Books – M. Ruth Myers

Books

No Game for a Dame

No Game for a Dame

A .38, a nip of gin and sensational legs get Depression-era private investigator Maggie Sullivan out of most scrapes – until a stranger threatens to bust her nose, she’s hauled in on suspicion of his murder and she finds herself in the cross-hairs of a crime boss with connections at City Hall.

Moving through streets where people line up at soup kitchens, Maggie draws information from sources others overlook: The waitress at the dime store lunch counter where she has breakfast; a ragged newsboy; the other career girls at her rooming house.

Her digging gets her chloroformed and left in a ditch behind the wheel of her DeSoto. She makes her way to an upscale bordello and gets tea – and information – from the madam herself.

A gunman puts a bullet through Maggie’s hat. Her shutterbug pal on the evening paper warns her off. A new cop whose presence unsettles her thinks she’s crooked. Before she finds all the answers she needs, she faces a half-crazed man with a gun, and a far more lethal point-blank killer.

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Tough Cookie

Tough Cookie

When Depression-era private eye Maggie Sullivan is invited to dine with a millionaire, she doesn’t expect the first course to be a gun in her face. It draws her into a gold-plated web of theft, revenge, double crosses and murder.

A big-time swindle has made fools of some of the city’s wealthiest businessmen. The man behind it has vanished. When Maggie begins asking questions, he reappears – dead in the river. But she’s already learned too much. Someone’s out to silence her too.

Armed with her .38 and a nip of gin, Maggie closes in on a killer as a mobster offers a hint, a cop unsettles her with his chemistry, and a woman with deadly potential plays a game by her own rules.

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Don’t Dare a Dame

Don’t Dare a Dame

Depression-era private investigator Maggie Sullivan risks losing her P.I. license — and her life — when two spinsters hire her to learn the fate of their father, who vanished twenty-six years earlier. She’s barely started when her main suspect commits suicide and Maggie is summoned before the powerful chief of police. A stroke of his pen will revoke her license, and he warns her he’s getting complaints about her from City Hall.

With her livelihood on the line, fortified by a nip of gin and her .38, the intrepid detective follows a trail all but obliterated by time and the catastrophic Dayton flood of 1913 in which the vanished man went missing. It leads her to a local politician with bigger ambitions — and possibly secrets to hide. It takes her into dime stores, cheap hotels, and a violent ambush by men wearing brass knuckles.

As a cop wages a wily campaign to win her affections, and a rag-tag newsboy pushes to become her assistant, crimes of the past explode in the present. Maggie fights to survive foes who must destroy her to destroy each other.

Fans of strong women sleuths and historical atmosphere have dubbed this tough little private investigator “Sam Spade in a skirt.”

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Shamus in a Skirt

Shamus in a Skirt

When a man offers 1940s private investigator Maggie Sullivan twice her usual fee to look into a "possible" jewelry theft from his hotel safe, she’s skeptical — until a maid’s body tumbles out of a trash can and a jeweler known for high quality fakes is murdered.

Does a hotel guest who vanished without a trace hold a piece of the puzzle? Or does it have to do with the Polish count and his family fleeing the start of WW2 in Europe? Could the cops be right that it’s all a trick devised by her client?

More at ease in Dayton, Ohio’s, streets and alleyways than in the posh Hotel Canterbury, and chafing under the need to hide her true occupation, Maggie threads her way through an unfamiliar array of suspects: Celluloid luminaries in town for a hush-hush project; an international Lothario whose shady local past she unearths; the count’s embittered valet.

Meanwhile, preparations for a visit by FDR preoccupy the city’s police. The Irish cop who long has wooed Maggie suddenly departs for Chicago. Alone and bruised, Maggie faces adversaries whose motives stun her... and a killer who will stop at nothing.

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Dames Fight Harder

Dames Fight Harder

Murder at a construction site draws Ohio private investigator Maggie Sullivan into a case that makes cops mistrust her and friends doubt her. The suspect, Rachel Minsky, is Maggie’s closest friend – and all signs point to Rachel’s guilt.

