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Historical crime fiction

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message 1: by Erin (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:31PM) (new)

Erin (erincorrine) | 4 comments Hello readers!

I am into historical fiction books right now ... especially 19th century crime novels like The Alienist and Angel of Darkness by Caleb Carr and The Pale Blue Eye by Louis Bayard.

Can anyone recommend other books that might fit this mold and be of interest to me?



message 2: by peg (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:31PM) (new)

peg (mcicutti) | 5 comments I have never read anything by Caleb Carr or Louis Bayard so my suggestion might be off base but I thoroughly enjoyed The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins. It is a mystery/thriller with gothic overtones and the story is told from several different points of view. It definitely has a 19th-century flair with some feminist ideas and histoical markers. The plot is intricate and may not be as fast paced as you like but who knows, you might like it enough to read it a second time like I did:)

message 3: by Erin (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:31PM) (new)

Erin (erincorrine) | 4 comments Thanks Peg! I heard an NPR story about that book recently ... your recommendation has bumped it up in my list!

Thanks again :)


message 4: by Carolyn (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:31PM) (new)

Carolyn Fitzpatrick (carolyn_fitzpatrick) I loved all three of those books, so maybe you will like these...

Critique of Criminal Reason by Michael Gregorio - A student of Immanuel Kant investigates serial killings in 1803 Konigsberg.

Arthur & George by Julian Barnes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle attempts to aid an unfairly accused Scots-Indian lawyer.

Mistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin - Henry II hires a female Italian coroner to investigate the serial killings that have forced the unfairly accused Jews of Cambridge into protective custody.

The Janissary Tree by Jason Goodwin - A eunuch detective is hired by the sultan to investigate mysterious killings in 1836 Ottoman Empire.

message 5: by Annie (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:31PM) (new)

Annie | 9 comments You must must must read An Instance of the Fingerpost, about a murder of an Oxford don in Restoration England. Pretty weighty but totally compelling. I adore this book. The Name of the Rose is in the same category.

Also by Caleb Carr is The Italian Secretary. He takes on Watson and Holmes as character. It's as entertaining as The Alienist and Angel of Darkness.

I also kind of loved The Historian, which sort of fits the historical crime fiction genre. It's a well done mystery at any rate.

message 6: by peg (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:31PM) (new)

peg (mcicutti) | 5 comments I second Annie's thoughts on An Instance of the Fingerpost.I had forgotten about it until now. Great book!!

message 7: by Erin (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:32PM) (new)

Erin (erincorrine) | 4 comments THANKS SO MUCH!!! I can't wait to get to these - next on my list for sure! I did try to read Italian Secretary and never quite got into it. I do remember picking it up after a book that I adored and didn't want to be over though, so maybe I was not in the right frame of mind :)

Thanks again!


message 8: by Larry (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:43PM) (new)

Larry (blue_key) | 6 comments Erin,

I can't relate this to any of the aforementioned books, but try The Devil in the White City. It takes place in the 1890s, is true, but is written as a novel. it's really very good.

message 9: by Larry (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:55PM) (new)

Larry (blue_key) | 6 comments Actually I CAN relate to one of the aforementioned books. The Name Of The Rose is excellent.

message 10: by Sera (new)

message 11: by MBP (new)

MBP I love historical crime mystery/thrillers, and I agree with the recommendations for An Instance of the Fingerpost, The Name of the Rose, and Mistress of the Art of Death - all excellent. I'd also recommend:

The Matthew Shardlake series by CJ Sansom: Dissolution, Dark Fire, and Sovereign. Set in Henry VIII's England, featuring a hunchback lawyer sleuth, and with excellent period detail.

The Meaning of Night by Michael Cox:
Set in London in 1854 with lots of Victorian atmosphere and style, an unreliable narrator stalks his arch-nemesis.

Ex-Libris by Ross King:
In 1660's London, a meek bookseller accepts a large sum to track down a missing book, and becomes unwittingly involved in centuries-old controversies surrounding the book.

A Conspiracy of Paper by David Liss:
Benjamin Weaver, former fighter and current thief-taker, investigates a mystery connected to London's emerging financial markets in the 18th century. Also deals with the relations between Christians and Jews during this period. Liss has written 2 other books with the same group of characters (The Coffee Trader and A Spectacle of Corruption), but I haven't read these yet. Liss is also a Goodreads Author and currently has a "Q & A with David Liss" group.

I wasn't a big fan of The Historian; I liked the writing, but I had trouble swallowing some of the Dracula-related plot details.

