Category Archives: History

Historical Fiction Books - HIstorical Mystery Hidden Gems - Kari Bovée Historical Mystery Author


8 Historical Mystery Hidden Gems

Historical mystery combines historical fiction and mystery fiction. Enjoy the best of both worlds in these historical mystery hidden gems! Give yourself the gift of these “whodunits” or impress your friends with these suggestions at your next bookclub meeting!

Historical Fiction Books - Historical Mystery Hidden GemsThe Portrait of Molly Dean by Katherine Kovacic

An unsolved murder comes to light after almost seventy years…

In 1999, art dealer Alex Cayton stumbles across a lost portrait of Molly Dean, an artist’s muse brutally slain in Melbourne in 1930. Alex buys the painting and sets out to uncover more details, but finds there are strange inconsistencies: Molly’s mother seemed unconcerned by her daughter’s violent death, the main suspect was never brought to trial despite compelling evidence, and vital records are missing. Alex enlists the help of her close friend, art conservator John Porter, and together they sift through the clues and deceptions that swirl around the last days of Molly Dean.

Historical Mystery Hidden Gems Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Read more about this novel HERE.

 

Historical Fiction Books - Historical Mystery Hidden Gems - The Art of Theft by Sherry ThomasThe Art of Theft by Sherry Thomas

As “Sherlock Holmes, consulting detective,” Charlotte Holmes has solved murders and found missing individuals. But she has never stolen a priceless artwork – or rather, made away with the secrets hidden behind a much-coveted canvas.

But Mrs. Watson is desperate to help her old friend recover those secrets and Charlotte finds herself involved in a fever-paced scheme to infiltrate a glamorous Yuletide ball where the painting is one handshake away from being sold and the secrets a bare breath from exposure.

Her dear friend Lord Ingram, her sister Livia, Livia’s admirer Stephen Marbleton – everyone pitches in to help and everyone has a grand time. But nothing about this adventure is what it seems and disaster is biding time on the grounds of a glittering French chateau, waiting only for Charlotte to make a single mistake…

Historical Mystery Hidden Gems Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Read more about this novel HERE.

 

Historical Fiction Books Kari Bovee Indie Book AwardsPeccadillo at the Palace by Kari Bovée

It’s 1887, and Annie and Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show are invited to Queen Victoria’s Jubilee celebration in London, England. But their long journey across the Atlantic takes a turn for the worst when the queen’s royal servant ends up dead and Annie’s husband, Frank Butler, falls suspiciously ill. Annie soon discovers that the two events are connected―and may possibly be precursors to an assassination attempt on the queen.

In London, it becomes clear there is rampant unrest in the queen’s kingdom―the Irish Fenian Brotherhood, as well as embittered English subjects, are teeming in the streets. But amid the chaos, even while she prepares for the show, Annie is determined to find the truth. With the help of a friend and reporter, Emma Wilson, the renowned poet Oscar Wilde, and the famous socialite Lillie Langtry, Annie sets out to hunt down the queen’s enemies―and find out why they want to kill England’s most beloved monarch.

Historical Mystery Hidden Gems Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Read more about this novel HERE.

 

Historical Fiction Books - Historical Mystery Hidden Gems - The Thirteenth Tale by Diane SetterfieldThe Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

Reclusive author Vida Winter, famous for her collection of twelve enchanting stories, has spent the past six decades penning a series of alternate lives for herself. Now old and ailing, she is ready to reveal the truth about her extraordinary existence and the violent and tragic past she has kept secret for so long. Calling on Margaret Lea, a young biographer troubled by her own painful history, Vida disinters the life she meant to bury for good. Margaret is mesmerized by the author’s tale of gothic strangeness—featuring the beautiful and willful Isabelle, the feral twins Adeline and Emmeline, a ghost, a governess, a topiary garden and a devastating fire. Together, Margaret and Vida confront the ghosts that have haunted them while becoming, finally, transformed by the truth themselves.

Historical Mystery Hidden Gems Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Read more about this novel HERE.

 

Historical Fiction Books - Historical Mystery Hidden Gems - Searcher of the Dead by Nancy HerrimanSearcher of the Dead by Nancy Herriman

Living amid the cultural flowering, religious strife, and political storms of Tudor England, Bess Ellyott is an herbalist, a widow, and a hunted woman. She fled London after her husband was brutally murdered, but the bucolic town in the countryside where she lands will offer her no solace. She still doesn’t know who killed her husband, but she knows one thing: The murderer is still out there. This becomes all too clear when Bess’s brother-in-law, a prosperous merchant, is himself found dead—dangling from a tree, an apparent suicide.

But Bess doesn’t believe that for a moment, and nor do her neighbors. Competition is cutthroat in the 17th century, and word around the town holds that the dead man is a victim of rival merchants scheming to corner the wool market. Bess, though, is convinced the killer is out to destroy her family.

