Crime Fiction Book List: Disabled isn’t Unable

This crime fiction book list includes books and series featuring a character whose physical, emotional or mental limitations figure in the plot or character development of the stories or series. The character may be disabled in some way but is still able to solve, or perhaps commit, crimes.

The list was compiled with the help of the Fiction-L listserv in March 2009. It’s sorted by author’s last name. Additions always welcome; just email me.

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Jane A. Adams. Naomi Blake series. Blake is a blind ex-policewoman in the Midlands of England.

  1. Mourning the Little Dead (2002)
  2. Touching the Dark (2003)
  3. Heatwave (2005)
  4. Killing a Stranger (2006)
  5. Legacy of Lies (2007)

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Rennie Airth. Inspector John Madden series. Madden, a Scotland Yard detective, is a shell-shocked veteran of World War I.

  1. River Of Darkness (1999)
  2. The Blood-Dimmed Tide (2003)
  3. The Dead of Winter (2009)

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Bruce Alexander (aka Bruce Cook). London Magistrate Sir John Fielding historical mystery series, based on the real-life 18th-century magistrate who created London’s original police force, the Bow Street Runners. Fielding, half-brother of novelist Henry Fielding, was blind.

  1. Blind Justice (1994)
  2. Murder in Grub Street (1995)
  3. Watery Grave (1996)
  4. Person or Persons Unknown (1997)
  5. Jack, Knave, and Fool (1998)
  6. Death of a Colonial (1999)
  7. The Color of Death (2000)
  8. Smuggler’s Moon (2001)
  9. An Experiment in Treason (2002)
  10. The Price of Murder (2003)
  11. Rules of Engagement (2005), posthumously published

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Brigitte Aubert. The ‘Death From’ books featuring 36-year-old French cinema owner Elise Andrioli, who was left quadriplegic, mute, and blind by a Belfast (Ireland) car bomb attack.

    Death from the Woods (2001)
    Death from the Snows (2001)

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Vicars Bell. Dr. Douglas Baynes series. Baynes is an entomologist who lost a leg in World War II.

  1. Death Under the Stars (1949)
  2. Death Has Two Doors (1950)
  3. Two by Day and One by Night (1950)
  4. Death and the Night Watches (1955)
  5. Death Walks by the River (1959)
  6. Death Darkens Council (1952)

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Paul Bishop. Chapel of the Ravens (1991). Chapel is “a former world class soccer player from Britain who becomes an editor for Los Angeles-based Sporting Press magazine after he loses an eye.

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Ernest Bramah. Max Carrados series. Carrados is a blind British detective.

  1. Max Carrados (1914)
  2. The Eyes of Max Carrados (1923), which “opens with a somewhat defensive essay which chronicles astonishing feats of the blind”
  3. Max Carrados Mysteries (1927)
  4. The Bravo of London (1934)

Also, some short stories featuring Carrados are online.

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Marshall Browne. Inspector Anders series. Anders is an Italian policeman who lost a leg battling anarchist terrorism.

  1. The Wooden Leg of Inspector Anders (1999)
  2. Inspector Anders and the Ship of Fools (2001)
  3. Inspector Anders and the Blood Vendetta (2006)

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Melvin Jules Bukiet. Strange Fire (2002). A Middle East political thriller featuring Nathan Kazakov as “a blind ex-POW, Russian immigrant, former poet, Lebanon invasion veteran, semicloseted homosexual and now speechwriter.”

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Patricia Carlon. The Whispering Wall (1969). Confined to her bed by a stroke, believed to be comatose, and surrounded by greedy relatives, a woman overhears a murder plot.

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George Chesbro. Mongo series. Robert ‘Mongo’ Fredrickson is a dwarf criminology professor, private eye, and former circus gymnast in NYC. The series is a blend of mystery, suspense, science fiction, and the supernatural.

  1. Shadow of a Broken Man (1977)
  2. City of Whispering Stone (1978)
  3. An Affair of Sorcerers (1979)
  4. The Beasts of Valhalla (1985)
  5. Two Songs This Archangel Sings (1987)
  6. The Cold Smell of Sacred Stone (1988)
  7. Second Horseman Out of Eden (1989)
  8. The Language of Cannibals (1990)
  9. In the House of Secret Enemies (1990)
  10. The Fear in Yesterday’s Rings (1991)
  11. Dark Chant in a Crimson Key (1992)
  12. An Incident at Bloodtide (1993)
  13. Bleeding in the Eye of a Brainstorm (1995)
  14. Dream of a Falling Eagle (1996)
  15. Lord of Ice and Loneliness (2006)

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Jeffrey Cohen. Aaron Tucker humourous mystery series. Aaron’s son has Asperger’s Syndrome and it’s part of the stories.

