Thus Was Adonis Murdered, Sarah Caudwell.
Neither Thus Was Adonis Murdered nor any of Sarah Caudwell's other books are currently in print in the United States. Thus Was Adonis Murdered was the first in her series of four novels about a group of young crime solving barristers at London's Lincoln's Inn.
Sarah Caudwell (1939 - 2000) was herself a lawyer who lived in London, part of the famous English Cockburn clan of journalists, writers and politicians.
There is little blood and violence in Caudwell's books, but they are certainly not cozies. They are far too sly and intelligent and, in their own way, dark for that. She understands people the way few novelists do. She has an almost outsider's perspective, looking with a gentle smile on the foibles of the human race from some benevolent Archimedean point in space.
Perhaps she is out of print because most of her plots involve arcane aspects of trusts, inheritance or tax law (no dont stop reading!) but they are laced through with a light touch and a rich humor that the non specialist will enjoy. If you are a lawyer and you wonder why your life isn't quite like The Pelican Brief, read Sarah Caudwell. She nails the blackletter nitty gritty of what it means to pratice law; the tedium, the lock picking intricacy of a case and the intellectual pleasure that comes from seeing something that no one else has spotted in a judgement or a brief.
Caudwell's prose is like that too. Oh so careful, oh so finely balanced, oh so quietly hilarious. If you like tight plots and clever people and you sometimes wonder why they don't make 'em like His Girl Friday anymore, read Sarah Caudwell and have fun.