Bibliography for GURPS Mysteries
There are thousands of mystery novels, with hundreds more published each year. This list is only a sampling of well-known authors and novels, and books the author thought worthy of mention. Many of the famous works have been adapted or imitated by other authors and television writers.
Asimov, Isaac, Ed. The 13 Crimes of Science Fiction (Doubleday, 1979). Collected short stories.
Asimov, Isaac. The Caves of Steel (Ballantine Books, 1953). A detective is partnered with a robotic partner, one of the first of Asmiov's Robot stories.
Asimov, Isaac. "The Singing Bell" (Doubleday, 1955). Wendell Urth solves the first murder committed on the moon.
Bester, Alfred. The Demolished Man (Shasta, 1953). Police procedural set in a society of telepaths.
Biswas, U.N. Crime and Detective Stories in Selected Ancient Indian Literature (The Asiatic Society, 1987). Analysis and summary of Indian folk tales and stories.
Bujold, Lois. Memory (Baen, 1996). Science-fiction mystery involving high tech and good deduction.
Braun, Lilian Jackson. The Cat Who Saw Red (Jove Books, 1986). Adventures of a reporter and his intuitive Siamese cats. Part of a series.
Carr, Caleb. The Alienist (Random House, 1994). NYPD Commissioner Theodore Roosevelt secretly assembles a team to hunt NYC's first serial killer in 1896. A good look at late 19th-century "cutting edge" criminology.
Chandler, Raymond. The Big Sleep (Vintage Books, 1939). First Philip Marlowe novel.
Chazin, Suzanne. The Fourth Angel (G.P. Putnam's Sons, 2001). A female fire marshal investigates serial arson. More thriller than mystery, but good notes on arson investigations.
Chesterton, G.K. The Father Brown Omnibus (Dodd, Mead & Co, 1951) (stories published 1910-1935). Short stories featuring a priest as detective/puzzle-solver).
Christie, Agatha. The A.B.C. Murders (Pocket Books, 1936). A series of murders with a widely-imitated twist.
Christie, Agatha. The Body in the Library (Pocket Books, 1941). A retired couple is surprised to discover the strangled corpse of an unknown young woman in their house.
Christie, Agatha. Cards on the Table (Dell, 1936). The host is killed in a room by one of four bridge players during game; a psychological "whodunit."
Christie, Agatha. Evil Under the Sun (Pocket Books, 1941). An actress is strangled at a seaside resort; a classic puzzle-piece mystery.
Christie, Agatha. Murder in Retrospect (Dell, 1941). A detective is hired to investigate a 16-year-old homicide. Also published as Five Little Pigs.
Christie, Agatha. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (Pocket Books, 1926). One of Christie's most famous mysteries.
Christie, Agatha. Murder on the Orient Express (Pocket Books, 1934). One victim, 12 suspects, and a widely-imitated twist.
Christie, Agatha. Thirteen at Dinner (Dell, 1933). An actress' impersonation leads to murders. Also published as Lord Edgware Dies.
Cornwell, Patricia. Body of Evidence (Avon, 1991). A female medical examiner investigates a homicide. Part of a series.
Creasey, John. The Masters of Bow Street (Simon & Schuster, 1974). Fictionalized account of the 18th- and 19th-century Bow Street Runners and the struggle to form the London Police.
Davis, Lindsey. Silver Pigs (Ballantine, 1989). A private detective investigates kidnapping, murder, and treason in Imperial Rome (70 A.D.). Part of a series.
DeCandido, Keith. Dragon Precinct (Pocket Star Books 2004). High fantasy police procedural demonstrating one way to meld the genres.
Dexter, Colin. The Riddle of the Third Mile (Bantam, 1983). A British inspector investigates a dismembered torso.
Dick, Philip K. Minority Report (Pantheon, 2002; first published 1956). Perils of a precognition-based police system.