Town constable Christopher Harwoode will cross members of his own family to help Bess find the killer—whose next target may very well be Queen Elizabeth I—in this unshakably gripping, devilishly unpredictable series debut that will delight fans of Alison Weir and Philippa Gregory.

Historical Mystery Hidden Gems Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Read more about this novel HERE.

 

Historical Fiction Books - Historical Mystery Hidden Gems - The Widow of Pale Harbor by Hester FoxThe Widow of Pale Harbor by Hester Fox

Maine, 1846. Gabriel Stone is desperate to escape the ghosts that haunt him in Massachusetts after his wife’s death, so he moves to Maine, taking a position as a minister in the remote village of Pale Harbor.

But not all is as it seems in the sleepy town. Strange, unsettling things have been happening, and the townspeople claim that only one person can be responsible: Sophronia Carver, a reclusive widow who lives with a spinster maid in the eerie Castle Carver. Sophronia must be a witch, and she almost certainly killed her husband.

As the incidents escalate, one thing becomes clear: they are the work of a twisted person inspired by the wildly popular stories of Mr. Edgar Allan Poe. And Gabriel must find answers, or Pale Harbor will suffer a fate worthy of Poe’s darkest tales.

Historical Mystery Hidden Gems Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Read more about this novel HERE.

 

Historical Fiction Books - Historical Mystery Hidden Gems - The Daughter of Sherlock Holmes by Leonard GoldbergThe Daughter of Sherlock Holmes by Leonard Goldberg

1914. Joanna Blalock’s keen mind and incredible insight lead her to become a highly-skilled nurse, one of the few professions that allow her to use her finely-tuned brain. But when she and her ten-year-old son witness a man fall to his death, apparently by suicide, they are visited by the elderly Dr. John Watson and his charming, handsome son, Dr. John Watson Jr. Impressed by her forensic skills, they invite her to become the third member of their investigative team.

Caught up in a Holmesian mystery that spans from hidden treasure to the Second Afghan War of 1878-1880, Joanna and her companions must devise an ingenious plan to catch a murderer in the act while dodging familiar culprits, Scotland Yard, and members of the British aristocracy. Unbeknownst to her, Joanna harbors a mystery of her own. The product of a one-time assignation between the now dead Sherlock Holmes and Irene Adler, the only woman to ever outwit the famous detective, Joanna has unwittingly inherited her parents’ deductive genius.

Historical Mystery Hidden Gems Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Read more about this novel HERE.

 

Historical Fiction Books - Historical Mystery Hidden Gems - The Anatomists WifeThe Anatomists Wife by Anna Lee Huber

Scotland, 1830. Following the death of her husband, Lady Darby has taken refuge at her sister’s estate, finding solace in her passion for painting. But when her hosts throw a house party for the cream of London society, Kiera is unable to hide from the ire of those who believe her to be as unnatural as her husband, an anatomist who used her artistic talents to suit his own macabre purposes.

Kiera wants to put her past aside, but when one of the house guests is murdered, her brother-in-law asks her to utilize her knowledge of human anatomy to aid the insufferable Sebastian Gage—a fellow guest with some experience as an inquiry agent. While Gage is clearly more competent than she first assumed, Kiera isn’t about to let her guard down as accusations and rumors swirl.

When Kiera and Gage’s search leads them to even more gruesome discoveries, a series of disturbing notes urges Lady Darby to give up the inquiry. But Kiera is determined to both protect her family and prove her innocence, even as she risks becoming the next victim…

Historical Mystery Hidden Gems Rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Read more about this novel HERE.

 

Historical mystery combines historical fiction and mystery fiction. Enjoy the best of both worlds in these historical mystery hidden gems! Give yourself the gift of these "whodunits" or impress your friends with these suggestions at your next bookclub meeting! #historicalfictionbooks #historicalmystery #gems #novels #katherinekovacic #sherrythomas #dianesetterfield #nancyherriman #hesterfox #leonardgoldberg #annaleehuber #karibovee #bookclub #bookstoread

8 Western Historical Mysteries You don't Want to Miss

8 Western Mystery Books You Don’t Want to Miss!

If you’re a fan of Western Mystery Books, this list is for you! From Darke County, Ohio to Ridgway, Colorado – there’s plenty of adventure and mystery to go around. Check out this list and see which ones you’ll be adding to your #TBR pile!

Award winning western mystery books by Kari BovéeThe Annie Oakley Mystery Series – Western Mystery books 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

Read more about Kari Bovée’s Western Mystery books HERE…

 

Dire Wolf of the Quapaw - Western Mystery Books by Phil TrumanDire Wolf of the Quapaw by Phil Truman

He’s been hot on an outlaw’s trail for months.

