica as well as the literature, religion, and politics of China, van Gulik also provides charming illustrations to accompany his engaging and entertaining mysteries.
Murder in Lascaux
Betsy Draine and Michael Hinden University of Wisconsin Press, 2014 Library of Congress PS3604.R343M87 2011 | Dewey Decimal 813.6
The cave of Lascaux may be closed to the public, but five scholars a day are allowed inside, and Nora Barnes has finagled an appointment. True, she may have fudged a bit in her letter to the authorities, but she does teach art history, and she isn’t about to miss her chance to see the world’s most famous prehistoric paintings. Nora and her high-spirited husband, Toby, are visiting the Dordogne, in the southern French region of the Aquitaine. Aware that the Dordogne’s renown for cave art is matched only by its reputation for delicious cuisine, the couple has also signed up for a cooking class at a nearby château, but they soon find that more than food is on their minds.
During their tour of the cave, another visitor is murdered. When the local inspector pegs Nora and Toby as suspects, they embark on a mission to solve the crime, tracing strange links between a Cro-Magnon symbol and a thirteenth-century religious cult. As they match wits with the crusty inspector, Nora finds herself immersed in the notebooks of a forgotten artist who once lived in the château. In sifting through the artist’s papers and uncovering old secrets, she begins to piece together the motives for the murder. But has she cooked up more trouble than she can handle?
Best Books for General Audiences, selected by the American Association of School Librarians
Best Books for General Audiences, selected by the Public Library Reviewers
The quintessential international genre, detective fiction often works under the guise of popular entertainment to expose its extensive readership to complex moral questions and timely ethical dilemmas. The first book-length study of interwar Japanese detective fiction, Murder Most Modern considers the important role of detective fiction in defining the country’s emergence as a modern nation-state.
Kawana explores the interactions between the popular genre and broader discourses of modernity, nation, and ethics that circulated at this pivotal moment in Japanese history. The author contrasts Japanese works by Edogawa Ranpo, Unno Juza, Oguri Mushitaro, and others with English-language works by Edgar Allan Poe, Dashiell Hammett, and Agatha Christie to show how Japanese writers of detective fiction used the genre to disseminate their ideas on some of the most startling aspects of modern life: the growth of urbanization, the protection and violation of privacy, the criminalization of abnormal sexuality, the dehumanization of scientific research, and the horrors of total war.
Kawana’s comparative approach reveals how Japanese authors of the genre emphasized the vital social issues that captured the attention of thrill-seeking readers-while eluding the eyes of government censors.
Sari Kawana is assistant professor of Japanese at the University of Massachusetts, Boston.