12 Great Historical Mystery Series

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12 Great Historical Mystery Series

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Jeffries 1Emily Brightwell

AKA: Cheryl Lanham

 

Series: The Inspector & Mrs Jeffries

Setting: Victorian England

First Novel: Inspector & Mrs Jeffries (1993)
Most Recent Novel: Mrs. Jeffries Wins The Prize (2016) #34

More on Cheryl Lanham

Best Review Selection:
The Inspector & Mrs Jeffries (1993) #1
Best Review
Book 

****

A completely inept Scotland Yard Inspector, Gerald Witherspoon, has gained a formidable reputation,  thanks to the efforts of his household staff. Led by the irrepressible Mrs Jeffries, they become a formidable and amusing team of detectives who solve all the cases, while still allowing the unwitting Witherspoon to gather all the glory!

Links To All Titles:

The Inspector & Mrs. Jeffries (1993) #1
Mrs.Jeffries Dusts For Clues (1993) #2
The Ghost and Mrs. Jeffries (1993) #3
Mrs. Jeffries on the Ball (1994) #4
Mrs. Jeffries Takes Stock (1994) #5
Mrs. Jeffries On the Trail (1995) #6
Mrs. Jeffries Plays the Cook (1995) #7
Mrs. Jeffries and the Missing Alibi (1996) #8
Mrs. Jeffries Stands Corrected (1996) #9
Mrs. Jeffries Takes the Stage (1997) #10
Mrs. Jeffries Questions the Answer (1997) #11
Mrs. Jeffries Reveals Her Art (1998) #12
Mrs. Jeffries Takes the Cake (1998) #13
Mrs. Jeffries Rocks the Boat (1999) #14
Mrs. Jeffries Weeds the Plot (2000) #15
Mrs. Jeffries Pinches the Post (2001) #16
Mrs Jeffries Pleads Her Case (2002) #17
Mrs. Jeffries Sweeps The Chimney (2004) #18
Mrs. Jeffries Stalks the Hunter (2004) #19
Mrs. Jeffries and the Silent Knight (2005) #20
Mrs. Jeffries Appeals the Verdict (2006) #21
Mrs. Jeffries and the Best Laid Plans (2007) #22
Mrs. Jeffries and the Feast of St. Stephen (2008) #23
Mrs. Jeffries Holds the Trump (2008) #24
Mrs. Jeffries In the Nick of Time (2009) #25
Mrs. Jeffries and the Yuletide Weddings (2009) #26
Mrs. Jeffries Speaks Her Mind (2010) #27
Mrs. Jeffries Forges Ahead (2011) #28
Mrs. Jeffries and the Mistletoe Mix-Up (2011) #29
Mrs. Jeffries Defends Her Own (2012) #30
Mrs. Jeffries Turns the Tide (2013) #31
Mrs. Jeffries and the Merry Gentlemen (2013) #32
Mrs. Jeffries and The One Who Got Away (2014) #33

Mrs. Jeffries Wins The Prize (2016) #34

Paperback Anthologies

Mrs Jeffries Learns the Trade #1-3
Mrs Jeffries Takes a Second Look #4-6
Mrs Jeffries Takes Tea at Three #7-9
Mrs Jeffries Sallies Forth #10-12
Mrs Jeffries Pleads The Fifth #13-15
Mrs Jeffries Serves Two #22-23


Chishom 1 P. F. Chisholm

AKA: Patricia Finney
Author of Various series

 

Series: A Sir Robert Carey Mystery
Setting: Elizabethan England 1592

First Novel: A Famine of Horses (2000)
Most Recent Novel: A Chorus of Innocents (2014)

More on Patricia Finney 

Best Review Selection:
A Famine of Horses (2000) #1 
Best Review
Book  eBook 

****

Sir Robert Carey is a younger son of Henry Carey, Baron Hunsdon, the first cousin of Elizabeth I through her maternal aunt Mary Boleyn. Rumor also holds that they are related through her father, Henry VIII. The young Sir Robert Carey has few expectations of rank or wealth and is always in debt, and always searching for some way to repair his fortunes.

