There are worse crimes than murder.
"Powerful and frightening tale with numerous twists"
Cleo Jasper, a beautiful woman in her early 20s drops out of sight while attending an exclusive school for the learning disabled. Shortly before her disappearance, she had wandered into the law offices of Tom Aragon, the engaging young hero of Ask for Me Tomorrow and The Murder of Miranda. Cleo's older brother, Hilton, hires Aragon to find the vulnerable girl and bring her back home. Hilton's dedication to his little sister is tinged with guilt - and perhaps something more - for he has already alienated his wife and son by his devotion to Cleo.
At 30, Helen Clarvoe is alone: Her only visitors are the staff at the hotel where she lives, and her only phone calls come from a stranger. Until that stranger, with a quiet, compelling voice, lures the aloof and financially secure Miss Clarvoe into a world of extortion, pornography, vengeance, madness, and murder. But who is the hunter and who is the victim?
"Superb psychological study"
Margaret Millar is somewhat of a hidden treasure among American "mystery writers". (She was originally from Canada, but her many years of living in California with her writer-husband Ross McDonald give us Americans a claim on her.) What makes her unusual and special within the genre is the way so many of her novels subtly and eloquently examine the emotional toll taken on people by the small things that haunt their lives, create inner conflict or despair.
A paperback mystery classic. An Air That Kills is a powerful novel of lust, deceit, and betrayal. Author Margaret Millar is a Grand master of the Mystery writers of America.
Private detective Joe Quinn gambles. That's how he's lost his job, car, clothes, and girlfriend; it's why he's hitchhiking from Reno to California. At The Tower, a back-country compound housing a religious cult, Quinn gambles again, when Sister Blessing asks him to locate one Patrick O'Gorman. It proves to be no easy task: O'Gorman's dead - and, Quinn wagers, not so accidentally as everyone insists.
Two women travel together. One mysteriously falls to her death from a balcony in a Mexico City hotel. The other returns to San Francisco and then disappears.
Lucille Morrow was blessed -- a beautiful woman with a devoted husband. One day a mysterious messenger delivered a package, and suddenly Lucille Morrow was gone. Dominated by fear, she committed herself into an asylum. Searching for the cause, Inspector Sands follows a long trail which takes him to an abyss of horror, murder and retribution the likes of which he's never seen.
Dr. Prye, I have arranged a little surprise for you. Knowing how interested you are in murders I have decided to give you one on your own doorstep, as it were. Don't be too flattered. I intended to do it anyway. But the setting is too good to miss. I have always been intrigued by the funeral aspect of weddings and the hymeneal aspect of funerals. I am leaving this note in a friend's pocket in place of the ring, not because you can stop the murder, but merely to assure you that I am perfectly serious.
The decomposed body of a much-loved eight-year-old, Annamay Hyatt, is found in a wooded creekside area. To an agonizing degree everyone concerned with Annamy feels responsible. To an even more agonizing degree, someone is. The effect of the child’s violent death runs through the community like a plague. It infects not only her parents and her cousin, Dru, the same age as Annamay, but everyone who lives or works in the area, from the aging man who gives young parties to the white-robed con man who comes to the creek and hears a banshee.
Alice told the psychiatrist about her blind sister. "She has built a wall of eyes around her, the good eyes of the rest of us, the eyes of the people who hate her and watch her and wait for her to die. That's what she says, that the eyes are watching and waiting." Soon the waiting would be over.
Isobel Seton, a witty New Yorker, is riding to a lodge in the wilds of Quebec in the middle of a blizzard. When the driver stops the bus in the middle of nowhere and walks off into the heavy snowstorm, the stranded would-be skiers find themselves in the middle of a mystery that ranks among Millar’s best.
Beyond This Point Are Monsters is a model of taut, credible, completely contained plotting, and a book with full marks for entertainment. The scene is southern California where young Devon Osborne has petitioned the court to declare her husband, now unseen for a year, legally dead. The story, with highly effective recourse to flashback, occupies only the few days of the hearing. Is the evidence of his death - missing migrant workers, bloodied bunkhouse - adequate; why is his mother so certain he’s alive; what did happen to Robert Osbourne?
"A Good Mystery"
Margaret Millar's husband, Kenneth, who wrote under the name of Ross Macdonald, received more attention for his Lew Archer books, but her equally noteworthy mysteries are among the best of the genre. This story of love and greed among the rich and eccentric citizens of a California city - very much like the Millars' beloved Santa Barbara - is full of the things that make her work memorable - a wickedly twisted plot, sly observations on all social levels, and a writing style that welcomes you to the party like an old friend.
When Rose French, a former silent film star best known for periodic binges and recently leaving her fifth husband, is found dead in a deserted garden, only Frank Clyde, a friend and social worker, believes it was murder. His subsequent investigation of the local natives of Santa Barbara is both suspenseful and hilarious. Millar does it again.
When Miranda Shaw, rich and recently widowed, and Grady Keaton, the head lifeguard at the Penguin Beach Club, drop out of sight at the same time, rumors begin to circulate among the other members and employees of the club. And when Miranda's jewels are spotted in an estate auction, the rumors turn ugly, and Tom Aragon is called in to search for the missing couple
"Watch Out for the Rich"
Thomas Philips was a happy man who could afford to retire at the age of 45. Old grudges were forgotten; the past was a lucrative memory. He scarcely felt the pinprick in his neck, and by the time the hand closed over his mouth, it was too late to do anything about it.
A New York family rents a house in California hoping for tranquil summer. Mark Banner is a young, successful publisher, and his wife Evelyn is afraid of losing him. When the owner of the house returns, Evelyn recognizes the enemy at first sight.
Consulting psychiatrist Dr. Paul Prye, protaganist of Millar's The Invisible Worm, once again finds himself in the center of scandal. While on vacation, Prye makes his way through blackmail and group hatred to geta confession from murderer of a vicious blonde townswoman.
A yacht captain is on trial for murdering a woman he hired with more than the boat's cooking in mind. Circumstantial evidence abounds, so the slick defense attorney coaches his client in ways to influence the jury. Millar is more interested in developing engaging, three-dimensional characters than in solving the crime here. The judge, the lawyers, the clerk, and several witnesses all have different reasons for being concerned with the outcome, and the listener gets to see that justice can be very fragile in a realistic courtroom setting.