Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Michael Raleigh  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Fiction Mystery

Audience: Adult;

Born: 1947 in Chicago, Illinois

-- Website --
-- Michael Raleigh on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Raleigh is a lifelong Chicagoan. He grew up on the north side of Chicago, spending the first 11 years in the neighborhood around old Riverview amusement park, a neighborhood that is the setting for his novel ''In the Castle of the Flynns''. The family later moved to the area now called Wrigleyville. Michael attended DePaul Academy for high school, and then attended DePaul University, where he received a bachelor of arts degree, majoring in English literature, with a minor in American history.

Biographical and Professional Information

The author of eight novels, Raleigh has received four Illinois Arts Council awards for fiction. He is an emeritus professor of English and History of the City Colleges, currently teaching at DePaul.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

Death in Uptown: A Paul Whelan Mystery
ISBN: 0595093418

iUniverse. 2000

Death in Uptown is the first book in Michael Raleigh's widely praised Paul Whelan series. In this novel, a killer is loose in Chicago's colorful and racially-diverse Uptown neighborhood, and Paul Whelan finds himself drawn in for personal reasons. His search for the killer is complicated by the arrival of a client, an attractive young woman seeking her lost brother, and Whelan soon realizes that the woman's brother is somehow involved in his search, a search which does not end till five men are dead.

A Body in Belmont Harbor: A Paul Whelan Mystery
ISBN: 059509340X

iUniverse. 2000

A Body in Belmont Harbor is the second book in Michael Raleigh's widely praised Paul Whelan series. As this novel opens, the body of a small-time drug dealer is washed up in Belmont Harbor among the yachts of Chicago's wealthy, and a woman hires Paul Whelan to investigate the suicide of her husband, who once knew the drug dealer. Whelan's investigation takes him along Chicago's beautiful lakefront into the haunts of the well-heeled, and he soon finds that someone has begun stalking him.

The Maxwell Street Blues: A Paul Whelan Mystery (Paul Whelan Mysteries)
ISBN: 0595093426

iUniverse. 2000

In The Maxwell Street Blues, the third novel in Michael Raleigh's Paul Whelan series of private eye novels, Whelan is hired by an elderly jazz musician to look in to the murder of his boyhood friend, a dealer in Chicago's great open-air flea market, Maxwell Street. Whelan's investigation leads him into the dealer's past, and uncovers old feuds and wounds and an interracial romance. The story takes Whelan into some of Chicago's oldest neighborhoods and most interesting communities and introduces him to a rich, often funny cast of characters.

Killer on Argyle Street: A Paul Whelan Mystery (Paul Whelan Mysteries)
ISBN: 0595093434

iUniverse. 2000

A faceless killer is murdering the members of a car-theft ring, and Paul Whelan is hired to find a boy who may have seen the murderer, a man with a chameleon-like ability to change his appearance. Whelan's search leads him to Argyle Street, the busy, exotic Asian strip at the edge of the Uptown neighborhood, where all the evidence suggests that the murderer may already have gotten the boy. Along the way Whelan learns that another man is involved, a boyhood friend Whelan had believed to be dead, and Whelan comes to believe that more than one person is involved in the murders.

The Riverview Murders: A Paul Whelan Mystery
ISBN: 0312156413

St Martins Pr. 1997

Forty years after a person had been murdered in Riverview Park, Paul Whelan must investigate a diverse group of men and women who had been both lovers and friends to unravel the secret of the unsolved crime.

In the Castle of the Flynns
ISBN: 0425190366

Berkley Trade. 2003

When Daniel Dorsey's parents die in a car crash, it's a devastating loss. But once the wake is over, at least he's fortunate enough to have a large extended family welcoming him with open arms, offering him care and comfort...and another chance at childhood. From a Ferris-wheel ride with a nun to a bus trip with a live chicken, In the Castle of the Flynns is a novel both mournful and merry-an unforgettable portrait of a boy growing up in1950s Chicago.

