Friday, April 12, 2024


The Tax Man Cometh! I've done several posts over the years about Tax Day Mysteries. Surprisingly there are many that deal with Finance and Accounting, but not all that many that deal with the average Joe filing his taxes on April 15. Surely it's enough to commit murder. So here are a few mysteries that deal specifically with Tax Day. At the end of this post, I have an updated list of several accounting/accountant mysteries. 

Perhaps the most well known Tax Day Mystery is David Dodge's Death and Taxes--an oldie but goodie (1941). It's been reissued. Read Librarian and Editor Randal Brandt's posts on David Dodge HERE and HERE.

San Francisco tax accountant James “Whit” Whitney is summoned home from a vacation in Santa Cruz to help his partner, George MacLeod, recover a hefty tax refund for a beautiful blonde client named Marian Wolff. When he returns to his office, Whit finds MacLeod dead in the firm’s vault, “with a small hole in the bridge of his nose.” In order to complete the tax return and uncover the murderer, Whit becomes a reluctant detective and nearly gets himself killed in the process. To prevent Whit’s murder, if possible, the SFPD assigns him a bodyguard named Swede Larson. Whit and Swede tangle with ex-bootleggers and Telegraph Hill gangsters in their efforts to unravel the mystery, which climaxes with a shootout in the Mission District and a dramatic car chase across the Bay Bridge. Along the way, Whit resists the advances of Marian Wolff and begins a romance with Kitty MacLeod, George’s widow.

Before becoming a novelist, David Dodge worked as a Certified Public Accountant. No wonder his first fictional hero was also a tax man. A notable aspect of the Whitney novels is the volume of information about taxes and finances that Dodge effortlessly weaves into his plots. To read more about David Dodge, go HERE.

Sue Dunlap's 7th Jill Smith mystery is also entitled Death and Taxes

Until someone put a poisoned needle in his bicycle seat, Phil Drem was the meanest, most nit-picking IRS agent in Berkeley, California.

But when Detective Jill Smith began searching Berkeley's backwaters for the tax man's killer, she found a different picture of Drem: a caring Drem, whose once-beautiful wife was "allergic to the world" and whose friends and enemies, old hippies and would-be entrepreneurs, enjoyed a ghoulish pastime called The Death Game. Did the Death Game KO Drem? Was someone's schedule a motive for murder? And what about a CPA who drove a red Lotus ruthlessly and guaranteed his clients they'd never be audited?

Only one thing is for sure, —somewhere in Berkeley's backwaters, a killer is still on the loose. And for a detective who loves her city, doubts her lover, and has a knack for solving the toughest of crimes, finding the truth is about as inevitable as...Death And Taxes.

A continued search reveals another title: A Little Rebellion: April 15 Surprise by Rodney Sexton published by Writers Club Press (2000) an iUniverse book. Not having read it, I thought I'd post the Editorial Review:

After a client’s suicide and an unprecedented IRS attack on his tax practice, Certified Public Accountant Karl Mendel plans what he hopes will be the final solution to an income tax system out of control.

Assisted by close friends and professional associates, Mendel uses a personal tragedy and his belief in American freedom to fuel his war on what he refers to as the American KGB. With flying skills honed as a Marine pilot in the Vietnam War Mendel takes to the air in his planned assault on the U.S. income tax system. Help from Beatrice Gimble, a former IRS programmer and current CPA partner of his best friend, Terry Garcia, leads Karl inside the main computer facility run by the IRS. Unaware that he is being watched by powers beyond the IRS, his “forced” dealings with a Russian “mole” leads Karl and his partners into dangers they had not considered and threatens the woman he loves more than life itself.

About the Author: Rod Sexton is a practicing Certified Public Accountant living near Houston, Texas with his wife. While in Vietnam, Sexton was attached to the First Marine Air Wing. After active duty, he earned his Bachelor of Business Administration and Master of Taxation degrees. A Little Rebellion is his first work of fiction.