But deep in Native American territory, he’s no longer sure who’s innocent and who’s a monster…

Quapaw tribal lands, new State of Oklahoma, 1910. Greenhorn Deputy U.S. Marshal Jubal Smoak knows he can either lay down the law or get stampeded. So after the gruesome murder of a young family, he relentlessly pursues the ruthless outlaw who gave him a bullet in the back. Trailing the man for months, he refuses to be put off the scent by foolish rumors of a mythical Native American monster.

 

Read more about Phil Truman’s Western Mystery Books HERE.


Western Mystery Books - The Double-A Western Detective Agency by Steve HockensmithThe Double-A Western Detective Agency by Steve Hockensmith

Big Red and Old Red Amlingmeyer’s dream has come true: The Sherlock Holmes-worshiping cowboy brothers are finally in business as professional detectives. But their fledgling A.A. Western Detective Agency faces a few challenges. Their partner, Col. Crowe, is almost as cantankerous and secretive as Old Red himself. The colonel’s daughter, Diana, insists on tagging along for the Amlingmeyers’ first assignment. And that assignment lands them smack dab in the middle of a range war — with Big Red and Old Red expected to shoot it out with rustlers rather than rustle up clues and solve a mystery.

 

Read more about Steve Hockensmith’s Western Mystery books here!

 

Western Mystery Books - Willow Falls by Ken PrattWillow Falls by Ken Pratt

Welcome to Willow Falls. The town young Matthew Bannister ran away from fifteen years before. Now famed U.S. Deputy Marshal Matt Bannister is coming home to reconcile with his family. He prayed he wouldn’t see his ex-best friend Tom Smith nor the only girl he ever loved, Tom’s wife, Elizabeth. However, old feuds unsettled never die and spark a powder keg of action when the desperate Moskin Gang kidnap Elizabeth and leave a murderous trail behind them. In anguish, Tom, the Willow Falls sheriff, turns to his despised old-friend to help get the woman they both love back alive, if they can.

Sometimes God’s greatest blessing is unanswered prayer.

 

Read more about Ken Pratt’s Western Mystery books here.

 

Western Mystery Books - The Sacketts by Louis L'AmourThe Sacketts – Volume 1 by Louis L’Amour

After finding six gold Roman coins buried in an English swampland, Barnabas Sackett invests in goods to trade in America. But he also has a powerful enemy with a grudge that goes back to Sackett’s father. On the eve of his departure, Sackett is attacked and thrown into the hold of a pirate ship. After managing to escape, he makes his way to the Carolina coast, where the raw, abundant land promises a bright future. However, before that dream can be realized, Sackett must first discover the secret of his father’s legacy.

 

Read more about Louis L’Amour’s Western Mystery books here.

 

8 Western Mystery Books (Historical Fiction) You Don't Want to Miss!Land of Wolves by Craig Johnson

Recovering from his harrowing experiences in Mexico, Sheriff Walt Longmire returns to Absaroka County, Wyoming, to lick his wounds and try once again to maintain justice in a place with grudges that go back generations. When a shepherd is found dead, Longmire suspects it could be suicide. But the shepherd’s connection to the Extepares, a powerful family of Basque ranchers with a history of violence, leads the sheriff into an intricate investigation of a possible murder.

 

Read more about Craig Johnson’s Western Mystery books here.

 

8 Western Mystery Books (Historical Fiction) You Don't Want to Miss! Divided Sky by Jeff Carson

One man is dead and another is missing down south near Ridgway, Colorado. When the local law enforcement reaches out to Chief Detective David Wolf’s department, his task is to check on former-sheriff Harold “Hal” Burton. Because a person of interest in the case has also gone missing–Burton’s estranged nephew, Jesse.

Out of loyalty to his old boss, Wolf is sucked into the case, and it soon becomes clear there is more going on than meets the eye. And as for disturbing clues, there are plenty to meet the eye when they arrive in Ridgway.

Read more about Jeff Carson’s Western Mystery books here.

 

8 Western Mystery Books (Historical Fiction) You Don't Want to Miss! The Dark Mystery of the High Mountains by Austin Grayson

Young Maggie Abernathy is widowed when her husband succumbs to madness and fever after months in their seemingly useless gold mine. When Maggie turns to the men of the local town for help, she attracts attention, both wanted and unwanted. In the meantime, strange events in the mineshaft suggest otherworldly forces. Will Maggie put an end to the disasters and expanding insanity, or will she have to make the same sacrifice her late husband did?

West has grown up in an orphanage and has gone through many hardships. He falls for Maggie, but his own enemies put her life at higher risk. Along with the earthquakes and madness which spreads like wildfire, he also has to empower himself against those enemies. No matter how hard his mission is, he stands by Maggie’s side and does everything possible to protect her. Will he help her to solve the mystery in the mountain or will the whole town be doomed to a dreadful fate?

