Skip to content

City of Sharks


“We’ll Meet Again” as performed by Vera Lynn. A theme song for “City of Sharks.”


“Stanley’s fine fourth Miranda Corbie mystery (after 2014’s City of Ghosts) finds the tough-as-nails PI planning to leave her beloved San Francisco in the fall of 1940. Miranda will travel to war-torn Berlin seeking her long-lost mother as soon as she can be booked on an ocean liner. But first, she has one last case—figuring out who’s trying to kill Louise Crowley, the assistant to ruthless publisher Niles Alexander.

With his reputation of “ruined women and… ruined writers,” Niles—or his athlete son, Jerry, who has a taste for underage prostitutes—would be a more likely target. The complicated, uncompromising Miranda gets a master class in San Francisco publishing with the help of writer Roger Roscoe, and discovers that a missing manuscript about goings-on at Alcatraz, “the city of sharks,” may be worth killing for. Stanley treats the reader to a history of San Francisco landmarks and seamlessly weaves in real figures such as newspaper columnist Herb Caen and author John Steinbeck, adding to the book’s authenticity.”

Publishers Weekly

“Some readers will enjoy this novel for the engaging characters, others for the mystery, still others for the rich evocation of 1940s San Francisco. Fans of noir and historical fiction will be engaged.”

Library Journal

“City of Sharks” is a complex murder mystery with so many twists and turns you will think you are on Lombard Street. San Francisco history (spend some time with Kelli and you will learn a lot more!), famous people (Herb Caen and John Steinbeck), and danger, make “City of Sharks” a fascinating, fun, hard-to-put-down, read.”

Mike Philman, Tracy Reader Dad

City of Sharks

Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary and a seamy cross-section of San Francisco society, literati and the publishing world … welcome to a CITY OF SHARKS.

The blonde secretary was scared when she visited Miranda Corbie’s office. A shove into a streetcar track, a box of poisoned chocolates … hateful, violent letters.
Someone was trying to kill her.

Miranda isn’t sure of anything at first except that Louise Crowley, the blonde who works as an assistant to Niles Alexander, San Francisco publisher, is in trouble. Despite her own preparations for an imminent voyage to a blitzkrieged Britain and a painful farewell to the city she loves, Miranda decides to help Louise and takes on her last case as a private detective in San Francisco … investigating her client, surveying the publishing world of 1940, and stumbling into murder with a trail that leads straight to Alcatraz … an island city of sharks.

Along the way, Miranda explores her beloved San Francisco once more, from Playland-at-the-Beach to Chinatown to Nob Hill and Treasure Island. She encounters John Steinbeck and C.S. Forester, and is aided and abetted by the charming and dapper San Francisco Chronicle columnist Herb Caen.  And she also discovers personal truths she’s long denied …

With her characteristic luxurious, lyrical prose and insightful eye for character, Kelli Stanley paints a rich, authentic portrait of 1940 San Francisco in this latest installment of her award-winning series.