Doyle, Sir Arthur Conan. The Adventure of the Speckled Band (Doubleday, 1927; first published 1892). Sherlock Holmes solves a locked room puzzle.
Doyle, Sir Arthur Conan. The Hound of the Baskervilles (Doubleday, 1927; first published 1902). Holmes resolves a family curse.
Doyle, Sir Arthur Conan. The Red-Headed League (Doubleday, 1927; first published 1892). Sherlock Holmes resolves an unusual con.
Doyle, Sir Arthur Conan. A Scandal in Bohemia (Doubleday, 1927; first published 1892). Sherlock Holmes assists a nobleman with a delicate personal problem.
Doyle, Sir Arthur Conan. Silver Blaze (Doubleday, 1927; first published 1894). Holmes finds a missing horse.
Dunning, John. Booked to Die (Avon, 1992). Used books provoke murders.
Elkins, Aaron. Dead Men's Hearts (The Mysterious Press, 1994). A forensic anthropologist investigates Egyptian murders.
Elkins, Aaron. Old Bones (The Mysterious Press, 1987). A forensic anthropologist investigates murders in a French manor.
Freeling, Nicolas. A Dwarf Kingdom (Mysterious Press, 1996). A retired French police inspector tries to rescue his kidnapped grandchild.
Freeling, Nicholas. Love in Amsterdam (Carroll & Graf, 1962). Dutch homicide investigation through the eyes of the suspect.
Garcia, Eric. Anonymous Rex (Berkley Prime Press, 2000). Hardboiled detective story with a raptor dinosaur protagonist.
Gardner, Earl Stanley. The Case of the Crooked Candle (John Curley & Assoc., 1944). Perry Mason investigates murder on a yacht.
Gardner, Earl Stanley. The Case of the Sulky Girl (Aeonian Press, 1933). Perry Mason defends an heiress accused of murder.
Grafton, Sue. "D" is for Deadbeat (Bantam, 1987). A detective investigates a client's death shortly after hiring her to deliver a large check to a young boy. Part of a series.
Garrett, Randall. Too Many Magicians (Doubleday, 1966). A detective and his forensic sorcerer investigate murder at a magicians' convention.
Hare, Cyril. Tragedy at Law (Harper & Row, 1942). Threats and murder on a WWII English judicial circuit.
Hammet, Dashiell. The Dain Curse (Wing Books, 1980) (first published 1929). Convoluted tale of family secrets and curses.
Hammett, Dashiell. The Maltese Falcon (Wing Books, 1980) (first published 1930). Classic search for a mysterious figurine.
Hammett, Dashiell. Red Harvest (Wing Books, 1980) (first published 1928). Detective cleans up a crooked town, solving murders and pitting gangsters against each other.
Hayden, George A. Crime and Punishment in Medieval Chinese Drama: Three Judge Pao Plays (Harvard University Press, 1978). A collection of historical mysteries.
Hillerman, Tony. A Thief of Time (Harper & Row, 1988). Navajo police officers track a missing anthropologist. Part of a series.
Iles, Francis. Malice Aforethought (Harper & Row, 1931). An English country doctor resolves to murder his wife.
James, P.D. The Black Tower (Charles Scribner's Sons, 1975). Murder at a seaside convalescent home.
James, P.D. A Taste for Death (Warner Books, 1986). An English politician's murder reveals domestic woes among his family and the investigators.
King, C. Daly. The Curious Mr. Tarrant (Dover, 1977) (first published 1935). Short locked room stories with supernatural touches.
Linington, Elizabeth. Felony Report (Doubleday, 1984). Police procedural dealing with robberies, homicides, and a serial poisoner.
MacDonald, John. The Empty Copper Sea (Fawcett Gold Medal Books, 1978). Travis McGee and Meyer investigate a businessman's disappearance.
Macdonald, Ross. The Chill (Warner, 1963). A missing persons case leads Lew Archer into three murders.
