Books by Shelly Reuben

Shelly Reuben is the author of Tabula Rasa, Origin & Cause, Spent Matches, the Edgar-nominated Julian Solo, and Weeping. She is a licensed private detective and a certified fire investigator who has been investigating fires and arson for more than twenty

THE SKIRT MAN by Shelly Reuben
Released: June 5, 2006

"Reuben's sixth is a lively whodunit with welcome affection for the uniqueness of small towns."
Mystery surrounds the arson-related death of a rural eccentric who eschewed trousers. Read full book review >
WEEPING by Shelly Reuben
Released: March 1, 2004

"Reuben (Spent Matches, 1996, etc.) writes unevenly, and there's scant mystery, but the tale catches fire whenever Ike and Tilly launch into one of their animated discussions of forensic evidence. "
A rookie arson investigator gets a chance to work with her idol in probing a suspicious fire that killed a promising young actress. Read full book review >
SPENT MATCHES by Shelly Reuben
Released: July 1, 1996

Three alarming blazes for attorney Max Bramble and fire investigator Wylie Nolan (Origin and Cause, 1994). The first and most mysterious has destroyed five Sarkin Zahedi canvases the Zigfield Museum has hung in its Parlor Gallery; though nothing else in the gallery burned, and the heat alarm never went off, somebody got into the locked room and incinerated the paintings in their frames. The second, much less interesting, case involves an arsonist who keeps starting fires in the ladies' room used by Wylie's neighbor, lawyer Miranda Yee—an arsonist who's trying to frame Miranda by using her Parliaments as tinder. Just as it seems that imperturbable Wylie's wrapped everything up—the ladies' room firebug, indeed, in quite indecent haste—Camden Kimcannon, a part-time volunteer in the Zigfield who seems to think he's a reincarnated pre-Raphaelite himself, is arrested for torching the house occupied by the despicable mother he just moved out on, even though his friend Georgiana Weeks, guest curator for the Zigfield's pre-Raphaelite show, is convinced his confession is bogus. If it sounds as if all three of these bonfires are unrelated, well, you may just have your own future in fire investigation. The oh-my-goodness writing, the wide-eyed characters, the jerry-built plot, the ingenious incendiary devices—they're all equally mechanical. Read full book review >
ORIGIN AND CAUSE by Shelly Reuben
Released: Sept. 1, 1994

Called in at the last minute to pinch-hit for a sodden defense attorney, product-liability expert Max Bramble agrees to defend Courtland Motors' antique-auto restoring division against a claim by the estate of TV executive Stanfield Standish (nÇ Stanley Scheidler) that Courtland is liable for his getting incinerated in his 1930 Duesenberg. Building his defense, Max's secret weapon is Wylie Nolan, a PI specializing in arson. Wylie shortly finds evidence (a telltale ring, a missing set of car keys, a pattern of combustion indicating the fire started in several places at once) that despicable Standish got a boost into Valhalla. For somebody who keeps insisting he's only interested in vindicating his client and couldn't care less who lit the bonfire, Max spends a lot of chapters filling in Standish's family background (weak-willed father, affectionate long-term mistress spurned by the children) and his business dealings (a Ted Turnerish plan to replace the stars of classic films bought with the computerized faces of brain- dead rockers so he can release them for a big new audience). Once the smoke from Max's good-natured, digressions and Wylie's sharp- eyed investigations clears, readers are stranded in a routine whodunit with nothing to wait for but the jury's Not Guilty and the culprit's confession. First of what promises to be a cheeky series with curlicues of preadolescent humor—and not much else on its mind. Read full book review >