Read more about Austin Grayson’ Western Mystery books here.

 

Is there anything else you’d have added to the list? Drop me a note in the comments below!

8 Western Historical Mysteries You don't Want to Miss

9 Historical Mystery Novels you Don't Want to Miss


9 Historical Mystery Books You Don’t Want to Miss

 

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:

Award winning historical mystery books by Kari Bovée 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

Read more about Kari Bovée’s historical mystery books HERE…

Silent in the Grave by Deanna Raybourn - Historical Mystery Books 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.

Read more about Deanna Raybourn’s historical mystery books HERE…

Sick of Shadows - A Historical Mystery Books by M.C. BeatonSick 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.

Read more about M.C. Beaton’s historical mystery books HERE…

 

 

A Little Night Murder by Neil Richards and Matthew Costello - Historical Mystery BooksMydworth 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.

Read more about these historical mystery books HERE…

A Terrible Beaty by Tasha Alexander - Historical Mystery BooksA 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…

Read more about Tasha Alexander’s historical mystery books HERE…

A Tale of Two Murders - Historical Mystery Books by Heather RedmondA 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 . . .

Read more about Heather Redmond’s historical mystery books HERE…

Murder in a Mill Town by P.B. Ryan - Historical Mystery BooksMurder 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.

Read more about P.B. Ryan’s historical mystery books HERE…

The Secret Life of Anna Blanc - Historical Mystery Books by Jennifer KincheloeeThe 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.

Read more about Jennifer Kincheloe’s historical mystery books HERE…

Treacherous is the Night - Historical Mystery Books by Anna Lee Huber 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 . . .

Read more about Anna Lee Huber’s historical mystery books HERE…

Which of these have you read? Which is your favorite? Let me know in the comments below!

9 Historical Mystery Books You Won't Want to Miss

Historical Fiction Novel Mystery Books 1920s Roaring Twenties Flappers


1920s Historical Mystery Novels Starring Fierce Flappers

 

If you’re into the 1920s, this roundup is for you! These ladies are the bees-knees!

Grace in the Wings a historical mystery series - Historical Fiction Book by Kari BoveeGrace in the Wings by Kari Bovée

New York City, 1920s. Grace Michelle has everything she wants: a home, a family, and a future career as a costume designer for famed showman Florenz Ziegfeld, Jr.’s Ziegfeld Follies. Pretty good for a girl who once lived on the streets of New York City. But when her sister, Sophia, the star of the show, is murdered, Grace’s safe and protected life is shattered.

“This roaringly good novel is a loving homage to an era, a captivating story of painful growth, and a twisted mystery that will leave you wanting an encore.” – Self-Publishing Review

Historical Fiction Mystery Novel Books 1920 Roaring Twenties FlapperInto the Darkness by Kate Williams

Alive with rich characters and evoking love, loss, and one woman’s surprising strength during the tumult of the 1920s and 30s, the new novel in the “Storms of War” trilogy brings this acclaimed series to a dramatic conclusion.

This scintillating third part of the “Storms of War” trilogy finds Celia in the glittering new city of 1920s New York, hunting for her son, Michael, who was taken from her at birth.

 

Historical Fiction Mystery Novel Books 1920 Roaring Twenties FlapperBorn of Illusion by Teri Brown

As the illegitimate daughter of Harry Houdini—or so her mother claims—gifted illusionist Anna Van Housen easily navigates the underground world of magicians and mediums in 1920s New York, though the real trick is keeping her true gifts secret from her opportunistic mother. But as Anna’s powers intensify, she experiences frightening visions that lead her to explore the powers she’s tried so long to hide.

Lovers of historical fiction and stories filled with romance and intrigue will fall for Born of Illusion and its whip-smart, savvy protagonist.

Historical Fiction Mystery Novel Books 1920 Roaring Twenties FlapperThe Collector’s Apprentice by B.A. Shapiro

Accused of helping her fiancé steal her family’s fortune and her father’s art collection, Paulien Mertens has fled to France. To protect herself from the law and the wrath of those who lost everything, she has created a new identity. Paulien, aka Vivienne, takes a position working for an American art collector modeled after real-life eccentric museum founder Albert Barnes and quickly becomes caught up in the 1920s Paris of artists and expats, including post-Impressionist painter Henri Matisse and writer Gertrude Stein. From there, she sets out to recover her father’s art collection, prove her innocence, and exact revenge

Historical Fiction Mystery Novel Books 1920 Roaring Twenties FlapperEvergreen Falls by Kimberley Freeman

A long-forgotten secret, a scandalous attraction and a place where two women’s lives are changed forever.