  1. For Whom the Minivan Rolls (2002)
  2. A Farewell to Legs (2003)
  3. As Dog Is My Witness (2005) – in this book, the young man accused of the crime has Asperger’s Syndrome.

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Michael Collins (aka Dennis Lynds). Dan Fortune novels of suspense, featuring amputee Dan Fortune, a gruff Polish-Lithuanian New York detective with one arm.

  1. Act Of Fear (1967)
  2. The Brass Rainbow (1969)
  3. Night Of The Toads (1970)
  4. Walk A Black Wind (1971)
  5. Shadow Of A Tiger (1972)
  6. The Silent Scream (1973)
  7. Blue Death (1975)
  8. The Blood-Red Dream (1976)
  9. The Nightrunners (1978)
  10. The Slasher (1980)
  11. Freak (1983)
  12. Minnesota Strip (1987)
  13. Red Rosa (1988)
  14. Castrato (1989)
  15. Chasing Eights (1990)
  16. The Irishman’s Horse (1991)
  17. Cassandra In Red (1992)
  18. Resurrection (1992)
  19. The Cadillac Cowboy (1995)

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Wilkie Collins. Hide and Seek (1854).  Blyth and his disabled wife Lavinia adopt a deaf girl from a country circus. “In Madonna Blyth, Collins wanted to represent ‘the character of a “Deaf Mute” as literally as possible according to nature,’ in contrast to the deaf characters featured in nineteenth-century stage melodramas.”

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Elizabeth Cosin. Zen Moses series. Zenara Moses is a cancer survivor (lost a lung), former sports journalist, and private investigator in Santa Monica, California.

  1. Zen and the Art of Murder (1998)
  2. Zen and City of Angels (1999)
  3. Zen Justice (2001)

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Philip R. Craig. Jeff Jackson series. Jackson has shrapnel in his leg (Vietnam) and a bullet lodged in his spine (from his days as a Boston police officer). Set on Martha’s Vineyard, MA.

  1. A Beautiful Place To Die (1989)
  2. The Woman Who Walked Into the Sea (1991)
  3. The Double-Minded Men (1992)
  4. Cliff Hanger (1993)
  5. Off Season (1994).
  6. A Case Of Vineyard Poison (1995)
  7. Death on a Vineyard Beach (1996)
  8. A Deadly Vineyard Holiday (1997)
  9. A Shoot on Martha’s Vineyard (1998)
  10. A Fatal Vineyard Season (1999)
  11. Vineyard Blues (2000)
  12. Vineyard Shadows (2001)
  13. First Flight (2001; with William Tapply’s Brady Coyne) .
  14. Vineyard Enigma (2002).
  15. A Vineyard Killing (2003).
  16. Murder at a Vineyard Mansion (2004)
  17. Second Sight (2005; with William Tapply’s Brady Coyne)
  18. Vineyard Prey (2005)
  19. Dead in Vineyard Sand (2006)
  20. Vineyard Stalker (2007)
  21. Third Strike: (2007; with William Tapply’s Brady Coyne)
  22. Vineyard Chill (2008)

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Jeffrey Deaver: Lincoln Rhyme series. Rhyme, ex-head of NYPD forensics, is a quadriplegic detective — he can move one finger — based in New York City (one novel set in North Carolina). His partner in crime-solving is Amelia Sachs.

  1. The Bone Collector (1997)
  2. The Coffin Dancer (1998)
  3. The Empty Chair (2000)
  4. The Stone Monkey (2002)
  5. The Vanished Man (2003)
  6. The Twelfth Card (2005)
  7. The Cold Moon (2006)
  8. The Broken Window (2008)

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Mark De Castrique. Sam Blackman series. Blackman is a former U.S. Chief Warrant Officer who lost part of his leg in Iraq. Set in Asheville, NC.

  1. Blackman’s Coffin (2008)
  2. The Fitzgerald Ruse (2009)

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Barbara Delinsky. An Accidental Woman (2003). Romance with a mystery. A woman who is confined to a wheelchair (paraplegic) since a snowmobile accident tries to exonerate her friend from a charge of murder. Set Lake Henry, NH.