Links To All Titles:

A Famine of Horses (1994) #1
A Season of Knives (1995) #2
A Surfeit of Guns (1996) #3
A Plague of Angels (1998) #4
A Murder of Crows (2010) #5
An Air of Treason (2014) #6
The Duke of York (2014) (A Short Story by Patricia Finney)

A Chorus of Innocents (2014)


Cleverly kasmiriBarbara Cleverly

Series: Detective Joe Sandilands
Setting: 1920’s; India and Europe

 

Also of note: Laetitia Talbot Mysteries:
Stories about an Archeologist/ Detective in the 1920’s

First Novel: The Last Kashmiri Rose (2001)
Most Recent Novel: Diana’s Altar (2015) #13

More on Barbara Cleverly 

Best Review Selection:
The Palace Tiger (2004) #4 
Best Review
Book  eBook   Audible

****

Joe Sandilands is a Scotland Yard detective stationed in India, near Calcutta, in the early 1920’s. Sandilands is a WWI veteran of military intelligence, tall and handsome – and very single. In the first novel he is on temporary assignment to the Bengal Police, helping to train the colonial force in forensics and investigation procedures, but of course he cannot avoid the action for long! These novels attempt to provide a fairly deeply exploration of the late colonial relationship, and succeed more than is usually the case in historical fiction.

Links To All Titles:

The Last Kashmiri Rose (2001) #1
Ragtime In Simla (2002) #2
The Damascened Blade (2003) #3
The Palace Tiger (2004) #4
The Bee’s Kiss (2005) #5
Tug of War (2006) #6
Folly Du Jour (2007) #7
Strange Images of Death (2010) #8
The Blood Royal (2011) #9
Not My Blood (2012) #10
A Spider in the Cup (2013) #11
Enter Pale Death (2014) #12

Diana’s Altar (2015) #13


Lindsey 1Lindsey Davis

Series: Marcus Didius Falco
Setting: Rome, Mid 1st Century AD

First Novel: The Silver Pigs (1989)
Most Recent Novel: Nemesis (#20) (2010)

More on Lindsey Davis

Best Review Selection:
Venus in Copper (1991) #3 
Best Review
Book  eBook   Audible 

****

Marcus Didius Falco is the main character and narrator of this great series of historical mysteries by Lindsey Davis. Today, we might call Falco a P.I., but he prefers the term “private informer”. The setting is Imperial Rome under the rule of Vespasian. The historical background is very well researched, while the tone is irreverent and satirical. Falco was born in a plebian family in 41 AD, but eventually rises to the equestrian rank. The novels begin shortly after Falco has returned from serving in the Second Augusta Legion in Britain during the Boudiccan Revolt, a dangerous occupation that led to his obtaining a medical release for a minor wound in 60 AD. This knowledge of Britain soon proves crucial to his new career in ‘The Silver Pigs’.

Links To All Titles:

The Silver Pigs (1989) #1
Shadows in Bronze (1990) #2
Venus in Copper (1991) #3
The Iron Hand of Mars (1992) #4
Poseidon’s Gold (1993) #5
Last Act in Palmyra (1994) #6
Time to Depart (1995) #7
A Dying Light in Corduba (1996) #8
Three Hands in the Fountain (1997) #9
Two for the Lions (1998) #10
One Virgin Too Many (1999) #11
Ode to a Banker (2000) #12
A Body in the Bath House (2001) #13
The Jupiter Myth (2002) #14
The Accusers (2003) #15
Scandal Takes a Holiday (2004) #16
See Delphi and Die (2005) #17
Saturnalia (2007) #18
Alexandria (2009) #19
Nemesis (2010) #20
Falco: The Official Companion (2010)


Doherty BA 1Paul C. Doherty

AKA: Paul Harding. Doherty is the King of Historical Mysteries,
with at least 15 published series. Original Series: Hugh Corbett.

Series: Sorrowful Mysteries of Brother Athelstan
Setting: 14th Century England during reign of Richard II

First Novel: Nightingale Gallery (1991)
Most Recent Novel: Herald of Hell (2015) #15

More on Paul C. Doherty

Best Review Selection:
Nightingale Gallery (1991) 
Best Review
Book  eBook   

****

Brother Athelstan is a Dominican monk who shares his adventures with Sir John Cranston, the Coroner of London, during the 14th century reign of Richard II. The series starts in 1376 with the death of King Edward III, and the ascension of a ten year old Richard under the stewardship of his uncle, John of Gaunt. The country is in the midst of a fierce struggle to usurp the young boy, when a merchant, Sir Thomas Springall, is murdered. Sir John Cranston is ordered to investigate, assisted by Brother Athelstan, a friar who works in the slums of Southwark. More murders follow as the trail leads all the way to the Royal Court, until Brother Athelstan finally solves the mystery. The first seven books were originally published under the pen name of Paul Harding.

