Author Topic: Anyone a Historical Mystery fan?  (Read 4541 times)  

Online ellenoc

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Re: Anyone a Historical Mystery fan?
« Reply #50 on: March 20, 2017, 02:34:00 PM »
The series isn't wearing very well for me though. It's a fine line authors have to walk. Readers want the novels similar but not too similar. I'm finding them a bit too similar to be tempted to keep on with the series after the first four. But I have to say the writing is very solid, and I enjoyed them for a while.  I'll have to check out the Bess Crawford ones.

As I said, I ended up liking the Bess Crawford stories better than the Ian Rutledge ones. I understand about a series wearing thin after a certain number of books. I've stopped with both the Captain Lacey mysteries and Victoria Thompson's series. Part of it for me is this compulsion with writers to take an interesting (for me, all this is my opinion, of course) character and turn them into someone less so. For instance, Captain Lacey is originally an injured war vet struggling on a small income. Victoria Thompson's heroine is a midwife, also struggling. Both of them marry money and life thereafter is all roses except for their solving mysteries.

One problem with finding a series with quite a few books available and reading them one after another is any weaknesses show right up, whether it's small things like the author's tendency to use a particular phrase in every book or something larger like same story premises.

A series I mentioned before has a new book out - Sheri Cobb South's John Pickett series. It's labeled as #6 in the series, but I have 8 in the collection on my Kindle. The earlier ones weren't numbered, and I had to look up the order when I started with them since like Atunah I'm compulsive about reading series in order. Evident South was going to end the series with his marriage but decided to write one more showing how things were going (#6). The note at the end of this one makes it appear she's decided she has enough fans like me to continue the series even more. As I said before, this is currently my second favorite historical mystery series behind only C.S. Harris's, so I'm delighted. It's too romancey for you, J.R., but I think Atunah would like it.

Pickett has also married money, but he didn't realize it, naively expected his wife, widow of a viscount, was going to live on his earnings as a Bow Street runner, and in Book 6 isn't happy about the discovery. So far it's all entertaining.

A book I wasn't going to mention here but now will in case anyone likes very dark is Gallows Thief by Bernard Cornwell. The premise is a man who needs the money is hired to rubber stamp the guilt of a man about to hang. He was a poor choice of investigator as he has too much conscience for rubber stamping and actually investigates. It gives a realistic and ugly look into Britain's justice system, prisons, and execution methods in the good old days - I think early Nineteenth Century, but it's been a while since I read it, about then anyway. Also, I think it's a standalone not first of a series. Not for the faint of heart.

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Re: Anyone a Historical Mystery fan?
« Reply #51 on: March 20, 2017, 02:48:02 PM »

A series I mentioned before has a new book out - Sheri Cobb South's John Pickett series. It's labeled as #6 in the series, but I have 8 in the collection on my Kindle. The earlier ones weren't numbered, and I had to look up the order when I started with them since like Atunah I'm compulsive about reading series in order. Evident South was going to end the series with his marriage but decided to write one more showing how things were going (#6). The note at the end of this one makes it appear she's decided she has enough fans like me to continue the series even more. As I said before, this is currently my second favorite historical mystery series behind only C.S. Harris's, so I'm delighted. It's too romancey for you, J.R., but I think Atunah would like it.


I have the first in the Cobb series. Or at least I think its the first. I only find 6 books in the series, what are the other 2? I only see 2 shorts that are listed in between the 6 full books. I ignore shorts and novellas inbetweeners as I call them. But are there books before "In Milady's Chamber?" I been looking and I am not seeing any. Just want to make sure I start at the beginning. Reading order OCD is a real thing.  8) I own Milady's Chamber already so I can move it up on my list if its the first one.

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Re: Anyone a Historical Mystery fan?
« Reply #52 on: March 20, 2017, 06:58:19 PM »
I prefer long to short too, Atunah, but when I'm keen on an author, I'll read something short by them, and in that way I've discovered a couple of novellas that changed my mind about that form.

Anyway, the 8 I have are:

Pickpocket's Apprentice (This is a 128-page "prequel," so you'd do without, and it wasn't written first even though chronologically it is first.)
In Milady's Chamber #1
A Dead Bore #2
Family Plot #3
Dinner Most Deadly #4
Waiting Game (This is a 126-page novella, so you'd skip it too.)
Too Hot to Handel #5
For Deader or Worse #6






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Re: Anyone a Historical Mystery fan?
« Reply #53 on: March 20, 2017, 07:20:30 PM »
Thanks Ellen. That helps a lot. Somehow goodreads didn't have the first novella in the series listing. I just can't do shorts, even if they are part of series. So even with favorite authors and series, I skip them.

