>> Thursday, April 26, 2012
This topic is timely because I'm currently in the middle of two books that fall in this category. I'm reading For the Love of Mike from the Molly Murphy series by Rhys Bowen and I'm listening to The Ape Who Guards the Balance from the Amelia Peabody series by Elizabeth Peters. They take place at nearly the same time (early 1900's) in two very different parts of the world.
I consider something a historical mystery if it's set in a time period many years before when the book was written. Based on this definition Sherlock Holmes is not a historical mystery series because it was contemporary for Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
Here are a few of my favorite Historical Mystery series.
The Molly Murphy series by Rhys Bowen.
Molly Murphy is introduced in Murphy's Law when she commits a murder in self defense and is forced to flee her native Ireland. She arrives in New York in 1901 and soon finds herself in need of identifying another killer in order to clear her own name. She eventually goes to work for a private detective before deciding to become a detective herself. The turn of the century New York City setting is interesting and Molly uses both her wits and a lot of luck to make her way.
The Amelia Peabody series by Elizabeth Peters
Amelia is a delightfully amusing Victorian Era heroine. At the beginning of the series she travels to Egypt in 1884. There she meets both her future husband and her career. Handsome and brilliant archaelolgist Radcliffe Emerson captures Amelia's heart but her love of archeology and excavations is nearly equal to what she feels for him.
I've never read these books in printed format. This is a series I read only via audiobook. The first few were narrated by Susan O'Malley but Barbara Rosenblat has read the rest brilliantly. They're entertaining and amusing. While some folks may not think so, I'd really recommend reading them in order. They take place over a long period of nearly annual expeditions to Egypt. The one I'm currently listening to takes place in 1907. Their family grows up throughout the series and it goes through at least 1922.
The Maisie Dobbs series by Jacqueline Winspear
This is one of the few series that I'm actually current and have read the most recent release.
Set in London between the World Wars it's as much a series about Maisie the detective as it is a well done portrait of the time and place. While I enjoy Maisie's story and the mysteries I also enjoy the way that Winspear portrays the social, economic and political issues of the time.
The Holmes on the Range series by Steve Hockensmith
I haven't actually started reading the books in this series yet, but I have read a collection of short stories featuring the characters.
This series features Gustav and Otto Amlingmeyer who are a couple of old west cowboys. Finding thier inspiration in reading Sherlock Holmes they move from job to job as they build their "dedicifying" skills. An interesting setting and some gentle humor made the short stories quite enjoyable and I'm looking forward to starting the series.
What about you? Do you read any historical mystery series? Which would you recommend?