While modern day mystery novels are relatable and exciting to read, there is a greater extent of escapism to historical mystery books. Here are a few of my favorites:
Girl with a Gun by Kari Bovee
Annie Oakley joins Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show to become an American Icon. But when a string of crimes takes place during their travels, including the murder of her Indian assistant, Annie fears someone is out to get her. With the help of a sassy, blue-blooded reporter, Annie sets out as an amateur sleuth to solve the crimes that threaten her good name.
This is the first of my Historical Mystery Books and the Winner of the 2019 Hillerman Southwest Fiction Award
Silent in the Grave by Deanna Raybourn
“Let the wicked be ashamed, and let them be silent in the grave.”
These ominous words are the last threat that Sir Edward Grey receives from his killer. Before he can show them to Nicholas Brisbane, the private inquiry agent he has retained for his protection, he collapses and dies at his London home, in the presence of his wife, Julia, and a roomful of dinner guests.
Prepared to accept that Edward’s death was due to a long-standing physical infirmity, Julia is outraged when Brisbane visits and suggests that her husband was murdered. It is a reaction she comes to regret when she discovers damning evidence for herself, and realizes the truth.
Determined to bring the murderer to justice, Julia engages the enigmatic Brisbane to help her investigate Edward’s demise. Dismissing his warnings that the investigation will be difficult, if not impossible, Julia presses forward, following a trail of clues that lead her to even more unpleasant truths, and ever closer to a killer who waits expectantly for her arrival.
Sick of Shadows by M.C. Beaton
Lady Rose Summer and Captain Harry Cathcart have an engagement of convenience to keep her from India and failed debutantes. She befriends newly arrived Miss Dolly Tremaine, stabbed to death and floating in a boat on the Serpentine River, and barely survives an attempt on her own life. Harry is summoned and the duo uncover deceptions, secrets, and the killer.
Mydworth Mystery – A Little Night Murder by Neil Richards and Matthew Costello
A young poacher is found shot dead in the woods of a grand estate near Mydworth. A sad accident it would seem. But the boy’s mother is convinced it is murder and when Harry and Kat investigate, they find the poacher’s life was not as innocent as he made out …
Co-authors Neil Richards (based in the UK) and Matthew Costello (based in the US), have been writing together since the mid-90s, creating innovative content and working on major projects for the BBC, Disney Channel, Sony, ABC, Eidos, and Nintendo to name but a few. Their transatlantic collaboration has underpinned scores of TV drama scripts, computer games, radio shows, and the best-selling mystery series Cherringham. Their latest series project is called Mydworth Mysteries.
A Terrible Beauty by Tasha Alexander
In this thrilling new novel in the New York Times bestselling series, Lady Emily travels to Greece where a ghost from her past returns to haunt her amid the ruins.
Lady Emily retreats to her villa on the island of Santorini for a brief respite from London. But when she arrives, the housekeeper informs her that the master of the house has returned—Emily’s first husband who died a decade earlier…
A Tale of Two Murders by Heather Redmond
In the winter of 1835, young Charles Dickens is a journalist on the rise at the Evening Chronicle. Invited to dinner at the estate of the newspaper’s co-editor, Charles is smitten with his boss’s daughter, vivacious nineteen-year-old Kate Hogarth. They are having the best of times when a scream shatters the pleasant evening. Charles, Kate, and her father rush to the neighbors’ home, where Miss Christiana Lugoson lies unconscious on the floor. By morning, the poor young woman will be dead.
When Charles hears from a colleague of a very similar mysterious death a year ago to the date, also a young woman, he begins to suspect poisoning and feels compelled to investigate. The lovely Kate offers to help–using her social position to gain access to the members of the upper crust, now suspects in a murder. If Charles can find justice for the victims, it will be a far, far better thing than he has ever done. But with a twist or two in this most peculiar case, he and Kate may be in for the worst of times . . .
Murder in a Mill Town by P.B. Ryan
Nell Sweeney, a young Irish-born governess in post-Civil War Boston, may not have much, but she does possess both a keen mind and a brave heart. As governess to the wealthy Hewitt family, she finds plenty of opportunities to use both—especially when the seamy side of society shows itself…
The lowborn Fallons come to Viola Hewitt with a desperate plea for help. Their wayward daughter, Bridget, a pretty young employee of Hewitt Mills and Dye Works, hasn’t been seen for days. Mrs. Fallon, unwilling to believe that Bridget would just run off without a word, fears that she’s come to a bad end—possibly at the hands of her ex-con lover. Viola, confined to a wheelchair, enlists Nell to locate the missing mill girl. Working with Viola’s black sheep son, Will, Nell uncovers a web of schemes and greed and dark obsession… and what she knows may just be the death of her.
The Secret Life of Anna Blanc by Jennifer Kincheloe
It’s 1907 Los Angeles. Mischievous socialite Anna Blanc is the kind of young woman who devours purloined crime novels—but must disguise them behind covers of more domestically-appropriate reading. She could match wits with Sherlock Holmes, but in her world women are not allowed to hunt criminals. Determined to break free of the era’s rigid social roles, Anna buys off the chaperone assigned by her domineering father and, using an alias, takes a job as a police matron with the Los Angeles Police Department. There she discovers a string of brothel murders, which the cops are unwilling to investigate. Seizing her one chance to solve a crime, she takes on the investigation herself. If the police find out, she’ll get fired; if her father finds out, he’ll disown her; and if her fiancé finds out, he’ll cancel the wedding and stop pouring money into her father’s collapsing bank. Midway into her investigation, the police chief’s son, Joe Singer, learns her true identity. And shortly thereafter she learns about blackmail. Anna must choose—either hunt the villain and risk losing her father, fiancé, and wealth, or abandon her dream and leave the killer on the loose.
Treacherous is the Night by Anna Lee Huber
In 1919 England, in the shadow of The Great War, many look to the spirit world for answers. But it will take an all too earthbound intrigue to draw in the discerning heroine of Anna Lee Huber’s latest mystery . . .
It’s not that Verity Kent doesn’t sympathize with those eager to make contact with lost loved ones. After all, she once believed herself a war widow. But now that she’s discovered Sidney is very much alive, Verity is having enough trouble connecting with her estranged husband, never mind the dead. Still, at a friend’s behest, Verity attends a séance, where she encounters the man who still looms between her and Sidney—and a medium who channels a woman Verity once worked with in the Secret Service. Refusing to believe her former fellow spy is dead, Verity is determined to uncover the source of the spiritualist’s top secret revelation.
Then the medium is murdered—and Verity’s investigation is suddenly thwarted. Even Secret Service agents she once trusted turn their backs on her. Undaunted, Verity heads to war-torn Belgium, with Sidney by her side. But as they draw ever closer to the danger, Verity wonders if she’s about to learn the true meaning of till death do us part . . .
Which of these have you read? Which is your favorite? Let me know in the comments below!