What are the best historical mystery books?

asked by Anonymous
380 contributors
33 solutions
  1. 36

    #1The Name of the Rose

    The Name of the Rose
    The Name of the Rose is a novel by Umberto Eco about a friar who investigates and collects pieces of evidence with the series of historical murder mysteries in an Italian monastery. This book has won many international awards.
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    Emma Rivera
    Written on April 28, 2018
    "A fascinating novel and a great read! I couldn't put this one down and may have spent way too long into the night reading it more than once. Give it a try if you're a mystery fan."
  2. 36

    #2The Alienist (Dr. Laszlo Kreizler)

    The Alienist (Dr. Laszlo Kreizler)

    The Alienist is a mystery book by Caleb Carr that tells the story of Laszlo Kreizler and John Schuyler Moore as they attempt to solve a crime in 19th century New York. It is the first book of the Dr. Laszlo Kreizler trilogy.

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    Jonathan Bishop
    Written on April 10, 2018
    "The Alienist (Dr. Laszlo Kreizler) is one of the best historical mystery books. It takes place in 19th century NY and is a great mystery novel. It is good for travel or the beach and you are sure to keep turning the pages until you've read the whole book."
  3. 31

    #3The Historian

    The Historian
    This is the story of a young woman that while exploring her father's library is plunged into a labyrinth where she will find out about her father's past and the fate of her mother, and she will learn about Vlad the Impaler, and his possible connections with her situation in the current days. 




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    Bryan Daniels
    Written on March 11, 2018
    "An intriguing mystery set in victorian era. I don't read much from that time period, but this is well written."
  1. 29

    #4The Beekeeper's Apprentice

    The Beekeeper's Apprentice

    The Beekeeper's Apprentice is a Sherlock Holmes pastiche fiction written by Laurie R. King as the first book in the Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes series. With over 300 pages, this book is published in 2002 by Bantam.

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    Harold Carroll
    Written on April 17, 2018
    "I love mystery novels, especially those involving Sherlock Holmes. What's unique and wonderful about this book is that Holmes has finally met someone who can match his intellect, and much to his chagrin, it happens to be a woman. There's great chemistry throughout the story between Holmes and Miss Mary, and even though it's somewhat predictable, it's impossible to put it down."
  2. 29

    #5The Shadow of the Wind (The Cemetery of Forgotten Books)

    The Shadow of the Wind (The Cemetery of Forgotten Books)

    The Shadow of the Wind is a historical novel by Spanish writer Carlos Ruiz Zafón. Published in 2001, it is the first book in The Cemetery of Forgotten Books series. It tells the story of Daniel, the son of an antiquarian book dealer.

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    William Alexander
    Written on April 19, 2018
    "Perfect fit for the genre. A classic tale for all ages. I enjoyed it very much."
  3. 26

    #6The Daughter of Time

    The Daughter of Time

    The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey is a mystery detective novel originally published in 1951. This book follows the alleged crimes done by King Richard III of England in a modern police investigation setting.

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    Mildred Newman
    Written on March 17, 2018
    "This may be my favorite mystery of all time. There are no car chases, no gun battles and no amateur detective solving murders. This is a meticulous detective trying to solve a centuries old mystery using brains and research. I gave a copy to a friend and she made it required reading in her AP history classes. It also sparked a life long interest in Richard III for me. A must read for history and mystery buffs"
  4. 25

    #7The Thirteenth Tale

    The Thirteenth Tale

    The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield is a gothic historical fiction on how children allegorically think of their birth. It tells the gothic strange encounters of the protagonist throughout the story.

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    Martha Herrera
    Written on April 22, 2018
    "This is an odd but engaging book; by fusing real history with a mysterious tale, Setterfield builds a world worth living in. The writing really draws you in--creepy in a really different and unusual way. I found it to be a real page-turner and loved tracking all the clues and hints along the way."
  5. 24

    #8Crocodile on the Sandbank (Amelia Peabody)

    Crocodile on the Sandbank (Amelia Peabody)
    Crocodile on the Sandbank (Amelia Peabody) is a historical fiction set in Egypt (Northern Africa) written by Elizabeth Peters, published in 1988 by Grand Central Publishing.
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    Joe Matthews
    Written on May 21, 2018
    "A great mix of drama, thriller and adventure. I also like how a lot of other books tend to use places like Egypt as some exotic backdrop, but this story makes it seem like just another place filled with normal people, but with its own interesting unique flavors. The dialogue felt clunky at times but still good."
  6. 18

    #9Dissolution (The Shardlake series)

    Dissolution (The Shardlake series)

    Dissolution is a book by C.J Sansom that tells the story of Henry VIII. He proclaimed his self as the head of the Chruch during his reign, but not everybody will agree with him. 

