Good Reads - Fiction
Historical Mysteries - Bibliography
Alexander, Bruce - Blind
Justice - 1994,
Soaked with atmospheric sights and sounds of the era,
18th century London serves as backdrop to Judge Sir John
Fielding's introduction as a detective. A founder
of London's first police force, the Bow Street Runners,
the blind judge, together with his 13-year-old sidekick
(and set of eyes) Jeremy Proctor, delves into a world of
darkness and evil to find the truth behind an assumed suicide
of a lord.
Day, Dianne - Fire
and Fog - 1996, 241p.
For Fremont Jones
Wednesday April 18, 1906 started with bells—church bells signaling the onset of the Great
San Francisco earthquake. Barely escaping being crushed
by a falling armoire, Fremont runs to her office to check
on her beloved typewriter. Although her typewriter is intact,
the encroaching fires force her to grab it and run. When
Fremont's landlords are found dead in the office
building, she realizes they were not killed by the earthquake.
Failing to convince the police of this, she decides to
learn what happened. She meets a number of unusual people,
places her life in danger, and questions what she wishes
to do with the rest of her life. The second book in an
excellent historical series.
Grayson, Richard - Death
Off Stage - 1992,
A range of interesting characters from all classes bring
turn-of-the-century Paris to life, as Inspector Gautier
investigates several seemingly unrelated cases, from the
murder of an infant to the poisoning of a prima ballerina.
Both his heart and mind are engaged, since several cases
involve the visiting Dashkova Ballet Company, a dance troupe
led by his lover Princess Sophia. Applying intuition and
solid investigative techniques, Gautier discovers the link
among the cases and finds himself in danger as he brings
the murderers to justice.)
Gregory, Susanna - An
Unholy Alliance - 1996,
England is barely beginning to recover from the effects
of the Black Death in 1348. People despairing of God's
love have turned increasingly to satanic cults; the unscrupulous
are seizing trade, land, and livelihoods. Matthew Bartholomew
and Benedictine monk Brother Michael investigate the mysterious
appearance of a dead friar inside a locked chest, but did
the friar die of ignorance or malice? And did his death
have anything to do with the four prostitutes murdered
in the last two months? A strong first novel that delivers
a close look at the history of Cambridge and a fascinating
period in British history.
Hatvary, George Egon - The
Murder of Edgar Allan Poe - 1997, 211p.
What really happened to Edgar Allan Poe
in Baltimore on that fateful election day in 1849? Befriended
by a shadowy
stranger, the acerbic author is drugged, dressed in rags,
and left to die outside of Gunner's Hall, a raucous
tavern and makeshift polling place. Auguste Dupin, Poe's
renowned detective hero, is summoned from Paris by the
writer's distraught aunt. Dupin promptly sails for
America to console grieving relatives, privately suspecting
a grotesque literary vendetta.
King, Laurie R. - The
or, on the Segregation of the Queen - 1994, 347p.
in an unpleasant legal entanglement with a cold and abusive
guardian, fifteen-year-old orphan Mary Russell
finds the ideal mentor in the retired beekeeper whose cottage
borders her home in Sussex Downs. Her keen intellect intrigues
and enchants the Great Detective, and their relationship
grows and deepens into a mutually respectful friendship
as he involves her in several investigations. The author
has succeeded in creating a new "Baker Street regular" without
compromising the character of the formidable Sherlock Holmes
Lawrence, Margaret - Hearts
and Bones - 1996,
Set amidst the chaos and uncertainty of post-Revolutionary
War America, Hannah Trevor, midwife in the small Maine
village of Rufford, delves into the rape and murder of
a young mother whose husband is gone surveying the western
lands. It is the dead of winter; and as Hannah in her characteristic
red cloak prowls the snowdriven paths of the village, she
comes under the scrutiny of her former lover, the judging
eyes of the village, and the gaze of a murderer.
Linscott, Gillian - Sister
Beneath the Sheet - 1991, 224p.
courtesan Topaz Brown died in Biarritz, leaving her fortune
to the Women's Social and Political Union,
an embattled organization fighting for the vote for women.