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Peter Dickinson. One Foot in the Grave (1979) in the James Pibble series. British detective Pibble is in a nursing home, prematurely feeble. In his despair, seeking to end his life, he stumbles on the body of someone whose life has already ended. Some Deaths Before Dying (1999): A 90-year woman, paralyzed from the neck down, finds an intriguing puzzle.

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Howard Engel: Memory Book (2005) in the Benny Cooperman detective series. After author Engel suffered a stroke, his PI Cooperman also suffered a head injury in this book, which results in alexia sine agraphia.

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Penelope Evans. Freezing (1997). Stewart Park, who stutters, works in the London morgue as a photographer.

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Tony Fennelly. Matt Sinclair series. Sinclair is a gay epileptic aristocratic DA turned store owner. Sometimes his epilepsy causes amnesia. Set in New Orleans.

  1. The Glory Hole Murders (1985)
  2. The Closet Hanging (1987)
  3. Kiss Yourself Goodbye (1989)

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Dick Francis. Sid Halley series. Ex-jockey private investigator Halley has a damaged left hand due to a racing accident.

  • Odds Against (1965)
  • Whip Hand (1979)
  • Come to Grief (1995)
  • Under Orders (2006)

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Elizabeth George’s 5th Inspector Linley title, For the Sake of Elena (1992), involving the murder of a young deaf woman and requiring Linley and Havers to enter “her world.”

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Lee Goldberg. Adrian Monk series. Monk is an obsessive-compulsive police detective, in San Francisco, California. Books based on the TV series.

  1. Mr. Monk Goes to the Fire House (2006)
  2. Mr. Monk Goes to Hawaii (2006)
  3. Mr. Monk and The Blue Flu (2007)
  4. Mr. Monk and the Two Assistants (2007)
  5. Mr. Monk in Outer Space (2007)
  6. Mr. Monk Goes to Germany (2008)
  7. Mr. Monk Is Miserable (2008)
  8. Mr. Monk and the Dirty Cop (2009)
  9. Mr. Monk in Trouble (2009)

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George Dawes Green. The Caveman’s Valentine (1995).  Romulus Ledbetter, a Juilliard graduate, husband and father, and paranoid schizophrenic who lives in a cave, becomes a detective to solve his friend’s murder.

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Ken Grissom. John Rodrigue series. Rodrigue is a one-eyed diver and salvager, working out of Galveston, TX.

  1. Drop-Off (1988)
  2. Big Fish (1991)
  3. Drowned Man’s Key (1992)

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Charlaine Harris. Harper Connelly paranormal mystery series. Connelly survived a zap from a lightning bolt, and since then she suffers physical pain — and she can find dead people and experience their last moments.

  1. Grave Sight (2006)
  2. Grave Surprise (2007)
  3. An Ice Cold Grave (2008)
  4. Grave Secret (October 2009)

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Daniel Hecht. Skull Session (1998). Features Paul Skoglund, a talented craftsman with Tourette’s syndrome, for which he takes haloperidol daily. Library Journal calls it “a  marvelous mix of modern Gothic horror and romance, with a generous helping of bioscience.” Interestingly, Hecht was a guitarist (appears on the Windham Hill label) who turned to writing after a hand ailment.

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David Hunt (aka William Bayer)’s two books featuring Kay Farrow, a color-blind photojournalist in San Francisco, California:

  • The Magician’s Tale (1997)
  • Trick of Light (1998)

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Hialeah Jackson (aka Polly Whitney)’s books featuring Annabelle Hardy-Maratos, who is the deaf president of a large Miami security firm, and Dave the Monkeyman, her partner and ASL signer. Set in Miami, Florida.

  • The Alligator’s Farewell (1998)
  • Farewell, Conch Republic (1999)

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Sue Anne Jaffarian. Odelia Grey humourous mystery series. Grey, a middle-aged, plus-sized woman, is a lawyer and an amateur detective in California. Her boyfriend (later, husband), Greg Stevens, is in a wheelchair.

  1. Too Big to Miss (2001)
  2. The Curse of the Holy Pail (2003)
  3. Thugs and Kisses (2008)
  4. Booby Trap (2009)

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Stuart M. Kaminsky’s Toby Peters series, featuring Gunther Wherthman, a Swiss translator and dwarf who assists Hollywood private investigator Toby Peters.