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    Anna Tran
    Written on March 17, 2018
    "This is a really interesting look at what could have happened during a murder investigation in 15th century England. I definitely appreciated the blurb about the history of that time period at the end. I'm not an Anglophile by any means, but I thoroughly enjoyed this read."
  7. 17

    #10Dark Fire (Matthew Shardlake)

    Dark Fire (Matthew Shardlake)
    Dark Fire by C.J. Sansom is the second novel in the Matthew Shardlake series. This historical mystery, set during the reign of King Henry VIII, narrates the searching of the formula for Greek fire, a weapon of mass destruction.
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    Larry Lawrence
    Written on March 5, 2018
    "This is in my top 5 mystery books of all time. Very addicting and I finished it way too fast."
  8. 14

    #11The Forgotten Garden

    The Forgotten Garden

    The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton was an inspiration to the author's own family history. The book is about the main character's discovery about her family history and her identity. It also highlights the overcoming of loved one's loss.

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    Robert Pierce
    Written on March 9, 2018
    "The Forgotten Garden is another reinforcement that everyone deals with loss, heartbreak, and instability. Not everyone is perfect, and this is a healthy reminder of that."
  9. 13

    #12One Corpse Too Many (Chronicles of Brother Cadfael)

    One Corpse Too Many (Chronicles of Brother Cadfael)

    One Corpse Too Many is the second novel in the Cadfael Chronicles series. This book by Ellis Peters tells the story of how Brother Cadfael solves the mysterious death of the body that has been found on a battlefield.

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    Jordan Hernandez
    Written on March 4, 2018
    "The language from this book is antiquated and hard to understand i didnt enjoy it"
  10. 12

    #13Silent in the Grave (Lady Julia Grey)

    Silent in the Grave (Lady Julia Grey)

    Silent in the Grave by Deanna Raybourn is the first novel in the Lady Julia Grey series. The book is about finding justice for the death of the husband of the main character, Julia. Julia uncovers truths as she investigates and gets her closer to the killer.

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    Patrick Willis
    Written on February 26, 2018
    "I was looking for the top historical dramas and this isn't it. Overall it seems to have potential, but i'm on the hunt for the best books in this category. I'm not looking for average or passable, im looking for the best."
  11. 10

    #14Armadale

    Armadale

    Armadale is a classic mystery fiction novel written by Wilkie Collins. This Victorian era gothic fiction book is first published in 1866. 

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    Sandra Porter
    Written on April 28, 2018
    "I feel that this book alone would make a great read, it has the elements of suspense and mystery! but sadly, it is a historical fiction and therefor would not make a good historical mystery book."
  12. 9

    #15An Instance of the Fingerpost

    An Instance of the Fingerpost

    An Instance of the Fingerpost by Iain Pears is a historical mystery about a young woman who is accused of murdering a fellow of New College. Four witnesses claimed to tell what happened but everyone has different versions. 

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    Wang Sun
    Written on March 9, 2018
    "This is a fun little historical mystery book a friend recommended to me. It's by no means mind blowing or anything, but overall it's a great book. Lots of fun plotlines, cool characters, intriguing mystery. The history part isn't skimped on either, unlike a lot of others that claim to be part of this genre."
  13. 7

    #16The Figure In the Shadows

    The Figure In the Shadows
    The Figure In the Shadows by John Bellairs is a classic fantasy and mystery novel published in 1975. This book tells the story of Lewis and his lucky coin that holds dark and evil secrets within.
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    Gary Wells
    Written on March 6, 2018
    "A fine historical mystery and fantasy from an author who is often overlooked. It's not his best work, but it's well worth reading and I found it to be thoroughly engaging. "
  14. 6

    #17Perfume: The Story of a Murderer

    Perfume: The Story of a Murderer
    Jean-Baptiste Grenouille was abandoned as a child to the dirty streets of Paris, where he discovered he had a special talent: a unique sense of smell. Able to create the most exquisite fragrances, there is only one smell he hasn't been able to capture: the scent of a virgin.




