Friday, December 5, 2008

Mysteries with a historical twist

Some people like historical fiction and some people don't. Personally, I rather enjoy those mysteries and thrillers that have a historical edge to them. Makes me, a rather bad history student, feel like I am learning something. Now these are not all based around an actual historical event, most are instead set in a time period other than the present with historical fact and research to support accuracy. 

I know I talked about Ariana Franklin's series yesterday, but my first of her books (and the first title under that name - she has written under a different name in the past) was a book called City of Shadows. I was lucky enough to get a manuscript prior to printing and loved it. I was raving about it to customers preparing them for the release for months. It's a mystery/thriller based around actual events and the woman, Anna Anderson, who claimed to be Anastasia. A fabulous book that I highly recommend. Loved the twist at the end even if I did see it coming.

Another absolute favorite from recent years is Deanna Raybourn's series (trilogy I believe) which began with Silent in the Grave, in which our heroine Julia Grey investigates the death of her husband with the help of the mysterious Nicolas Brisbane. Their story continues in Silent in the Sanctuary and the upcoming Silent on the Moor. These will appeal to readers who also like a bit of romance in their mysteries (who doesn't?) and are set in Victorian times. Super fast, super fun reads that are not to be missed by any mystery fan. For more on Grave go here

Similar to Raybourn is Tasha Alexander. Her debut Victorian mystery, And Only To Deceive is also about a widow investigating her husband's death. Emily Ashton didn't really have time to get to know her husband before he died and tries to learn more about her late partner by studying his love of antiquities. Of course this lands her in a heap of trouble as there was more to Mr. Ashton's hobby than she could have expected. Don't be fooled, these don't exactly fit in the cozy category. 

And off to a different time period, there is the recently released Nox Dormienda, a "Roman Noir" and the first in a new series to feature Arcturus, the governor's doctor. He's a sort of Roman PI. This was a super fast and interesting mystery. Kelli Stanley has a second installment waiting in the wings and I can't wait to read it. You can read more about Nox Dormienda here.

Similarly, Jeri Westerson also made her debut this year with Veil of Lies, a "medieval noir" featuring a tracker (PI) and ex-knight. This one is sitting on my bedside table for me to read this week. Westerson was at LCC (as were Stanley and Alexander) and spoke about how fascinated she was by her chosen time period and how much research she devoted to her debut. 

Any and all of these reads are great for mystery fans looking for something new (everyone is looking for something new, eh?). I'd recommend any one of them to a reader, but you might want to consider the time in which they take place per the reader's tastes. Franklin's is a contemporary historical, Raybourn and Alexander are both Victorian, Stanley's title takes place in 1st century AD, and Westerson's title is set in the fourteenth century. 

Happy reading and buy more books!

3 comments:

Cheryl said...

Ok so I didn't care for Franklin but I do like Deanna Raybourn

jaime said...

These all sound great! I love historical mysteries.

Vickie said...

I do like to read historical mysteries. Thanks for these titles to look for.