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Offline JRTomlin

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Re: Anyone a Historical Mystery fan?
« Reply #54 on: March 20, 2017, 07:21:09 PM »
I had somehow missed that Bernard Cornwell in spite of being a big fan of his. I love very dark, so it should be right up my alley. Thanks. I'll definitely check it out. :)


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Re: Anyone a Historical Mystery fan?
« Reply #55 on: March 24, 2017, 03:28:37 PM »
So I finished


Really enjoyed it, even if its a time period later than I like. Women suffrage. Its set in London and there are some darker scenes in it, but not like brutally dark, at least not to me. I'll continue the series. the main character is a doctor that gets to work with what I guess would have been a coroner. I can't remember all the proper terms now. But she is obviously at a time where things are very volatile for women. The beginning, a march by women happened for real in 1910 according to the author notes and 3 women were killed during because of the rowdy crowds.

I also just finished
The 7th in that series.

I think for now I have given up on the Amelia Peabody series. I know many like it, but something about it. I read the first 2 and tried to read the 3rd, but that child of theirs. Ramses, I just can't with the way that kid talks. Its just not believable. And then other stuff annoyed me so i put it aside. Maybe one day again. I think Amelia and Emerson are just a bit much to take for me.

I know one thing for sure, I am totally back in historical times that I haven't picked up a contempo or paranormal in some time. Its either HR or HM for now for me. And I am reading more and don't have a reading slump anymore. Its were I belong apparently.  ;D
« Last Edit: March 24, 2017, 03:37:12 PM by Atunah »

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Re: Anyone a Historical Mystery fan?
« Reply #56 on: April 06, 2017, 01:05:37 PM »
The latest in C.S. Harris's Sebastian St. Cyr series came out Tuesday, and of course I pounced and read it right through. I really enjoyed it and that's in spite of the fact it has some themes I avoid in other books. There were a couple of events IMO so clearly foreshadowed I saw them coming a mile away, and at least one thing toward the end that IMO the book could have done without. Not that it did any harm, but it was obviously going to happen and it just didn't add anything when it did.

Reviews will undoubtedly warn anyone who is squeamish about the kind of killings, so I'll say it here. The bad guys are perverted child killers, so if that would bother you, this is a book to skip. It's very dark. I'm a fan of Nevada Barr's Anna Pigeon mysteries, and I skipped one that reviews warned me centered around Satanism-type stuff, so I know all about skipping books even by favorite authors.

Other than that, if you don't want more spoilers, stop reading here. The main theme in the Harris book that I won't read (and which I should have realized was there going in but for some reason didn't take in) is serial killers. I stopped reading anything with a serial killer years ago because 1) I got sick of the immortal serial killer. You know, the one who is destroyed by bullet, fire, drowning, etc., at the end of book after book but is back to plague the hero a book or two later, 2) at least in modern settings, the serial killer's POV is always in a few scenes, and I can do without being in the head of someone that sick and perverted, thank you. I sincerely doubt Harris is going to bring the one of her killers who is killed in this book back, but his partner is still alive, so I figure we'll see him again, especially since he just became entangled with Sebastian's family. However, there are no scenes in either killer's POV.

So for me not the best in the series - that would be the stories where Sebastian and Hero marry and where their son is born - but still better than most historical mysteries.

Offline tocs100

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Re: Anyone a Historical Mystery fan?
« Reply #57 on: April 23, 2017, 11:59:13 PM »
Yes, Arthurian please.  ;)

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Offline benjclark

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Re: Anyone a Historical Mystery fan?
« Reply #58 on: May 09, 2017, 01:46:38 PM »
Bookmarking. Personally, I love those early 20th Century stuff but do go further afield when the story is good.

Radha Vatsal's second Kitty Weeks mystery set in 1910s NYC is out this week and she stopped off at my blog to share about researching historical mysteries:
https://benjaminlclark.com/guest-post-from-radha-vastal-author-of-the-kitty-weeks-mysteries/


Offline crebel

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Re: Anyone a Historical Mystery fan?
« Reply #59 on: July 02, 2017, 11:30:09 AM »
Atunah mentioned this series in her first post, but I don't see it linked anywhere.  Today it is on sale for $1.99 so I finally grabbed it.

A book, I think, is very like a little golden door.
That takes me into places where I've never been before.
It leads me into fairyland or countries strange and far.
And, best of all, the golden door always stands ajar. - Adelaide Love

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Re: Anyone a Historical Mystery fan?
« Reply #60 on: July 02, 2017, 11:59:40 AM »
Good find crebel, I totally loved that one, I gave it 5 stars. I am so looking forward to the next which says out in September 5th.