Macdonald, Ross. The Galton Case (Alfred A. Knopf, 1959). Searching for a long-lost heir leads to fraud and murder.
McBain, Ed. The Last Dance (Pocket Books, 1999). A group of seemingly unrelated deaths investigated by a squad of detectives in a New York City analog.
McBain, Ed. Lightning (Avon, 1984). A classic police procedural novel involving a squad of detectives in a New York City analog.
McCrumb, Sharyn. Bimbos of the Death Sun (Ballentine, 1997). Murder at a science-fiction convention.
Mortimer, John. Rumpole of the Bailey (Penguin, 1978). Short stories about a crusty English barrister trying criminal cases in the 1950-70s.
Mortimer, John. Rumpole for the Defence (Penguin, 1981). More Rumpole short stories.
Niven, Larry. The Long ARM of Gil Hamilton (Baen, 1976). A collection of stories about a near-future United Nations cop with limited telekinesis.
Parker, Robert B. Early Autumn (Delacorte, 1981). Spenser becomes a foster father to a teenage boy caught in a messy divorce.
Parker, Robert B. Looking for Rachel Wallace (Delacorte, 1980). Spenser guards a controversial writer who is kidnapped after firing him.
Parker, Robert B. Promised Land (Dell, 1976). Spenser helps a land developer and his wife reconcile their marriage and escape from various criminal entanglements.
Peters, Ellis. One Corpse Too Many (Fawcett Crest, 1979). Brother Cadfael unravels a murder, a hidden heir, and a missing treasure. Part of a series.
Poe, Edgar Allen. The Fall of the House of Usher and Other Tales (World Literature, 1960). This collection includes The Murders in the Rue Morgue and The Purloined Letter, two early "Western" detective stories.
Pratchett, Terry. Men at Arms (HarperTorch, 1993). This book, and others featuring the Ankh-Morpork City Watch, provide a good example of a low-tech setting where the police force gradually evolves a modern approach to solving crimes.
Pulver, Mary. Murder at the War (FTL Publications, 2001). Murder at the SCA's Pennsic event.
Rohmer, Sax. The Dream Detective (McKinlay, Stone & MacKenzie, 1925). Collected short stories about a detective who sleeps on a special pillow at the crime scene to receive psychic impressions from the past.
Rowland, Laura Joh. Bundori (Villard, 1996). Mystery novel set in late 17th-century Japan.
Rusch, Kristine Kathryn. Extremes (Roc, 2003). Near future mystery-thriller involving murder at a marathon held on the moon's surface.
Sayers, Dorothy L. Lord Peter (Avon, 1972). Collection of all the Lord Peter Wimsey short stories (1928-1938).
Sayers, Dorothy L. Murder Must Advertise (Avon, 1933). Lord Peter Wimsey takes a job in an advertising agency to solve a murder tied to a smuggling ring.
Sayers, Dorothy L. The Nine Tailors (Harvest/HBJ Books, 1934). Lord Peter Wimsey's good deed unleashes a flood of buried secrets; contains a nifty cipher.
Sayers, Dorothy L. Strong Poison (Avon, 1930). Lord Peter Wimsey defends a woman on trial for poisoning her lover.
Saylor, Steven. Arms of Nemesis (Ivy Books, 1992). A private detective investigates murder, fraud, and arms-smuggling in ancient Rome (72 B.C.).
Shannon, Dell. The Ringer (William Morrow & Co., 1971). LAPD homicide unit solves a series of murders while a detective is under Internal Affairs scrutiny.
Simenon, Georges. Maigret in Montmartre (Hartcort Brace Jovanovich, 1959). A Parisian police inspector investigates two deaths.
Spillane, Mickey. I, The Jury (Curley Publishing, 1947). Mike Hammer's investigation of a friend's death leads to multiple murders and various rackets.
Stout, Rex. In the Best Families (G.K. Hall & Co., 1991) (first published 1950). A wife's concerns about her husband lead to murder, Nero Wolfe's disappearance, and a showdown with a cunning adversary. Part of a series.