  1. Bullet for A Star (1977)
  2. Murder on the Yellow Brick Road (1977)
  3. You Bet Your Life (1978)
  4. The Howard Hughes Affair (1979)
  5. Never Cross a Vampire (1980)
  6. High Midnight (1981)
  7. Catch A Falling Clown (1981)
  8. He Done Her Wrong (1983)
  9. The Fala Factor (1984)
  10. Down for the Count (1985)
  11. The Man Who Shot Lewis Vance (1986)
  12. Smart Moves (1986)
  13. Think Fast, Mr. Peters (1987)
  14. Buried Caesars (1989)
  15. Poor Butterfly (1990)
  16. The Melting Clock (1991)
  17. The Devil Met A Lady (1993)
  18. Tomorrow is Another Day (1995)
  19. Dancing in the Dark (1996)
  20. A Fatal Glass of Beer (1997)
  21. A Few Minutes Past Midnight (2001)
  22. To Catch a Spy (2002)
  23. Mildred Pierced (2003)
  24. Now You See It (2004)

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Larry Karp’s The Midnight Special (2001), featuring Dr. Thomas Purdue, a music box aficionado, neurologist and amateur sleuth. Purdue deals with a thief with synesthesia and an assault on a bipolar antiques dealer. Set in New York City.

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Baynard Kendrick: Duncan Maclain series. Maclain, a former World War I captain, is wealthy, dashing and blind (blinded by gas in WWI). Set in New York City.

  1. The Last Express (1937), filmed with same name (1938)
  2. The Whistling Hangman (1937)
  3. Odor of Violets (1941), filmed as Eyes in the Night (1942)
  4. Blind Man’s Bluff (1943)
  5. Death Knell (1945)
  6. Out of Control (1945)
  7. You Diet Today (1952; apa You Die Today)
  8. Blind Allies (1954)
  9. Reservations for Death (1957)
  10. Clear and Present Danger (1958)
  11. The Aluminum Turtle (1960; apa The Spear Gun Murders)
  12. Frankincense and Murder (1961)

The film The Hidden Eye (1945) was based on characters created by Kendrick, with Eddie Arnold as Maclain.

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Mary Kittredge’s Charlotte Kent series features Kent as a single, sharp-witted freelance writer and magazine editor who adopts a 16-year old paraplegic son, Joey  The series moves from Medocino, CA to New Haven, CT.  Though Joey is neither sleuth nor criminal, readers note that the relationship between Charlotte and Joey is important to the stories and ‘interestingly complicated.’

  1. Murder in Mendocino (1987)
  2. Dead and Gone (1989)
  3. Poison Pen (1990)

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Frederick Knott. Wait Until Dark (1966), a play — and in 1967, a film — featuring a blind Greenwich Village housewife who becomes the target of thugs searching for heroin hidden in a doll.

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Jonathan Lethem. Motherless Brooklyn (1999):  Lionel Essrog, who has Tourette’s Syndrome, narrates the book as he works to solve the murder of friend and mentor. “The compulsions of Tourette’s become a kind of kaleidoscopic metaphor, ultimately (and somewhat paradoxically) reflecting the fundamental ethos of the mystery genre itself: the compulsion to restore order and rightness to a world thrown temporarily out of joint.” (Salon)

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Gilliam Linscott.  Murder, I Presume (1986). Historical mystery set in Victorian London. Rival  expeditions explore the source of the Nile while Peter Pentland, who lost a leg while on an earlier joint expedition, remains in London and ends up working with Inspector Middleham to solve a murder.

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Jack Livingston (aka James L. Nusser). Joe Binney series. Binney is a hard-boiled, hard drinking, hearing-impaired private investigator in NYC. He lost his hearing working as a Navy diver.

  1. A Piece of the Silence (1982)
  2. Die Again, Macready (1984)
  3. The Nightmare File (1986)
  4. Hell-Bent for Election (1987)

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William F. Love. Bishop Francis X. Regan and Davey Goldman series. Bishop Regan is an intellectual paraplegic, wheelchair-bound since an assassination attempt.

  • The Chartreuse Clue (1990)
  • The Fundamentals of Murder (1991; apa The Ruby Red Clue)
  • Bloody Ten (1992)
  • Bishop’s Revenge (1993)

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Carlo Lucarelli’s Almost Blue (2001), a  noir thriller which features a blind witness to a crime. Set in Bologna’s post-punk underground. First in the Inspector Negro series.