1926: Violet Armstrong is one of the few remaining members of staff working at the grand Evergreen Spa Hotel as it closes down over winter. Only a handful of guests are left, including the heir to a rich grazing family, his sister and her suave suitor. When a snowstorm moves in, the hotel is cut off and they are all trapped. No-one could have predicted what would unfold.

Historical Fiction Mystery Novel Books 1920 Roaring Twenties FlapperThe Impersonator By Mary Miley

In 1917, Jessie Carr, fourteen years old and sole heiress to her family’s vast fortune, disappeared without a trace. Now, years later, her uncle Oliver Beckett thinks he’s found her: a young actress in a vaudeville playhouse is a dead ringer for his missing niece. But when Oliver confronts the girl, he learns he’s wrong. Orphaned young, Leah Randall has been acting since she was a toddler.

Oliver, never one to miss an opportunity, makes a proposition―with his coaching, Leah can impersonate Jessie, claim the fortune, and split it with him. The role of a lifetime, he says. A one-way ticket to Sing Sing, she hears. But when she’s let go from her job, Oliver’s offer looks a lot more appealing.

Is there anything else you’d add to this list? Let me know in the comments below!

 

Historical Fiction Mystery Novel Books 1920 Roaring Twenties Flapper

writers voices interview kari bovee historical fiction writer author

Murder at Ziegfeld follies – Writer’s Voices Interview

“If you have something in you, I want to encourage people to get that out, that’s part of who you are and yes it’s scary, it really scary to put yourself out there.”

Coco Chanel

Seven Mysteries of Coco Chanel (Part One)

From inauspicious beginnings to fame and fortune, Coco Chanel, one of the world’s most revered women of fashion, found empowerment in her own way.

While she lived most of her time on earth in the public eye, accounts of some facets of her history have been up for debate, as she, the master of her own destiny, often changed the facts of her own history to suit her needs. Here are a few mysteries surrounding Miss Chanel.

Her name
Coco Chanel
(Wikipedia)

According to most accounts, Coco’s parents named her Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel. At birth, someone entered her name into the registry as Gabrielle Bonheur Chasnel. This was later reported to be a clerical error as her mother was too ill to attend the registry and her father was traveling. Most sources agree that the name Coco came from a time in her early twenties when she worked on stage as a singer in clubs in Vichy and Moulins. The two songs she sang between other stage acts were “Ko Ko Ri Ko” and “Qui qu’avuCoco.” She later stated that the name came from a shortened version of the French word “cocotte,” which translates to “kept woman.” In some accounts, she states it was a nickname given to her by her father.

Her upbringing

Most sources agree Coco was born to an unmarried couple named Eugenie (Jeanne) Devolleand Albert Chanel. Jeanne worked as a laundress, and Albert a traveling peddler. The couple later married. When she was twelve years old, her mother died from tuberculosis, and her father sent Coco and her sisters to an orphanage in Aubazine run by Catholic nuns. Although her life at the orphanage demanded frugality and strict discipline, this is where she learned to sew. Other accounts claim she perfected her sewing on weekend visits to see two of her aunts. Coco later told another version of the story: her father set out for America to seek his fortune and she was sent to live with her two aunts. She also claimed she was much younger than twelve years old when her mother died.

Her lovers

Coco ChanelCoco Chanel never married, but ever the modern woman, she had many notable lovers—who helped to advance her career and status in life.

At the age of twenty, she started an affair with the French socialite, horse breeder and polo player Etienne Balsan. Balsan saw her at the Moulin and became smitten. Through Balsan, Coco met many influential people, including the wealthy Arthur “Boy” Capel, with whom she also had an enduring affair. Balsan financed a millinery shop for Chanel, and later, Capel helped her to establish a high-end boutique where she launched her famous jersey suits and the “little black dress.”

Both men left her to marry more socially “eligible” women of title, but they remained friends. When Capel died in a car crash in 1919, Chanel reportedly said, “In losing Capel, I lost everything. What followed was not a life of happiness.

In 1923, she met the Duke of Westminster while attending a party on his yacht. The two began a decade-long affair. He lavished her with expensive gifts and set her up in a home in the Mayfair district of London. In 1927, he gifted her with land on the French Riviera where she built a villa she named La Prusa.It is uncertain why the Duke and Chanel did not marry, but Chanel said of their break up, “There have been several Duchesses of Westminster, but there is only one Chanel.

During her involvement with the Duke, she met and charmed Edward III, the Prince of Wales. Some accounts state she had a fling with the Prince who was known for his philandering ways, but others don’t mention him.

(Check back next week for Seven Mysteries of Coco Chanel – Part Two!)

