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Constance and Charlie Books In Order

Publication Order of Constance and Charlie Books

The Hamlet Trap (1987) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Dark Door (1988) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Smart House (1989) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Sweet, Sweet Poison (1990) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Seven Kinds of Death (1992) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
A Flush of Shadows (1995) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Gorgon Field (2012) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
All For One (2012) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Sister Angel (2012) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Torch Song (2012) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
With Thimbles, With Forks, And Hope (2012) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Whisper Her Name (2012) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

“Constance and Charlie” is a series of mystery novels by award-winning and prolific American author Kate Wilhelm, who also writes suspense, speculative, fantasy, and science fiction novels. Born Gertrude Katie Meredith in Toledo, Ohio, Kate grew up in Louisville, Kentucky. She gets her last name from her first marriage to Joseph Wilhelm whom she married in 1947. She published “Pint Sized Genie” her first ever work in 1956 after years working several clerical jobs. As compared to her contemporaries, Katie never did read any popular fiction growing up. Most of the literature available in her time were the pulp magazines that she could not get hold of given that they were sold at a bookstore that also served as the town’s bookie headquarters. However, she would read many of the novels in the Louisville Public library including science fiction titles by Groff Conklin, that made an impression on her for the excellent literary themes and profound authorship. Kate Wilhelm is known as one of the best authors of psychological fiction and was inducted into the 2003 Science Fiction Hall of Fame and won the 2009 Science Fiction Writers of America Solstice Award. She is known for her well drawn characters, philosophical and moral tension, and coherent plots as compared to the heroes and monsters of the pioneers of formulaic pulp fiction. Kate made a name for herself writing science fiction at a time when the genre was overwhelmingly male. She is credited with bringing in psychological motivational, family relationships, and humanity that helped reshape the genre. She started out writing short stories in science fiction magazines where she honed her skills and set the stage for the inevitable explosion of her career.

Kate Wilhelm’s first breakthrough came with the publication of the science fiction work “Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang”. She got much press coverage, public attention, and critical acclaim that catapulted her into the ranks of some of the best upcoming authors. She wrote a terrifying novel of post apocalyptic living that contrasted the danger of group-think with the importance and strength of the individual. For her efforts she has earned a Nebula Award nomination, made the shortlist for the John W. Campbell, won the Jupiter Award, the Locus Award for Best Novel, and the Hugo Award for Best Novel. Among some of her most popular series of novels include the Barbara Holloway series and the very popular “Constance and Charlie” series of novels that are all set in the city of Eugene and are typified by tension and psychological insight. Wilhelm got married to Damon Knight the science fiction author in 1963 and got one child from the marriage. Together with her husband they founded the Clarion Fantasy and Science Fiction Workshop and the Milford Science Fiction Writers Conference. Over the years she has mentored tens of writers offering critical appraisal and peer review to these fledgling writers.

Charlie Meklejohn and Constance Leidl are a pair of the unlikeliest of detectives working together to solve a range of mysteries. Charlie used to work as an arson detective while his wife and partner Constance was a psychologist. They have now turned to private detective work to stave off the boredom of retirement and have become quite good in solving the trickiest of mysteries. In the prequel to the series the lead character is Hamlet Trap Roman Cavanaugh that is the proprietor of an Ashland Oregon theater company. A new director comes into town causing flaring of tempers and rising jealousies with his eccentric nature. But now a body has been found and the police think Ginnie is their lead suspect. It is now up to the husband and wife team of Charlie and Constance to unravel the mystery which threatens to destroy the very foundations of the company. In “Smart House” Katie switches gears to write about a science geek that takes most of his company’s money and sinks it into the construction of a smart house, angering his shareholders most of whom are friends and family. Now the man winds up dead after inviting his dismayed shareholders to a game of Assassin. Constance and Charlie are called in to try to solve a case in which everyone has an alibi and reason enough to want to kill Gary. In another story, Charlie and Constance have to solve the mystery of dead bodies at an artist’s colony in Maryland that has just as many suspects as their most complex case. But even with very few clues, the detectives often find a way to find the killer despite the odds.

“The Dark Door” is the gripping second novel of the Constance and Charlie series of novels. While the novels are classified as science fiction, The Dark Door has more of a mystery feel. A space probe from an unknown Galaxy malfunctions and crash lands on earth causing murder, madness, and several unexplained phenomena. The probe has given rise to an evil force that moves all across the globe causing terror and panic and harming anyone that comes into contact with it, except for one man. The man does not know what type of evil force he is dealing with though he has learned its patterns. He traverses the country trying to smoke out the evil force that is known to hide in abandoned buildings. For the detectives, all they know is that a deranged person has been setting abandoned schools, restaurants, and hotels on fire with no discernible pattern. What makes finding the arsonist a priority is that each case is accompanied by a mutilation and murder. The unlikely team of Constance Leidl and Charlie Meiklejohn must put to use all their detective skills to get to the bottom of the arsonist and murder mystery.

“Sweet, Sweet Poison” is an excellent psychological mystery with a locked room feel. The first to die on the entertaining and fresh mystery novel is Sadie, a watchdog owned by Sylvie and Al Zukal. Zukal and Sylvie a likable couple that won the lottery and chose to invest their money in upstate New York. After the death of their friend David, the Zukals find Constance and Charlie who they have been informed are some of the best detectives to put on the case. The local sheriff had ruled that the young man had died from a suicide or accident or from an inventive killer that used either gas, bees, drugs or poison. The investigative team of Constance and Charlie unearth a load of suspects that include some agrarian scientists, Warren Wollander the kingmaker, his daughter, and the guru she absolutely worships, Warren’s wife, and a flashy evangelist.

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