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A Time Gone By


A historical mystery by bestseller Heffernan in the tradition of Chandler and Hammett.

$14.95 $11.21

What people are saying…

“A sleekly constructed homage to those noir novels of yesteryear . . . [Heffernan’s] feelings for the postwar period are palpable in his seductive descriptions of New York nightscapes and in the free-and-easy speech patterns of characters long gone but too vivid to be forgotten.”
New York Times

“There’s a nice noir feeling to the opening pages of A Time Gone By . . . Heffernan’s novels are not so much about the murder but the effect the murder has on the people involved. That’s not just good mystery writing. That’s good writing, period.”
Denver Post

“Heffernan’s tale is beguiling . . . His success in the reworking of a classic American art form is also obvious. Cain and Hammett would have approved.”
Rocky Mountain News

“An aging police detective’s regrets are examined in raw, moving detail in this superior crime drama . . . Edgar-winning Heffernan once again shows himself a craftsman of the hardboiled style, as well as a seamless handler of shifting viewpoints and emotions.”
Publishers Weekly

“Heffernan is a master of scene setting, characterizations, plot, and dialogue.”
—Nelson DeMille

“William Heffernan is one of the rare mystery writers who cares about soul.”
—Martin Cruz Smith


Spanning the years from 1945 to 1975, A Time Gone By is rich in atmosphere and ripe with the kind of white-hot, hardboiled sexuality that distinguished the classic detective novels of authors like Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett, and the noir films to which they gave rise. Jake Downing is a rookie detective on the New York City Police force when he is called in to investigate the murder of one of the city’s most prominent judges. The eventual outcome of the police investigation is the arrest and conviction—and ultimate execution—of a man who fit all the requirements of a killer. The murder case, and his involvement in its resolution, launches Jake Downing’s career, a meteoric rise to the position of Chief of Detectives. But what Downing can’t ever escape is his knowledge that the wrong person was sent to the electric chair—it is something that has haunted him for years, ultimately destroying his personal life by driving away everyone he had ever loved. Now, facing retirement, Downing decides to reopen the investigation, to get both the record and his conscience straight—no matter what it costs, no matter whom it hurts. What really happened on that rainy night in 1945? Who wanted the judge killed? When Jake Downing was given the task of protecting judge’s sultry young widow, he knew it was a mistake—she was beautiful and vulnerable, but she was also trouble. It was an assignment that would change forever the life of this idealistic young detective.

Now, two decades later, as he struggles to find the real murderer of Judge Reed, Jake Downing is opening a door he will never be able to close, as memories embrace him and shards of truth threaten to penetrate his soul. But is it truth that Downing really wants, or is it revenge?

Book Details

  • Paperback: 290 pages
  • Published: 4/1/05
  • IBSN: 9781888451740


WILLIAM HEFFERNAN is the Edgar Award–winning author of nineteen novels, including the international best sellers The Corsican and The Dinosaur Club, as well as The Dead Detective, When Johnny Came Marching Home, A Time Gone By, Cityside, and Beulah Hill. He divides his time between his forty-foot trawler in Florida and visits to his children around the country. Prior to turning to fiction thirty-six years ago, Heffernan was a New York City newspaper reporter who was nominated three times for the Pulitzer Prize. The Scientology Murders is his latest novel.

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