 

annie oakley mystery series kari bovee novel authorAre you a historical fiction fan? Do you love a good adventure and a strong female lead? Check out my Annie Oakley Mystery Series here!

 

 

 

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Henry and Anne Boleyn

Anne Boleyn – Did She or Didn’t She? (Part Two)

(Continued. For Part One, click here.)

Anne Boleyn
(Anne-Boleyn.com)

Catherine of Aragon and Henry had one child, Mary Tudor, who had now reached teenager-hood. While her mother was cast out of Henry’s court, Mary, also stripped of her title of princess and declared a bastard, had been allowed to remain. Until the birth of her baby sister, Elizabeth. Desiring the baby to be raised away from the proclivities of the court, and in the fresh air of the countryside, Anne sent Elizabeth to Hatfield House with a full staff of servants—including the bastard Mary.In 1534, to Henry’s delight, Anne became pregnant again. But when she miscarried a few months later, Henry began discussions with his advisors Archbishop Cranmer and Thomas Cromwell, to start divorce proceedings. Learning that Anne was again pregnant in late 1535, the King relented.

Anne lived with extravagance. She continued to have wild parties long into the morning, and spent incredible amounts of money, which caused further resentment among Henry’s subjects. But, Anne gave the matter little thought. After all, she had every hope to believe she carried a son for the King. She further rejoiced when she learned that Catherine of Aragon had died. Now, nothing stood in her way. Except for the fact that the King had developed a passion for someone else. The young and beautiful Jane Seymour.

In January 1936, while taking part in a jousting tournament, the King was struck from his horse and knocked unconscious. More bad luck ensued when Anne, five days later—the same day Catherine of Aragon was buried—miscarried again. Once the King recovered, he moved Jane Seymour into the royal household. He claimed Anne had seduced or bewitched him, and because of that, the marriage was not valid. He wanted Anne gone.

By April of that year, several men of the court were accused of adultery with the queen, plotting with her to kill the King, and thus, treason. The first, Mark Smeaton, a Flemish musician and a favorite of Anne’s. At first, he denied the charges, but then later confessed—some say under torture. Next, a nobleman and friend of the King, Henry Norris, who’d enjoyed himself at Anne’s many parties. She had been overheard discouraging him from paying her too much attention. He denied the charges and swore to the Queen’s innocence. Sir Francis Weston, William Brereton, and Sir Richard Page were also accused, as well as Sir Thomas Wyatt, a friend of the Boleyn family, and possible sweetheart of Anne in her youth.

The final blow to Anne was the accusation of her incestuous relationship with her brother George, on two different accounts.

Historians, authors, and movie-makers have had a field day with this historical information. Some believe and or portray the adultery as truth, and some do not. Either way, all the accused, accept Wyatt and Page, were executed, as was Anne in the summer of 1536. In her last speech before her death, she maintained her innocence and spoke nothing but praise of her “merciful prince.”

So, did she or didn’t she? Was Anne so empowered she felt she could have numerous affairs with all these men and not suffer the consequences? Was she so desperate to have a son that she slept with these men—including her brother—to give the King his desired heir? Or, did she suffer her fate because she fell out of favor with the King who had moved heaven and earth to wed her?

annie oakley mystery series kari bovee novel authorAre you a historical fiction fan? Do you love a good adventure and an empowered female lead? Check out my Annie Oakley Mystery Series here!

 

 

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Margaret (Molly) Brown – Unsinkable and Much More

Margaret Tobin Brown, a woman  immortalized in numerous movies, documentaries, and the Broadway musical “The Unsinkable Molly Brown,” never considered herself anything more than a good citizen. Made famous by her heroic efforts during the sinking of the RMS Titanic, Mrs. Brown used her fame and fortune to better the world. But, even as a young woman, Margaret Brown did what she could to serve humanity. Here are some less known facts about one of America’s most memorable heroines.

SHE WAS NEVER KNOWN AS “MOLLY” DURING HER LIFETIME

Born  in 1867, Margaret Brown, known as “Maggie,” by friends and family, came into this world in 1867 to Irish Catholic immigrants John Tobin and Johanna Tobin. She became known as “Molly” with the success of the 1960 Broadway musical, “The Unsinkable Molly Brown,” decades after her death.

SHE CAME FROM MODEST ROOTS

Maggie spent her early years in a small cottage on Denkler Ally in Hannibal, Missouri. She never attended school but took lessons with her siblings in the home of her mother’s sister, Mary O’Leary. At 13, Maggie helped support her family by working at a tobacco factory for sometimes 12 hours a day, 6 days a week. At 19, she set out with her sister to Leadville, Colorado to visit their older brother Daniel, who had settled there. Maggie decided to stay and kept house for her brother. She also worked as a waitress and as a sales clerk in a dry-goods store.

