Deaf Characters in Fiction
Mystery / Suspense
(Recently discovered)

Steven Barish - Reasonable Doubt
     Exposing a murderer and rescuing a friend from jail is doubly dangerous when you can't hear, especially when there is Reasonable Doubt.

Jean Bedford - Signs of Murder

Fiona Galloway is a young, deaf social worker - self-assured, confident and successful. But after a series of threatening letters are delivered to her door, her composure is shaken. Fearing for her safety, she turns to private eye Anna Southwood for help.


T.C. Boyle - Talk Talk

The main character (Dana) is deaf, and becomes a victim of identity theft.

"This time Boyle delivers a fast-paced, edge-of-your seat thriller, applying his mastery of language and characterization to the compulsively readable mode of the commercial suspense novel. He proves that he can master his literary chops to maintain the tension as well as any old pro of the genre...the great achievement of Talk Talk is the way the novel brings us into the moment-by-moment experience of its profoundly deaf central character. We feel and understand her every emotion and reaction." -the Portland Oregonian

Thank you Kristi D., Manager of WOU Bookstore in Monmouth, OR, for sending us this title.

Gillian Bradshaw - The Somers Treatment
     (SF/Mystery) Doctor Janet Morley has taken a young, deaf Nepalese boy under her wing and taken him to England in the hope of finding medical treatment to help him. But neurosurgeon David Somers and MI5 agent Michael Shahid only serve to rouse her suspicions that something more sinister is in the air.


Dan Brown - Digital Fortress
(TechoThriller) When the NSA encounters a code it cannot break, the agency calls its head cryptographer. What she uncovers sends shock waves throughout the corridors of power.

Assassin in the storyline is Deaf.


Heron Carvic - Miss Seeton Draws the Line

"A Miss Seeton mystery." Includes a major deaf character.

If you know of this title or deaf character, please email the info to me at

Ira Cochin - Passion Hunter
      Gumm Bwongi regains consciousness in the jungle to find her husband Mutua, a game warden at a wildlife reserve in Kenya, dead at the hands of the poacher they were tracking. Gumm heads to the to the town of Zun-gowa. Gumm sees Mak enter a repair shop whose owner is a huge, powerful man named Ebbe Tongwa. Later, Gumm meets Ebbe and finds he is deaf and blind, a kindly, gentle man who has triumphed over his disabilities.

Susan Conant  - Ruffly Speaking
     Has deaf character and one who is losing her hearing

(The focus is on dogs, including a hearing ear dog for the deaf). 

Edmund Crispin -  Buried for Pleasure
( Gervase Fen Series)

In the sleepy English village of Sanford Angelorum, Oxford professor and amateur detective Gervase Fen is taking a break from his books to run for Parliament. At first glance, the village he's come to canvass appears perfectly peaceful, but Fen soon discovers that appearances can be deceiving: someone in the village has discovered a dark secret and is using it for blackmail. Anyone who comes close to uncovering the blackmailer's identity is swiftly dispatched.

If you know of this deaf character, please email the info to me at

Carla Damron  -  Keeping Silent
   (A Caleb Knowles Mystery) Sam, a deaf artist is accused of murdering his deaf fiancee. His hearing brother Caleb is out to prove him innocent, but is having a hard time of it.

(Signing and lip reading thoroughout. Deaf characterization VERY realistic - best I've read so far. Tugged at my heart strings.)

Lindsey Davis -  Time to Depart  ~ Ode to a Banker
     (Historical Mystery- Ancient Rome) - Main character finds a deaf baby in Time to Depart. His sister adopts the baby.  In Ode to a Banker the adopted deaf child, Marcus Baebius Junillus is age 3.

(Character makes noises, mother has him copy her mouth movements to teach him speech. Also draws pictures when teaching him. I am interested to see how the author handles this in future story lines. Set in 74 A.D.  )

Colin Dexter -  The Silent World of Nicholas Quinn

A deaf academic who designs English-as-a-foreign-language tests for Oxford is murdered. 