Tey, Josephine. The Daughter of Time (Pocket Books, 1951). Hospitalized police inspector considers the career of Richard III of England.
Van Dine, S.S. Philo Vance Investigates Omnibus (C. Scribner's, 1936). Contains Dine's essay "Twenty Rules for Writing Detective Stories" (1928).
Van Gulik, Robert. Celebrated Cases of Judge Dee (Dover, 1976). Translation of an 18th-century Chinese detective novel.
Van Gulik, Robert. The Chinese Maze Murders (Dover, 1956). First in a set of mysteries in Tang Dynasty China.
Woods, Paula, Ed. Spooks, Spies, and Private Eyes (Doubleday, 1995). A collection of short stories and excerpts of novels written by black authors.
Auger, Michel. The Biker Who Shot Me (McClelland & Stewart, 2001). Montreal newspaper crime reporter's autobiography focusing on local crime and an attempt to assassinate him in 2000.
Bailey, Frank. Out of the Woodpile: Black Characters in Crime and Detective Fiction (Greenwood Press, 1991). Contains an index and descriptions of major and minor black characters in many detective stories.
Ball, Larry. Desert Lawmen: The High Sheriffs of New Mexico and Arizona 1846-1912 (University of New Mexico Press, 1992). Historian's look at Old West law enforcement.
Baker, Mark. D.A: Prosecutors in their own Words (Simon & Schuster, 1999). A collection of anecdotes by and about prosecutors.
Bataille, Georges. The Trial of Gilles de Rais (Amok, 1991). A medieval serial killer's trial that includes English translations of key court documents.
Bayard, Pierre. Who Killed Roger Ackroyd?; The Mystery Behind the Agatha Christie Mystery (The New Press, 2000; first published 1998). An analysis of the famous Christie story, discussing Christie's tricks for disguising events and suggesting that Poirot was mistaken.
Beavan, Colin. Fingerprints (Hyperion, 2001). A discussion of the evolution of fingerprinting in 19th-century England.
Bellamy, John G. The Criminal Trial in Later Medieval England (University of Toronto Press, 1998). Criminal jury trials in 1300-1500 with some notes on earlier and later history.
Benjaminson, Peter. Secret Police: Inside the New York City Department of Investigation (Barricade Books 1997). Civilian inspectors searching for fraud and white-collar crime in city government.
Bintliff, Russell. Police Procedural: A Writer's Guide to the Police and How They Work (Writers Digest Books, 1993). One of many fine books written for mystery writers about aspects of crime and investigation.
Blunt, Roscoe, Jr. Carnage, Cops, and Deadlines (Ambassador Books, 2004) Police and fire beat reporter's career in the 1960s to mid-1980s.
Bok, Sissela. Secrets: On the Ethics of Concealment and Revelation (Pantheon, 1982). Secrets and secrecy.
Brandon, David. Stand and Deliver! A History of Highway Robbery (Sutton, 2001). History and mythology of English Highwaymen.
Browne, Douglas and Tullett, E.V. The Scalpel of Scotland Yard: The Life of Sir Bernard Spilsbury (E.P. Dutton, 1952). Biography of the famous English forensic pathologist with descriptions of famous cases.
Cawelti, John G. Adventure, Romance, and Mystery: Formula Stories as Art and Popular Culture (University of Chicago Press, 1976). Academic analysis of origins, structures, and archetypes.
Clark, Doug. Dark Paths, Cold Trails (Harper Collins, 2002). Profiling serial offenders in Canada.
Davis, Natalie Zemon. The Return of Martin Guerre (Harvard University Press, 1983). Medieval missing-person mystery.
DiMaio, Vincent, and DiMaio, Dominick. Forensic Pathology, Second Edition (CRC Press, 2001). The "bible" on this topic; lots of technical details, but not for the faint-hearted.