Margaret Brown as a young womanTHOUGH SET ON MARRYING A RICH MAN, SHE MARRIED FOR LOVE

Maggie is quoted to say, “I wanted a rich man, but I loved Jim Brown…I decided that I’d be better off with a poor man whom I loved than with a wealthy one whose money attracted me.”

In church one Sunday, Maggie laid eyes on the tall and handsome mining engineer, James Joseph (also known as J.J.) Brown, and fell in love. At 19 years of age, she married the Irishman who was more than 10 years her senior, and the two set up house in a two-room cabin outside of Leadville.

SHE CAME INTO WEALTH OVER-NIGHT

Both Maggie and J.J. worked hard during their young married life. Intelligent and innovative, J.J. Brown rose to  manager, then superintendent for the Ibex Mining company and made a decent living. His innovation proved instrumental in developing a technique which allowed for mines to be built deeper into the earth. One such mine, Little Jonny, hit gold in 1893, producing tons of gold ore, and making the Browns and many others at the Ibex Mining company, instant millionaires.

 SHE ALWAYS SAW THE IMPORTANCE OF A CAUSE

Even before she lived a life of immense wealth, Maggie always did what she could to help others. As a young wife and mother, she organized soup kitchens and helped other mining families less fortunate than hers. She became involved in politics and spent her efforts in that arena working for better schools and health care for mining families. After her good fortune, she joined many political and charitable organizations and even made a run for Congress— though she had to drop out of the race. Women in Colorado did not even have the right to vote yet, and her chances of winning seemed impossible. Regardless, Maggie continued to work for causes concerning children, public health, food production, education and libraries, women’s suffrage, and animal rights.

She also worked to help establish a juvenile court system in Denver so that children and teens who committed crimes did not have to serve time in the adult population. She helped to establish the Denver Women’s Club, an organization devoted to providing art education in schools, and the development of school libraries.

Margaret Brown and Captain Rostron of the RMS Titanic
Maggie and Captain Rostron of the RMS Titanic

Having lived a lifetime of helping others, Maggie continued to do so even when her own life was at stake with the sinking of the Titanic. Once aboard Life Boat Six, Maggie, having put on several layers of clothing to shield herself from the frigid temperatures, shared her coat and more with those who had to escape with little to wear. Once they were safely aboard the Carpathia, the ship sent out to retrieve survivors, Maggie worked tirelessly to help her fellow passengers. She paid for telegrams to be sent to survivors’ friends and family, and she organized a ‘survivors fund’ for medical expenses and temporary lodging for those in need. She raised $10,000 before they reached the shores of New York.

FAME DID NOT CHANGE HER

Now famous for her magnanimous spirit and courage, Maggie continued to help with causes close to her heart. In 1913 coal miners in Ludlow, CO went on strike, resulting in a deadly skirmish between the National Guard and the miners. Nineteen people, including eleven children were killed in what became known as the Ludlow Massacre. Maggie sent first aid supplies, food, and clothing to the surviving miners. She sent funds to help settle the strike and investigate the massacre.

During the first world war, Maggie traveled to France with an American relief committee. There, she also worked with the Red Cross. When she returned to New York, Maggie devoted time and resources to help soldiers who’d been injured in the war. Her efforts resulted in France bestowing her with their most esteemed award, the French Legion of Honor.

SHE NEVER ATTENDED SCHOOL, BUT WAS AN ACCOMPLISHED STUDENT

As a young mother, Maggie saw to the education of her children, and herself. After completing her daily chores, she studied literature, piano, and took voice lessons. Later, she hired tutors to help her improve her grammar and writing skills. She traveled to New York to study literature, drama and foreign languages at the Carnegie Institute. She became proficient in five different languages which proved instrumental in helping the International survivors of the Titanic. More of Maggie’s interests included acting, yodeling, classical guitar and the Ukelele.

SHE NEVER CONSIDERED HERSELF A HEROINE

After the Titanic disaster, stories filled newspapers at home and abroad about the heroic efforts of Margaret Brown, but she did not want to be known as a heroine. “I did only the natural thing and not the heroic.” And that is how this amazing, strong and empowered woman, who set an example for everyone, lived her entire life.

Sources:

Wikipedia

Bold Women in Colorado History by Phyllis J. Perry

The Mysteries of Perle de Vere – Madam of the Southwest

What possessed a young girl in the mid-1800’s to leave her well-to-do, “good” family in the mid-west and move clear across the country to Denver, Colorado to take up a life of prostitution? Little is known about the early years of Perle de Vere—a woman who did just that–and later became Colorado’s most famous madam.

