The five Claire Gray novels of
author Michael Craft.

Michael Craft’s first novel, Rehearsing, 1993, introduced New
York theater director Claire Gray as its protagonist. Later, in
2001, Claire Gray returned as an amateur sleuth in her own
series of four mystery novels, set in the Palm Springs area of

The series, which ran concurrently with the Mark Manning
mysteries, features a limited cross-pollination of characters. The
main link between the two series is Thad Quatrain, Mark Man-
ning’s nephew, who moves from Wisconsin to begin college
in California, where he studies theater with Claire.

The four installments of the series, beginning with Desert
and ending with Desert Summer, chronicle the first
full year of Claire’s new life as a theater professor, far from the
bustle of New York. Along the way, she develops a habit of
stumbling upon corpses that have met their demise under iffy circumstances.