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Offline Trophywife007

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Re: Anyone a Historical Mystery fan?
« Reply #61 on: July 03, 2017, 08:37:25 AM »
Did you see this one offered on Kindle First this month?  It is described as being set "just beyond the gilded age" so it may not be your ideal time period but I thought I'd give it a try.


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Re: Anyone a Historical Mystery fan?
« Reply #62 on: August 04, 2017, 08:53:10 AM »
So I am reading this one right now.

First in the Julian Kestrel series. Must have come from here as a rec, I can't remember now.
Although I enjoy the story so far, 38% in, it is written weird. As I am not a writer and know nothing about writing techniques and such, I don't know how to explain it. Its not written in first person, but when the characters think, its like they are thinking right now and say "I" and such. Think that is. I don't know if its tense switching, or what. All I know it reads weird and it keeps throwing me out of the story a bit. So I can't totally get close to it. If you know what I mean. I still enjoy it, I'll just call it weird.
Its harder to stay within the story and characters for me this way. The mystery itself is very good so far. Maybe I'll get used more to this style or writing. It has gotten a tad easier. Still weird.  :P

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Re: Anyone a Historical Mystery fan?
« Reply #63 on: August 04, 2017, 02:16:09 PM »
So I am reading this one right now.

First in the Julian Kestrel series. Must have come from here as a rec, I can't remember now.
Although I enjoy the story so far, 38% in, it is written weird. As I am not a writer and know nothing about writing techniques and such, I don't know how to explain it. Its not written in first person, but when the characters think, its like they are thinking right now and say "I" and such. Think that is. I don't know if its tense switching, or what. All I know it reads weird and it keeps throwing me out of the story a bit. So I can't totally get close to it. If you know what I mean. I still enjoy it, I'll just call it weird.
Its harder to stay within the story and characters for me this way. The mystery itself is very good so far. Maybe I'll get used more to this style or writing. It has gotten a tad easier. Still weird.  :P

The "recommender" may have been me. I read and enjoyed all these except the last one, which I finished, so it didn't turn me off completely, but it was weird in a different way than what you're describing, Atunah. I either never noticed what you're having trouble with or it's been too long to remember. It must not have bothered me. I see what I think you're describing in quite a few books and think if it's done, the thought should be in italics so it's clear what's going on. Anyway, it's too bad the author died and there won't be more.

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Re: Anyone a Historical Mystery fan?
« Reply #64 on: August 04, 2017, 02:26:24 PM »
The "recommender" may have been me. I read and enjoyed all these except the last one, which I finished, so it didn't turn me off completely, but it was weird in a different way than what you're describing, Atunah. I either never noticed what you're having trouble with or it's been too long to remember. It must not have bothered me. I see what I think you're describing in quite a few books and think if it's done, the thought should be in italics so it's clear what's going on. Anyway, it's too bad the author died and there won't be more.
Oh shoot, dead author. So I'll be left hanging at some point? Darn. I do like it and I like the mystery and all. Its just hard for me to explain exactly what it is. At times I get confused at what is being said to each other and what part is just in the characters head. They often blend together and should at times be said to that character. There are whole conversations it seems happening in the brain.  :P

I remember one book once, while back a HR. There was so much inner thinking going on that there was almost no dialogue between characters. Thinking about thinking and it would go on for pages and pages, heck, whole chapters.  :o. It was strange.

It probably was you since I know you have put down lists of series and there is always a good chance I like something you recommend as we really like some of the same series.

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Re: Anyone a Historical Mystery fan?
« Reply #65 on: August 05, 2017, 03:35:39 PM »
Oh shoot, dead author. So I'll be left hanging at some point?

I wouldn't say hanging, just if you like them, disappointed there aren't more. If I remember right, there are 4. I'd read 3 and skip the 4th. I still regret Dick Francis and Tony Hillerman regularly. They have offspring taking rides on their names, but IMO the offspring are inferior writers. For me a lot of series get disappointing after a while anyway. I no longer read Victoria Thompson or Captain Lacy. For me both those series lost their zing once the characters married and became wealthy.

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Re: Anyone a Historical Mystery fan?
« Reply #66 on: August 05, 2017, 04:36:13 PM »
I wouldn't say hanging, just if you like them, disappointed there aren't more. If I remember right, there are 4. I'd read 3 and skip the 4th. I still regret Dick Francis and Tony Hillerman regularly. They have offspring taking rides on their names, but IMO the offspring are inferior writers. For me a lot of series get disappointing after a while anyway. I no longer read Victoria Thompson or Captain Lacy. For me both those series lost their zing once the characters married and became wealthy.
I still read Captain Lacy, I still very much enjoy it. It did change, but I guess it had to. He is still ornery so there is that.  :P

And since there is little out there quite at the level of CS Harris, I'll continue those I enjoy. So far I still enjoy Thompson too, but I haven't gotten to them being married yet. But it was a obvious direction for them to go from the early books on. I like Captain Lacy a tad better overall than Thompson. part of if the characters and mysteries, part the time period. Since I love HM and its hard to find ongoing series, I'll take it. Cause what the heck do I do when I am caught up with all of them. Seems like nobody wants to write historical mysteries anymore. 

