Sam McCarver is the author of six historical mystery novels featuring the beloved character Professor John Darnell.


The John Darnell cases began with "The Case of Cabin 13" on the Titanic in 1912 and "The Case of Compartment 7" on the Orient Express in 1914 featuring Agatha Miller Christie. "The Case of The 2nd Séance" in London featured Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. "The Case of The Ripper's Revenge" included George Bernard Shaw. "The Case of The Uninvited Guest" in 1918 Paris features young Ernest Hemingway. "To Die, or Not to Die" in Stratford-upon-Avon in 1919 features actor John Barrymore.


Sam McCarver has taught the aspiring novel writers in Orange County, California for over eight years. His book "Novel Writing for Wanna-be's" and his book, "Poetry Writing For Wanna-be's" which includes his poetry chapbook of light verse, "Poems Are Such Funny Stuff," are available on,, and, or can be ordered at major book stores. His latest novel "To Die, or Not To Die," may be purchased online from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Five Star, or from the author.






The Mystery Reader


Romantic Times



'Wonderful fun . . . John and Penny are emerging as a formidable team that will have readers looking forward to their next adventure."


"McCarver's descriptive prowess makes the world of 1916 England come to life in The Case of the 2nd Séance."


Romantic Times


Harriet Klausner -



"Entertaining, fast paced . . . McCarver does a masterful job."


'The Case of the Ripper's Revenge is a superb historical mystery."





The Case of Cabin 13

Author: Sam McCarver
Type of work: Novel
Published by: New American Library/Signet, 5/99
Setting: The Titanic, April 1912.
Description: Professor John Darnell, world's first paranormal detective, books cabin 13 on the Titanic to investigate three mysterious White Star Line cabin 13 deaths and bring a demented killer to justice.
Character notes: A Professor of psychology and philosophy, Darnell calls himself a "psychichologist." He meets Penny Winters aboard ship. The first novel of the John Darnell Mystery series.

In 2012, I self-published as an "e-book" my first John Darnell novel which had originally come out as a paperback in 1999 titled "The Case of Cabin 13." The e-book is priced at the popular sales price of $2.99, and has my original title, "Deadly Crossing: A Titanic Adventure."

Click Here link to purchase this title at




The Case of Compartment 7

Author: Sam McCarver
Type of work: Novel
Published by: New American Library/Signet, 2/00
Setting: The Orient Express, April 1914.
Description: Professor John Darnell, world's first paranormal detective, investigates apparitions of a blood-drenched young woman in compartment 7 - and murder - on the Orient Express, in dangerous days before World War I.
Character notes: Darnell and Penny Winters have married now.




The Case of The 2nd Séance

Author: Sam McCarver
Type of work: Novel
Published by: New American Library/Signet, 11/00
Setting: London, England, December 1916, during World War I
Description: When new Prime Minister David Lloyd George's teen-aged daughter, Megan, disappears during a séance arranged by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, his friend, Professor John Darnell, world's first investigator of paranormal events, is called in to solve the mystery and save the missing girl. Then, in a 2nd séance, a murder reveals that an international conspiracy is involved.
Character notes: Darnell and his wife, Penny, often are thrust into danger together during Darnell's journeys and cases.




The Case of The Ripper's Revenge

Author: Sam McCarver
Type of work: Novel
Published by: New American Library/Signet, 11/01
Setting: London, England, August 1917
Description: 29 years after Jack the Ripper viciously murdered five women in the Whitechapel District of London and then disappeared, a ghostlike figure is seen in Whitechapel in August 1917. When hauntingly-similar murders begin again in Whitechapel, Scotland Yard calls in Professor John Darnell, the world's first and only paranormal detective, who debunks supernatural events, to investigate. Then when similar killings begin in fashionable parts of London, Darnell is drawn more deeply into the mystery, must set a trap to catch the killer, and enlists the aid of playwright George Bernard Shaw.



The Case of The Uninvited Guest

Author: Sam McCarver
Type of work: Novel
Published by: New American Library/Signet, 8/02
ISBN: 0451-207-157

Setting: Paris, France, December 1918
Description: Following the armistice for World War I, amid many celebrations in Paris, an American publishing company's Editorial Director convenes a meeting of his eclectic group of writers from various parts of the world at Le Grand Hotel in Paris. In a late-night party when one writer is found murdered, the Surete investigates. But when a ghostly apparition resembling the murdered writer haunts the hotel's halls, John Darnell, the world's first detective specializing in apparent supernatural events, is called in to investigate that. Ultimately Darnell solves the case with some help from a young, wounded soldier on his way back to America, Ernest Hemingway, but not before his wife, Penny's life is threatened.




