The best golden age detective stories

Will Zeilinger and Janet Elizabeth Lynn Author Of Strange Markings: A Skylar Drake Mystery
By Will Zeilinger and Janet Elizabeth Lynn

Who are we?

Janet and I have traveled extensively and found inspiration and story ideas at every destination. As writers for more than 10 years and as fans of classic detective stories, we feel qualified to tackle this genre.


We wrote...

Strange Markings: A Skylar Drake Mystery

By Will Zeilinger and Janet Elizabeth Lynn,

Book cover of Strange Markings: A Skylar Drake Mystery

What is our book about?

The Pacific breezes blow many things in from the ocean, this time its power, greed, and murder. At the dawn of the television age in 1955, Skylar Drake is called to identify the remains of a fellow movie stuntman found buried in a shallow grave. While there, he is shown mysterious wounds and strange tattoos on two additional bodies.

A wealthy Bel Air matron sends her enticing niece to enlist Drake’s help in locating a missing nephew. The search takes him back to pre-statehood Hawaii where he stopped off on his way to the hell of the Korean war. Unexplained deaths, politics, and superstitious locals turn the tropical paradise into a nightmare where nothing is what it seems and no one can be trusted.

The books we picked & why

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The Way Some People Die

By Ross MacDonald,

Book cover of The Way Some People Die

Why this book?

Ross MacDonald is one of the classic detective series that features a damaged leading character who finds more trouble than he knows. Many people have told us our writing style is similar to his. If you want to read classic noir, read this book. His books are hidden gems that beg to be discovered.

The Way Some People Die

By Ross MacDonald,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Way Some People Die as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In a rundown house in Santa Monica, Mrs. Samuel Lawrence presses fifty crumpled bills into Lew Archer's hand and asks him to find her wandering daughter, Galatea. Described as ‘crazy for men’ and without discrimination, she was last seen driving off with small-time gangster Joe Tarantine, a hophead hood with a rep for violence. Archer traces the hidden trail from San Francisco slum alleys to the luxury of Palm Springs, traveling through an urban wilderness of drugs and viciousness. As the bodies begin to pile up, he finds that even angel faces can mask the blackest of hearts.Filled with dope,…


The Thin Man

By Dashiell Hammett,

Book cover of The Thin Man

Why this book?

This is a classic detective story with his wife and dog as sidekicks. The mystery is great and a little levity in the form of banter between Nick and Nora are superb. That is why this book is considered a classic. Being from the upper crust of their time, Nick and Nora Charles invite the reader into their world. Their dog, Asta, adds a touch of “humanity” to an otherwise morbid subject.

The Thin Man

By Dashiell Hammett,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Thin Man as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'When I opened my eyes and sat up in bed Nora was shaking me and a man with a gun in his hand was standing in the bedroom doorway.'

Ex-detective Nick Charles attracts trouble like a magnet. He thinks his sleuthing days are over, but when Julia Wolf, a former acquaintance, is found dead, her body riddled with bullets, Nick - along with his glamorous wife, Nora - can't resist making a few enquiries. Clyde Miller Wynant, Julia's lover and boss, has disappeared. Everyone is after him, but Nick is not convinced Wynant is the murderer - and when he…


Kiss Me, Deadly

By Mickey Spillane,

Book cover of Kiss Me, Deadly

Why this book?

Mickey Spillane created Mike Hammer, a hard-boiled detective who was (according to the books) quite the lady’s man. This detective story involves millionaires, organized crime, and revenge, which makes for a great read. Hammer is depicted as a hard-drinking, hard-fighting guy that has acted as a prototype for many imitators.

Kiss Me, Deadly

By Mickey Spillane,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Kiss Me, Deadly as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Before Jack Reacher . . . there was Mike Hammer

One night, a blonde jumps out in front of PI Mike Hammer's car. She's so scared he doesn't have much choice but to give her a ride. At a police roadblock, he discovers she's on the run from a sanatorium, but he passes her off as his wife. Other people besides the police are after the blonde, and these people play rough. Real rough.

The blonde turns out to be the star witness against some big-time mobsters. Mike has blundered into something unimaginably big, but the Feds don't want him…


Farewell, My Lovely

By Raymond Chandler,

Book cover of Farewell, My Lovely

Why this book?

Of course, for many people, the Name Phillip Marlowe conjures up images of Humphrey Bogart from the film versions. However, to read Raymond Chandler’s words is a treat. The story starts out with a murder, and Marlowe follows the clues to uncover an even larger mystery. It’s great to read the original version and hear Chandler’s own voice. No spoilers, But remember, the books are almost always better than the film. Great read!

Farewell, My Lovely

By Raymond Chandler,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Farewell, My Lovely as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The renowned novel from crime fiction master Raymond Chandler, with the "quintessential urban private eye" (Los Angeles Times), Philip Marlowe • Featuring the iconic character that inspired the forthcoming film Marlowe, starring Liam Neeson

Philip Marlowe's about to give up on a completely routine case when he finds himself in the wrong place at the right time to get caught up in a murder that leads to a ring of jewel thieves, another murder, a fortune-teller, a couple more murders, and more corruption than your average graveyard.


Mischief

By Charlotte Armstrong,

Book cover of Mischief

Why this book?

Not a detective story, but one that will get your heart racing and blood boiling. Set in New York City a rich family hires a babysitter who goes off the deep end. Women authors give a different point of view to crime stories and this one is proof of that.

Mischief

By Charlotte Armstrong,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Mischief as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A child is left in the care of a disturbed babysitter in “surely one of the finest pure terror-suspense stories ever written” (The New York Times).
 
Bunny’s parents shouldn’t have brought her to New York City, but her father has an important speech to make, and her mother couldn’t bear to be away from their darling nine-year-old daughter. And when her mommy and daddy leave for the speech, Bunny will stay in the hotel with a babysitter, sound asleep and perfectly safe. What could possibly go wrong?
 
The sitter is Nell, a plain young woman from Indiana. She puts Bunny…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

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