Before writing her first stand-alone novel, The Perfect Ghost, which Publisher’s Weekly calls “a captivating story of love, rivalry, and revenge,” Linda Barnes wrote 16 mystery novels, 12 featuring her 6’1” redheaded private eye Carlotta Carlyle, and four featuring actor/detective Michael Spraggue, an amateur sleuth. In addition to best-selling mysteries, she has also written award-winning plays and short stories.

linda's photo Linda Barnes's celebrated Carlotta Carlyle first appeared in 1985 in the award-winning short story "Lucky Penny." Since then, Barnes has written twelve Carlotta Carlyle novels: A Trouble of Fools (1987), The Snake Tattoo (1989), the Boston Globe bestsellers Coyote (1991), Steel Guitar (1993), Snapshot (1994), Hardware (1995) and Cold Case (1997), which also appeared on The Boston Globe bestseller list. Flashpoint came out in 1999. The Big Dig was published in 2002, followed by Deep Pockets in 2004 and Heart of the World, in 2006 and Lie Down With the Devil (2008).

Among her many honors, Barnes won the Anthony Award for Best Short Story ("Lucky Penny," 1986) and the American Mystery Award for Best Private Eye Novel (A Trouble of Fools 1987). She has been nominated for both the Shamus and the Edgar. The Snake Tattoo was named one of the outstanding books of 1990 by The London Times and Lie Down With the Devil was named one of the Best Mysteries of 2008 by Publisher’s Weekly.

She lives near Boston with her husband.


Look: I can give you references. I mean, if you really wanna know about me, I'm not the one to ask. I've had my successes, my failures, same as anybody. Check it out; I do my best. You hire me for a job; I'm on it. Once I get my teeth in, I don't let go.

Oh, now I get it. You want to know personal stuff — like when was I born. Well, when I was a cop, this hooker I arrested — more than once — always used to tell me, For DOB list NOB. That's "date of birth" and "none of your business," and it pretty much sums up how I feel about stuff like that, too. Knowledge is power, so I hoard it like I stockpile Doritos. On my Mass. Drivers License I don't list any SSN, even though most people think it's required. You want my social security number, you've got to dig. I'll give you the rest of my license dope because the Registry would dish it out anyway. Height: 6'1 ", weight: 155. (When it drops lower, I get demoted from thin to skinny.) Hair: Red. Eyes: Hazel. Sex: Female. Address: I'll keep the street to myself, thanks, but it's Cambridge, MA 02138, within spitting distance of high-rent Harvard Square.

volleyball I've got the credentials for the job. I did college. First in my family to graduate. Sure, U/Mass-Boston's a commuter school, but it's a good one, and I learned a hell of a lot about the city driving a cab part-time while I got the degree. Gloria, at the cab company, will say kind words about me, if you want a character witness. I was a Boston cop for six years. Got my gold detective's shield the year I quit. Mooney's the one to talk to there; we keep in touch. I work for myself now and call my outfit Carlyle Investigations. It's just me, with a little help from Roz, my post-punk weirdo tenant.

What am I proud of? My diploma. My gold detective shield. My Little Sister, Paolina. I "adopted" her when I was a cop, through the Big Sisters Association. She's the best. She deserves the best. Oh, yeah, and I'm damn proud of my ability to spike a volleyball.

My Dreams? To keep on doing what I'm doing. Get enough solid PI work that I can keep my cab driving to a minimum, even retire from hacking altogether, although I'd miss those late-night streets. Hell, I'd play blues guitar like Rory Block, maybe write a few tunes for my ex to record. Meet a guy who'd make me forget my ex — that would be good. But don't get me wrong; I'm not desperate to marry again — not eager, not even interested — which is just as well since the guys who turn me on are never the marrying kind.

red underline