Sure sounds like this fits the bill! Anyone read it? Any comments?

And then there's the cozy tax series that includes Death, Taxes, and a Chocolate Cannoli by Diane Kelly. This mystery fits with both this blog and my blog. Diane Kelly's series --Death, Taxes, and ... are about IRS special Agent Tara Holloway. Can't get more tax-related than least in the U.S. There are 13 books to keep you reading.

A further search for other mysteries uncovered a few other titles maybe a bit further afield but with an accounting theme, so in honor of Tax Day, I thought I'd post a few Accounting-Accountant crime fiction titles.


Paul Anthony: Old Accountants Never Die
Cindy Bell: Birthdays Can Be Deadly
Paul Bennett: Due Diligence, Collateral Damage, False Profits, The Money Race
Leeann Betts: Petty Cash

Ann Bridge: The Numbered Account 
Richard E. and Beverly A. Brown: The Rose Engagement
Elizabeth Chamberlin: Jane Mayhew Mysteries (about a retired accountant)
Larry Crumbley: Accosting the Golden Spire; The Ultimate Rip-Off; Costly Reflections in A Midas Mirror: Trap Doors and Trojan Horses; 
Cory Doctorow: Red Team Blues
David Dodge: In addition to Death and Taxes, Dodge wrote three more novels about San Francisco tax accountant James "Whit" Whitney: Shear the Black Sheep; Bullets for the Bridegroom; It Ain't Hay.
Marjorie Eccles: Account Rendered and other Stories
Gail Farrelly: Beaned in Boston
Connie Feddrsen: Amanda Hazard Mysteries (CPA/sleuth)

Dick Francis: Risk
Kate Gallison: Unbalanced Accounts
Emmy Grace: Lucky and the Axed Account
John Grisham: Skipping Christmas
Ian Hamilton: The Ava Lee Mysteries

Carolyn Hart: A Settling of Accounts
Mary Ellen Hughes: Scene of the Brine
James Montgomery Jackson: Bad Policy
J.A. Jance: Duel to the Death
Marshall Jevons: Murder at the Margin, The Fatal Equilibrium, A Deadly Indifference
Diane Kelly: Tara Holloway Death and Taxes Series (IRS criminal investigation agent) - My favorite is Death, Taxes and a Chocolate Cannoli

Emma Lathen: Accounting for Murder
Linda Lovely: Final Accounting
R.E/ McDermott, K.D. Stocks, and J. Ogden: Code Blue
Sarah McIntosh: Shell Games
Steve McMillan: Accounting Can Be Murder
Strike Me Down: Mindy Mejia
Sharon Potts: In Their Blood
Chrisopher Reich: The Devil's Banker: The Prince of Risk

Mike Resnick: Eros Ascending: Book 1 of Tales of the Velvet Comet
Peter Robinson: Final Account
Connie Shelton: Charlie Parker Series (accountant)
Patricia Smiley: Tucker Sinclair Series (financial advisor)

Maris Soule: Eat Crow and Die; As the Crow Flies
Karen Hanson Stuyck: Held Accountable
Maggie Toussaint: Cleopatra Jones Series (accountant sleuth)

William C. Whitbeck: To Account for Murder
M.K. Wren: Nothing's Certain but Death
Vincent Zandri: The IRS Agent Came Calling for Blood 

Short Story: "The Ides of Mike Magoon" in Ellery Queen's The Calendar of Crime (written when tax day was March 15, not April 15)  

Other Interesting Accounting Mystery Info:

One of my favorite films on the subject: The Accountant 

Raymond Chandler was an accountant. He lost his job during the depression, and he  started writing stories for Black Mask Magazine. The rest is history!

Interested in true IRS vs a Mystery Author. Read this article about Karin Slaughter's IRS Travails.

Anyone have a favorite mystery with a Tax Day or Accountant theme? Any titles I've missed?

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