Douglas, John, and Olshaker, Mark. The Anatomy of Motive (Scribner, 1999). FBI profiler's discussion of the factors that might cause a person to commit violent crimes.
Douglas, John and Olshaker, Mark. Journey into Darkness (Scribner, 1997). FBI investigative profiler discusses serial killers and serial rapists.
Douglas, John and Olshaker, Mark. Mindhunter (Scribner, 1995). FBI investigative profiler discusses serial killers and some of the more famous cases of the FBI Investigative Support Unit (formerly the Behavioral Sciences Unit).
Edwards, Samuel. The Vidocq Dossier: The Story of the World's First Detective (Houghton Mifflin, 1977). Biography of the 18th-century French detective.
Etienne, Philip, and Maynard, Martin. The Infiltrators (Penguin Books, 2000). Scotland Yard's undercover investigations; contains useful details on crime and criminals in modern London, especially the drug trade.
Gelman, Mitch, Crime Scene: On the Streets with a Rookie Police Reporter (Times Books 1992). Adventures of a New York City crime reporter in the late 1980s.
Grafton, Susan, ed. Writing Mysteries: A Handbook by the Mystery Writers of America (Writers Digest Books, 1992). An advice book for aspiring mystery writers.
Grinnell-Milne, Duncan, The Killing of William Rufus (David & Charles, 1968). A conspiracy theory about the death of the English king.
Gudjonnson, Gisli. The Psychology of Interrogations and Confessions (John Wiley & Sons, 2003). British interrogation practices and criticism of the American theory.
Halttunen, Karen. Murder Most Foul: The Killer and the American Gothic Imagination (Harvard University Press, 1998). A history of detective writing.
Hames, Michael. The Dirty Squad: The Inside Story of the Obscene Publications Branch (Warner, 2000). Operations in Scotland Yard's anti-pornography and child sexual abuse unit.
Horan, James D. The Pinkertons: The Detective Dynasty that Made History (Crown Publishers, 1967). Uncritical history of the famous detective agency.
Kirkland, Michael. How to Solve a Murder (Hungry Minds, 1995). Plain language discussion of forensics, including history of various techniques.
Hibbard, Whitney, Worring, Raymond, and Brennan, Rich. Psychic Criminology: An Operations Manual for Using Psychics in Criminal Investigations (2nd Ed.) (Charles Thomas Publishers, Ltd. 2002) A guide for police in using psychics in investigations including several examples.
Inbau, Fred E., et al. Criminal Interrogation and Confessions, Fourth Edition (Aspen Publications, 2001). The bible on interrogation used by American police and private investigators.
Kamen, Henry. The Spanish Inquisition: A Historical Revision (Yale University Press, 1997). Discussion of the structure of the Inquisition.
Kelly, John and Wearne, Phillip. Tainting Evidence: Inside the Scandals at the FBI Crime Lab (Free Press, 1998). Journalists' discussion of problems revealed at the FBI's laboratory in the wake of a 1994 Department of Justice Inspector General's report.
Lee, Henry C. Cracking Cases, The Science of Solving Crimes (Prometheus, 2002). Forensic science viewed through notable cases.
Lewis, Arthur H. Lament for the Molly Maguires (Harcourt, Brace & World, 1964). Pinkerton operative's infiltration of the Irish miners' secret society.
Lukas, J. Anthony. Big Trouble (Simon & Schuster, 1997). The 1905 assassination of an Idaho ex-governor is used to discuss early 20th-century America; the investigation was led by Jamie McParland, the Pinkerton operative who had once infiltrated the Molly McGuires.
Lyons, Arthur, and Truzzi, Marcello. The Blue Sense: Psychic Detectives and Crime (Mysterious Press Books, 1991). A guide to police use of psychics with a discussion of how cold-reading and suggestion can mislead detectives into trusting the wrong experts.
