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Mysteries set in WWI thru WWII era

Historical Mysteries

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1CD1am
Edited: Jul 20, 2008, 7:49pm Top

Is anyone else in this group interested in mysteries set during and between the war years?

Books I've read from this era range from, on the light side, Michael A. Black's Melody of Vengeance, with a detective based on comic book super heroes, to the more serious Test of Wills by Charles Todd, with a detective who's mind is haunted by a soldier he had to execute for insubordination.

Another fun one by the German writer Johannes Mario Simmel has the delightful title, It Can't Always be Caviar: the Fabulously Daring Adventures and Exquisite Cooking Recipes of the Involuntary Secret Agent, Thomas Lieven. Besides a good story, there are some interesting recipies. Try the mosaic sandwich, tho I substituted roast beef for the tongue when I mix the filling!

One of my favorite series is by J. Robert Janes, and takes place in occupied France. St. Syr of the Surete has been paired with Kohler of the Gestapo and that makes for a very interesting detective partnership. The backstory is that Kohler was a cop in Germany before the war. A well-written, interesting series that gets high marks from historians for accurately portraying the life and times in France during the occupation. The characters are well drawn and the mysteries keep you reading. They are pretty intense, tho, so I've only read two so far, Mayhem and Kaleidoscope.

2Stacey42
Jul 20, 2008, 7:53pm Top

I've been recently reading 2 sets of mysteries set in the 1920's. Both are fun reads & feature female sleuths.

One is Daisy Dalrymple series by Carola Dunn, set in 1923-25 London. Daisy is a noblewoman & journalist who writes about stately homes for Town & Country magazine & seems to come across bodies with alarming frequency. It certainly alarms CDI Alec Fletcher of Scotland Yard. The first book is Death at Wentwater Court

The other is the Phryne Fisher series by Kerry Greenwood, set in 1928 Melbourne. Phryne is also an English noblewoman but is an actual private detective working in Melbourne. The first book is Cocaine Blues

3Bookmarque
Jul 21, 2008, 8:28am Top

One of my favorite books is Mr. White's Confession set in the midwestern US between the wars. Police corruption and manipulation are the focus on this one. Highly recommended.

You may also like River of Darkness and Blood Dimmed Tide by Rennie Airth. Both are set in rural England between the wars and feature the enigmatic DCI, John Madden.

4CD1am
Jul 29, 2008, 4:30pm Top

Just started reading Lipstick and Lies set in WWII Detroit. Not sure what I think of it yet, except I'm delighted it focuses on WASP, the Women's Air Service Pilots. Information on WASP was classified until relatively recently, cause the higher ups in the male hiearchy(sp) of the military didn't want to acknowledge that female pilots made an important contribution to WWII.

5DianeS
Aug 8, 2008, 10:54pm Top

CD1am, can you report back when you finish Lipstick and Lies? Or maybe you already have? It sounds interesting, but I'd love to hear what you thought!

6CD1am
Aug 9, 2008, 2:47am Top

DianeS, it turned out I enjoyed Lipstick and Lies. It was a good story involving murder and spies. The main character was likeable, and didn't do anything stupid. The info presented about WASP was accurate from what I've read. The use of the Detroit locale was handled accurately for the times. (I used to live in the Detroit area.)

The book ended with a hook for the sequel that she is writing. The main character ends the book with plans to return to her flying duties until her next undercover assignment, so the next book will likely be set somewhere else.

It wasn't a great book, but good enough that I'm interested in reading the sequel. I saw from your profile that you prefer cozies, and this is close to being cozy. Try it.

7DianeS
Aug 9, 2008, 12:49pm Top

Sounds good! I've added it to my list. Thanks!

8quartzite
Edited: Aug 12, 2008, 1:02pm Top

John Lawton has several set in England, starting with Black Out that are quite good. Also Rennie Airth has two set between the wars River of Darkness and The Blood-dimmed Tide.

9CD1am
Aug 10, 2008, 5:34pm Top

Quartzite, the touchstone for Blackout comes up with a book by Lisa Unger set in Florida?

10karenmarie
Aug 10, 2008, 5:35pm Top

I love mysteries by Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers among others, who wrote lots of mysteries in the 20s-early 40s.

11CD1am
Aug 10, 2008, 6:45pm Top

karenmarie, I agree there are many great mysteries by authors who wrote during that era. Books by authors of the 1920's to 40's are usually referred to as vintage. However, when we talk about the historical mysteries that this group is focused on, we usually mean contemporary authors who set their stories back in that time period.

12quartzite
Aug 12, 2008, 1:03pm Top

# 9 fixed.

13fmcgraw
Aug 14, 2008, 3:26pm Top

I recently read Full Dark House by Christopher Fowler. It splits time between the present and WWII and overall I enjoyed it. The descriptions of England during WWII were extremely interesting and from what I've read are thought to quite accurate. The two main characters, Bryant and May, run a detective squad investigating odd crimes the regualr police force doesn't want or can't solve. I've not read any others in the series yet but have purchased Seventy-Seven Clocks.

14CD1am
Aug 14, 2008, 5:15pm Top

We read Full Dark House for one of my mystery discussion groups. I enoyed it, also, but haven't decided yet whether I liked it well enough to read more. Bryant was unusually eccentric, even when he was young. So that was one of my criticisms. I'm not sure I buy how peculiar that character is, or if he would have gotten a job with the cops being that peculiar. Of course, this is fiction, but still...

Group: Historical Mysteries

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