Rachel ignores the rules society imposes on women. That independence, in 1942, as well as her success in business, has made her enemies. Yet the dead man also had an unsavory secret or two, starting with his missing mistress. Who was the murderer’s real target? And what is Rachel hiding from the only person who can save her?

The city Maggie scours for clues to the real killer has been altered by America’s recent entry into World War II. Shortages of men and material have created new motives for murder. Unsupervised children roam the streets at night while their mothers work in defense plants. Strangers outnumber familiar faces at Maggie’s favorite pub.

As the case and Maggie’s relationship with policeman Mick Connelly heat up, Maggie finds herself caught in currents that threaten to drown her.

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Maximum Moxie

Maximum Moxie

Days before the Pearl Harbor attack plunges the U.S. into World War II, private eye Maggie Sullivan is hired to find a missing engineer in Dayton, Ohio. Has Gil Tremain been kidnapped, or has he turned traitor — to his employer and maybe his country?

As Maggie pieces together his last movements, she finds there are secrets the man’s ex-wife and his employers don’t want uncovered. Maggie herself is attacked and an innocent witness is murdered. The ruthlessness of her opponent — or opponents — becomes even clearer when there’s an attempt to abduct Tremain’s young daughter. Still more chilling, Maggie’s investigation suddenly attracts the attention of a local crime kingpin.

The attack on Pearl Harbor presses every cop in the city into service protecting manufacturing and research facilities. Stunned by the knowledge their nation will soon be at war, even fearful the mainland itself will be bombed, people cling to family and friends. Schedules and routines shatter. Amid the disruption, alone and aware she can’t count on help from the police, Maggie races to save a man who has now become a liability to his captors.

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The Barefoot Stiff

The Barefoot Stiff

This mystery short story features characters from the author’s novels featuring depression-era private investigator Maggie Sullivan.
A blonde in an expensive hat approaches Maggie at a dime store lunch counter, offering a staggering amount of money if the detective will meet a man who wants to hire her. Suspecting something amiss, Maggie refuses. But her empty bank account, plus curiosity, prompt her to turn up at the time and place appointed — only to encounter a body that’s still warm.

Irked when the detectives questioning her only snicker at the leads she suggests, and even more so by their insinuation that she solves cases by batting her eyes instead of using her brains, Maggie baits a trap for the killer.

He shows up at Maggie’s office ready to use a knife to get information he wants. But the gritty little private eye handles a .38 as competently as she does an emery board. The killer isn’t the only one involved in a lucrative crime... and Maggie wants the satisfaction of handing the police all the answers.

Enjoy the historical atmosphere of a time before cell phones, and the company of a one-of-a-kind female sleuth.

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A Concrete Garter Belt

A Concrete Garter Belt

The woman with work-roughened hands begs 1940s private investigator Maggie Sullivan to find her kid sister, the sister she's raised since the girl was a toddler. But two days later Maggie's client is dead. Everyone, cops included, brushes it off as suicide born of despair. Everyone except Maggie.

With her Smith & Wesson and a nip of gin, the flinty detective sets out to uncover the fate of the missing girl. Her hunt leads her to a secretarial agency whose owner likes to paw his employees, and to a rich man's mansion where she encounters depravity beyond her darkest imaginings.

This SHORT STORY, with traces of both hard-boiled and cozy, features characters from the author's full-length Maggie Sullivan mysteries.

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The Whiskey Tide

The Whiskey Tide

In the 1920s, three sheltered sisters from a proper New England family turn rum-runners to provide for their family. Left penniless by their father’s death and a relative’s treachery, they use the family’s pleasure schooner to smuggle whiskey from Canada.

Kate, the bookworm, hatches the plan, sacrificing her last year at Wellesley to make every grueling and dangerous trip. Rosalie risks her engagement to a clergyman to help on the home front – and tends Kate’s gunshot wound from rum-pirates. Aggie, a dazzling flapper hungry for adventure, uses the undertaking to catch the eye of a man she doesn’t realize is a vicious killer.