Supposed photo of Madam Perle de Vere
Photo thought to be of Perle de Vere – although reportedly no photos of her exist (WikiTree)

“Mrs. Martin,” as she was known in Denver, arrived there at the age of 14 or 15. There is no record of her being married at the time, so one has to wonder why she would leave a comfortable life in Illinois (or Indiana) to travel to the west and sell her body for survival. Perhaps she had family troubles. Maybe she took up with someone her family didn’t approve of, and hopped a train with him in the hopes of a life of wedded bliss. Or maybe she had a lust for adventure and wanted to pave her own way. The possibilities are endless and fun to think about.

Shortly after her arrival in Denver, “Miss Martin” became known as Perle de Vere, a beautiful woman with red-hair, a strong will, and good business sense. Her family believed she worked as a dress designer (or milliner), and catered to Denver’s wealthiest women. But, in fact, she catered to the wealthiest men, and began a life of business in prostitution. What could have happened to set off this chain of events? Did she intend to start her career as a dressmaker and then couldn’t find work? Did she anger her employer? Did she hate her job? Or did she see an opportunity to make some fast cash?

When business crashed in Denver due to the Silver Panic of 1893, Miss de Vere, then at 30 years of age, packed her bags and moved to a booming gold camp called Cripple Creek. She invested her savings and bought a house on Myers street. She hired several beautiful girls and started her own brothel. Her business proved to be an instant success, affording Perle fine clothing and an extravagant lifestyle. She also knew how to protect her investment and demanded her girls practice good hygiene, dress well, and have monthly medical examinations.

Perle, a discerning business woman and the most successful madam of the town, didn’t cater to just anyone. Patrons of her establishment had to apply for a visit. Once their application was approved and their wealth determined, Perle allowed them access to a viewing room where they could choose their girl. Evenings at Perle’s house often consisted of live entertainment, socializing, cards, and dancing before the girls and their clients retired upstairs. Perle often hosted lavish parties with imported foods and plenty of champagne and other spirits.

One of Madam Perle's girls
One of Perle’s girls
(Legends of America)

Ever popular with the men of Cripple Creek, Perle did not make many friends among the women. It didn’t help that she drove her beautiful black horses and carriage through the camp, dressed in expensive and showy clothing—flaunting her success. She and her girls shopped at the best shops on Bennett Avenue, further angering the “good” women of the town. To keep the peace, the town’s Marshal stipulated that the girls could only shop during off hours. They also paid a tax of $6 per month. Madams of the town paid $16 dollars per month, a fraction of what Perle brought in on a weekly basis.

In 1895 Perle married a wealthy mill owner named C.B. Flynn. Shortly after the nuptials, tragedy struck. A fire raged through Cripple Creek destroying many of the town’s businesses, including Flynn’s mill and Perle’s brothel. Unable to recover financially, Flynn had to leave in order to find work. He found a job in Monterrey, Mexico as a steel and iron smelter. Perle stayed behind to rebuild her business. Putting everything she had into her new venture, Perle paid for the construction a two-story brick building and decorated it with lavish, imported furnishings, electric chandeliers, and leather topped gaming tables. She named her new establishment “The Old Homestead.”

Just as the history of Perle’s early life is shrouded in mystery, so is her death. In the summer of 1897, Perle hosted an extravagant party sponsored by one of her wealthiest clients and ardent admirerers—a millionaire from either Poverty Gulch or Denver. Imported champagne, liquor, and caviar, as well as two orchestras from Denver graced The Old Homestead for the wildest party the town would ever see. Perle’s admirer even brought her a beaded and sequined gown imported from Paris to wear to the event.

Is this Madam Perle de Vere?
Another photo thought to be of Perle (Pinterest)

During the evening, after much drinking and revelry, Perle and the gentleman got into an argument. He stormed out of the house and Perle retired to her bedroom. Later that night, one of the girls checked in on Perle. She found her lying on the bed, still in her gown, her breathing labored. Unable to rouse the madam, the girl called for a doctor, but it was too late. In the early hours of the morning, Perle de Vere, at age 37, died. The coroner stated her death was due to an accidental overdose of morphine, a drug she sometimes used for insomnia. Most of the newspapers reported the same, but one reported the death as suicide. Historians dispute this claim because Perle was at the height of her success.

But, could it have been murder? And if so, who would do such a thing? The gentleman who sponsored the party? A jealous wife? One of the girls? Perhaps her husband who potentially grew envious of his wife’s success and numerous lovers? It is known that the admirer who purchased the gown and paid for the party also sent a $1000 check for Perle’s funeral expenses, an amount that today is valued at $36,000. But, does that make him innocent?

Most likely, Perle died of an accidental overdose, as the coroner stated. But, with a story as rich as hers, and with a cast of the intriguing characters she possibly entertained, it’s interesting to speculate on what might have happened to Colorado’s most famous “soiled dove.”

Feature photo found on Google from Bonanza Boomers