When Pickford’s body was found hanging from a beam in his garage, Inspector Loxton was sure that it was a case of suicide following a series of financial and domestic worries.
Then came the criminologist with his slogan, ‘Common sense is all you need’, and in ten minutes he upset the inspector’s hypothesis. Further evidence pointed so clearly in one direction that the arrest and the conviction of the criminal seemed almost a matter of form.
But both the Inspector and the expert are way off course, and it is left to the Chief Constable to clear up the mystery …
‘Mr Connington has the art of writing delightful detective novels’ Baltimore Evening Sun
While in Rome, art student Chuck Musgrave is offered a job painting pictures of Positano, a picturesque town south of Naples. When Chuck arrives in Positano, strange things begin to happen. It becomes clear that not all foreigners living in Positano are there for the scenery!
Shortlisted for the 1961 Hugo Award, Rogue Moon is the disquieting and story of what happens when monstrous scientific ambition is matched by human obsession.
The moon had finally been reached, and on it was found the most terrifying structure, that killed men over and over again, in torturous, unfathomable ways. Clearly, only a mad man or a suicidal maniac could explore its horrible secrets.
All his life, Al Barker has toyed with death. So when the US lunar programme needs a volunteer to penetrate a murderous labyrinth, alien to all human comprehension, Barker’s the man to do it. But what is required of Barker is that he withstand the trauma of dying, not just once, but time and time and time again …
In the 22nd century biofeedback techniques to control by will the processes of one’s own body have reached their ultimate expression: the ability to transform the body into virtually any viable form whatsoever. What began as an innocent technique to reduce anxiety without recourse to drugs has raised fundamental questions about what it is to be human, since form is no longer sufficient nor even relevant.
Enter the Humanity Test: in a future when other techniques can change the forms of animals, so far it has been a guaranteed one hundred percent successful means of determining whether a life form started out as human. But now strange life forms, vicious and bestial, are proliferating throughout the Solar System. They are clearly not human, and clearly their nervous systems are too underdeveloped for them to have been human. But though the beasts threaten havoc and death to all the far flung isolated stations, the simple solution of shooting the varmints is impossible: for life forms that according to the Humanity Test started out human the law is very clear: Thou Shalt Not Kill.
Journalist Hamish Hunter finds himself in possession of a film on which the fate of several people and the relations between two countries – Poland and Great Britain – depend. But who can he trust? His girlfriend, Wanda, daughter of a déraciné Polish count, whose loyalties are more complex than they seem? An old friend in the intelligence racket? The authorities?
Soon Hunter finds himself in desperation, hounded on all sides, and in a climax of nerve-racking suspense it becomes finally clear that no on is on any side but their own.
Asmodeus Mogart was not a bad fellow, as demons go. Having gotten in trouble back in the home office, he had been assigned to duty on Earth. There he toiled, doing the kinds of things demons do and turning into something of a drunk.
Then a rogue asteroid threatened to crash into Earth and destroy all life on the planet – demons included! There had to be a better way.
Mac Walters and Jill McCullough, holding a private wake for their world in a Reno bar, were more than startled when a strange-looking little drunk told them they could save the world. All they had to do was enter five alternate universes and steal a demon-guarded jewel in each. Clearly, the man was crazy.
But they had nothing better to do than go along with the gag. Then they each found themselves, naked and alone, on a hostile alien world!
‘A Luis Mendoza story means superlative suspense’ Los Angeles Times
Lieutenant Mendoza seems to be beset on all sides: at home, his wife Alison is convinced she is having twins; at the office his worry is a man called Francis Ingram, prime suspect for a murder Mendoza does not think he has committed.
Yet the fact remains that someone has murdered Mendoza’s wife, Arabella, and the evidence points straight at him. But as the case progresses it becomes clear that everyone has a grudge against her and a consuming interest in her will . . .
