Favorite Historical Mystery Series

My favorite series in the historical mystery genre!
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875 books · 1,149 voters · list created April 17th, 2010 by Ashley (votes) .
317 likes · 
Lists are re-scored approximately every 5 minutes.


Ashley 4556 books
530 friends
Karen 524 books
7 friends
Shawn 707 books
19 friends
Susanna - Censored by GoodReads 3243 books
861 friends
Laurie 4614 books
208 friends
Libby 10282 books
64 friends
Deena 2647 books
53 friends
Kathy 4172 books
36 friends

More voters…


Comments Showing 1-22 of 22 (22 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Bernadette (new)

Bernadette I'm thrilled to find this list! I've completed reading many of the series and I'm excited to have so many recommendations for future reading. I can't really vote though since it's been years since I've read some of these. Thanks to Ashley for this list & thanks to everyone for posting your favorites.


message 2: by Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (last edited Jun 25, 2011 10:22AM) (new)

Susanna - Censored by GoodReads I would argue that The Nine Tailors does not belong on here; Sayers was clearly setting her novel in what was, for her, the present.

I also have strong doubts about And Then There Were None.

ETA: Ditto for At Bertram's Hotel and Hound of the Baskervilles.


message 3: by Abbey (new)

Abbey I concur with Susanna - LOTS of those listed (I only looked at the first 100) were set in the then-current time period! All the Christie books, with the exception of one (the title I can't remember but *isn't* And Then There Were None)! Ditto all the Ngaio Marsh books and the Dorothy L. Sayers books. And the Conan Doyle Holmes stories! Beekeeper's Apprentice by Laurie King, is an historical yes, but the actual Doyle stories, definitely not! How do we have them removed from this "historical list"?


message 4: by Abbey (new)

Abbey OK. I've deleted a few more of the mysteries that I definitely know were set in then-current time periods for the author, even though that period is NOW historical (mysteries written Between the Wars i.e., ~1920-1940, are my particular interest). The generally accepted definition of an historical mystery is one set in a period that is not part of the author's own experience, or any mystery set at least twenty years past (some folks prefer thirty, or fifty years, though). My personal guideline is that if an author was not an adult during the timeperiod OR it is now at least thirty years later, then it's an historical. So a sixty-year-old writing about the 1970s they're remembering today would make the current book an historical, but not one written by that author IN the 1970s. And a late 1990s story written by anybody is not historical - yet.
***Also, stories like HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES, although it has a very small amount of even then-history within the story (1600s curses and nasty squires) it's only a page or two, not the novel itself, which was set in the then-current time of circa 1900. I noticed a few that I wondered about but wasn't certain enough to change, that may have had bits of historical info IN them.


message 5: by Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (last edited Sep 11, 2011 11:49AM) (new)

Susanna - Censored by GoodReads Christie did write one historical mystery that I know of, set in ancient Egypt; but I can't remember the name of it.

About the Outlander books; are they actually mysteries? I haven't read them, but have often seen them sold as romance/historical romance.

Does By the Pricking of My Thumbs belong on this list?


message 6: by Abbey (new)

Abbey Hi Susanna:
The Christie set in ancient Egypt is DEATH COMES AS THE END, 1944, about a serial killer. I don't remember PRICKING OF MY THUMBS very well (been decades since I read it) but wasn't that one of her last novels, maybe the one about the young girl with a sort of amnesia, being terrorized by somebody? She keeps remembering bits and pieces about a death/murder in a very particular house. If so, then no, it wasn't historical, as although the plot hinges on stuff in the girl's past (10-15 years previous, at most), it's mainly set in the then-current day of late 1960s.


message 7: by Karina (new)

Karina Thanks for this list. Lots of here that I love, but also some new ones that I can try out.

I think the Pennyfoot Hotel and Manor House series by Kate Kingsbury might fit on here too. The first book in the Manor House Series is "A Bicycle Built for Murder". The first book on the Pennyfoot Hotel series is "Room With a Clue".


message 8: by Cathiecaffey (new)

Cathiecaffey What a great list! I especially love the Victorian, Regency and turn of the Century settings (so far I read NYC and San Francisco settings of those. Since I always so love the whole series, I put the first book of the series as the favorite. Really they can all end up being first! They all so unique


message 9: by Ashley (new)

Ashley Abbey wrote: "OK. I've deleted a few more of the mysteries that I definitely know were set in then-current time periods for the author, even though that period is NOW historical (mysteries written Between the Wa..."

Thanks! That drives me crazy!


message 10: by Mike Briggs (new)

Mike Briggs hmm. I do not know how to add books to this list. My initial reaction to title and description lead me to look for a lot of first in the series or book collections. Not seeing that, I moved to thinking about adding books from historical mystery series I enjoyed all the books in the series. I so want to add books, but I keep stumbling over my options.

Like A Morbid Taste for Bones is on the list, is the first in the series, and a book I did give 5 stars to; but, it isn't a series I read, and I've only read about three in that rather long running series. So I can't vote for Morbid Taste for Bones. mmphs.

Ok, I'll add books from series I've completed, and liked, even if the individual books were not 5 stars. Now to remember them.


message 11: by Lanelle (new)

Lanelle This is a wonderful resource for finding new historical mysteries to read. Thank you everyone! IF (and that's a big if) I were to make a change to this survey, I would request that only the first book in a series been put on the list. It gets kind of confusing.


message 12: by Michelle (new)

Michelle What a great and comprehensive list. Thanks for posting it. I should never be without a historical mystery again


message 13: by Mary (new)

Mary Did I miss them? Where is the Matthew Corbett series by Robert McCammon?


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads You could add them; it's easy to add books to lists. At the top of the list, at the tab next to "all votes."


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads Removed, for not being in a series:

The Royal Kidnapping


message 16: by Deborah (new)

Deborah  Sigel Lanelle wrote: "This is a wonderful resource for finding new historical mysteries to read. Thank you everyone! IF (and that's a big if) I were to make a change to this survey, I would request that only the first..."

Exactly what I was thinking! Either list the first book, or list the name of the series.


message 17: by MomToKippy (new)

MomToKippy If voting for favorite series - shouldn't only the first in the series be listed?


message 18: by Christine PNW (new)

Christine PNW Is Outlander really a mystery? It's a genre buster, I agree, but I have to dispute that it is a "historical mystery series."


message 19: by J.R. (new)

J.R. Hardesty Added a number of books to the list: the remaining Lord Meren books, the first two of Lauren Haney's Lt. Bak series (ancient Egypt), some Brother Cadfael's that weren't there as well as some more of Eliziabeth Peter's Amelia Peabody books. Fun stuff!


message 20: by J.R. (new)

J.R. Hardesty Added some of Robert van Gulik's Judge Dee novels. The rest need to be added eventually. Great series of historical mysteries.


message 21: by Booklovinglady (new)

Booklovinglady Susanna - Censored by GoodReads wrote: "I would argue that The Nine Tailors does not belong on here; Sayers was clearly setting her novel in what was, for her, the present.

I also have strong doubts about And Then There Were None.

ETA: Ditto for At Bertram's Hotel and Hound of the Baskervilles...."


I found three books on this list which are on my own shelves, but I have my doubts whether they'd count as 'historical'. But as I haven't read them yet, I can't say for sure...


message 22: by Greg (new)

Greg Abbey wrote: "I concur with Susanna - LOTS of those listed (I only looked at the first 100) were set in the then-current time period! All the Christie books, with the exception of one (the title I can't remember..."

"Murder in Mesopotamia".


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