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    Christopher Ruiz
    Written on March 9, 2018
    "Perfume: The Story of a Murderer is an interesting story with a mysterious twist. I enjoyed it in about three days and you probably would too."
  15. 5

    #18The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie

    The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie

    The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie is the first book in the Flavia de Luce series written by Alan Bradley. This historical fiction mystery novel was originally published in 2009. The story is set in 1950 during summer time.

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    Helen Wu
    Written on April 30, 2018
    "A book about a girl as she learns chemistry. This is part of a series and I can't wait to read more."
  16. 0

    #19Speaks the Nightbird (Matthew Corbett)

    Speaks the Nightbird (Matthew Corbett)

    Speaks the Nightbird is a mystery thriller fiction and the first book in Matthew Corbett series written by Robert McCammon. It is first published in 2002. 

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    Carol Barnett
    Written on April 13, 2018
    "Speaks the Nightbird was a great book. I could not put this book down until I had it finished. Not only is it the New York times best seller but you will find many good reviews about this book. This is a must read. You will be happy once you start this book!"
  17. 0

    #20The Romanov Conspiracy

    The Romanov Conspiracy

    The Romanov Conspiracy is a historical fiction mystery thriller fiction about the Romanov family of Russia written by Glenn Meade. With over 500 pages, this book is published in 2012 by Howard Books.

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    Kevin Ford
    Written on April 13, 2018
    "After taking a closer look at the plot of this story, it definitely strikes me a something I would not mind reading one day. I have always been a fan of a good mystery and with some thriller aspects thrown in, I feel this may be a novel I would like to check out!"
  18. 0

    #21A Free Man of Color (Benjamin January)

    A Free Man of Color (Benjamin January)

    A Free Man of Color (Benjamin January #1) by Barbara Hambly has a solid mystery plot with the well-incorporated balance of historical and social details that definitely makes it a fascinating read.

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    Gary Wells
    Written on April 15, 2018
    "a great mystery history"
  19. 0

    #22The Complete Jack the Ripper

    The Complete Jack the Ripper

    The Complete Jack the Ripper is a historical true crime non-fiction book by Donald Rumbelow. This mystery novel is first published in 1975. 

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    Patrick Morales
    Written on April 20, 2018
    "I have a odd fascination with true crime and serial killer history. I was looking for a new book to read and came across this. Very well written and I gained a lot of knowledge by reading this."
  20. 0

    #23Sold Down the River (Benjamin January)

    Sold Down the River (Benjamin January)

    Sold Down the River (Benjamin January #4) by Barbara Hambly is a thought-provoking historical fiction on slavery, hope, and fellowship. This book shows the complexities of Creole in Louisiana.

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    Eugene Mendoza
    Written on April 22, 2018
    "Ms. Hambly does angood job of creating a believable setting and detailed characters that are interesting to read about. The Mississippi Delta region and its way of life in the early 1800's comes alive when reading this series of books."
  21. 0

    #24The Ape Who Guards the Balance (Amelia Peabody)

    The Ape Who Guards the Balance (Amelia Peabody)

    The Ape Who Guards the Balance is a historical fiction mystery and the tenth book of Amelia Peabody written by Elizabeth Peters. It is published in 1998. 

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    George Gardner
    Written on April 22, 2018
    "This book is perfect for those who love history and is tired of reading non-fiction and want to jump into the novel itself. The story gives a sense of adventure but also draws your mind deep into the context thanks the the heavy research done on the historical fact that will allow the reader to greatly enjoy the details. The plot keeps you guessing and thinking while the main character explores deeper into the our historical relics of the past. "
  22. 0

    #25The House of Velvet and Glass

    The House of Velvet and Glass

    The House of Velvet and Glass is a standalone historical fiction novel written by Katherine Howe which centers on the life of Sibyl Allston following the death of her mother and sister aboard Titanic. 

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    Wu Han
    Written on May 17, 2018
    "I love both mystery books alongside history. When a book can combine the two, like in The House of Velvet and Glass, I am not only treated to an interesting mystery to solve, but this book helped me imagine what life must have been like for the real people in their setting."
  23. 0

    #26Skinny Legs and All

    Skinny Legs and All

    Skinny Legs and All by Tom Robbins is a mystery suspense and speculative fiction novel originally published in 1990 by the Bantam Books. This epic narrative was the fifth book written by Robins.