Links To All Titles:

The Nightingale Gallery (1991) #1
The House Of The Red Slayer (1992) #2
Murder Most Holy (1992) #3
The Anger Of God (1993) #4
By Murder’s Bright Light (1994) #5
The House Of Crows (1995) #6
The Assassin’s Riddle (1996) #7
The Devil’s Domain (1998) #8
The Field Of Blood (1999) #9
The House of Shadows (2003) #10
Bloodstone (2011) #11
The Straw Men (2012) #12
Candle Flame (2014) #13
The Book of Fires (2014) #14

Herald of Hell (2015) #15


Hambly 1Barbara Hambly

A prolific American author of mystery,
sci-fi, fantasy, and historical novels.

Series: Benjamin January Mysteries 
Setting: New Orleans, 1830’s 

First Novel: A Free Man of Color (1998)
Most Recent Novel: Crimson Angel (#14) (2014)

More on Barbara Hambly

Best Review Selection:
A Free Man of Color (1998) 
Best Review
Book  eBook      

****

Benjamin January is a surgeon and music teacher in New Orleans in the 1830’s. The series begins when the dazzling Angelique Crozat is strangled to death at a Mardi Gras ‘octaroon’ ball. Benjamin tries to avoid involvement with the authorities, but when he starts looking like the obvious scapegoat, he is forced to solve a puzzle which leads him to a group of tough riverboat men and voodoo-worshipping slaves, before the truth is finally revealed.

Links To All Titles:

A Free Man of Color (1997) #1
Fever Season (1998) #2
Graveyard Dust (1999) #3
Sold Down the River (2000) #4
Die Upon a Kiss (2001) #5
Wet Grave (2002) #6
Days of the Dead (2003) #7
Dead Water (2004) #8
Dead and Buried (2010) #9
The Shirt On His Back (2011) # 10
Ran Away (2011) #11
Good Man Friday (2013) #12
Crimson Angel (2014) #13


Perry-Monk 1Anne Perry

 

Series: William Monk Mysteries
Setting: Victorian, London

Also notable series featuring: Charlotte & Thomas Pitt; A Series set in WWI; and her Christmas Series.

First Novel: The Face of a Stranger (1990)
Most Recent Novel: Corridors of The Night (2015) #20

More on Anne Perry

Best Review Selection:
The Face of a Stranger (1990)
Best Review
Book  eBook   Audible  

*****

From the author of four extremely popular historical mystery series, we have chosen the William Monk novels, though the Thomas and Charlotte Pitt stories are just as good, and the short WWI series may be the best of all the Perry works.

William Monk, the son of a poor Northumberland fisherman, joined the police and soon gained a reputation as an ambitious and ruthless detective. Monk was determined to push himself ahead in the world, and saw no need for the friendship or loyalty of his fellow officers – until the crash of his coach in 1854, which completely destroys his memory and robs him of his hard won identity. Monk faces a difficult future, hiding his lost memory and shifting priorities, as he tries to retain his job on the police force. It is only when he meets and confides in Hester Latterly, a nurse just returned from the Crimean War and determined to reform nursing practices, that he finally begins to find his way forward. It is a deep and complex series that deals with many of the social issues of the mid-Victorian period.

Links To All Titles:

The Face of a Stranger (1990) #1
A Dangerous Mourning (1991) #2
Defend and Betray (1992) #3
The William Monk Mysteries #1-3
A Sudden, Fearful Death (1993) #4
The Sins of the Wolf (1994) #5
Cain His Brother (1995) #6
Weighed in the Balance (1996) #7
The Silent Cry (1997) #8
A Breach of Promise (or: Whited Sepulchres) (1997) #9
The Twisted Root (1999) #10
Slaves of Obsession (or: Slaves and Obsession) (2000) #11
A Funeral in Blue (2001) #12
Death of a Stranger (2002) #13
The Shifting Tide (2004) #14
Dark Assassin (2006) #15
Execution Dock (2009) #16
Acceptable Loss (2011) #17
A Sunless Sea (2012) #18
Blind Justice (2013) #19
Blood on the Water (2014) #20

Corridors of The Night (2015) #20


Peters - Peabody 1Elizabeth Peters

AKA: Barbara Mertz (1927 – 2013)

Series: Amelia Peabody Mysteries
Setting: Egypt 1884-1923

First Novel: Crocodile on The Sandbank (1975)
Most Recent Novel: A River in The Sky (#19) (2010)

More on Barbara Mertz

Best Review Selection: 
Crocodile on The Sandbank  (1975) 
Best Review
Book  eBook   Audible  

*****

This is, without a doubt, one of the best historical mystery series of any period. Amelia Peabody Emerson is the wife of Egyptologist Radcliffe Emerson and the mother of Walter ‘Ramses’ Peabody Emerson. The series begins in 1884, when Amelia meets Radcliffe in Egypt. They soon marry, but Amelia is not a typical Victorian wife! The daughter of a scholar, she soon becomes an expert in egyptology and a full partner in her husband’s career – and all the adventures they share over the next half century. It is an enchanting blend of humour, history and mystery, that will leave you reaching for the next instalment. Unfortunately, Elizabeth Peters, alias Barbara Metz, died in 2013, leaving us with only 19 books in this series. Her two other series are modern, and well worth the read, but never the equal of Amelia Peabody.

