Did I already write about this subject? I know I’ve posted about favorite books here before – once about children’s stories and later about historical novels, but I don’t think I got to mysteries. (Although I’m pretty sure I promised a post about them.)
Ah, historical mysteries. I absolutely love them—so much so that sometimes I wonder why I’m writing historical romance. (In fact, I have a half-written Regency mystery languishing on my hard drive, but I have no time for it now, alas.)
Today I have the great pleasure of recommending some of my favorite historical mysteries. I will start far back in time and move forward.
First of all are Lindsey Davis’s mysteries about Ancient Rome. Her hero, Marcus Didius Falco, is an informer, the Roman equivalent of a private eye. He is one of the most engaging characters I’ve ever read. I was only vaguely interested in Ancient Rome before reading The Silver Pigs, the first in the series. Now I can’t get enough. Some of the books are fast moving, some are slower, and all contain astonishing historical detail. (And there’s a continuing romance in the series. Yes, I love mysteries, but they’re even better if they contain some romance.)
In medieval mysteries, there is of course the Brother Cadfael series by Ellis Peters. The first is A Morbid Taste for Bones, and they’re all fabulous, I promise.
Forward to Elizabethan England and the Sir Robert Carey mysteries by P.F. Chisholm (which, just so you know, is a pseudonym of Patricia Finney). I wasn’t much into Elizabethan England before reading her books.
I’m still not, to tell the truth—it’s just not a period that captures my imagination—but Patricia’s writing is so energetic, and her stories so exciting and enthralling, that I can’t resist them. They’re all wonderful, but my favorites are the ones that take place on the Scottish Borders. Oh, and one of her books (I forget which, but I wouldn’t tell you even if I remembered, because you really must read them all in sequence) has the most bittersweet romantic ending I have ever, ever read. The first in the series is A Famine of Horses.
In Victorian mysteries, my favorite so far is P.B. Ryan’s series which takes place in Boston. The heroine is Nell Sweeney, a governess with a past, and the hero is…hmm. I can’t think of what to say about him, so I won’t say anything. I’ve only read the first two, so I don’t know how the romance progresses…but I intend to read more and find out. The first in the series is Still Life With Murder.
Last of all, let’s go to even more recent history and the Royal Spyness series by Rhys Bowen. These take place in England in the 1930s. The heroine is the impoverished daughter of a duke, thirty-somethingth in line for the throne, and she’s always being sent on one mission or another by the queen. They’re very funny stories which at the same time give an illuminating picture of the history of the time. The first is Her Royal Spyness. Highly recommended!!
And now, please tell me about your favorite historical mysteries!