Constance and Charlie Mysteries

This mystery series follows Constance Leidl and Charlie Meiklejohn as they unravel the most difficult cases.


The complete series of Constance and Charlie Mysteries in two volumes.

Charlie Meiklejohn is a former arson detective turned private investigator. His wife Constance Leidl, is a professional psychologist. Together, they’re an unbeatable team, ready to take on the most convoluted cases. The Hamlet Trap—Roman Cavanaugh runs a small theater company in Ashland, Oregon. When a new director comes to town, bringing with him an eccentric playwright, jealousies arise and tempers flare; suddenly, a man is found murdered. Ro’s niece, Ginnie, is accused, but as Constance and Charlie work to unravel the mystery, they uncover a trail of secrets that threatens to tear the company apart. Smart House—Gary Elringer, computer genius, has sunk most of his company’s funds into the construction of Smart House—much to the stockholders’ dismay, most of whom were family and friends. But when Gary invited them all to a game of Assassin, he never dreamed he’d wind up dead for real. Constance and Charlie’s investigations show that the guests all had reasons for wanting him dead—but everyone’s alibis are as solid as the house itself. Which leads to the next question: Could the house be the killer? Just how smart is Smart House? Seven Kinds of Death—That was the title of Marion Olsen’s most famous sculpture, but the name took on a new meaning when bodies starting turning up at her Maryland artists’ colony. The case piques Constance and Charlie’s sixth sense, especially since they have more suspects than they could count on five fingers. And with no more than three clues, the two detectives trap one very deadly killer.


A FLUSH OF SHADOWS   1995   -also on audiobook

Over the years, Constance Leidl and Charlie Meiklejohn have investigated a wide variety of murder and arson cases. This collection assembles for the first time the shorter cases of the detecting duo, including: “With Thimbles, with Forks, and Hope,” their first case ever; the harrowing account of an arsonist out for revenge, “Torch Song,” which has never been published before; and “All for One,” also published first in this volume – a bittersweet tale of murderous family relations. Together with “Sister Alice” and “The Gorgon Field,” these stories comprise a full house of fantastic fiction.




SEVEN KINDS OF DEATH   1992      -also on audiobook

Adroitly meshing the worlds of commerce and art, this complex mystery calls for husband-and-wife investigators Charlie Meiklejohn and Constance Leidl to muster all their maturity, shrewdness and intuition. In a party at her Maryland farmhouse, their old friend Marion (“Tootles”) Olson celebrates the launch of her art tour and the imminent opening of her second husband Max Buell’s condominiums, built just a brisk walk from the house. But the evening turns tragic. Tootle’s sculptures are vandalized and the strangled body of a guest, highly regarded art magazine editor Victoria Leeds, is discovered in one of Max’s condominiums. Charlie and Constance interview several of the partygoers and learn that an earlier death at the condo site, first seen as an accident, is linked to Victoria’s murder. John Buell, Tootles’s chronically sullen stepson and his partner in the condo construction business, might be implicated.


SWEET, SWEET POISON   1990       -also on audiobook

The detectives. Charlie Meiklejohn and Constance Leidl were an unlikely pair of detectives. He was a former arson investigator, she was a psychologist. They had a knack for unraveling a mystery, and mystery always seemed to find its way to their door. The clients. After winning the lottery, Al and Sylvie Zukal moved from the Bronx to escape the noise and crime. They thought quiet, picturesque Spender’s Ferry would be the perfect sanctuary, even if none of their wealthy neighbors would have anything to do with them. But when their guard dog and a local man were poisoned, the Zukals feared that their newfound haven might become their final resting place. The mystery. Asked to investigate the deaths, Charlie and Constance discovered that the serene surface of the rural retreat hid dark secrets, and that someone was willing to kill, and kill again, to keep them from being revealed. If they weren’t careful. Charlie and Constance wouldn’t be the antidote to the crime, but the next victims.


SMART HOUSE   1989       -also on audiobook

Former N.Y. arson investigator and retired cop Charles Meiklejohn and his wife, Constance Leidl, a psychologist, return in a taut, high-tech mystery abounding with ingenuity. The ultimate dream of child prodigy Gary Elringer, the founder of Bellringer Company, producers of computer hardware and software, was to create a total, computer-controlled environment. Much to the dismay of the stockholders, he uses the firm’s profits to build a futuristic dwelling in North Bend, Oreg., called Smart House. Gary invites the nine naysayers there, so they can experience first-hand its remarkable capabilities. More importantly, he wants to thwart a takeover of Bellringer by his jealous brother, Bruce. Gary’s weekend festivities call for everyone’s participation in a game called Assassin; in the midst of the contest, Gary and architect Rich Schoen are found dead, the apparent victims of a computer glitch. Charlie and Constance must unravel the bizarre circumstances surrounding their demise.


THE DARK DOOR   1988      -also on audiobook

Private investigator Charlie Meiklejohn is called in by insurance companies to follow the trail of a suspected serial arsonist. The arsonist, Carson Danvers, has been on a fanatical crusade, since the loss of his wife and son, burning down buildings in an effort to stop the manifestations of a malfunctioning alien space probe, which has caused random outbreaks of madness and murder that occur in old, abandoned wooden buildings. Meiklejohn begins following the criminal trail’s but finds himself teaming up with his quarry to face the much deeper problem.






To kill or not to kill… That’s the question most of the cast at an Oregon repertory theater seem to be pondering. An arrogant new director is stirring up deadly jealousies, and a sinister tarot-reading playwright is giving chills to the entire company. Tempers flare, a man is murdered backstage, and the police—in a bit of unimaginative typecasting—nab the beautiful set designer because of an artistic bit of insanity in her past and no alibi in her present.

Called in to clear her are psychologist Constance Liedl and husband, private detective Charlie Meiklejohn. Their talent is investigation, and their role in this production is to ring down the curtain on a crime whose solution lies in a shocking obsession… and an act of love.

6 Responses to Constance and Charlie Mysteries

  1. My says:

    Will you ever make The Hamlet Trap available on audio? Thanks

  2. Gregg C Levine says:

    I’ve been a fan of the mysteries of “Charlie Meiklejohn and Constance Leidl”, for a very long time. My first was “Hamlet Trap” as expected. I actually did work out that they are indeed the only mysteries who do not have a preference for the method of reading, that is they are stand alone.

    Oh and what branch of psychology did Constance Leidl work in before her retirement? To my mind the way she works, as applied to how Charlie does his thing, resembles that of one specific branch, and that’s the sticking point.
    However I confess I did find that your understanding of New York State in “Sweet Poison” might be in error, as Con Ed may not be the supplier of electricity where they live.

    But other than that that particular mystery is decidedly a great read.

    And I am waiting for their latest to become available in hardcopy. But I’ll accept it in softcopy, that is an e-book if necessary.

  3. mary says:

    Whisper her name is book 12, yet there are only 6 books listed above. where are the other 5
    I have enjoyed the Barbara Holloway series and would like to start this series but I do not want to be lost between book 6 and book 12.

    • admin says:

      Kate says: Actually the Charlie and Constance books are all stand alones. Some of the novellas probably are between 6 and 12, but there’s no consecutive reading order necessary for any of them.

  4. Peter says:

    The chronological order is the same as the publication order, except for the collection of short stories A Flush of Shadows, some of which come in between the novels. It doesn’t matter that much which order you read them in, though.

  5. Shannon says:

    What is the reading order for Constance and Charlie series?

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