One of its leaders, Nell Bray, is assigned to go to Biarritz
to protect the union's interests, since Topaz's
brother is contesting the will, claiming his sister's
suicide was the result of a deranged mind. Topaz's
maid is convinced her mistress was murdered. Nell begins
sleuthing, completes her mission, and sees justice served,
in a lively story that gracefully evokes the fervor of
the suffragettes and the old style grandeur of the rich
Maher, Mary - The
Devil's Card - 1992,
A fictionalized review of a celebrated 1889 Chicago
case: the disappearance and murder of Dr. Patrick Cronin.
details are grimly dramatic—a naked corpse, wearing
only a scapular, found in a Lakeview storm drain, a bloody
trunk that may have held the corpse, a blood-drenched cabin,
and the victim's crusade against the nationalistic
Irish secret society. Reporter Tom Martin struggles with
his own identity as an Irish-American as he works on the
Cronin case. A sensitive, leisurely-paced historical reconstruction
of ethnic tensions among the Irish. A fascinating, grittily
Newman, Sharan - Death
Comes as Epiphany - 1993,
Catherine LeVendeur has been asked by the prioress Heloise
to pretend to leave the Order of the Paraclete, so she
can go undercover and investigate the possibility the heretical
statements that have been found in the psalters were copied
by the novitiates. As she journeys to the library at St.
Denis, she meets and falls in love with a young Saxon,
Edgar. This historical mystery is the first in the series
which follows Catherine through courtship and marriage
to Edgar. It is very atmospheric with details about daily
life in 1139 A.D. France.
Nolan, WIlliam F. - The
Marble Orchard - 1996,
Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, and Erle Stanley
Gardner are back as amateur detectives, following their
The Black Mask Murders. Here they interact in a complex,
colorful, and richly textured thriller. Narrated by Chandler,
the adventure begins in East Los Angeles with the discovery
of what seems to be a ritual suicide in a Chinese cemetery.
Action moves from the Hearst castle, to the abandoned canals
of Venice by the Sea, to an ornate hotel on Conorado Island,
to the Victorian mansions of Bunker Hill. Along the way
readers will encounter real-life personalities. Nolan expertly
evokes the surreal world of Southern California and Hollywood
in the 1930s, as the all-time masters of crime fiction
return in a bold, inventive novel.
Penman, Sharon Kay - The
Queen's Man - 1996, 291p.
is 1193 and London's king, Richard the Lionhearted,
is missing. Having left to fight in the Crusades, no one
has heard from him for weeks. His mother, Queen Eleanor
of Aquitaine, is determined to find him while his brother
John, heir to the throne, speculates that he has been killed.
Traveling to London, young Justin De Quincy witnesses the
murder of the Queen's messenger and discovers a vital
letter on the body addressed to the Queen. Upon delivery
of this letter, Justin becomes "the Queen's
man" and becomes involved in sinister plots, murder,
and treachery in the coming months.
Robb, Candace M. - The
Apothecary Rose - 1993,
Details of medieval life and the apothecary trade abound
as Owen Archer, former Captain of Archers, is sent to York
to investigate the death of the ward of the Lord chancellor
of England. Apprenticed to Lucie, wife of Master Apothecary
Nicholas Wilton, Owen uses his cover to track down the
murderer while falling in love with Lucie, who to Owen's
dismay, is a strong suspect.
Robinson, Lynda S. - Murder
at the Feast of Rejoicing - 1996,
Lord Meren, the Eyes and Ears of Pharaoh Tutankhamen,
is told by the Pharaoh to go to his ancestral home and
rest. His journey covers the fact that he and his son Kesen
are secretly taking the bodies and treasure of Akhenaton
and Nefertiti to their new secret burial site. Unfortunately,
when Meren comes home, he finds that his family has thrown
a Feast of Rejoicing to celebrate his homecoming. During
the party, Meren discovers the body of Anhai, the wife
of his cousin, in his granary. As he delves into everyone's
motives, he discovers that the intrigues and murderous
actions of the dead pharaoh Akhenaton continue to haunt
everyone. Meren must uncover old hatreds in order to solve
Satterthwait, Walter - Escapade - 1995,
An eccentric lord with Socialist leanings, a vulgar
widow and her paid companion, Harry Houdini, Sir Arthur
Doyle, and a Pinkerton agent are just a few of the people
gathered in a haunted country manor house for a seance.
When the Earl of Axminster is murdered in his bed, Houdini
and a Scotland yard detective enter into a competition
to solve the crime. A humorous entertainment.
Smith, Martin Cruz - Rose - 1996, 364p.
Jonathan Blair returns
to Victorian England from a period of African exploration
dogged by scandal and malaria. Out
of options, he accepts an unwelcome offer from his former
patron Bishop Hannay to investigate the disappearance of
a cleric in the mining village of Wigan, in exchange for
the Bishop's support in further explorations. In
Wigan, Blair finds deceit and danger, and a growing attraction
for Rose, a mysterious and independent "pit girl."
Prepared by members of the Adult Reading Round Table,
a group of librarians from various library systems in Illinois.