Colin Dexter -  The Remorseful Day 

 (Last Inspector Morse) Deaf man is one of the suspects in his mother's murder.

(Character uses voice and lip reads. The other characters reminds the reader that he is deaf by saying so. Not as good a deaf characterization as I would like to see in a storyline.)

Jeffrey Deaver  - A Maiden's Grave
  A bus carrying eight deaf children and their teachers stops in the middle of the Kansas countryside, a car wreck directly ahead. Soon, three escaped killers rise out of the nearby cornfields and take children and teachers hostage
Toni Dwiggins - Interrupt
     (TecnoThriller) In Silicon Valley, profoundly deaf 12-year-old Wayne Faulkner tries to call 911 when an intruder stuns his father in the back yard - and 40,000 phones suddenly go dead. Wayne's father, Andy, can't figure out what happened, and he ought to see it at once: he's a telecom engineer, after all. But the terrorist Interrupt is clever, and Interrupt doesn't mind murder... Andy, soon a prime suspect, must identify Interrupt before the next killing - for Interrupt has taken Wayne. But Interrupt may be anybody, even the beautiful lineworker, Nell Colson. Anybody at all.
Alfred Hitchock's mystery magazine
Robert Edmond  - Alter An Accident Has Been Arranged
(Alfred Hitchock's mystery magazine ; v. 4, no. 2) (March 1959) Includes a deaf character.
Forrest L. Erickson, Debra A. Petersen - Silent Zone
     A powerful military general has been granted exclusive authority to conduct a top-secret experiment. When a faulty computer chip causes a system overload, the experiment is responsible for the tens of thousands of people within the 45.5 degree parallel to become deaf. Only a select few individuals that are working on it, the general and the President of the United States, know the true purpose of the top-secret experiment. When chaos begins, so does the conspiracy to cover up the truth about the real cause of the deafening crisis.


Steve Eubanks - Hot Laps [review]
A Stockcar Thriller

Robert Redding, a former stock car driver is now a prosecutor is putting away bad guys. His daughter is hearing-impaired.

Protagonist’s teen daughter is hearing-impaired. Eubanks handles the dialogue-through-signing so well that Katie’s conversations fit.

Roberta Gellis -  A Mortal Bane
     (Historical Mystery)
Magdalene la Batarde, a widow runs a former whorehouse whose staff includes blind Sabina, slightly simple Ella, mute Letice, and deaf cook Dulcie.
Elizabeth George - For the Sake of Elena
     Elena Weaver was a surprise to anyone meeting her for the first time. In her clingy dresses and dangling earrings she exuded a sexuality at odds with the innocence projected by the unicorn posters on her walls. While her embittered mother fretted about her welfare from her home in London, in Cambridge — where Elena was a student at St. Stephen's College — her father and his second wife each had their own very different image of the girl. Elena is deaf and someone bludgeoned her to death.

Dorothy Gilman  -  Thale's Folly  
     Not your typical mystery. Lead character solves strange situation. Homeless person turned deaf -- mentioned a time or two.

(Very minor character. Rarely seen. Don't get a grasp that the person is deaf. Others just say he is.)

Sue Grafton  - "A" is for Alibi
     (A Kinsey Millhone Mystery) ~ Includes a minor deaf character.

If you know of this title or deaf character, please email the info to me at


H. Edward Hunsburger - Death Signs
Includes a major deaf character.

Deaf Victim, Noah Kendrick, is stabbed. Main character, Mattie Shayne, is a teacher of deaf. She helps the police to commuicate with Noah. The Police then hire her to help with Noah's murder.

Kristen Johnson Ingram  -  The Rule of Silence
     The deaf nun was polishing the green malachite altar with a soft cloth, illuminated only by the dark red of the sanctuary light hanging from its sconce behind the altar. Then her fingers moved rapidly, spelling something: Behind you. Be careful. Behind you! Allegra whirled, drawing in her breath. In the dim light someone wielding a heavy iron shovel was rushing down the stairs toward her.


