William L. DeAndrea

William L. DeAndrea
As I have reviewed a considerable volume of books by William L. DeAndrea, I decided to start this page to keep track of the various reviews for your convenience. Who was DeAndrea? Well, what better way to talk about him than let him do the talking himself, in this excerpt from his reference book Encyclopedia Mysteriosa: 

Recovering from a bout with the flu at the age of twelve, DeAndrea, home from school, found a copy of The Adventures of Ellery Queen (1934) and has been hooked on mysteries ever since. He would have been content to remain a fan, but failure to find a job better than factory work after graduating with a degree in communications from Syracuse University in 1974 made him decide to try writing.

His first novel, Killed in the Ratings (1978), won the best first novel Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America and introduced his most regular series character, TV troubleshooter Matt Cobb. His second, The Hog Murders (1979), won the Edgar for best paperback original, making him one of only three authors (Gregory McDonald and Warren Murphy are the others) to win Edgars in consecutive years with novels for adults. 'The Hog Murders' also introduced master detective Professor Niccolo Benedetti, who returned in The Werewolf Murders (1992).

Beginning in the mid-1980s, DeAndrea wrote a tetralogy about master spy "Clifford Driscoll," whose real name was never revealed. He has also written two historical mysteries: The Lunatic Fringe (1980) features Theodore Roosevelt, New York City Police commissioner in 1896, and Five O'Clock Lightning (1982) was set in 1953 and featured a plot to kill New York Yankee slugger Mickey Mantle. DeAndrea has also written two light mysteries under the punning pseudonym "Philip DeGrave": Unholy Moses (1985) and Keep the Baby, Faith (1986).

A student of the genre, DeAndrea once appeared on an international quiz show as an expert on the works of Ellery Queen (he won). He writes the popular "J'Accuse" column in The Armchair Detective magazine. He worked for four years at the bookstore Murder Ink in New York. There, he met his wife, mystery writer Jane Haddam. He is general editor and principal writer of this encyclopedia. 
This page will serve as a bibliography of his works as well as a directory to all my reviews of his books.

Matt Cobb has just been promoted as Vice-President of Special Projects at The Network, a media giant not unlike ABC or CNN. He gets a call summoning him to a hotel room, promising to tell him something interesting about a suspicious accident involving one of The Network’s heads. When he goes to the hotel room in question, he is knocked out upon enterting… which makes his position with the police very awkward when he’s found at the crime scene after an anonymous call!

To celebrate The Network’s 50th anniversary, an extravaganza is planned that will reunite talent from The Network’s long and storied history. Among the guests invited are Shelby & Green, a legendary team of magician-comedians who split up years ago after a quarrel over a financial investment. The party doesn’t get off to a good start— before they even board a plane, a dead body is found in the Shelby swimming pool. Before long, someone murders a young employee of The Network, Jerry de Loon, in a theft, and a killer begins targeting Shelby & Green. Death threats, Russian spies, and office politics all conspire to complicate the case.

When Matt Cobb was invited to Debbie Whitten's wedding, he didn't want to accept the invitation at first. One of Cobb's best pals, Dan Morris, has been head-over-heels in love with Debbie for years, and has been constantly turned away. On one occasion, Debbie even got engaged to Dan before calling the whole thing off. It's an elaborate form of psychological torture, but Dan just cannot learn and keeps coming back for more. As you can imagine, that makes things very awkward for Dan when Debbie is found murdered, and with no alibi to speak of, his goose seems truly cooked... unless Cobb can find the real killer and prove his friend's innocence.

A psychologist is murdered, and Matt Cobb must find the killer so the President can give that person a medal… okay, maybe not, but the fellow was quite dislikeable, specialising in symbols and always analyzing the most common courtesies as signs of complexes and inferiorities. It’s somewhat ironic, then, that his last action in this life may have been to leave a cryptic dying message… Meanwhile, Matt Cobb starts romancing a figure skater who becomes the target of a killer…

Killed in Paradise (1988) 

Archie Goodwin meets John Dickson Carr when Matt Cobb is confronted with an impossible crime! The victim, G. B. (“Gabby”) Dost, was found impaled on rocks surrounded by snow, with no footprints (not even his own) leading up to the corpse. Later, Cobb is confronted with a second impossibility when the ghost of the dead man appears in a television screen that is connected to nothing except the power outlet. He also has to deal with a possible homicidal lunatic and a lesbian who insists her hostess made a pass at her, much to the latter’s fury!
Killed in Fringe Time (1994) 

Killed in the Fog (1996) 


A serial killer is hunting for prey in the normal town of Sparta, New York. There seems to be no link between the victims and the deaths at first seem like elaborate accidents, but Hog sends gloating letters to the authorities, taking credit for the killing and daring them to try and stop him. Unfortunately for Hog, Professor Niccolo Benedetti happens to be around and is hired to investigate the string of deaths.
  • Won DeAndrea a second consecutive Edgar, this time for Best Paperback Original (1980)

The Werewolf Murders (1992) 

The final Niccolo Benedetti adventure has the professor and Ronald Gentry investigate a sort of impossible crime, when a rich, bird-obsessed man suddenly has all the birds disappear from his property without a trace (not even any corpses to indicate mass poisoning). He’s furious and blames his cat-loving twin brother. Before long, this family feud gets out of hand and one of the brothers is kidnapped and held for ransom. But when the ransom demands are met, the kidnapper breaks his side of the deal and murders his victim…

Cronus (1984)
The first novel in a new series, it introduces "Clifford Driscoll", whose real name will never be revealed. He's been in hiding from his old man, The Congressman, but he gets tracked down and enrolled in secret-agent work. The daughter of a key figure in the race for the newest nuclear weapon has been kidnapped. Well, obviously the Russians are behind it all. It's up to him to find her and make those darn Russians pay. The bad guys, meanwhile, engage in rape after rape and psychological torture.

Snark (1985) 

Azrael (1987) 

Atropos (1990) 

Written in Fire (1995)
Ever wonder what Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin would be like in the Wild West? Well, now you can find out, as Lobo Blacke and Quinn Booker gallop onto the scene! A lawman who was shot in the back, Lobo Blacke is mentor to Quinn Booker, his biographer. Immediately after Quinn steps off his train, he gets tangled up with a gang of thugs, defends the honour of a lady, and makes several enemies. Things don't improve when a corpse is found...
The Fatal Elixir (1997) 
Dr. Herkimer promises his clients that he's found the cure to everything that ails them: the miracle medicine of Ozono! And it's true: after a few clients try the medicine they never get sick again. But that's because they've dropped dead from poisoning. With half the town down, keeping the local doctor on a frantic schedule, a lynch mob could form any time to get after Herkimer. Quinn Booker takes the reins of sheriff from Asa Harlan, who himself is one of the victims of the medicine. He has to uphold the law, figure out who poisoned the medicine, and deal with a madman who might come to town to exact revenge upon Lobo Blacke.

AS Philip DeGrave
Unholy Moses (1985)

Keep the Baby, Faith (Bogie's Mystery) (1986) 

The Lunatic Fringe (1980)

Five O'Clock Lightning (1982)

Encyclopedia Mysteriosa (1994)

Murder — All Kinds (2003)

1 comment:

  1. Very nice to see this. Bill and I were dear, dear friends in the 70s and 80s (I'm actually a character in one of his novels) and he is greatly missed. Thanks for this.