Kate’s courage in the face of storms, crooks on both sides of the law, and the treacherous tides of the Bay of Fundy changes her view of the world. It also changes the lives of those around her. Joe, the teasing Portuguese-Irish fisherman she hires to captain Pa’s Folly earns money enough to provide previously unimagined help to his poor but close-knit family — but must bear the secret burden of falling in love with Kate. A wealthy old woman dying of loneliness in her cliff-top mansion finds reasons to live. Even Kate’s cousin, shattered in body and spirit by his service in The Great War, is caught in the ripples.

Kate and Aggie’s every success makes their enemies more determined to ruin them. Their gentle cousin becomes an unwitting pawn in a deadly game. The meeting of minds between Kate and Joe, and the mutual attraction they try to deny, forces each to confront the social chasm between them, and the cost of a romance they dare not begin.

THE WHISKEY TIDE is a sweeping historical saga of family ties that bind and chafe and sometimes fray, of adventure and courage, and of new horizons glimpsed in the dark of the moon.

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A Touch of Magic

A Touch of Magic

A dazzling sleight-of-hand artist is recruited by the State Department to pit her skills – and wits – against a master terrorist. He’s about to receive a piece of stolen film used to make US passports, film that could open the door to terrorists around the world.

Although Channing Stuart is the fourth generation in a family of acclaimed magicians, she’s the first of them not to turn pro. Eye-to-eye with a killer, will she have the nerve and nimbleness to pull off a switch that finally proves her worthy of her bloodline?

Special agent Bill Ellery is irritated to find himself suddenly teamed with this amateur whose passion to succeed is as great as his own, and whose penchant for the unpredictable unsettles him as much as the woman herself.

In an upscale resort where every enticement hides a trap, they play cat and mouse with enemies known and unknown as a time bomb ticks. Hundreds of lives depend on the deftness of one woman’s fingers and ... A TOUCH OF MAGIC.

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Ration of Lies

Ration of Lies

As WWII rages in the Pacific, relatives of a Japanese-American suspected of starting a fatal fire hire Ohio private investigator Maggie Sullivan to uncover the truth. Did he do it? Is he alive or dead? The police claim not to know what became of him, and there are hints of War Department involvement.

Tosh Hashimoto and his family are among some 150 Japanese-Americans brought to Dayton by a church coalition that found jobs and housing for them throughout the community. The more Maggie learns about the night of the fire, the more she believes Tosh is being framed.

Grieving the recent loss of a close childhood friend killed in battle, Maggie wrestles inner conflict over taking the case. A harrowing attack in an alley, the murder of a witness, and a racist warning gouged into her office filing cabinet fuel her resolve to push ahead.

Amid rationing, shortages, extra beds for noisy newcomers wedged into corners of her once-quiet rooming house, and an unexpected change in her personal life, Maggie scrambles to determine the identity of a killer who is more than willing to kill again.

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Maggie Sullivan Mysteries Books 1-4

Maggie Sullivan Mysteries Books 1-4

Join private investigator Maggie Sullivan for a fast-paced ride through streets and alleys of 1940s Dayton, Ohio, in the first four books of this historical mystery series that blends cozy with harboiled. The set includes the Shamus Award-winning novel Don’t Dare a Dame plus these titles: No Game for a Dame, Tough Cookie and Shamus in a Skirt.

NO GAME FOR A DAME – When a stranger who threatened her and wrecked her office winds up dead, 1940s private eye Maggie Sullivan finds herself taking on a crime boss.

TOUGH COOKIE – A high stakes swindler Maggie is hunting is found floating in the river. Now someone wants to silence her – and the corpse is strangely active.

DON’T DARE A DAME – A 25-year-old murder jeopardizes Maggie’s future as a private eye as well as her life when it points toward powerful people with political connections.

SHAMUS IN A SKIRT – Murder and theft at a posh hotel pits Maggie against well-heeled suspects fleeing the war in Europe.

Like mysteries with touches of humor, well-developed characters and a gritty little female who holds her own with the tough guys? Maggie’s your gal. More than 800 five-star reviews say once you slide into the passenger seat of Maggie’s DeSoto, you won’t want to get out. Buy the box set now.

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