Con Lehane books in order
Cornelius Lehane, better known as Con Lehane, is an American author of mystery, suspense and crime fiction novels.
He is known for writing the 42nd Street Library Mysteries and the Bartender Brian McNulty Mystery Series.
A resident of Washington, DC, Con attended the Columbia University School of the Arts where he received his Master of Fine Arts degree.
He has throughout his life had diverse jobs, including serving as a college professor, actively engaging in union organizing and labor journalism, and even managing bars at approximately two dozen different drinking establishments.
The author currently instructs writing courses at The Writer's Center located in Bethesda, Maryland.
Genres: Crime Suspense, Mystery
42nd Street Library Mystery
- Murder at the 42nd Street Library (2016)
- Murder in the Manuscript Room (2017)
- Murder Off the Page (2019)
- Murder by Definition (2022)
Bartender Brian McNulty Mystery
- Beware the Solitary Drinker (2002)
- What Goes Around Comes Around (2005)
- Death at the Old Hotel (2007)
Detailed book overview
42nd Street Library Mystery
Murder at the 42nd Street Library follows Ambler and his partners in crime-solving as they track down a killer, shining a light on the dark deeds and secret relationships that are hidden deep inside the famous flagship building at the corner of 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue.
In their search for the reasons behind the murder, Ambler and his crew uncover sinister, and profoundly disturbing, relationships among the scholars studying in the iconic library. Included among the players are a celebrated mystery writer who has donated his papers to the library’s crime fiction collection; that writer’s long-missing daughter, a prominent New York society woman with a hidden past, and more than one of Ambler’s colleagues at the library. Shocking revelations lead inexorably to the traumatic events that follow—the reading room will never be the same.
When a murder desecrates the somber, book-lined halls of New York City’s iconic 42nd Street Library, Raymond Ambler, the library’s curator of crime fiction, has a personal interest in solving the crime. His quest to solve the murder is complicated by personal entanglements involving his friend—or perhaps more-than-friend—Adele Morgan. Not only does Adele’s relationship with the young woman staffer who was murdered get in the way of Ambler’s investigation, more disturbing for him is Adele’s growing interest in a darkly handsome Islamic scholar.
Soon the Intelligence Division of the New York Police Department takes over the case from NYPD homicide detective Mike Cosgrove, Ambler’s friend and sometimes partner-in-crime solving. Ambler suspects that the murder of the young woman, who’d been working at the library under an assumed name and the curious intervention of NYPD’s intelligence division are connected. The trail of intrigue leads to a seemingly unrelated murder in an upstate prison and a long ago murder of a trade union reformer.
No one else sees the connections Ambler is sure are there—not an unusual state of affairs for Ambler. But with the city’s law enforcement establishment determined to stop his investigation, the inquisitive and intrepid librarian faces challenges that may put his very life at risk.
A note from bartender Brian McNulty, Raymond Ambler’s friend, confidant, and sometimes adviser, sets the librarian sleuth off on a murder investigation, one that he pursues reluctantly until a second murder upends the world as he knows it. The second victim is a lady friend of McNulty’s—and the prime suspect is McNulty himself.
As Ambler pursues his investigation, he discovers that the murdered woman had a double life. Her intermittent visits to the city—a whirlwind of reckless drinking and illicit liaisons with men she met in the cocktail lounges—had their counterpart in suburban Fairfield County Connecticut where, as Dr. Sandra Dean, she practiced dermatology and lived in a gated community with a doting husband and a young daughter.
While Ambler looks into the past of Dr. Sandra Dean to understand the murder of Shannon Darling in the present, NYPD homicide detective Mike Cosgrove investigates the men in Shannon Darling’s life. She might have been murdered because she frustrated the wrong man. It could have been a jealous wife. In fact, any number of people might have murdered Shannon Darling. Or, as Ambler suspects, did someone murder Dr. Sandra Dean?
Yet, no matter which way he turns, McNulty emerges as a suspect. Ambler’s dilemma seems insurmountable: Should he keep searching for the truth behind the murders if the deeper he probes, the more evidence he finds that points to the morally rumpled bartender as a murderer?
Hardboiled crime writer Will Ford might be critically acclaimed, but he's every bit as debauched and disreputable as the ne'er-do-well private eye in his novels. So when Ford offers Raymond Ambler - crime-fiction curator at New York City's prestigious 42nd Street Library - a collection of his papers, Ambler wonders if the project will be more trouble than it's worth. Still, the disgraced author is an important talent, and Ambler's never been afraid of a fight.
Ambler's ready for the controversy that greets news of the acquisition. He's not ready, however, for what he finds when he finally receives the papers: a gripping unpublished short story apparently based on a real case, with an explosive author's note. If it's true, there's been a shocking coverup at the heart of the NYPD - and a cop has got away with murder.
If it's true. Ford's not talking, and Ambler's good friend Mike Cosgrove, a veteran NYPD homicide detective, is beyond skeptical. But as the pair investigate, they're drawn into the sordid underbelly of 1990s New York, packed with renegade cops, thugs and mobsters . . . and they'll be lucky to come back out alive.
Bartender Brian McNulty Mystery
Brian McNulty, veteran bartender at Oscar's on the Upper West Side, respects his customers' privacy. And their space. But when a tarnished but innocent young woman seduced by New York's bright lights and glitter is murdered and another battered innocent charged with killing her, he reluctantly begins his own investigation.
Brian's commitment to the chase is given a boost with the arrival of the dead girl's sister, a young Massachusetts businesswoman, determined to uncover the killer. While she's put off by Brian's jaded attitude and offbeat lifestyle, she comes to rely upon his familiarity with the city's darker underside, including a cadre of neighborhood cronies.
Politically leftist and a dedicated union man, Brian learns that when you dig into people's lives, rich or poor, you find things kept hidden for good reason. By stirring up these ghosts, you change the shape of the landscape and put your friends, your customers, and yourself in harm's way.
What Goes Around Comes Around follows the adventures of Brian McNulty, the red-diaper-baby bartender who (abetted by his father and son) attempts to keep Manhattan's crime solved and cocktail glasses brimming. Filling in for a friend at the fancy East Side saloon and eatery called The Ocean Club, McNulty finds more than he bargained for: a body floating in the East River.
Combining complex characters with strikingly offbeat perspectives on left versus right, old versus new, and the good guys versus the bad guys, What Goes Around Comes Around is the stunning follow-up to Lehane's series debut.
McNulty has once more run afoul of the powers that be in the New York City hotel and restaurant industry and finds himself exiled to a down-at-the heels hotel in, for him, the far reaches of civilization---Manhattan, west of Eighth Avenue. Not long into his tenure, a vicious attack on one of his fellow bartenders raises the stakes and puts everyone on edge, and it doesn't take much for the hotel manager to provoke the outraged workers into a strike. Once they hit the bricks, all hell breaks loose, and it isn't long until the bodies start to fall.
The cops focus in on two of McNulty's pals, a renegade Irishman and a pretty, young waitress from Brooklyn, both with closets full of secrets and buckets full of problems of their own. McNulty thinks the cops, as usual, are barking up the wrong tree, but that's the least of his problems. The hits in this particular instance have angered the gods of gangsterland, and someone has determined that McNulty is a problem.