Occult detectives, detecting the occult
February 8, 2019 9:03 AM   Subscribe

Recommend me your stories of occult detection! Assume that I have read the more familiar ones, alas.

So, assume that I have read or am familiar with the occult detectives described here. Also assume that I have read the Silver John stories and Melissa Scott's Points and Victorian-magical-detectives books...and recommend me some other ones.

Caveat: I am basically not interested in True Blood-style thrillers or urban fantasy in general. I'm also most interested in stories with a strong detection/mystery element rather than a strong romance/intrigue/thriller element.

Anyway. If you have a good case for a particular urban fantasy novel because of its unique individual qualities, go ahead, but my favorite occult detective is Carnacki The Ghost Finder, and he has no romantic life.
posted by Frowner to Media & Arts (17 answers total) 30 users marked this as a favorite
It's been years since I've read them, but maybe Randall Garrett's Lord Darcy stories.
posted by maurice at 9:31 AM on February 8, 2019 [4 favorites]

I wonder if Charles Williams's War In Heaven (murder mystery merges into supernatural) might scratch your itch? But he's weird Catholicism rather than straight-up occult. (I found War in Heaven creepy to the point of wanting it out of my house.)
posted by praemunire at 9:55 AM on February 8, 2019 [2 favorites]

I quite liked the Jackaby series by William Ritter.
posted by Lexica at 10:27 AM on February 8, 2019

These all feature occult detectives and not much romance , I have no idea if you consider them familiar:

Dirk Gently

Dresden Files

Glen Cook’s stuff, though it is definitely occult detective it’s also fantasy/noir mashup with lots of comedy, people tend to love it or hate it.
posted by SaltySalticid at 10:28 AM on February 8, 2019

I suspect you know about these, but for the sake of completeness, The Necromantic Mysteries of Kyle Murchison Booth by Sarah Monette, a.k.a. Katherine Addison.
posted by Wobbuffet at 10:39 AM on February 8, 2019 [4 favorites]

Dorothy Gilman's two Clairvoyant Countess novels, The Clairvoyant Countess and Kaleidoscope, are a lot of fun.
posted by jamjam at 11:16 AM on February 8, 2019 [1 favorite]

Black Magick
posted by egeanin at 12:13 PM on February 8, 2019

Ben Aaronovitch's Rivers of London series might tick some boxes. Modern day police officer who suddenly starts seeing ghosts and gets drawn into a branch of the police concerned with policing magic.
posted by kadia_a at 12:56 PM on February 8, 2019 [5 favorites]

Nthing the Monette stories, if you haven't read them.
posted by smoke at 1:13 PM on February 8, 2019 [1 favorite]

Seconding the Charles Williams reference—there is something genuinely unsettling/unfamiliar about his books. All Hallows Eve is another very mysterious one in which characters try to figure out what's happening to them.
posted by Polycarp at 1:25 PM on February 8, 2019

If you don't mind graphic novels, try the available compilations of the Jamie Delano years of the old Hellblazer comic books. More modern and dark than Victorian gothic in tone.
posted by BigLankyBastard at 1:38 PM on February 8, 2019

The Adept series by Katherine Kurtz and Deborah Turner Harris.
posted by Fukiyama at 2:36 PM on February 8, 2019 [1 favorite]

The Bast series by Rosemary Edghill is nice.
posted by bq at 2:37 PM on February 8, 2019

Maybe try George Chesbro's Mongo the Magnificent series? I've heard good things.
posted by demonic winged headgear at 2:48 PM on February 8, 2019

Not without problems, but Matt Ruff's Lovecraft Country might do.

More fantasy than occult, but the Garrett P.I. series by Glen Cook are fun and focuses on the detectoring.
posted by porpoise at 3:33 PM on February 8, 2019

Completely by coincidence, going through a Goodreads rabbithole, The Brotherhood of the Wheel sounds really interesting.
posted by porpoise at 5:06 PM on February 8, 2019

Check out Victor LaValle's take on Lovecraft, "The Ballad of Black Tom." LaValle is African American, as is the title character. Soon to be a SyFy series!
posted by Sheydem-tants at 1:52 PM on February 9, 2019

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