Connie Willis is one of science fiction’s most decorated authors, with a staggering eleven HUGOs and seven NEBULA AWARDs to her name. She is best known for her sequence of time-travel stories including SF Masterworks DOOMSDAY BOOK and TO SAY NOTHING OF THE DOG and the HUGO AWARD-winning diptych BLACKOUT and ALL CLEAR. This omnibus collects her solo debut, LINCOLN’S DREAMS, which won the JOHN W. CAMPBELL MEMORIAL AWARD and PASSAGE, shortlisted for the HUGO, NEBULA JOHN W. CAMPBELL and ARTHUR C. CLARKE AWARDs.
Trullion – World 2262 of the Alastor Cluster – was a beautiful waterworld of fens, mists, idyllic islands set in clear oceans whose teeming richness provided food for the taking. The Trill were a carefree, easy-living race. But violence entered their lives during the raids of the galactic pirates known as the Starmenters. And there was also the planetwide game of hussade, when the Trill’s ferocious passion for gambling drove them to risk all – even life itself – on the hazardous water-chessboard gaming fields. Their prize? The virginal body of the beautifu sheirl-maiden, the body any Trill is willing to die for.
Delilah was beautiful. Delilah was sexy. And Delilah was to blame for all of Ferdie Foxlee’s problems. She had let him down at the crucial moment by falling apart. Literally. And in pieces.
Her right eye popped, dangling on multicoloured cables. Her right breast spun around and flew off into the distance. As her fuses blew, her smile melted in a blaze of sparks.
As an expert in ectoplasmic electronic creations, Ferdie had clearly failed. But eepee experts – even one like Ferdie – are in very high demand. So when he panicked and ran, he ran into the waiting arms of the underworld…
I saw her, hanging in the sky like a flake of the moon. A woman, her face masked by a black shireen, her body by a black shift, but her white arms spread, and her white, white, bone-white hair blowing all around her like a flame composed of smoke. Recognition was immediate. It was my mother. I shouted at her. It was crystal clear to me, what he had meant for me, my father, Vazkor, what she had robbed me of. And I drew from my belt my hunting knife and threw it at her heart.
Two incidents involving a Peeping Tom are reported from the Swim and Tan Motel to the detective agency belonging to Donald Lam and Bertha Cool. Bertha, meanwhile, has warned Donald to steer clear of the dangerous jobs and stick to aiding solid, sane citizens like Montrose L. Carson. And all Carson wants is the name of the informer in his office who is passing on confidential material to a business rival, Herbert Dowling.
But when Dowling is murdered at the Swim and Tan Motel, it looks as though Bertha has picked the wrong client, and Donald the right girl when he chooses a lively bait to catch the Peeping Tom … and the murderer.
Classic police procedural by a ‘born storyteller’ (Sunday Times), who combined natural flair with his experience in the police to truly authentic effect.
When a respected and successful businessman claims that he is being blackmailed by Inspector Martineau, and provides evidence to support his allegations, the policeman’s superiors have no choice but to suspend him from duty.
Martineau must go to work to clear his name, but the trail is a complex and dangerous one. The inspector has many enemies, not least Dixie Costello, whom he helped to put in jail and who is now once more at large. But is the trail a false one? And are all of Martineau’s colleagues to be trusted?
‘My favourite American crime-writer’ New York Herald Tribune
In the quiet suburb of Santa Monica, eighty-eight-year-old Mabel Foster loses her husband to a stroke. Rather than move Mabel into a retirement home, the neighbours hire Josephine Slaney to take care of her. The immense nurse is a godsend, the cost of her help is a bargain.
Soon it becomes clear, however, that all is not right with Josephine. Mrs Foster, once bright and alert, falls quickly into a torpor and retreats into seclusion at Josephine’s command. It is up to detective Dan Valentine to uncover a strange, lethal pattern among Josephine’s former patients, and the race is on to stop her before she can strike again.
What has happened to Aunt Violet? Helen Gamlen isn’t sure anything has, but when Martin Andras turns up unannounced on her doorstep one night, implying that her aunt has disappeared, she feels she should try to clear things up once and for all.