MacIntyre, Ben. The Napoleon of Crime (Delta, 1997). Biography of Adam Worth, famous 19th-century thief, model for Professor Moriarty.
McArdle, Phil. Fatal Fascination (Houghton Mifflin, 1988). Contrasts real and fictional police work.
McDermid, Val. A Suitable Job for a Woman: Inside the World of Women Private Eyes (Poisoned Pen Press, 1995). Interviews with American and English female detectives.
Mathers, Chris. Crime School: Money Laundering (Key Porter Books, 2004) A Canadian detective's stories about crime and money, entertainingly written with several good ideas for following illicit money flows.
Micheels, Peter. Heat: Fire C.S.I. and the War on Arson and Murder (Thunder's Mouth Press, 2003). Mini-autobiographies of several NYC fire marshals.
Mitnick, Kevin and Simon, William. The Art of Deception (Wiley Publishing, Inc. 2002). An essential guide for players and GMs about how to trick people into providing information and access to computer systems.
Morn, Frank. "The Eye that Never Sleeps": A History of the Pinkerton National Detective Agency (Indiana University Press, 1982). A history of the agency and the social circumstances that allowed it to prosper.
Morton, James. East End Gangland (Warner, 2000). History of crime in London, useful for procedural or hardboiled adventures.
Norton, Mary Beth. Founding Mothers and Fathers (Alfred A. Knopf, 1996). Tediously academic discussion of colonial American gossip and power networks, useful for creating pre-modern investigations.
O'Connor, Niamh. Cracking Crime (O'Brien, 2001). Biography of the Director of Ireland's Forensic Sciences Laboratory with discussion of forensic science and famous cases.
O'Sullivan, F. Dalton. The Detective Adviser (Detective Sciences, 1917). An advice manual for police detectives, insurance investigators, Secret Service agents, and private detectives. Includes a list of contemporary con games and swindles, as well as types of thieves.
Parkhurst, William. True Detectives: The Real World of Today's P.I. (Crown Publishers, 1989). Discussion of New York private detectives and some of their cases.
Randisi, Robert. Writing the Private Eye Novel (Writers Digest Books, 1997). Advice book for aspiring mystery writers.
Remsberg, Charles. Tactics for Criminal Patrol: Vehicle Stops, Drug Discovery, and Officer Survival (Calibre Press, 1995). (Patrol officer's guide to drug smuggling by vehicle with numerous examples of clever schemes and methods.
Rossmo, D. Kim. Geographic Profiling (CRC Press, 2000). Criminals' "hunting" behavior and movements.
Sachs, Jessica Snyder. Corpse: Nature, Forensics, and the Struggle to Pinpoint Time of Death (Basic Books, 2001). History of forensics from simple observations to forensic entomology, botany, and microbiology.
Söderman, Harry. Modern Criminal Investigation (Funk & Wagnalls, 1936). A handbook of criminal investigation.
Soitos, Stephen. The Blues Detective: A Study of African American Detective Fiction (University of Massachusetts Press, 1996). Academic discussion of detective fiction.
Tapply, William. The Elements of Mystery Fiction (The Writer, 1995). Advice book for aspiring mystery writers.
Thorwald, Jurgen. The Century of the Detective (Harcourt, Brace, & World, 1964). History of forensics.
Uviller, H. Richard. Tempered Zeal (Contemporary Books, 1988). Law professor spends summer studying NYPD robbery unit.
Vidocq, Francois Eugene. Memoirs of Vidocq: Master of Crime (AK Press, 2003). Abridged war stories by the early 19th-century French detective.
Vorpagel, Russell. Profiles in Murder (Perseus, 1998). Narrative of an FBI behavioral profiler's training course on serial murderers.
Wambaugh, Joseph. Fire Lover (Avon, 2002). True crime story of a California arson investigator convicted of serial arson and murder.
Webster, Jack. Copper Jack: My Life on the Force (Dundurn Press, 1991). Toronto homicide investigator's autobiography.