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John Lutz. Fred Carver series. Florida P.I. Fred Carver has a shattered knee and walks with a cane.

  1. Tropical Heat (1986)
  2. Scorcher (1987)
  3. Kiss (1988)
  4. Flame (1990)
  5. Bloodfire (1991)
  6. Hot (1992)
  7. Spark (1993)
  8. Torch (1994)
  9. Burn (1995)
  10. Lightning (1996)

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Claire Matturro. Lilly Cleary humourous legal thriller series, featuring a Florida DA with obsessive-compulsive disorder.

  1. Skinny-Dipping (2004)
  2. Wildcat Wine (2005)
  3. Bone Valley (2006)

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Ed McBain (aka Evan Hunter, born as Salvatore Lombino): Some of the 87th Precinct novels, set in and around New York City (aka Isola), include Teddy, Steve Carella’s wife, who is deaf and mute. In the early 1960s, there was a TV series based on the novels, with Gena Rowlands portraying Teddy. Teddy appears significantly in at least these titles of the more than 50 in the series (she probably appears in some way in most, being Steve’s wife):

  • Cop Hater (1956), first in the series; movie of same title (1958)
  • The Pusher (1956), with movie of same name (1960)
  • The Con Man (1957)
  • The Heckler (1960)
  • Lullaby (1989)
  • Widows (1991)

and she appears in these movies based on McBain’s novels in the series:

  • Fuzz (1972)
  • Lightning (1995)
  • Ice (1996)
  • Heatwave (1997)

The same series features a criminal mastermind called The Deaf Man, who is not deaf, though he “wears a hearing aid, and uses odd pseudonyms referring to deafness.” He appears in these titles:

  • The Heckler (1960)
  • Fuzz (1968)
  • Let’s Hear it for the Deaf Man! (1972)
  • Eight Black Horses (1985)
  • Mischief (1993)
  • Hark! (2004)

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Thomas McCall. Nora Callum series. Nora is a one-legged single mother and Chicago police lieutenant.

    A Wide and Capable Revenge (1993)
    Beyond Ice, Beyond Death (1995)

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Nigel McCrery’s Still Waters (2008), starring Detective Chief Inspector Mark Lapslie, who has synesthesia. (With his form, he tastes sounds, which makes it very hard to be around people’s voices or music.)

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John Milne. Jimmy Jenner series. Jenner is a pensioned-off London cop who lost his leg and part of his hearing in a terrorist bombing. He works in the Stoke Newington section of London, England.

  1. Daddy’s Girl (1982)
  2. Dead Birds (1986)
  3. Shadow Play (1987; aka The Moody Man)
  4. Alive and Kicking (1998)

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Harker Moore. Sakura series. NYPD homicide detective Sakura has a Zen-like detachment and a Japanese wife who is blind but gifted with a spiritual vision. She plays a larger role in the first book.

    A Cruel Season for Dying (2003)
    A Mourning in Autumn (2004)

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Amy Myers. Peter and Georgia Marsh series. Peter Marsh is wheelchair-bound after a shooting incident in his former police career. He works solving murders with his daughter, Georgia, in Kent, England.

  1. The Wickenham Murders (2004)
  2. Murder in Friday Street (2005)
  3. Murder in Hell’s Corner (2006)
  4. Murder and the Golden Goblet (2007)
  5. Murder in a Mist (2008)
  6. Murder Takes the Stage (2009)

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Abigail Padgett. Bo Bradley series, featuring a child abuse investigator for Child Protective Services in San Diego county who has bipolar illness.

  1. Child of Silence (1993)
  2. Strawgirl (1994)
  3. Turtle Baby (1995)
  4. Moonbird Boy (1996)
  5. The Dollmaker’s Daughters (1997)

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Jake Page. “Mo” Bowdre series. T. Moore Bowdre is a blind sculptor in Santa Fe, NM.

  1. The Stolen Gods (1993)
  2. The Deadly Canyon (1994)
  3. The Knotted Strings (1995)
  4. The Lethal Partner (1996)
  5. A Certain Malice (1998)

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Michael Palmer’s The Second Opinion (2009) features Dr. Thea Sperelakis, a doctor with Asperger’s Syndrome who tries to solve a mystery.