I'm so glad to get some other suggestions from this discussion!

message 12: by Sera (new)

Sera MBP, I really enjoyed The Meaning of Night: A Confession - good call!

message 13: by Stefanie (new)

Stefanie (steffaknits) | 1 comments I enjoyed The Dante Club by Matthew Pearl. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes and James Russell Lowell try to catch a killer whose crimes mirror their translation of Dante's Inferno.

Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (susannag) | 29 comments Seconding the Matthew Shardlake books, which are fabulous.

A Spectacle of Corruption is indeed a sequel to A Conspiracy of Paper (and I'd recommend both of them), but The Coffee Trader is not. It is set in 1660 Amsterdam, again in the Jewish community. I didn't like it quite as much as the other two.

I also enjoyed The Dante Club.

I also enjoy Steven Saylor's mystery novels about ancient Rome, starting with Roman Blood. (Although my mother prefers Lyndsey Davis' Marcus Didius Falco novels, which are set in about 70 or 80 A.D.)

message 15: by Laura (new)

Laura Besides The Name of the Rose and The Historian, I would add the following books:
The Shadow of the Wind
The Secret Supper
Alias Grace
The Eight
Foucault´s Pendulum
Silent in the Grave
Prince of Darkness

message 16: by Sera (new)

Sera Would The Thirteenth Tale also fit this category?

message 17: by Laura (new)

Laura Sera, I think so, I am glad you remind me this ver nice book.

message 18: by MBP (last edited May 12, 2008 02:48PM) (new)

MBP I read that there's a new book coming out in C. J. Sansom's Matthew Shardlake series, called Revelation. Can't wait! It looks like it's already been released in the UK & Canada, but not yet in the US.

Link to the Sunday Times review:

message 19: by Jen (new)

Jen | 1 comments I think The Thirteenth Tale borderlines it.

Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (susannag) | 29 comments Ok, now I want to read Revelation! Pity it's not out here in the U.S. yet.

I guess I'll have to wait 'til the end of the year (if Amazon is right, they say November).


message 21: by David (new)

David (sfdavide) | 2 comments I love Caleb Carr and also loved the takeoff of his novels The Shroud of the Twacker by Chris Elliott. Laugh out loud funny

message 22: by J.R. (new)

J.R. | 6 comments I would also recommend:
Margaret Atwood's Alias Grace
Bernard Cornwell's Gallows Thief
Elizabeth Redfern's Music of the Spheres
Clare Clark's the Nature of Monsters
and, last but not least, my own first novel, Schlussel's Woman

message 23: by Lali (new)

Lali | 1 comments Has anyone read Ann Rinaldi's books, they are mostly historical fiction. They are very informational and interesting to read. The best books are the The Break with Charity: A story about the Salem Witch Trials and In My Father's House, a story about a Southern family in the Civil War, who have to move from Manassas because is in their front yard and they move to Appomotax Court House to find that the surrender is in their parlor! They are really fascinating!

Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (susannag) | 29 comments I finished Revelation (a friend in Sweden sent me a copy - it's not out here in the U.S.) and it's just as good as the other Matthew Shardlake novels. Great historical crime series. This one is about a serial killer on the streets of London in 1543.

message 25: by Hotspur (new)

Hotspur (HotspurOT) | 5 comments I'm fond of Lindsey Davis' FALCO series.. not really a bona-fide mystery series, I suppose, but they are shelved with mysteries, take place in the Roman Empire, and usually involve conundrums to solve.

For more "mysterious" Roman era novels, I recommend Steven Saylor's Gordianus the Finder series, which is tied closely to the events surrounding the breakup of the Roman Republic and the ensuing Civil War. Also John Maddox Roberts' SPQR series set in the same time period. Both of these writers are lavish in historical detail and commentary, and are quite enjoyable to read.


message 26: by Kathy (new)

Kathy  Petersen | 1 comments The Brother Cadfael series by Ellis Peters.

This 12th century monk with a talent for crime solving was portrayed by the marvelous Derek Jacobi in a TV series that led me to the books. I've read them all at one time or another and recently started over -- in order, since I now own the complete set of 20. Although I'm not thoroughly familiar with 12the century England, up on the Welsh border, I believe Peters writes with a strong sense of historical detail and a good grasp of murder mystery writing as well.

The Chronicles of Brother Cadfael are now complete, as Ms. Peters died a few years ago.

message 27: by Jenna (new)

Jenna | 12 comments www.crimethrutime.com is a wonderful one-stop place to find historical mysteries in any time period; I highly recommend it. The webmistress keeps it very up-to-date, too.

message 28: by Tracy (last edited Oct 20, 2013 01:19PM) (new)

Tracy (tjohn33791) I know I'm late to this thread but, look up Loren Estleman. The first book I would recommend would be 'Whiskey River'.

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