Martin’s interest in Violet’s fate is purely selfish: her house in Burnstone had belonged to his grandfather, who left it to his faithful housekeeper for her lifetime. When she dies it will return to Martin’s mother, and later, of course, to him.
But when Helen arrives on her aunt’s doorstep, she finds she isn’t the only person looking for a missing lady . . .
Edward Cadence was a brilliant man, and a dedicated scientist. He had invented Sensitape, a means of recording the thoughts and emotions of great musicians, religious figures, etc. so that others could experience at first-hand just what it was like to play a magnificent concerto, or to slip peacefully toward an untroubled death with the sure expectation that Heaven lies waiting. And he had added Sexitape, whereby people whose sex lives weren’t completely satisfying could experience everything that the most compatible couple in the world felt together.
For all this he was given the Nobel Prize, became enormously wealthy and famous.
But finally he set to work on the ultimate application of his experiments: Synthajoy. And when the enormity of this dehumanising process became clear, he was murdered.
Tedric the hero had become Tedric the pirate…
He looked at his strange companions: Philip Nolan, an aristocrat turned mutineer; Keller, a subman with canine ancestry; Ky-shan, a huge blue-furred alien; KT294578 Wilson, an extraordinary anarchist robot. A weird band of thieves.
But Tedric intended to use his crew for something more worthwhile than piracy. He had a plan to overthrow the tyrannical Carey family, the oppressors who controlled the Universe.
All the rights and wrongs of the situation were clear to Tedric…until Alyc Carey, beautiful, blind daughter of the megalomaniac Melor Carey, was taken prisoner. She seemed sympathetic to the revolutionary cause, and yet, Tedric was unsure of her…
Should he see her as a hostage…or a recruit?
Returning to the Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge after a spell at the nuclear research labs of CERN in Geneva, Professor Isaac Newton is plunged into the centre of a baffling mystery. One of his research students, Mike Howarth, has picked up strange signals on his satellite telemetry equipment, signals that appear to emanate from a passing comet. Not long after he has passed the vital data into Isaac Newton’s hands, Howarth is found dead. Soon after that, it becomes clear that some people in very high places – including the Kremlin and the White House – are more than a little interested in the remarkable events taking place at the Cavendish. But with the arrival of that most majestic of all celestial bodies, Comet Halley, a third and infinitely more powerful superpower enters the scene. And the Comet’s extraordinary intentions – not to mention its devastating methods of communicating them to Earth – promise a new dawn for humanity.
In the year 2130 a mysterious spaceship, Rama, arrived in the solar system. It was huge – big enough to contain a city and a sea – and empty, apparently abandoned. By the time Rama departed for its next, unknown, destination many wonders had been uncovered, but few mysteries solved. Only one thing was clear: everything the enigmatic builders of Rama did, they did in threes.
Eighty years later the second alien craft arrived in the solar system. This time, Earth had been waiting. But all the years of preparation were not enough to unlock the Raman enigma.
Now Rama II is on its way out of the solar system. Aboard it are three humans, two men and a woman, left behind when the expedition departed. Ahead of them lies the unknown, a voyage no human has ever experienced. And at the end of it – and who could tell how many years away that might be? – may lie the truth about Rama…
A magician turned detective is caught up in the most baffling locked-room murder mystery…
‘One of the all-time greatest impossible murder mysteries’ Publishers Weekly starred review
‘Dazzling’ Saturday Review
‘A cornerstone of detective fiction’ New York Times
Master magician The Great Merlini has hung up his top hat and white gloves, and now spends his days running a magic shop in New York and his nights moonlighting as a consultant for the NYPD. When the crimes seem impossible, it is his magician’s mind they need.