Polly Iyer - InSight

Mystery w/ a blind Psychologist and a deaf Detective. Deafness by gunblast while taking down a meth lab.

Hialeah Jackson (aka Polly Whitney - The Alligator's Farewell
     People who haven't been hurt by life don't become private eyes. Before Annabelle Hardy took over her father's Miami detective agency, she was beautiful, married, and teaching at Yale. She's still beautiful--but now she's deaf, widowed, and learning the lessons of the streets from her hot-tempered and oddly named partner, Dave the Monkeyman. They're not your usual P.I.'s. And their new case is not your usual murder.

Martha P. Johnson - Deadly Secret
     Anne Barnhart finally felt safe. Her psychotic ex-husband - convicted of murdering two little girls - was believed to be dead. Now she could put the memories of her brutal marriage behind her and begin to enjoy the new life she'd carved out.for her and her deaf daughter. Except that a woman has just been killed... a woman who was driving Anne's car. Daughter is Lindsay - deaf and in danger.
J. A. Jance - Exit Wounds: A Novel of Suspense
     Deaf pup. They use sign to talk to him. :)


Jonathan Kellerman - Silent Partner
Includes two deaf characters, Shirlee and Jasper Ransom

Judith Kelman - The Session
     Caity is deaf and a best-selling children’s writer.
Betty Sullivan La Pierre  The Silent Scream
     (Suspense / Thriller) The main character is a young deaf boy who finds his mother and dog murdered in his house. 3rd in the Hawkman Series

Margaret Lawrence  -   Hearts and Bones - Blood Red Roses - The Burning Bride
     Midwife Hannah Trevor and her deaf-mute daughter set in 1780s Maine. - Indian Signs and Lip Reading for communication.

Margaret Lawrence  -   Ice Weaver 
    (History Mystery) In January 1809, John Frayne returns to New Forge, New York, to reclaim his father's confiscated lands and becomes drawn to a beautiful, damaged woman in ragged clothing -- a perplexing, wild creature. A mute madwoman named Jennet, she is soon declared indigent and put up for auction. Frayne, stangely compelled to help her, bids for her future. Together, they struggle through the coarse and killing world that closes in on them both.

Jack Livingston - Die Again, Macready ~ Hell-bent for Election ~ The Nightmare File ~  A Piece of the Silence
     Series with a deaf detective named Joe Binney. 
-- out of print-

out of print

Bud Long - The Case of the Lombard Street Murder  -  The Case of the Los Angeles Chameleon
      Featuring Comrade Dolgov of the KGB. A novelette. Includes a deaf character, Karl Trevinko. Sign language is used throughout. (Author is deaf)


Bret Lott - The Hunt Club: A Novel
    ( "It started with a body, the head of it pretty much gone, the hands skinned." This eerie introduction to Bret Lott's The Hunt Club sets the tone for this novel of murder, violence, and sinister secrets. The settings are dark and sultry: ramshackle trailers, forgotten burial grounds, and the seedy Hunt Club itself, built on "trash land." Events are witnessed through the eyes of 15-year-old Huger Dillard, smart, precocious, and always at the forefront of some crisis or criminal activity. Huger is also the eyes for his uncle, the owner of the Hunt Club who was left blind from a fire that killed his wife. Huger and "Unc" are unwittingly entangled in a web of murder and deceit, and they must solve this classic whodunit. Assisted by a local cook and her young, deaf daughter, this is a fresh and innovative detective team.


Cynthia Manson - Death of the Verandah
     Mystery stories of the South from Ellery Queen's mystery magazine and Alfred Hitchcock mystery magazine / edited by Cynthia Manson.

