Tuesday 19 June 2018


Another Wednesday and a couple of books from the 70s and Joseph Hansen

Hansen wrote a dozen or so books featuring a gay insurance investigator - Dave Brandstetter.

The first - Fadeout was published in 1970 with the others following at regular intervals up to the early 90s.

Hansen according to Fantastic Fiction website wrote about 40 books in his lifetime, but only 20-odd are listed on the site. He died in 2004.

His full Brandstetter series is as follows....

1. Fadeout (1970)
2. Death Claims (1973)
3. Troublemaker (1975)
4. The Man Everybody Was Afraid Of (1978)
5. Skinflick (1979)
6. Gravedigger (1982)
7. Nightwork (1984)
8. The Little Dog Laughed (1986)
9. Early Graves (1987)
10. Obedience (1988)
11. The Boy Who Was Buried This Morning (1990)
12. A Country Of Old Men (1991)
Brandstetter and Others (1984)
The Complete Brandstetter (omnibus) (2007

Fadeout is the only one I've read to date and it was enjoyed back in 2013. Thoughts here. Not sure why I have left it nearly five years to give him any thought.

I think the series has recently been republished for Kindle for anyone who likes the sound of these and doesn't fancy tracking down dog-eared old paperbacks. Me, I kind of like them.

Death Claims (1973)

After forty years, Hammett has a worthy successor' The Times

Dave Brandstetter stands alongside Philip Marlowe, Sam Spade and Lew Archer as one of the best fictional PIs in the business. Like them, he was tough, determined, and ruthless when the case demanded it. Unlike them, he was gay.

Joseph Hansen's groundbreaking novels follow Brandstetter as he investigates cases in which motives are murky, passions run high, and nothing is ever as simple as it looks. Set in 1970s and 80s California, the series is a fascinating portrait of a time and a place, with mysteries to match Chandler and Macdonald.

John Oats is dead; drowned in the treacherous waves of the Pacific. But was it accident, suicide, or murder? Between the mysteriously absent son, the bitter ex-wife and the current lover, there are plenty of people with reason to lie to Dave about what really happened that night - and why.

Troublemaker (1975)

Rick Wendell never made an enemy in his life, but he died all the same; and Larry Johns was found standing over him with the gun in his hand still smoking. Only Dave can't see it as an open-and-shut case - what was Johns' motive? What happened to the cash Wendell withdrew that day? As his investigation progresses, he comes to realise the danger of assumptions, particularly where love and money are involved.


  1. These do sound intriguing, Col. And it's very good to hear that some of these books are being re-released. I like it that publishers are giving them a new lease on life.

    1. It's interesting seeing a different type of investigator at work, Margot and I think he was maybe ahead of his time in the depiction of his main character's sexuality. I like the new lease of life given to the books too.

  2. Col – This series sounds worth a try. And I like dog-eared paperbacks, too. Although the small type in some of the old ones I bought when I was in my 20s and early 30s, is now too hard on the eyes.

    1. Elgin, you've reminded me I need to get another eye test. I think I'll be ok reading these at the minute. Longer daylight hours and I don't think the print is as small as the old Penguins. I hope you enjoy a bit of Hansen mate.

  3. I am looking forward to trying these. I have the first two plus a few more. And I don't know why I have waited so long to read them.

    1. You and me both Tracy. Too many other books on the pile for I think and its so easy to get sidetracked.

  4. I've read a couple of Hanson books, including Fadeout, and would be up for more: one day...