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T. Jefferson Parker’s Silent Joe (2001), featuring Joe Trona, who has a facial disfigurement from childhood trauma and who tries to track down his adoptive father’s killer.

Parker’s The Fallen (2006) features Robbie Brownlaw, a San Diego homicide detective who has synesthesia. (In his case, other people’s emotions are colours.)

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Anne Perry (aka Juliet Hulme). William Monk series. Monk, a detective with the police in London of 1856, has amnesia after a serious accident in a carriage.

  1. The Face of a Stranger (1990)
  2. A Dangerous Mourning (1991)
  3. Defend and Betray (1992)
  4. A Sudden, Fearful Death (1993)
  5. The Sins of the Wolf (1994)
  6. Cain His Brother (1995)
  7. Weighed in the Balance (1996)
  8. The Silent Cry (1997)
  9. A Breach of Promise (alt. title: Whited Sepulcres) (1997)
  10. The Twisted Root (1999)
  11. Slaves of Obsession (alt. title: Slaves and Obsession) (2000)
  12. Funeral in Blue (2001)
  13. Death of a Stranger (2002)
  14. The Shifting Tide (2004)
  15. The Dark Assassin (2006)
  16. Execution Dock (2009)

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W.R. Philbrick. J. D. Hawkins series. Hawkins is a paraplegic mystery writer who uses a wheelchair. Set in Boston.

  1. Shadow Kills (1986)
  2. Ice for the Eskimo (1987)
  3. Paint It Black (1989)
  4. Walk on the Water (1991)

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R. Page Reese’s Don’t Move: While Rolling in Terror (1994) apparently involves a magician and a quadraplegic young lady trying to solve a murder. (Not much available about it online.)

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Simon Ritchie’s Jantarro character. (Ritchie is pseudonym for Simon Fodden.) John Kenneth Galbraith Jantarro is a one-armed Toronto insurance investigator.  He lost his left hand and part of his arm to sadistic prison guards. Jantarro appears in two of Ritchie’s books:

  • The Hollow Woman (1986)
  • Work for a Dead Man (1989)

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Candace Robb. Owen Archer series. Archer is a one-eyed spy and Captain of Archbishop Thoresby’s guard in late 14th-century Britain.

  1. The Apothecary Rose (1993)
  2. The Lady Chapel (1994)
  3. The Nun’s Tale (1995)
  4. The King’s Bishop (1996)
  5. The Riddle of St. Leonard’s (1997)
  6. A Gift of Sanctuary (1998)
  7. A Spy for the Redeemer (2002)
  8. The Cross-Legged Knight (2002)
  9. The Guilt of Innocents (2007)
  10. A Vigil of Spies (2008)

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Kevin Robinson. Stick Foster series. Foster is a paraplegic journalist in Florida, who uses a wheelchair since he fell off a roof  in 1986.

  1. Split Seconds (1991)
  2. Mall Rats (1992)
  3. A Matter of Perspective (1993)

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Caroline Roe (aka Medora Sale). Chronicles of Isaac of Girona series. Isaac is a blind physician, who with his partner Bishop Berenguer solves crimes in 1350s Girona, Spain.

  1. Remedy for Treason (1998)
  2. Cure For a Charlatan (1999)
  3. An Antidote For Avarice (1999)
  4. Solace for a Sinner (2000)
  5. A Potion for a Widow (2001)
  6. A Draught for a Dead Man (2002)
  7. A Poultice for a Healer (2003)
  8. A Consolation for an Exile (2004)

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Barnaby Ross (aka Ellery Queen, aka cousins Manfred B. Lee and Frederic Dannay). Four novels about Drury Lane, a deaf retired Shakespearean actor who lives on the Hudson River (NY) and does amateur detecting. Lane lip-reads.

  1. The Tragedy of X (1932)
  2. The Tragedy of Y (1932)
  3. The Tragedy of Z (1933)
  4. Drury Lane’s Last Case (1933)

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Mary Scott’s Murder On Wheels (2000). Bryan Greyshott was paralyzed in a freak hang-gliding accident and now lives in a wheelchair in a North London suburb. When a spate of crimes breaks him out of his monotony, he decides to try to find the perpetrator, all the more s after he’s found next to a dead body holding a crutch and becomes a suspect.