Links To All Titles:

Crocodile on the Sandbank (1975) #1
The Curse of the Pharaohs (1981) #2
The Mummy Case (1985) #3
Lion in the Valley (1986) #4
The Deeds of the Disturber (1988) #5
The Last Camel Died at Noon (1991) #6
The Snake, the Crocodile, and the Dog (1992) #7
The Hippopotamus Pool (1996) #8
Seeing a Large Cat (1997) #9
The Ape Who Guards the Balance (1998) #10
The Falcon at the Portal (1999) #11
He Shall Thunder in the Sky (2000) #12
Lord of the Silent (2001) #13
The Golden One (2002) #14
Children of the Storm (2003) #15
Guardian of the Horizon (2004) #16
The Serpent on the Crown (2005) #17
Tomb of the Golden Bird (2006) #18
A River in the Sky (2010) #19
Amelia Peabody’s Egypt: A Compendium (2003)


Peters-Cadfael 1Ellis Peters

AKA: Edith Pargeter (1913-1995)

 

Series: The Chronicles of Brother Cadfael
Setting: Shropshire, England (1137-1145)

First Novel: A Morbid Taste for Bones (1977)
Most Recent Novel: Brother Cadfael’s Penance (#20) (1996)

More on Edith Pargeter

Best Review Selection: 
A Morbid Taste for Bones (1977) 
Best Review
Book  eBook  Audible  TV/Movie

*****

Probably the single most popular historical mystery series. Brother Cadfael is a Welsh Benedictine monk who lives in Shrewsbury Abbey in Shropshire, during the first half of the 12th century. Cadfael is no innocent religious, he is a man who entered the abbey late in life and is a talented herbalist, detective, and often a diplomat, in this period of turmoil following the Norman conquest of Saxon England.  His early life experience as a soldier in the secular world provides him with a unique perspective, but also lead him into constant conflict with the forces of his spiritual avocation. It is a marvellous series that pays exacting attention to historical detail, without sacrificing any of the elements of a first class mystery. 

Links to All Titles:

A Morbid Taste for Bones (1977) #1
One Corpse Too Many (1979) #2
Monk’s Hood (1980) #3
Saint Peter’s Fair (1981) #4
The Leper of Saint Giles (1981) #5
The Virgin in the Ice (1982) #6
The Sanctuary Sparrow (1983) #7
The Devil’s Novice (1983) #8
Dead Man’s Ransom (1984) #9
The Pilgrim of Hate (1984) #10
An Excellent Mystery (1985) #11
The Raven in the Foregate (1986) #12
The Rose Rent (1986) #13
The Hermit of Eyton Forest (1987) #14
The Confession of Brother Haluin (1988) #15
The Heretic’s Apprentice (1989) #16
The Potter’s Field (1989) #17
The Summer of the Danes (1991) #18
The Holy Thief (1992) #19
Brother Cadfael’s Penance (1994) #20
A Rare Benedictine: The Advent of Brother Cadfael (1988)(Prequel)
Cadfael TV Series: The Complete Collection
Starring Sir Derek Jacobi


iris fanLaura Joh Rowland

 

Series: Sano Ichirō Mysteries
Setting: Japan in the 1600’s

First Novel: Shinju (1993)
Most Recent Novel: The Iris Fan: A Novel of Feudal Japan (#18) (2014)

 

More on Laura Joh Rowland

Good Mystery Review Selection: 
The Iris Fan: A Novel of Feudal Japan (2014) 
Good Mystery Review
Book  eBook   

****

Sano Ichiro begins this series as a samurai and minor official, but by the end of the first novel, he has already become the trusted investigator of the fifth Togugawa Shogun, Togugawa Tsunayoshi. He gradually rises in rank at the imperial palace in Edo, during the long struggle over the succession of the young Shogun in the late 17th century.