     Contents: The comforts of home / by Flannery O'Connor -- Tell the women we're going / by Raymond Carver -- Old Mr. Marblehall / by Eudora Welty -- The forgotten witness / by Melville Davisson Post -- Come down from the hills / by John F. Suter -- The grave grass quivers / by MacKinlay Kantor -- The Georgia resurrection / by S.S. Rafferty -- Voices in dead man's well / by Donald Honig -- The right to sing the blues / by John Lutz -- Just like a hog / by Bryce Walton -- Jambalaya / by Douglas Craig -- The theft of the bald man's comb / by Edward D. Hoch -- The Secret / by Florence V. Mayberry -- The family rose / by Charlotte Hinger -- The last revival / by Clark Howard -- Willie's story / by Jerry F. Skarky.
Notes: Originally published: New York : Carroll & Graf, 1994.

Short story "The Secret" includes a deaf character.

Deanie Francis Mills  The Jigsaw Man

If you know of this title or deaf character, please email the info to me at


Ed McBain - Cop Hater - Eight Black Horses - Let's Hear it for the Deaf Man ~80 Million Eyes -The Heckler - Mischief - Hark!
     (87th precinct mystery) The deaf man is a bad character who gives the 87th Precinct grief..

Cop Hater: Detective Carella meets and woos the beautiful deaf-mute Teddy


Ed McBain - McBain's Ladies: The Women of the 87th Precinct
     (From Publishers Weekly) This book is not one of McBain's superior police procedurals but a jumble of excerpts from his bestsellers about the 87th Precinct. Lifted out of context, these chapters describe both the policewomen of the precinct and the wives and lovers of the men on the force. Starting when Detective Carella meets and woos the beautiful deaf-mute Teddy (Cop Hater, 1956), other extracts dwell upon the Carellas as the ideal spouses, parents and lovers.

Anthony Morton  -  Deaf, Dumb, and Blonde (Baron #26)
A nest-egg of gold holding five jewelled eggs. A blonde who is beautiful and deaf. A murder, more murders and a mysterious gunman.


Carolyn Brimley Norris - Island Of Silence

Gothic Romance. Main Character is teacher for the deaf. Her boyfriend and her sister are deaf. (1978)

Can a young and beautiful teacher of the deaf from a little town in Ohio save the handsome, young, deafened veteran from bitterness? Can she do it alone, on the mysterious, haunted island, or must she enlist the help of her precious , deaf, beautiful, teenage sister?

Charles O'Brien  -  Mute Witness - Black Gold - Noble Blood - Lethal Beauty - Cruel Choices - Fatal Carnival
(Historical Mystery - French Revolution) Anne Cartier, a vaudeville actress soon to be a deaf teacher works in London and Paris just before the French Revolution. Solves mysteries and training to teach the deaf. Deaf woman is a witness in this one.

(Many mentions of both historically famous deaf schools in Paris and London. Communication with the deaf in the story line is done with some signing, some lip-reading, drawing and painting, but mostly mentions silently showing. Very Well Done..)

Abigail Padgett -  Child of Silence
     This powerful and suspenseful debut features an unusual heroine, San Diego Juvenile Court child abuse investigator Bo Bradley. A closet manic-depressive, Bo fights to keep her job and her equilibrium when she is assigned the case of a four-year-old boy found tied to a mattress in an abandoned house on an Indian reservation. She realizes that the boy is deaf, not retarded as she first thought, and hopes to place him with a family who will teach him to sign.

James Patterson -  Private Down Under
      Deaf Character: Ho Chang/ 19 year-old Asian murder victim.

Victim dies at the beginning of the storyline. Rest is about his father and the Detective agency tracking down the killers.

Private series by Patterson. Suspense. Detective agency for the rich. Violence. Graphic content. Profanity.

Jane Peart  -   A Sinister Silence
      (Christian Mystery) [Edgecliffe Manor Mysteries]
(Historical Mystery) turn-of-the-century England. Paige Mallory becomes sick and looses her hearing. Like a deaf person she uses sign and lip reading. Will her deafness be permanent?
Nancy Pickard -  The Whole Truth
     Murder of six-year-old deaf girl 
Dianne G. Pugh, Dana Issacson (Editor) - Cold Call
     (An Iris Thorne Mystery) In Pugh's fast-paced debut, she introduces a new series and a wonderful new heroine: immediately likable, witty investment counselor Iris Thorne. The only man at the office who knew the real Iris was Alley, the deaf and handicapped mailman. When Alley is killed, Iris knows it wasn't a random act of violence--because Alley was hiding $238,000 in a safe-deposit box.

