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Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Top Ten Tuesday: Historical Mysteries I Want to Read (and Adore)


Self-help. Poetry. Celebrity tell-alls. Historical fiction. Mysteries and thrillers. Sci-fi/fantasy. Romance. Horror. We all have our favorite genres. Some of us stick to our tried-and-true ones, others of us read widely across a bunch of different genres. I tend to be the former, consuming mostly mysteries/thrillers and historical fiction, with occasional forays into ghost tales, dystopian stories, and narrative non-fiction. I feel like I've talked all of my go-to genres to death here on BBB, so I struggled to come up with something new and different for today's TTT prompt: Genre Freebie. (Top Ten Tuesday is, as always, hosted by Jana over at That Artsy Reader Girl.) Since nothing unique came to mind, I'm going to be boring and just riff on a genre I already talk about a lot. Sorry/not sorry. It's a great genre after all...

I've always loved historical fiction and mysteries, but I'm actually a bit new-ish to historical mysteries. As you will soon see, I particularly enjoy a juicy Victorian England/Scotland whodunit. I'm looking to expand my horizons, though, so hopefully you can help me out. I'm on the hunt for historical mystery series set between about 1800 and 1950 anywhere in the world. I prefer female sleuths, but I'm open to male ones as well. Mostly, I just want series with memorable characters, twisty mysteries, engaging writing, and without anything too graphic (think PG to PG-13). That's not too much to ask, is it? To give you a taste of what I like, here's a quick rundown of my current favorites:

A Rip Through Time series by Kelley Armstrong (Victorian Scotland)
Below Stairs Mysteries by Jennifer Ashley (Victorian England)
Myrtle Hardcastle series by Elizabeth C. Bunce (Victorian England.)
Lady Darby series by Anna Lee Huber (Victorian Scotland)
The Agency series by Y.S. Lee (Victorian England)
The Gilded Newport series by Alyssa Maxwell (Rhode Island, USA, 1890s)
Kinship series by Jess Montgomery (Ohio, USA, 1920s)
Amelia Peabody series by Elizabeth Peters (Victorian England/Egypt)
The Veronica Speedwell series by Deanna Raybourn (Victorian England)
Enola Holmes series by Nancy Springer (Victorian England)

So, what recs do you have for me? Which historical mystery series do you love? Here are ten I have my eye on (images are of the first installment):

Top Ten Historical Mystery Series I Want to Read

1. Rachel Savernake series by Martin Edwards—Set in 1930s London, this series stars the intrepid daughter of a well-known hanging judge who has an uncanny knack for solving the murders that stump Scotland Yard. Convinced Rachel is more than she seems, journalist Jacob Flint follows the amateur sleuth hoping to discover the secrets behind her sleuthing success.

2. Lady Julia Grey series by Deanna Raybourn—When the titular heroine and private inquiry agent Nicholas Brisbane are brought together by the murder of Julia's husband, it becomes apparent that they make a good investigating team. Mysteries ensue. I believe this series is set in Victorian England.

3. Maggie Hope series by Susan Ella MacNeal—When Winston Churchill becomes prime minister in 1940, Maggie Hope is hired to be his secretary. Brilliant but overlooked because of her gender, Maggie's new position opens her up to an exciting array of unimaginable opportunities, including tantalizing mysteries begging to be solved.

4. Baskerville Hall series by Ali Standish—The first installment of this brand-new middle-grade series won't be available for a few more weeks, but I've got an ARC I'm excited to read. It imagines what might have happened if a young Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was recognized for his deductive brilliance and invited to attend a special school for gifted children. Spoiler alert: he and his schoolmates (including a boy named Jimmie Moriarty) find all kinds of mysteries to explore. 

5. Louise Falk series by Liz Freeland—It's 1913 and 20-year-old Louise Falk has traded her Pennsylvania upbringing for the bright lights of New York City. Solving a murder that happened in her Greenwich Village apartment proves she has an aptitude for investigation. Soon, she's moving all over the city to sniff out criminals. 

6. Verity Kent series by Anna Lee Huber—In post-World War I England, grieving widow Verity Kent is pulled into a mystery surrounding the death of her husband. Solving that one leads her to reluctantly take on more cases to help family and friends.

7. The Brontë Sisters series by Bella Ellis—Charlotte, Emily, and Anne Brontë are smart, creative, and plucky women who are eager to use their talents for endeavors beyond keeping house. When a neighbor's disappearance leads them to launch their own amateur investigation, they realize that they make a fine team of detectors—even society frowns on them doing something so unladlylike.

8. Murder Most Unladylike series by Robin Stevens—This middle-grade series is set in an English boarding school in the 1930s. It stars Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong, who set up a secret detective agency to investigate crimes among their friends and classmates.