Links to All Titles:

Shinjū (1994) #1
Bundori (1996) #2
The Way of the Traitor (1997) #3
The Concubine’s Tattoo (1998) #4
The Samurai’s Wife (2000) #5
Black Lotus (2001) #6
The Pillow Book of Lady Wisteria (2002) #7
The Dragon King’s Palace (2003) #8
The Perfumed Sleeve (2004) #9
The Assassin’s Touch (2005) #10
Red Chrysanthemum (2006) #11
The Snow Empress (2007) #12
The Fire Kimono (2008) #13
The Cloud Pavilion (2009) #14
The Ronin’s Mistress (2011) #15
The Incense Game (2012) #16
The Shogun’s Daughter (2013) #17
The Iris Fan: A Novel of Feudal Japan (2014) #18


HM Sedley 1Kate Sedley

AKA: Brenda Margaret Lilian Honeyman Clarke

 

Series: Roger The Chapman
Setting: England in the 15th century.

First Novel: Death and The Chapman (1991)
Most Recent Novel: The Christmas Wassail (#22) (2013)

More on Brenda Margaret Lilian Honeyman Clarke

Best Review Selection: 
Death and The Chapman (1991) 
Best Review
Book  No eBook   

****

A great series of historical mysteries that has almost been forgotten in recent years. Roger the Chapman has given up a monk’s cell for the freedom of peddling his wares on the roads of 15th century England. Sometimes he works in the employ of Richard Of Gloucester, later Richard III, with whom he shares a birthdate. Roger is always ready to take on a challenge, and inevitably ends up in the midst of bloody murder.

Note: The first nine titles in this series are not currently available in eBook format. Hopefully this problem will soon be remedied.

Links to All Titles:

Death and the Chapman (1991) #1
The Plymouth Cloak (1992) #2
The Hanged Man (aka The Weaver’s Tale) (1993) #3
The Holy Innocents (1994) #4
The Eve of Saint Hyacinth (1995) #5
The Wicked Winter (1995) #6
The Brothers of Glastonbury (1997) #7
The Weaver’s Inheritance (1998) #8
The Saint John’s Fern (1999) #9
The Goldsmith’s Daughter (2001) #10
The Lammas Feast (2002) #11
Nine Men Dancing (2003) #12
The Midsummer Rose (2004) #13
The Burgundian’s Tale (2005) #14
Prodigal Son (2006) #15
The Three Kings of Cologne (2007) #16
The Green Man (2008) #17
The Dance of Death (2009) #18
The Wheel of Fate (2010) #19
The Midsummer Crown (2011) #20
The Tintern Treasure (2012) #21
The Christmas Wassail (2013) #22


Red PavillionRobert van Gulik

 

 

Series: Judge Dee Mysteries
Setting: China, 7th Century AD

First Novel: The Chinese Maze Murders (1956)
Most Recent Novel: Poets and Murder (#16) (1968)

More on Robert van Gulik

Best Review Selection: 
The Red Pavilion (1961) #7 
Locked Room Review
Book  eBook

****

Van Gulik, a famous orientalist born in the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia), first translated an 18th century book of Judge Dee stories, the ‘Celebrated Cases of Judge Dee’. These stories are based on the real statesman and detective, Di Renjie, who lived in the 7th century during the Tang Dynasty. (AD 600–900) Van Gulik then tried his own hand at writing these compelling stories, eventually producing 16 additional Judge Dee novels.

Links to All Titles:

Celebrated Cases of Judge Dee – translation of the Chinese Dee Goong An (1941–1948)
The Chinese Maze Murders (1950, Japanese 1951, English 1956) #1
The Chinese Bell Murders (written 1953–1956, published 1958) #2
The Chinese Lake Murders (written 1953–1956, published 1960) #3
The Chinese Gold Murders (written 1956, published 1959) #4
The Chinese Nail Murders (written 1958, published 1961) #5
The Haunted Monastery (written 1958–1959, published 1961) #6
The Red Pavilion (written 1958–1959, published 1961) #7
The Lacquer Screen (written 1958–1959,published 1962) #8
The Emperor’s Pearl (1963) #9
The Monkey and the Tiger, two short novels (1965) #10
The Willow Pattern (1965) #11
Murder in Canton (1966) #12
The Phantom of the Temple (1966) #13
Judge Dee at Work short stories (1967) #14
Necklace and Calabash (1967) #15
Poets and Murder (1968) #16

*Note: Some lists claim 20 or more titles, but there appear to be no stories missing after the original translation and 16 English works. The ‘Celebrated Cases of Judge Dee’ and some early titles are not yet available in Kindle, though other eBooks are available. Hopefully, Kindle editions of these works will soon be available at Amazon.


12 Great Historical Mystery Series

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