Mysteries Set in the 18th Century
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There are a few mysteries set in the 18thC that I know of...
Bruce Alexander's Sir John Fielding mysteries.
Deryn Lake's John Rawlings Mysteries (which feature Fielding).
Diana Gabaldon's Lord John series.
David Liss's Conspiracy of Paper
Beverle Graves Myers's Tito Amato series (Baroque--Italy)
Hannah March's Georgians.
I happen to love this period... Do any of you know of more books?
What authors do you can recommend? Which books?
Have you read any of those that I've mentioned? Did you like them?
Oh, and some have been mentioning books set in the Regency and in the 17thC below...
Those are OK for this discussion, too! (I love Kate Ross's books, also C. S. Harris's, and Georgette Heyer--although I much prefer her romances!). There IS another discussion for REGENCY MYSTERIES, however...
Kate Ross wrote four mysteries that were quite good including Cut to the Quick set in the 18th century.
Robert Lee Hall has a series featuring Ben Franklin in London just before the Revolution
I love 18th c. historical mysteries--there's a very decent series out by C.S. Harris featuring a cranky aristocrat named Sebastian St. Cyr. Three so far, the first one being "What Angels Fear", which, at least a couple weeks ago, was available floating around the front section of Barnes and Noble where they keep the older hardcovers that are leftover. They're not exactly awe-inspiring, but certainly a lot of fun. Conspiracies and whores and all the high life and low life(s) you could want.
Another is "The Grenadillo Box" by Janet Gleeson. I liked this one. The main character is a poor craftsman who works for the famous English furniture maker Chippendale, and so he is of course always in and out of some big house working on this item or that. I liked the characters a lot, and Gleeson did a good job of establishing the different worlds (furniture making, homes for illegitimate children, warehouses where huge amounts of exotic imports are kept). Good work on descriptive stuff, and the characters are interesting as well. Murky motives, what? Gleeson has written a very similar tale entitled "The Serpent in the Garden" which focuses on a Joshua Reynolds-esque painter as the investigator, but I have yet to read it.
Stephanie Barron has written an amusing series in which Jane Austen solves mysteries under various sundry circumstances. I'm not familiar with Austen's letters, but Barron does a fair job of replicating Austen's mild, ironic tone. Plus, it never feels improbable, unlike a lot of historical mysteries in which Mother Hubbard or Abraham Lincoln or Gandhi suddenly turns a hand to solving crime.
Georgette Heyer: if you like 18th to early 19th century historical novels (taking place in England and, to some extent, France,) then you simply have to read her. She's the link between the classic work of Jane Austen and the Harlequin romances of today. She writes two types of mystery. The first type takes place in the 1920's and is the classic country house/Agatha Christie sort of work, though Heyer is much better at characterization and dialogue. The second sort are technically Georgian and Regency Romances, but are in fact concerned with a mystery. These are often comic and some of my favorite books, period. These Old Shades, The Talisman Ring, The Quiet Gentleman, and The Reluctant Widow are my favorites. These Old Shades deals with kidnapping and secret identity and has a strong swashbuckling element and a wonderfully cynical hero. The Talisman Ring concerns the smuggler-heir to a fortune. He becomes trapped with an injury at a local inn while trying to recover a stolen family heirloom. Funny, cheerful, cozy, great cast. The Quiet Gentleman concerns a young man who was expected to be killed fighting in the Napoleonic Wars. He wasn't, and as he takes possession of his estate, someone seems determined to finish the job. The Reluctant Widow involves a woman who (it's complicated) takes possession of her late husband's wreck of an estate...only it seems someone else is poking around for one reason or another. Dum-dum-DUM.
My, I sound like a blurb writer! Hope you find something good somewhere in this list.
There's a number of mysteries that take place in the 1700's in colonial or revolutionary America:
Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Murder by Karen Swee, an author who recently died so, unfortunately, this is the first and last of her books. It's set in New Jersey just before the Revolution.
Cork of the Colonies by S. S. Rafferty, contains 13 crimes in 13 colonies and sounds like it'll be fun--it's sitting here ready to be read.
Maan Meyers' Tonneman Family series has one book, Kingsbridge Plot, set in 1775. I've read the first in the series, Dutchman, set in 1664 New Amsterdam and really enjoyed it. Margaret Lawrence has a series set in 1786 Maine featuring Hannah Trevor, midwife. I haven't read any of these yet.
I enjoy the series by the authors Bruce Alexander, Lake,Liss as well. I like Edward Marston's Redmayne series but that is the 17th century - to me, it has the same 'feel' to it as these other authors' books.
Also, here is a directory link of one of my favorite sites which gives some ideas, although this LT group is more informative with personal opinions and experiences.
I am reading a book from a British imprint of historical mysteries called Creme de la Crime and in the back is a pitch for Broken Harmony by Roz Southey set in 1730's Newcastle on Tyne with a musician protagonist.
Oh, you have reminded me about another "Creme de la Crime" book I read a while back...
The Crimson Cavalier by Mary Andrea Clarke-- murder mystery, woman sleuth, highwaymen. It was a bit fantastical, but still fun.
I'll check into the Roz Southey books... although the review I read didn't make it sound too promising... (not very sympathetic mc, murder doesn't happen into well into book, supernatural element distracting--but period detail good!)
Well... I read Broken Harmony by Roz Southey. It was rather odd... For one thing, they seem to be in an Alternate Universe where everyone can see and talk with ghosts, although that's something not mentioned at all in any of the blurbs or reviews. Then... murder doesn't happen until more than half-way through the book. The MC was OK, but not terribly sympathetic and I couldn't quite figure out his motivations most of the time. Overall, it was quite a weird, quirky read... and I'm not interested enough to read more in the series.
Just finished all of the C.S. Harris books to date. Enjoyable like candy, very quick reads.
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