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Offline JRTomlin

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Re: Anyone a Historical Mystery fan?
« Reply #67 on: August 05, 2017, 09:10:51 PM »
I read Gallows Thief which... Ok, it is the first Bernard Cornwell novel I ever read that I really didn't like. Now, if you like cricket you'll enjoy it because Cornwell goes on, and on, and on about it.

I'm a bit hard to please. Although I can enjoy Victorian or WWI, I prefer medieval and definitely don't like cozies. Unfortunately I have a habit of reading novels about like gobbling popcorn which makes it hard to keep in something to read. Sadly I don't have a thing to recommend at the moment, but I think my tastes are a bit on the 'different' side. ;)

*grumbles* What I really want is a new medieval historical mystery and all my favorite authors are slacking off.
« Last Edit: August 05, 2017, 11:20:14 PM by JRTomlin »

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Re: Anyone a Historical Mystery fan?
« Reply #68 on: August 06, 2017, 12:41:34 PM »
Unfortunately I have a habit of reading novels about like gobbling popcorn which makes it hard to keep in something to read.

Me too. I'm retired, so there's lots of reading time. When I see people going on and on about how there are bazillions of books out there and they can always find lots to read I have to figure they aren't as picky as I am because finding enough to read is a constant problem. Yes, books exist in the bazillions. Books I want to read are more like unicorns.

What you said about cricket is funny because I remember nothing like that from the book. Which probably means I skipped or skimmed it all.

Atunah - I agree Harris is in a class by herself.

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Re: Anyone a Historical Mystery fan?
« Reply #69 on: August 06, 2017, 05:22:05 PM »
Me too. I'm retired, so there's lots of reading time. When I see people going on and on about how there are bazillions of books out there and they can always find lots to read I have to figure they aren't as picky as I am because finding enough to read is a constant problem. Yes, books exist in the bazillions. Books I want to read are more like unicorns.

What you said about cricket is funny because I remember nothing like that from the book. Which probably means I skipped or skimmed it all.

Atunah - I agree Harris is in a class by herself.
If you skipped or skimmed the parts about cricket: good choice!

I hate it when characters suddenly become wealthy. That is so annoying. It usually completely changes the tone of the novels.

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Re: Anyone a Historical Mystery fan?
« Reply #70 on: August 06, 2017, 08:27:39 PM »
I hate it when characters suddenly become wealthy. That is so annoying. It usually completely changes the tone of the novels.

Exactly. And in Victoria Thompson's series, the hero, an Irish cop, out of the blue inherits megabucks. So believable. But even without that, I found the characters as they originally were far more interesting and sympathetic. She was from a wealthy family but estranged from them and making her way as a midwife.

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Re: Anyone a Historical Mystery fan?
« Reply #71 on: August 07, 2017, 01:28:26 PM »
About the cricket, the main character had been making his living, such as it was, as a cricket player so it wasn't like the subject was unrelated.
« Last Edit: August 07, 2017, 01:33:35 PM by JRTomlin »

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Re: Anyone a Historical Mystery fan?
« Reply #72 on: August 07, 2017, 02:03:28 PM »
About the cricket, the main character had been making his living, such as it was, as a cricket player so it wasn't like the subject was unrelated.

Ah, yes, that does ring a bell. But I would have skipped any detailed descriptions of the game itself since it doesn't interest me. The older I get, the better at skipping anything that doesn't interest me I get, For instance, large swaths of poetic descriptions float right by with only a twinge of guilt that some author slaved over writing it. What sticks with me is the grimness of the descriptions of the prison and prisoners and brutality of the hanging, the fact that investigating to see if the conviction was just only happened because the condemned's sister (mother?) knew someone important, and that the MC didn't do the rubber stamping expected. The book hooked me enough that I read the whole thing (minus the skip/skim, of course, but that true for everything I read), but it didn't make me seek out others by the author.

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Re: Anyone a Historical Mystery fan?
« Reply #73 on: August 08, 2017, 07:10:47 PM »
It became rather peculiar that so many of the horrible, nasty, murderous people in the Capt Lacey novels were homosexual. I stopped reading.

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