So when two occultists are discovered dead in locked rooms, one spread out on a pentagram, both appearing to have been murdered under similar circumstances, Merlini is immediately called in. The list of suspects includes an escape artist, a professional medium, and a ventriloquist – and it is only too clear that this is a world Merlini knows rather too well…
When Commander Herries of the Space Line began to sell the water of Mars as a ‘potion’ for lengthening life he had no idea that he was going to create the world’s greatest thirst and produce havoc among the two social grades of Earth – the Inelligentsia and the Normals. But produce it he did.
Among the confusion thus produced one man thinks clearly for his own ends – Vance Unthra, the leading scientist of the world – and he sees in the crisis which has hit Earth a way to be rid of all those who do not measure up to what he thinks as an intellectual standard. By his orders two synthetic worlds are created – Alpha and Omega – and to these are ruthlessly evacuated all the victims of the Martian water, there to rebuild there shattered fortunes and never cross the ‘Dark Boundaries’ which exist between those worlds and Earth.
Despite his careful planning, however, Unthra makes one mistake. In destroying the power of the Martian water over the evacuated thousands he miscalculates the strength of cosmic radiation on Omega with the result that the leader – the Controllix – of this world, Sylvia Grantham, becomes a far greater power in the grand scheme of things than her former lover, Dexter Carfax. Through the machinations of the wily Unthra open hostility breaks out between Dexter Carfax and the girl, and eventually their worlds are destroyed through the influence of a deadly chain reaction ‘disease’ from the Great Red Spot of Jupoter.
Both of them, however, through the various experiences they undergo, hold to one objective – to be avenged on Vance Unthra for his viciousness.
Once there was only the land of Phesaotois, with a cold and baleful Stone at its magical heart. Much later came the land of Pheyarcet, younger and hotter, with its Well of Fire inextricably bound up with its ruler, the great Panurgus.
Then Panurgus died, touching off a bitter struggle between his sons that ended with Avril on the throne and Prospero, mightiest of the sorcerers, in permanent exile.
All that was an age ago. Now Prospero, grown ancient and subtle, has found a new, third land: bright Argylle, with its primal Spring of clear water. Argylle is a fair realm in its own right; but the children of Panurgus never forgive and never forget.
And so Prospero decides it is an auspicious time to seize the throne of Phesaotois from Avril – thereby setting in motion a vast tale of romance and espionage, of talking animals and mythic beasts, of metaphysics and primal creation, of mannerly drama and gritty military detail: an epic that can only end in a conflagration of blood and honor.
Tabaea was an ordinary thief, sneaking and prowling and stealing for a living. Then one night while burgling a house, she witnessed a wizard teaching his apprentice a spell – the creation of a magic dagger.
Tabaea decided to try the magic for herself. But even though she could feel the power rising around her as she went through the steps of the ritual, something had clearly gone wrong. The apprentice’s dagger had glowed; it had resisted attempts to pick it up; and there had been a blinding flash at the end of the ceremony.
But Tabaea’s dagger didn’t do any of those things. And it wouldn’t free her from bonds, or heal her wounds – it didn’t seem to be magical at all. It just turned black.
Then, by chance, Tabaea discovered that her dagger indeed had its own kind of unusal magic – a dark, powerful magic that promised invincibility to its bearer.
But magic can be dangerous even in the hands of an expert – and for Tabaea, magic and power could spell disaster . . .
The beautiful young daughter of a wealthy family is robbed of her money and jewels, and she herself disappears soon after… A young man fleeing a band of murderous hobos becomes the target of a lynch mob…
Frozen to silent rigidity, they sat straining every faculty to catch the minutest sound from the black void where the dead man lay. As they listened there came up to them, mingled with inexplicable footsteps, a hollow reverberation from the dank cellar – a hideous dragging of chains behind the nameless horror which had haunted them through the interminable eons of the ghastly night. Up, up it came toward the room at the head of the stairs where they huddled fearfully. They could now hear quite clearly what might have been the slow and ponderous footsteps of a heavy man dragging painfully across the rough floor. It stopped in front of their hideout and all was silent. Suddenly their rang out against the silence of the awful night a piercing shriek, and a great The Oakdale Affair force began to bend the flimsy door…