historical mystery

Ghostly Echoes

28110857Ghostly Echoes by William Ritter
Algonquin Young Reader: August 23, 2016
Genre: Young Adult; Historical Mystery
Source: Free From Publisher

I’d go there again!
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Ghostly Echoes is the third historical mystery featuring Abigail Rook and Mr. Jackaby, a private investigator with an unusual specialty of the unexplained.

Abigail is a transplant from England who fell into employment with the eccentric Jackaby and with this third book it’s clear that Abigail has embraced her investigations into the paranormal and has no intention of going back:

It seemed like only yesterday I had been back home in England, packing for my first term at university. Had someone told me that I would throw it all away and run off to America to commune with ghost and answer to ducks and help mad detectives solve impossible murders, I would have said they were either lying or insane. I would have sorted them on the same shelf in my mental library as those who believe in Ouija boards or sea serpents or honest politicians. That sort of foolishness was not for me. I adhered to facts and science; the impossible was for other people.

A lot can change in a few short months (p. 20).

Indeed they can. (more…)

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Marriage & Mystery in “A Pressing Engagement”

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A Pressing Engagement by Anna Lee Huber
InterMix: May 17, 2016
Genre: Historical Mystery
Source: Free From Publisher

Beach Vacation
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I’ve been a fan of Anna Lee Huber since the first Lady Darby mystery. A Pressing Engagement is a short novella that whets readers appetites for the fifth book’s release this July.

A Pressing Engagement takes place just days before Kiera’s marriage to inquiry agent, Sebastian Gage. For those that have been following the series, you will recognize the fact that these days are fraught with anxieties for Kiera due to the ghosts of her horrible first marriage. Happily, Kiera has a mystery to distract herself from the impending special day and of course Gage tags along for the adventure.  (more…)

Intrigue, Mystery & Spies in “London Gambit”

29095138London Gambit: Tracy Grant
NYLA: May 5, 2016
Genre: Historical Mystery
Source: Free From Publisher

I’d go there again!
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London Gambit is Tracy Grant’s latest Suzanne and Malcolm Rannoch historical adventure. In this outing, Suzanne and Malcolm are investigating a number of things. First, Malcolm is called to the scene of the murder, only to discover that the man found dead is a former military man and found in a warehouse connected with a previous investigation. Second, Suzanne learns of potential plot to free Napoleon, which could put her and her family at risk, considering that she is a former French spy. And if that wasn’t enough, it seems that the murder just might hit closer to home than Malcolm originally thought when a personal friend seems to be keeping secrets. Luckily, Malcolm and Suzanne have their trusted (and unofficial) band of investigators to help them discover the truth. (more…)

“A Useful Woman” is an Amateur Sleuth

26067944A Useful Woman by Darcie Wilde
Berkley: May 3, 2016
Genre: Historical Mystery
Source: Free From Publisher

Rosalind Thorne is a woman that lives on the edges of the ton. She was once a debutante on the verge of making a match. That life was destroyed when Rosalind’s father abandoned her and her mother because of some shady business dealings. Due to her constrained circumstances Rosalind had to make herself useful, and in that, she maintains her position in society.

Normally, Rosalind helps woman organize parties or assists in a strategic retreat from prying eyes. The ladies of the ton depend on Rosalind to help them manage distressing situations. However, Rosalind has never once before had to manage the inconvenience appearance of a dead body. When the body of Jasper Aimesworth is found in the hallowed halls of Almack’s, Rosalind finds herself reluctantly drawn into a murder investigation. And this investigation uncovers some uncomfortable truths about her benefactress while forcing Rosalind to confront her past and acknowledge that she has changed in the years since she was a fresh-faced debutante. (more…)

Ghosts in the Manor House: “Lost Among the Living”

25329513Lost Among the Living by Simone St. James
NAL: April 5, 2016
Genre: Historical Fiction
Source: Free From Publisher

I’d go there again!
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I’ve been a long-time fan of Simone St. James and I longingly await each new book. I will admit that I struggled a bit with the first half of the book, but there is a turning point in Lost Among the Living and when I reached that there was no way I was putting the book down. If you read it, you will no exactly which event I am referring to.

