Billed as "the ugliest case that Carolus Deene ever chose to investigate," Leo Bruce's Death of a Bovver Boy finds the redoubtable schoolmaster-turned-detective involved in yet another mystery murder—this time among teenage outcasts and skinheads in rural 1970s England. When Carolus's housekeeper, stoic Mrs. Stick, announces one evening that her husband has seen the naked body of a youth lying in "a peculiar hunched-up position" in a ditch beside the road, his hair shorn and his wrists slashed, Carolus knows that he has, at last, met the supreme challenge to test his powers of deduction. And this is just the beginning: from this point on, the detective is involved in a lively series of adventures infiltrating England's provincial underworld and gaining insight into the dead boy's unhappy background and surroundings. A rude collection of thugs and punks become involved in the search for the murderer; all are equally dangerous and each might be to blame. Only through his ingenuity and determination to persevere—despite all the forces urging him to the contrary—does Carolus finally solve the mystery.This is one of Leo Bruce's grittiest novels, giving the reader an insight into the milieu of rebellious 1970s England, a world where prejudice was the order of the day and hostility and violence were the only means of survival.
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 job seems simple enough: Reporter Lee Hershey needs protection for a couple of weeks as he pursues the biggest story of his career with all eyes on swing state Ohio in the midst of a presidential election. Columbus private eye Andy Hayes, broke as usual, doesn’t have much choice but to sign on, even with his girlfriend falling for the charming journalist. Then murder strikes at the Statehouse and Andy finds himself partly responsible for the death. With an innocent man behind bars, a mysterious vehicle following Andy around the city, and more lives in danger, the detective has his hands full trying to solve a killing in a poisonous political environment where everyone has a motive for murder and anyone could be the next target.