Ellery Queen (Aka Barnaby Ross)

Greg Rucka  -  Alpha - Bravo
Jad Bell series. Undercover Delta Force operator, Master Sergeant Jonathan “Jad” Bell. His daughter is deaf. They communicate in sign language.

Alpha: For the visitors to Wilsonville, the largest theme park in the world, the day began with a smile. By the end, they wonder-will they be able to escape with their lives?

Bravo: Still recovering from traumas both physical and emotional, Jad Bell is tasked with bringing in the Uzbek, principal organizer of the terrorist attack that nearly cost Bell his ex-wife and daughter. But the Uzbek's just the beginning: his employer, the Architect, has already set in motion another, even more devastating attack.

Violence. Graphic content. Profanity.

Alan Russell

No Sign of Murder When beautiful, deaf heiress Anita Walters vanishes, Stuart Winter looks to those involved in her bizarre nightlife and to Joseph, the gorilla to whom she had been teaching sign language, for clues

The Forest Prime Evil If you have any info on the deaft character in this title email

Dwight Steward  - The Acupuncture Murders
(A Joan Kahn-Harper novel of suspense) Sampson Trehune, deaf since childhood, is to be the second patient to receive acupuncture therapy, as a demonstration. The first patient recovers from his paralized condition, only to die moments later.
John Simpson  - Crossed Wires
     Crossed Wires, a highly original mystery novel, introduces readers to an unusual heroine, who is being stalked by a particularly chilling serial killer. Finley is tenacious, sympathetic, and attractive. What then makes her an unusual sleuth? Finley is deaf. And Finley and the murderer who hunts her inhabit, literally, a new world - almost a new dimension. They live an important part of their lives within the electronic bulletin boards accessed by their personal computers.
D.R. (David) Schanker -  A Criminal Appeal
     Nora Lumsey aids with the appeal of  a 10 year old black deaf boy accused of a drive by shooting (murder). 

Victoria Thompson -  Murder on St. Mark's Place (A Gaslight Mystery)
     Victorian mystery about a midwife and a NY detective who solve crimes on their own. The detective has a 3 year old deaf son. The father investigates ways to help him and his son communicate.

Beginning signs of deafness very realistic. Son and his deaf life is mentioned off and on throughout the series
Peter Tremayne -  The Spider's Web: A Mystery of Ancient Ireland
     (Historical Mystery) Chieftain of Araglin, has been murdered by Moen, a deaf, dumb, and blind creature raised by Teafla, who has also been slain. Sister Fidelma  and an aged mountain recluse, Gadra, must use finger signals with Moen. They want to prove him innocent. 
Barry Unsworth - Morality Play
     (History Mystery) Nicholas Barber is a twenty-three-year-old priest who, fearing the wrath of the bishop for breaking his vows of chastity, takes up with a troupe of traveling players. Coming to a small town in the middle of winter, the troupe puts on their usual morality play but gets caught up in a drama of a different kind: a murder has taken place, and a mute-and-deaf girl stands condemned, awaiting execution

Penny Warner  - Dead Body Language ~ Sign of Foul Play ~ Right to Remain Silent ~ A Quiet Undertaking ~ Blind Side ~Silence Is Golden - Dead Man's Hand
     Deaf  newspaper woman, Connor Westphal in Flat Skunk, CA.


(Female sleuth signs and lip reads, but also talks well. Reminders of deafness throughout.)

Patricia Wentworth  -  The Listening Eye
   Paulina Paine, though deaf, can lip read so well that she "overhears" two men plotting a theft and murder. A perfect case for Miss Silver.

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