9. Mrs. Jefferies series by Emily Brightwell—Another series set in Victorian England (I just can't resist!), this one just sounds delightful. Mrs. Jefferies is the eagle-eyed housekeeper of a prominent Scotland Yard inspector. Her insights are the real key to his success as an investigator. 

10. Victorian Book Club series by Callie Hutton—Set in Bath, England, in the 1890s, this series stars a female mystery author who solves real-life mysteries along with the members of her book club.

Phew! There you go, ten historical mystery series I already adore and ten I want to read (and adore). Which others would you recommend? What did you do for your genre freebie list today? I'd love to know. Leave me a comment on this post and I will gladly return the favor on your blog. I also reply to the comments you leave here.

Happy TTT! 

73 comments:

  1. I don't really have any recommendations for you, but I had fun reading which ones you're enjoying right now.

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    1. I'm glad! I'm reading some fun ones right now. That's why I want MORE of them. Ha ha.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Deanna!

      Delete
  2. Historical mysteries can be so much fun to read!

    Here is my Top Ten Tuesday post.

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    1. Agreed. I always enjoy a good mystery and a colorful historical setting adds something unique to the mix.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Lydia!

      Delete
  3. Susan MacNeal, Anna Lee Huber, Jennifer Ashley and Emily Brightwell series are ones I've thought of starting, but I haven't tried them yet. Mainly because I don't read much mystery or historical fiction, and mostly listen to mysteries on audio. The Amelia Peabody books are great on audio!
    The only historical mysteries I can think of that I've read are the Mary Russell series by Laurie R. King that starts with The Beekeeper's Apprentice. I got stalled after 6-7 books and should go back to it! The first book is set in England in the 1920s.
    Here is my Top Ten Tuesday post: https://baystatera.com/top-ten-fictional-memoirs-or-memoir-style-fiction/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've been re-reading the Amelia Peabody mysteries on audio and, I agree, they're so much fun in that format!

      I feel like I read THE BEEKEEPER'S APPRENTICE a long time ago, but maybe not. I've heard great things about that series, so I'll definitely keep it in mind. Thanks for the rec!

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Laurie!

      Delete
  4. How about a cozy historical mystery? I enjoyed The Murder of Mr Wickham and The Late Mrs Willoughby by Claudia Gray. (A loosely connected series with more on the way, but easily read as stand alone). ~Carol @ ReadingLadies

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    Replies
    1. A cozy historical sounds wonderful! I have a review copy of THE MURDER OF MR. WICKHAM, so that's a great rec. I haven't heard of THE LATE MRS. WILLOUGHBY before. I'll definitely take a closer look at it. Thanks for the rec!

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Carol!

      Delete
  5. I just bought Murders is Bad Manners for my daughter. I'm hoping she loves it. 😀

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    1. It sounds super cute! I love middle-grade historical mysteries. I hope your daughter and I both enjoy this one :)

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Nicole!

      Delete
  6. Oooh! Historical mystery is a pretty interesting genre and the list looks awesome!

    Here’s my Top Ten Tuesday

    Rabbit Ears Book Blog: WORLD’S WEIRDEST BOOK BLOG!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Boarding school mysteries sounds fun!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They are! They're popular settings for YA and MG mysteries because kids have a lot more freedom when there are no parents around. Their risky sleuthing seems a *little* more realistic that way. Plus, I always like a "locked room" type of setting for a mystery.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Stephen!

      Delete
  8. I haven't actually read any of Martin Edwards' fiction, but I love his work editing the British Crime Library Classics reprints!

    Confession: even though I love history and actually write historical mysteries myself, I prefer reading old books, so I haven't read many of these. I have read a couple of the Gilded Newport series, though, and am familiar with most of the others. One recent title that I really enjoyed was "Girl Waits With Gun" by Amy Stewart.

    And if it's not too shameless to plug my own work...my Mrs. Meade Mysteries series features a lady detective in Edwardian-era Colorado—think Miss Marple at the transition from the Old West to the new century! (I also have a non-series mystery novel, "Land of Hills and Valleys," set in 1930s Wyoming.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There's nothing wrong with reading old books! I tend to ignore classic-type mysteries even though there are tons of those out there that I really should be exploring.

      I enjoyed GIRLS WAITS WITH GUN, too! I need to continue on with the series. Thanks for the rec!

      Ha ha. You can TOTALLY toot your own horn. Your mysteries sound fun and go right along with this topic. I'll have to take a closer look at them.

      Thanks for popping in, Elizabeth!

      Delete
  9. I loved the first two books in the Thorndike & Swann Regency Mysteries series, which I'm hoping the author will continue. And the A Woman of WWII Mystery series, which also has only 2 books so far, but I hope for more! I'm a fan of mysteries as well, and often prefer historical to contemporary in any genre. I'll be looking at several of the books in your list more closely.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I haven't heard of either of these series before. I'll take a closer look at them for sure.