Wingate, Anne, Scene of the Crime: A Writer's Guide to Crime-Scene Investigations (Writers Digest Books, 1992). A handbook of crime-scene procedure.
Yeterian, Dixie. Casebook of a Psychic Detective (Stein & Day, 1982). Autobiography of a psychic involved in police investigations.
There are many excellent detective movies, although the genre tends more toward thrillers and caper movies than traditional mysteries. This is a short list of few well-known examples, and is primarily focused on private detectives.
The Big Sleep (Howard Hawks, 1946). An adaptation of the Raymond Chandler novel into a confusing noir classic.
Chinatown (Roman Polanski, 1974). A classic noir story about power, corruption, bribery, and betrayal.
The Maltese Falcon (John Huston, 1941). An adaptation of the Dashiell Hammett novel that became a classic noir detective movie.
Minority Report (Steven Spielberg, 2002). Adaptation of the Philip K. Dick novella about a police force that uses precognition to prevent murders before they occur.
The Pink Panther (Blake Edwards, 1964). Screwball comedy about a bumbling French inspector's pursuit of a jewel thief.
Vertigo (Alfred Hitchcock, 1958). One of several classic Hitchcock mysteries, this one featuring an acrophobic police detective.
Zero Effect (Jake Kasdan, 1998). Quirky film about a genius detective who is afraid of interacting with people.
In addition to the series below, a number of well-known mystery novels have been adapted into TV movies and mini-series. A number of British authors' works were adapted and shown in the United States through PBS' Mystery series. GMs might find a comparison of a novel with the television adaptation useful if they are trying to figure out how to convert a written mystery plot into an RPG.
Alien Nation (1989-1997). A Los Angeles detective is paired with an alien refugee in a series using aliens as metaphors for social issues.
Charlie's Angels (1976-1981). Three beautiful former policewomen are hired as private eyes by a mysterious boss and his intermediary. More flash than substance, but very popular.
Columbo (1971-1978). Long-running series about a rumpled, quirky Los Angeles detective frequently underestimated by his adversaries.
CSI: Crime Scene Investigations (2000-ongoing). Drama about Las Vegas criminologists using state-of-the-art (and beyond) technology and techniques.
Forever Knight (1994-96). 13th-century vampire becomes modern homicide detective on the night shift, struggling to solve crimes and keep his partner from learning his true nature.
Homicide (1993-98, 2000). Drama based on homicide detectives in Baltimore.
Kolchak: The Night Stalker (1974-75). Newspaper reporter investigates grisly homicides with a supernatural link, but can never find sufficient proof for his skeptical editor.
McCloud (1970-77). Fish-out-of-water crime series about a New Mexico deputy marshal sent to New York City to learn modern crime-fighting methods.
Murder, She Wrote (1984-1996). One of the longest-running crime series, featuring a mystery writer caught up in an endless sequence of murders.
Perry Mason (1957-1966, 1985-1993). Adaptation of the Earl Stanley Gardner novels about a defense attorney who represents only innocent clients and generally reveals the true criminal on the witness stand.
The Rockford Files (1974-1980). Adventures of an ex-con turned private eye, with a large array of interesting supporting characters involved in complex plots and frequent car chases. Author John D. MacDonald considered this the finest TV detecive show of all time.
Quincy, M.E. (1976-1983). Los Angeles medical examiner solves murders and examines social issues. A predecessor of CSI, with much less emphasis on cool forensic gadgets.
Remington Steele (1982-1987). When a female detective creates a mythical male boss, a charming con man steps into the boss' empty shoes.
The Sentinel (1996-1997). Police detective uses enhanced senses to solve crimes.
Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? (1969-1972). Classic Hanna-Barbera cartoon series about a team of young investigators and their talking dog who generally find that supernatural happenings stem from a clever guy with a nifty costume. The less said about the post-1972 versions, the better.