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Sarah Smith. Perdita Halley and Alexander Von Reisden series. Halley is a legally blind pianist and Von Reisden, an Austrian baron and chemist, is an amnesiac with gaps in his childhood memories. The books are set in turn of the century Boston and pre World War I Paris.

  1. The Vanished Child (1992)
  2. The Knowledge of Water (1996)
  3. A Citizen of the Country (2000)

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Annie Solomon’s Blind Curve (2005), romantic suspense featuring an undercover cop, Danny Sinofsky, who suddenly goes blind during a gun battle.

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Clinton Stagg. Thornley Colton, a blind detective, features in two books:

  • Silver Sandals (1916; apa Thornley Colton, Blind Reader of Hearts)
  • Thornley Colton, Blind Detective (1923; short stories)

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Rupert Thomson. The Insult (1997). Psychological thriller featuring Martin Blom, who was blinded by a shot to the head in a supermarket parking lot but who learns one night that he can actually see. Is it a delusion?

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Charles Todd (aka Charles and Caroline Todd, a mother and son team).  Ian Rutledge series. Rutledge is a shell-shocked World War I veteran returning to his job on 1914 at London’s Scotland Yard. He hears the voice of a young Scottish man he killed in the war.

  1. A Test of Wills (1996)
  2. Wings of Fire (1998)
  3. Search the Dark (1999)
  4. Legacy of the Dead (2000)
  5. Watchers of Time (2001)
  6. A Fearsome Doubt (2002)
  7. A Cold Treachery (2005)
  8. A Long Shadow (2006)
  9. A False Mirror (2007)
  10. A Pale Horse (2008)
  11. A Matter of Justice (2009)
  12. The Red Door (2010)

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Peter Tremayne’s  Sister Fidelma series book #5, The Spider’s Web (1997), set in 7th- century Ireland. ” The case involves a deaf and blind man who is is accused of killing the local ruler and his sister.

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John Trench’s Docken Dead (1953), “a highly-regarded biblio-mystery introducing the ‘dishevelled, one-armed‘  amateur sleuth, archaeologist Martin Cotterell.”

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Barry Unsworth’s Morality Play (1995), set in 14th-century England. A young deaf woman is accused of murder.

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Louise Ure’s Fault Tree (2008). Female auto mechanic Cadence Moran is targeted by a killer who thinks she can identify his getaway car — not knowing that she was blinded 8 years prior in a horrific car accident. Set in Arizona.

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Barbara Vine’s The Blood Doctor (2002), an historic novel set in Victorian times, with many mysteries,  revolving around hemophilia.

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Ray Vukcevich. The Man of Maybe Half A Dozen Faces (2000).  Brian Dobson/Skylight Howells, a private investigator based in Eugene, OR, has multiple personalities, or is he just a master of disguise?

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Penny Warner. Connor Westphal series, set in Flat Skunk, California, featuring newspaper publisher Connor Westphal, who was deafened by meningitis when she was four years old.

  1. Dead Body Language (1997)
  2. Signs of Foul Play (1998)
  3. Right to Remain Silent (1998)
  4. A Quiet Undertaking (1999)
  5. Blind Side (2001)
  6. Silence Is Golden (2003)
  7. Dead Man’s Hand (2007)

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Henri Weiner’s Crime on the Cuff (1936), featuring one-armed sleuth John Brass, a former Secret Service man who is also a popular cartoonist.

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Carolyn Wheat’s Troubled Waters (1997), 5th in the series featuring Brooklyn attorney Cass Jameson. In this one, she defends her brother Ron, a quadraplegic Vietnam veteran charged with murder.

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Cornell Woolrich’s noir novel The Black Curtain (1941) features Frank Townsend,  an amnesiac investigating a blank period in his history, and there’s also a paralyzed man who communicates key information via eye blinks

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R.D. Zimmerman (aka Robert Alexander).  Maddy and Alex Phillips series. Maddy is a blind paraplegic forensic psychiatrist, Alex is a technical writer. Set on an island in Lake Michigan.

  1. Death Trance (1992)
  2. Blood Trance (1993)
  3. Red Trance (1994)
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3 thoughts on “Crime Fiction Book List: Disabled isn’t Unable

  1. You did a fabulous job compiling and annotating this list! Awesome!

    Binnie Syril Braunstein

  2. This is really a wonderful and very important list, not only for the genre of crime fiction as such but, it seems to me, politically as well. Thank you so much. I hope you would have time to update it occasionally.

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