Jo Manders is a young widow still mourning the loss of her husband, Alex, three years after his disappearance during the war. Due to the fact that Alex’s body was never recovered, Jo has been living in a state of limbo and strained finances, as she cannot receive her widow’s portion without petitioning the court. Instead of pursuing the legal channels, Jo accepts Alex’s aunt’s offer to become her companion. After traveling on the continent with Dottie it’s time to return home. Dottie’s son is returning from his stay at a hospital and Dottie wants to be home to greet him; Jo must also go as she has no other place to call home. (more…)

Crime Fighting Viscount Leaves London in “When Falcons Fall”

25258226When Falcons Fall by C.S. Harris
NAL: March 1, 2016
Genre: Historical Mystery
Source: Free From Publisher

I’d go there again!
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C.S. Harris’ eleventh installment in her Sebastian St. Cyr series takes the dashing viscount out of London and into the countryside when Sebastian and his wife investigate Sebastian’s mysterious parentage. However, Sebastian’s personal quest is stalled when, during their stay at Ayleswick-on-Teme, none other than Napoleon Bonaparte’s nephew discovers a young woman’s body. The young squire charged with seeking justice is quick to ask for Sebastian’s support and it soon become apparent that this is no suicide. Now, Sebastian and Hero are caught up in a local investigation with too many suspects and a disturbing personal connection. (more…)

The Stylishly Thrilling “Wolf Winter”

21413846Wolf Winter by Cecilia Ekbäck
HarperCollins: January 27, 2015
Genre: Historical Fiction
Source: Free From Library

I’d go there again!
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“Wolf winter,” she said, her voice small. “I wanted to ask about it. You know, what it is.”

He was silent for a long time. “It’s the kind of winter that will remind us we are mortal,” he said. “Mortal and alone” (p. 107).

Wolf Winter is a historical thriller set in 1717 Sweden and what a stylish read it is. Maija, her husband, and her two daughters, Frederika and Dorotea have moved to the Swedish Lapland from Finland, having traded properties with a family member. Soon after arriving, Frederika and Dorotea find a man dead near a marsh. The settlers want to believe that it was an animal attack but Maija is convinced that it was murder and sets out to prove her point, only to have the settlers tell her that there is something evil on the mountain. (more…)

More Retro Sleuthing in “A Song for the Brokenhearted”

25674402A Song for the Brokenhearted by William Shaw
Mulholland Books: January 19, 2016
Genre: Historical Mystery
Review Source: Free from publisher.

I’d go there again!
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With A Song for the Brokenhearted William Shaw wraps up the Breen & Tozer mystery trilogy and I’m left hoping to read more about these characters. A trilogy can become a series, right? This book was everything that I hoped it would be: awesome characters, occasional humour, and a mystery that not only holds a personal connection for the main characters but also sheds light on events of an international nature.

A Song for the Brokenhearted picks up soon after the events of the previous book, Kings of London. Breen is recuperating after being injured on the job and ex-policewoman, Helen Tozer, has brought Breen back to her family’s farm to recover. Going a bit stir crazy, Breen is not exactly unhappy when Helen nudges him into looking into her sister Alexandra’s unsolved murder. Surprisingly, Alexandra’s murder has an unexpected connection to the Mau Mau uprising in Kenya. (more…)

Spies at the Congress of Vienna in “Vienna Waltz”

9341394Vienna Waltz by Teresa Grant
Kensington: April 1, 2011
Genre: Historical Mystery
Review Source: Free from library.

Outstanding Adventure!
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Vienna Waltz is a historical mystery set at the Congress of Vienna in November 1814. Our principle investigators are married duo Malcolm and Suzanne Rannoch. Malcolm is part of the British convoy of diplomats attending the Congress with Lord Castlereagh; he’s part attaché and part spy. Suzanne has her own skill set and proves to be a valuable asset when Princess Tatiana, a woman rumoured to be the mistress of some of the most powerful men at the Congress, is found murdered.

Teresa (a.k.a. Tracy) Grant has been on my radar for a long while; however, I’ve always been hesitant to pick up the series since it has a very strange publication order. Originally, the series began with Malcolm and Suzanne as Charles and Melanie Fraser. Later, the author changed publishers and the characters changed into their existing form. Basically what I was worried about is how exactly I should read these books. Luckily, the author has shared a handy guide on her website and gives readers a recommended reading order. It’s this reading order that I’ve decided to go with. (more…)

Top 5 Friday: Lady Detectives

The mystery genre is a favourite of mine. There’s something about the mystery formula that just works for me. The bad guy is always caught and the hero or heroine always get their man. The particular feature that is my catnip is the concept of the lady detective. Whether it’s a historical or contemporary setting, I always enjoy a story that features a woman detective. She doesn’t have to be a super sleuth but she does have to solve crimes. Happily there are many books out there that feature this type of character. My list for today is my current favourite lady detectives that I’ve read so far.

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