The Blue Moon Circus: A Novel
ISBN: 1402202385

Sourcebooks Landmark. 2004

For the boy, it was the first real chance for a future. For the man, it was one last chance to triumph over his past. Opportunities like these happen only once in a Blue Moon.

"An absolute charmer."―Library Journal Starred Review

"Simply put, this is a ripsnorting good historical yarn full of circus lore, so smartly told by an expert storyteller that it's the kind of book truly deserving that overused term 'page-turner.'"―Chicago Sun-Times

"With no safety net, Raleigh takes a spectacular highwire route...making it all look easy in this captivating tale of a decent man in a very hard world. Beguiling, wise and wonderful."―Kirkus Reviews Starred Review

"A heartwarming, often humorous story filled with interesting circus lore as well as deeper themes about the value of human connection, especially as life winds down."―Booklist

"Rollicking, warmhearted...As dramatic and engaging as a high-wire act, the novel combines honest story-telling with down-home wit. There's plenty of smartly written, feel-good fun under this big top."―Publishers Weekly

The Conjurer's Boy
ISBN: 0983321663

Harvard Square Editions. 2012

The Conjuror's Boy is the saga of Thomas Faye, a fatherless boy who enters a junk shop on a gray Chicago day in 1962 and is forever changed by the two men he meets there. Arthur Farrell, the proprietor, is a sometime-magician,raconteur, wanderer, a wounded veteran of the carnage at the Somme, who can heal - and perhaps far more - with the mere touch of his hand. His belligerent friend Meyer, a seemingly indestructible survivor of the fall of the Warsaw Ghetto, lives on the street, a magnet for trouble and violence. Under the influence of these two mysterious men Thomas comes to see the world in ways he could never have imagined. As his own travels take him to Vietnam and the far corners of America, he adopts one persona after another: drifter, soldier, carny worker, detective, lover. Through it all, three people hover at the edge of his existence: Farrell, Meyer, and a troubled girl. As he notes the troubling changes in his own abilities, he begins to understand why fate sent him into the conjuror's shop that day in 1962. Michael Raleigh is the author of seven previous novels, including IN THE CASTLE OF THE FLYNNS. He has received the Eugene Izzi award for crime fiction and four Illinois Arts Council awards for fiction. He teaches writing at DePaul University and lives in Chicago with his wife Katherine and his three children.

Peerless Detective
ISBN: 1626817804

Diversion Books. 2015

Once Billy Fox starts looking for trouble, he discovers that―in Chicago―trouble's under every footstep.

Home from the war, Billy Fox leaves Michigan for Chicago, hoping to find his ex-girlfriend, Rita―now another man’s wife. Chicago isn’t a town that takes kindly to strangers, and Billy finds himself barely scraping by, working odd jobs and living in squalor among convicts and other men that the city hasn’t spit out just yet.

A chance encounter lands him a job with Harry Strummer, the streetwise owner of the Peerless Detective Agency. At Harry's oddball agency, Billy hones his skills, learning how to stake out a mark, find a bug, and spot a tail. Odd life lessons and unexpected romance come his way. But as he searches for Rita, an even bigger mystery comes along, one that puts Harry, and Billy with him, in the crosshairs.

This punchy, spellbinding noir spins a web that will catch readers and hold them captive to the final page, when we learn that Billy’s Chicago is a town where nothing is ever truly left up to chance.


Fellow of Illinois Arts Council 1984, 1985, 1986 and 1989

Speaking Engagements

Speaking Engagement Availability (Yes)

Raleigh has given programs on all aspects of writing fiction, finding an agent, dealing with publishers and surviving the creative process in one piece. As a former instructor of Chicago History at Truman College, he has also given talks on little-known features of life in Chicago in the 1800s and on the Great Chicago Fire.

Contact Information

Agent - Danielle Egan-Miller Browne Multimedia Product Development, Inc. 410 S. Michigan Ave., Room 724 Chicago, Illinois 60605