In the aftermath of World War II, 8-year-old Luellen Enright is orphaned and shipped to San Francisco and the care of a covetous aunt, over-friendly uncle, and adolescent male cousins.
Her only friend is a neighbor boy-the sickly and eccentric “Chickweed”, who writes in his “Book of Dreams” and makes home movies. Lulu suffers indignities and all manner of abuse, is finally accused of murder, and sent to juvenile detention.
Years later Lulu sets out to reclaim what was taken from her-a priceless Sung vase left by her missionary father, baldly stolen by her aunt.
One of four Jack Vance mystery novels which never found a mainstream publisher, The View from Chickweed’s Window tells in delicate detail the misery of a defenseless child in the hands of unpleasant adults, and cruel older children. In typical style Vance gives us a robust heroine who, rather than crushed by hardship-is instead motivated strongly to restore justice, with a focus on result over scruple!
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!
In this second mystery novel of the Sheriff Joe Bain series, the appealing and energetic Sheriff of San Rodrigo County, California, is once again beset by extraordinary complications and diversions in the midst of trying to solve three brutal hammer murders. His career is threatened with a political smear, his ego damaged losing a fight with a suspect, and his bachelorhood threatened by several wonderfully bizarre encounters with a lovely young woman named Luna.
Welfare worker Paul Gunther is killed when he looks into the blackmailing of some of his cases. Lieutenant George Shaw leads the murder investigation, which touches on the jazz community and beatnik culture of Oakland in the early 1960’s.
The House on Lily Street is the story of a corrupt and narcissistic young man, born to privilege, who dallies among the poor-and gets in over his head.
Ausley Wyett’s release from prison after sixteen years in prison is an event of many consequences for the residents of San Rodrigo County, California. Five men whose testimonies led to Wyett’s conviction receive threatening letters, and one by one become victims of fatal accidents. But there is no evidence of murder. For Acting Sheriff Joe Bain, proving Wyett’s guilt – or innocencev – is more than a matter of justice; while campaigning to be elected Sheriff, he must stubbornly protect Wyett from townspeople who insist upon immediate arrest- or a lynching.
Seventeen-year old Ronald Wilby is an introverted young man with a protective single mother.
Walking home one evening, Ronald stumbles into young Carol Mathews; in the encounter, Carol ends up assaulted and dead. Ronald leaves his jacket at the scene.
Elaine Wilby is convinced that Carol’s death was an accident, and converts a small part of the old house to a secret room where Ronald must hide-until she saves enough that they can move, and start over. She tells everyone that her son ran away.
The plan works until Mrs. Wilby is taken by sudden illness. The house is sold to another family-a family with three pretty daughters…
Lurking behind the walls, Ronald is tempted more than he can bear.
His face badly burned in a motor accident, young Robert Struve is horribly disfigured.
Unable to afford corrective surgery, and denied lawful redress against the rich man whose daughter was responsible, Struve wears his scars as a badge of honor, excelling at school and sports. The social pressure is intense however, and he is treated harshly by his peers-young men and women alike. When his frustration boils over, he assaults a girl.
In a correctional institution, as a ward of the state, he undergoes reconstructive surgery.
Years go by. Then one of the girls involved in the incident is murdered, her face mutilated. A second and third are killed in similar fashion; is Robert Struve involved? No one has seen him, since his incarceration…
Written in the late 1940s, The Flesh Mask was Jack Vance’s first success as a mystery writer, launching his Edgar-winning career. The story was first published in 1957, as Take My Face, under the pseudonym “Peter Held”.
Lying off the coast of Monterey, Bird Island is favored with tranquil beaches, coves and rocky hills. The island is home to a finishing school for girls, and a picturesque old hotel-in desperate need of repair. The hotel owner must sell plots of the island to finance renovation and enlargement.
The buyers are an odd bunch: a whale hunter, an amateur photographer of artistic nudes, a fugitive from justice, a young poet who composes rhymes for greeting cards, and an explorer, accompanied by his pet baboon.
Everything goes wrong, to the extent that even Rexie, the cheese-loving hotel cat is affected! So much for tranquility, on Bird Island…
First published as Isle of Peril, Bird Isle mixes intrigue with humor, inspired by the great P.G. Wodehouse.
Ted Bunpole proposes, and Betty Haverhill says no. But Ted won’t take “no” for an answer, and the situation gets tiresome. Betty books passage to Europe by freighter.
The Garda departs San Francisco for Italy, via the Panama Canal. Passengers include the intellectual Alex Cato and his wife Ora; Nello di Prieri, whose father is a Marquis; plump Harry Mayberry, owner of a dry-cleaning plant in Oakland-and the formidable, cigar-smoking Mik Finsch, a Dutchman recently from El Salvador.
And who but the dogged Ted Bunpole-following Betty despite her clear wishes? In desperation, Betty flirts with Mik Finsch; Ted loses his head, and sinister events follow.
In San Salvador, Betty witnesses a killing. With the Garda back at sea, the killer is on the ship-and her life is in danger…
But Betty is no pushover.
A young scientist with ties to a family fortune survives a murder attempt while working in Tahiti. He discovers the identity of the assailant, but not the motive. For this, he must follow the would-be murderer aboard an island-hopping passenger/cargo schooner bound for the Marquesas…
Noel Hutson considers himself a gentleman adventurer-but running guns in Morocco during Algeria’s revolution, he gets more than he bargained for.
Noel goes missing, and his brother Darrell Hutson comes to Tangier to search. Darrell soon finds himself immersed in a shady world of ruthless smugglers and nationalist Muslim fanatics.
When Noel disappeared, he took with him an enormous payment. Both sides think Darrell will lead them to it.
The stakes are unimaginably high-and Darrell isn’t the only one who could get hurt.
A small village is the scene of two brutal murders – and everyone is under suspicion.
A classic of crime fiction
The village of Pennycross is the scene of two brutal child murders within a few months. The villagers’ lives are monitored by a team of police, led by Chief Inspector Hunter, as they watch and wait, piecing together the clues to trap the killer before another life is lost.
Inspector Hunter comes to learn much about the inhabitants of Pennycross – who resort to their own drastic action when a suspicious character is seen running through the woods…