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    Nicholas Curtis
    Written on April 23, 2018
    "This is a good children's book, but it doesn't offer anything for the adult reader. So if you are looking for something for your kids, this may be what you need."
  24. 0

    #27The Woman Who Had Two Navels

    The Woman Who Had Two Navels
    The Woman Who Had Two Navels is a mysterious historical fiction novel written by Nick Joaquin. This classic book is first published in 1991 by Bookmark Inc. 


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    Virginia Gutiérrez
    Written on April 12, 2018
    "Eh this book was not for me. I found it slow and boring. The writers prose is dismal, and lacking. I got this as a gift, and am glad I didnt pay for it, I would have been dissapointed. I didn't even finish this book, it was so boring. Deff not for me."
  25. 0

    #28The Unquiet Dead

    The Unquiet Dead

    The Unquiet Dead is the spellbinding debut novel of Ausma Zehanat Khan. It's a complex and provocative story of loss, redemption, and the cost of justice. It will linger on readers long after the last page.

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    Christina Castro
    Written on April 14, 2018
    "This is fiction written around a historical event. The first book by the author who her self traveled over three continents to finally arrive in America."
  26. 0

    #29The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove (Pine Cove)

    The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove (Pine Cove)

    The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove by Christopher Moore is a horror fiction and mystery adventure novel originally published in 1999. This book belongs to Moore's Pine Cove series. It was followed by The Stupidest Angel.

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    Joseph Montgomery
    Written on April 19, 2018
    "The mystery comes to life in this book. It is sure a great read"
  27. 0

    #30Vicious Circle: A Novel of Complicity

    Vicious Circle: A Novel of Complicity
    Vicious Circle: A Novel of Complicity by Robert Littell is a mystery fiction and suspense-thriller novel originally published in June 2005 by The Overlook Press. This book tells the conflict between two countries among other political factors.

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    Angela Carpenter
    Written on April 12, 2018
    "I recently ordered Vicious Circle from Amazon and I think it's one of the best historical mystery books that I have read. It kept me entertained the whole way through and I was sad when it was over. I don't know how I missed reading this book earlier. "
  28. 0

    #31Baby Face Nelson

    Baby Face Nelson
    Baby Face Nelson: Portrait of a Public Enemy is a non-fiction historical book written by Steven Nickel and William J. Helmer. It is first published in 2002 by Cumberland House Publishing. 
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    Juan Hernandez
    Written on April 2, 2018
    "I found it to be fairly entertaining overall, but I have to question some of the validity of some of the accounts. I'm also not too crazy about how the author tends to deflect blame from Nelson, which might or might not affect your believability of the book."
  29. 0

    #32The Iron Angel

    The Iron Angel

    The Iron Angel by David Fulmer is the fifth novel in the award-winning series of the author himself. This book depicts historical mysteries on the time and place of the New Orleans.

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    Wei Zhang
    Written on April 15, 2018
    "I like both historical novels and mystery books and The Iron Angel by David Fulmer is a great book that hits both genres. It's about a series of murders that occur in New Orleans in 1914. Awesome book, very entertaining. "
  30. 0

    #33If the Dead Rise Not (Bernie Gunther)

    If the Dead Rise Not  (Bernie Gunther)

    If the Dead Rise Not is a historical mystery novel written by Philip Kerr. First published in 2009, it is the sixth book in the Bernie Gunther series. It follows the story of detective Bernie Gunther as he tries to uncover Nazi crimes.

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    Justin Woods
    Written on May 5, 2018
    "If you enjoy mystery, and also historical, or early 1900's stories, then you will enjoy this book, taking place in 1934, in Berlin, I found the story and characters captivating, and very immersing, I found my self losing track of time while reading this. I have recommended this to a few friends, and they told me that they really enjoyed it too."

Summary

Best What are the best historical mystery books
RankSolutionsTypeVotesPrice
1The Name of the RoseBooks 36 Paid
2The Alienist (Dr. Laszlo Kreizler)Books 36 Paid
3The HistorianBooks 31 Paid
4The Beekeeper's ApprenticeBooks 29 Paid
5The Shadow of the Wind (The Cemetery of Forgotten Books)Books 29 Paid
6The Daughter of TimeBooks 26 Paid
7The Thirteenth TaleBooks 25 Paid
8Crocodile on the Sandbank (Amelia Peabody)Books 24 Paid
9Dissolution (The Shardlake series)Books 18 Paid
10Dark Fire (Matthew Shardlake)Books 17 Paid
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