      Thanks for the recs and, as always, for coming by and commenting, Kristi!

      Delete
  10. I don't have any recs but the last historical mystery I read is Cold Case by Faye Kellerman whom I knew for her Peter and Rina Decker mysteries set in modern times. Cold Case is set in 1930s Germany. My top 10 was books to movies and tv shows https://jhohadli.wordpress.com/2023/08/22/from-book-to-the-small-or-big-screen-top-10-tuesday

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Weirdly, given how much I like mysteries, I've never read anything by Kellerman. I also didn't realize she wrote historical mysteries. I'll have to check out COLD CASE. It sounds like something I'd like.

      Thanks for stopping in, Joanne!

      Delete
  11. I haven’t read any historical mystery so this is interesting.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I hope you enjoy the genre if you end up giving it a go!

      Thanks for popping by, Amarachi!

      Delete
  12. Fab topic! I recommend the Amory Ames series by Ashley Weaver and also the Mydworth Mysteries by Matthew Costello and Neil Richards

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, yes! The Amory Ames series is one I've been meaning to read. I haven't heard of hte Mydworth series, but it sounds promising. I'll take a look!

      Thanks for the recs and for stopping by today!

      Delete
  13. Historical mysteries ... hmn, sounds interesting. How much does history have to be in the book? Or is it just mysteries set in the past? I might have some there.
    Thanks for visiting my TTT about Scandinavia this week.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good question! I'm drawn to mysteries with a lighter dose of history, if that makes sense. I don't want a bunch of dense descriptions and information that will slow down the story. So, I'd say a mystery that is set in the past, but one where the history doesn't overwhelm the mystery. I'd love to hear your recs!

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Marianne!

      Delete
    2. Hmmm, I'm not too sure whether any of them fits your description, but have a look on my Mystery label.
      My favourite there is "Possession" which I think you might like anyway.

      Delete
  14. I hope you find some new favorites among these! :)

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    1. Me too! All of these look very promising and I'm loving the recs I'm getting from other bloggers. I KNOW I'll find some new favorites among them :)

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Tanya!

      Delete
  15. I love that cover of Baskerville Hall and it seems like a fun new series.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's cute, isn't it? I've only read one book by Standish, but it was excellent. I'm excited to read another, even though this is in a different genre than the last one.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Louise!

      Delete
  16. Have you read the Wrexford & Sloane series by Andrea Penrose? A newspaper satirist and a lord solving mysteries in Regency London. I don't know if they might be a little graphic for you but I'm thoroughly enjoying them.

    And a bunch of your recs will be going on my TBR, so thank you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oooh, this Wexford and Sloane series looks intriguing! In what way are they graphic?? I can handle some graphic content, just not too much.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Cassie!

      Delete
  17. I’ve never read a historical mystery…in fact, it’s a completely new genre to me. Thank you for this list.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Really? You should try one. You might enjoy the genre. You never know!

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Deb!

      Delete
  18. I love the Veronica Speedwell books too, and the Kelley Armstrong time-rip books as well. I'd also love to check out the Lady Julia Grey books. I hope we both enjoy them!

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Sounds like we both enjoy a side of humor with our historical mysteries! Both of these series make me laugh. I'm guessing the Lady Julia Grey series also has some good humor in it. I hope we both enjoy it.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Lisa!

      Delete
  19. Jen Turano would be a good one for this list. Her books have female sleuths, mysteries, and lots of good humor!

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    1. Oh, yes! I really need to read her books already. Thanks for the reminder and thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Cindy!

      Delete
  20. I love historical fiction and want to read more mysteries, so this sounds like a good list for me to look into! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Perfect! I hope you find some fun series to enjoy.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Jaime!

      Delete
  21. You might enjoy the Lily Adler Mystery Series by Katharine Schellman—I've only read the first one of those so far, but I liked it a lot!

    Or there's also the The Royal Spyness Series by Rhys Bowen; that one is also fun from what I've read.

    Thanks for stopping by my TTT earlier!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Schellman is definitely on my radar as an author to check out. Her books do sound right up my alley. I've never read anything by Rhys Bowen, but I've definitely seen them around. I'll take a closer look.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Nicole!

      Delete
  22. I don't know if it's exactly what you're looking for, but have you read Amanda Flower's Because I Could Not Stop for Death? I haven't read it yet, but I have a copy of it and plan to read it. I've heard it's very good. Enjoy whatever you do choose to read! :)

    ReplyDelete
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    1. No, I haven't read that one yet. I love Flower's Amish Candy Shop series and I definitely need to check out her other books. Thanks for the rec and, as always, for coming by and commenting, Meezan!