To Die, or Not to Die

Author: Sam McCarver
Type of work: Novel
Published by: Five Star
Description: Professor John Darnell travels from London to Stratford-upon-Avon in 1919 at the request of the Mayor, who is worried about appearances of what seem to be ghosts just outside the Shakespeare theater, and their impact on the annual Shakespeare festival. The actor, John Barrymore, traveling from America, is about to arrive in Stratford to star on the Shakespeare Memorial Theater stage in Hamlet and Macbeth. Darnell's wife, Penny, seven months along, accompanies Darnell on the trip and they stay at the Anne Hathaway Inn for a week. The ghostly sightings lead quickly to two murders, which John Darnell investigates. With Scotland Yard, Darnell faces even greater dangers as rare,  valuable scripts are stolen and an assassination plot is revealed.




The Loch Ness Mystery
Type of work: Short Story, from "And The Dying is Easy"
Published by: Signet, 6/01
Description: John and Penny Darnell go to Loch Ness in Scotland for a combination vacation and investigation of mysterious occurrences which Sandy MacDougall, reporter for the London Times, tells them about, urging Darnell to come. In the spooky Drumnadrochit Inn, a murder occurs and Darnell must uncover the motivation and find the killer in the nearby town of the same name. Has the Loch Ness monster really been seen this time? You will just have to read it to find out.





Novel Writing For Wanna-be's:  A Step-by-Step Handbook

Author: Sam McCarver
Type of work: Nonfiction
Published by: iUniverse, 4/05  $17.95
Description: An easy-to-read and enjoyable practical guide in how to write a novel, written by a published mystery novel author and instructor who has taught the writing of novels, including mysteries, for over eight years. With this book, learn everything you need to know about putting your novel together and turning your story idea into an intriguing plot with memorable characters, compelling scenes and natural dialogue. Dozens of case studies and examples are included to help you write and present your novel in a way that will interest agents and editors, including formats for a query letter and manuscript, and a discussion of the publication process.




Poetry Writing For Wanna-be's:  A Writer-Friendly Guidebook

Author: Sam McCarver

Type of work: Nonfiction
Published by: iUniverse, 9/06  $12.95
Description: After reading and enjoying poetry, many of us become "poets" desiring to develop our own skills and style by learning from the experiences of others. This simple, practical, handy guide provides the background and essentials you need for writing your poems in readable, entertaining form. You'll learn about various poetry forms from traditional to free verse. You'll read about poetry and poets and use valuable reference lists of poetry forms and terms. You'll learn how to critique a poem and discover more about public poetry readings and getting published. And you'll be able to begin writing your poems right away, with confidence that you know the principles involved.

In addition, you'll enjoy and learn from the author's chapbook, "Poems Are Such Funny Stuff", which includes 29 of his light verse poems. They include a variety of themes and structures, some poems with rhyme and meter, some in free verse, ranging from humor and whimsy to deeper thought addressing topics of today, and supplementing other examples in the text. Poetry offers an enjoyable experience, especially in its creation. Have fun!



Here’s how to receive a free, valuable professional critique of your writing by Sam McCarver! Just send your receipt showing an online purchase of either “Novel Writing for Wanna-be’s” or “Poetry Writing for Wanna-be’s” to Sam McCarver   PO Box 14   San Juan Capistrano   CA 92693 and enclose your choice of either Six pages of your novel or short story, or Three poems, plus your email address, and receive a prompt email critique of your writing. Buy your book today!




Writing Novels, Short Stories, Mysteries, Suspense
Taught by: Sam McCarver

Six-time published novelist and experienced writer and instructor teaches everything essential to writing a novel or short story including plot, character, scenes, dialogue, viewpoint, style, format, outlines, and synopses, covering all genres and with special insights into mystery and suspense. Student manuscripts are critiqued in class.

Taught at: City of Dana Point - Community Center
34052 Del Obispo St
Dana Point CA 92629
Call the City at (949) 248-3530 or
Register online at:


Taught at: City of San Clemente Community Center
100 North Calle Seville
San Clemente CA 92672
Call the City at (949) 321-8264 or
Register online at:

Contact: Sam McCarver for class details |



Manuscript Editing - Full or Partial Books

Fees Vary: Contact Sam McCarver for details |