      Delete
  23. I have my favourite genres but do step out into others. I really enjoyed the Below Stairs series and will keep reading them, must check to see if there is a next one! The Verity Kent series is another that I've been reading and am up to date on and that is very good. Oh yes I see the person above me mentioned the Rhys Bowen series and I've enjoyed that although that is far more light hearted, but a lot of fun especially on audio.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Below Stairs series is fun, isn't it? I'm a couple books behind in it, so I need to catch up. I definitely need to check out Bowen. Her books look fun. I enjoy a lighthearted historical mystery!

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Kathryn!

      Delete
  24. Wow, you're way ahead of me on that type of historical fiction. About the closest thing I consistently read is the noir fiction from the forties and fifties, but those tend to be standalones for the most part. Also, I suppose, some other stuff like Rex Stout's Nero Wolf series set in pre-and-post-wae NYC of the thirties, forties, and fifties.That's probably because I tend to struggle a little getting into Victorian age mysteries.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And I struggle with noir fiction! Who knows why. I do love my Victorian-era mysteries. Again, I don't know why the genre appeals to me so much, it just does!

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Sam!

      Delete
  25. This is definitely outside of my usual genre, but I have read the first Myrtle Hardcastle book. I really enjoyed it! Thanks for sharing this!

    ReplyDelete
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    1. The Myrtle Hardcastle series is so great! It makes me smile. I've especially enjoyed listening to the series on audio since the narrator is just fantastic.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Dedra!

      Delete
    2. I read the first one, Susan, but I will listen to the rest as you love the narrator.

      Delete
  26. I don't think that I have read any historical mystery books before, but I like the sound of them. I will start on your current favourites :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Fantastic! I hope you enjoy exploring the genre.

      Thanks for stopping in, Caroline!

      Delete
  27. Two historical fiction I've recently read that feature female leads are Mastering the Art of French Murder (post WWII Paris) and Murder at Mallowan Hall (1920s/30s England) both are by Colleen Cambridge. The first features Julia Child, the latter Agatha Christie.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog earlier.
    Pam @ Read! Bake! Create!

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Great recs! I actually have copies of both of these books. I just need to read them. *Sigh* So many books, so little time...

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Pam!

      Delete
  28. Good topic--I'd like some of these.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I hope you enjoy the ones you choose to read!

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Lisa!

      Delete
  29. I haven't read too many historical mysteries, but of the two that I have and enjoyed, you already touched on the Veronica Speedwell series. The other one I loved was the Adam Lapid series by Jonathan Dunsky, which is set in the 1950s in Israel.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. The Veronica Speedwell series is just SO much fun! I adore it. I haven't heard of the Dunsky series. I'll check it out.

      Thanks for the rec and thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Leah!

      Delete
  30. I've not heard of this as a genre, but I am very interested in it. I might have to set it as my genre goal next month!

    Have a great week!

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    1. The genre is a great blend of mystery and historical fiction, which just happen to be my two favorite genres! I hope you enjoy exploring the wonderful world of historical mysteries :)

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Emily!

      Delete
  31. This is a fun micro-genre for sure. Thanks for stopping by Long and Short Reviews the other day.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's one of my favorites! A perfect mash-up of mystery and history.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Astilbe!

      Delete
  32. Athena @ OneReadingNurse24 August, 2023 10:32

    Baskerville Hall sounds amazing, thanks so much for dropping by my post!

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Doesn't it look good? I enjoyed the one book I've read by the author, so I'm excited to read more by her.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting!

      Delete
  33. I have not read enough historical mysteries. I will have to check these titles out. Thank you for the recs!

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    Replies
    1. Me neither. I want to read them all!

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Alicia!

      Delete
  34. I love Mrs. Jeffries but it's a series that takes a little getting used to I think. It can be a little slower paced. I really want to read the Deanna Raybourn. I love the Veronica Speedwell series and am so curious about her other series. And I love Verity Kent! My only complaint is that there aren't pictures of her clothes! Great list!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for the warning. I'm fine with a slower pace if everything else is engaging. We'll see how I do with that series.

      Same on Raybourn. Her books are so fun!

      I like the Anatomist's Daughter series, so I'm excited for Verity Kent, too. I didn't realize it had a fashion element to it. Interesting.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Katherine!

      Delete
  35. Replies
    1. Me too! I have high hopes for all of them.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, AJ!

      Delete
  36. I've heard of Anna's and Deanna's books and seen them on lists and excitement for their respective novels, but I've never read a book by either of them. Maybe one of these days I should. :) Thanks so much for visiting my website on this week, Susan.

    ReplyDelete
  37. I've been enjoying the "A Miss Underhay Mystery" by Helena Dixon. There are 14 in the series so far. They are set in the 1930s in the UK. I'm sure you will get lots of recommendations, Susan.

    ReplyDelete

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