30+ Historical Mystery Books You Need on Your Reading List

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I don’t know about you, but I love snuggling up with a historical mystery book. Take away the modern magic of DNA testing and forensic labs and you’re left with just wits and logic to try and solve heinous crimes. Historical mysteries offer us the finest (fictional) minds to stop poisoners, axe murderers and knife wielding Jack the Ripper types in their tracks.

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We have put our deerstalker hat on, got our magnifying glass out and detected some historical mystery books for you to add to your reading lists. They veer from light hearted romps through Regency ballrooms to the seedy backstreets and harsh realities of life in previous centuries. No matter what you’re mood is, we have the historical mystery for you in our list.

If you are a Kindle Unlimited subscriber, we also have a section on the fantastic historical mystery books we have found which are available on Kindle Unlimited.

Click here to jump directly to the Kindle Unlimited historical mystery books.

Historical Mystery Books We’re Excited About

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Murder on Astor Place
by Victoria Thompson

Gaslight mysteries #1

read this historical mystery if you want
  • Time Period: 1890s
  • Set in New York, USA

After a routine delivery, midwife Sarah Brandt visits her patient in a rooming house and discovers that another boarder, a young girl, has been killed. At the request of Sergeant Frank Malloy, she searches the girl’s room, and discovers that the victim is from one of the most prominent families in New York and the sister of an old friend. The powerful family, fearful of scandal, refuses to permit an investigation. But with Malloy’s help, Sarah begins a dangerous quest to bring the killer to justice, before death claims another victim.

because-i-could-not-stop-for-death-by-amanda-flower

Because I Could Not Stop for Death by Amanda Flower

Emily Dickinson mystery #1

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  • Time Period: 1850s
  • Set in Massachusetts, USA

Willa Noble has come into the employ of the reclusive poet Emily Dickinson. The employment soon turning into a tenuous friendship. However, tragedy soon strikes when Willa’s brother dies. Or perhaps was murdered. Willa is convinced that her beloved brother’s murder was no mere accident, but Emily is the only one who believes her. Soon both women are enmeshed in a plot that reveals corruption that goes back generations. Now both women are in great danger as those involved would do anything to keep their secrets safe.

a-plague-on-both-your-houses-susanna-gregory

A Plague on Both Your Houses by Susanna Gregory

matthew bartholomew #1

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  • Time Period: 1350s
  • Set in Cambridge, England

Matthew Bartholomew, unorthodox but effective physician to Michaelhouse college in medieval Cambridge, is as worried as anyone about the pestilence that is ravaging Europe and seems to be approaching England. But he is distracted by the sudden and inexplicable death of the Master of Michaelhouse – a death the University authorities do not want investigated. But Matt is determined to get to the truth, leading him into a tangle of lies and intrigue that cause him to question the innocence of his closest friends – and even his family – just as the Black Death finally arrives…

the-ashes-of-london-andrew-taylor

The Ashes of London
by Andrew Taylor

James marwood & cat lovett #1

read this historical mystery if you want
  • Time Period: 1660s
  • Set in London, England

In the aftermath of the Great Fire of London in 1666 a body is found semi mummified in the ashes of St. Paul’s cathedral stabbed in the neck with it’s thumbs tied behind its back. James Marwood, a government informer and son of a traitor, is tasked with hunting down the killer. But, it’s a dangerous time in London and James finds working alongside dangerous internal political struggles as well as the threat of foreign invasion. Not to mention a determined young woman in pursuit of her own freedom.

Death Below Stairs-jennifer-ashley

Death Below Stairs
by Jennifer Ashley

kat holloway #1

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  • Time Period: 1880s
  • Set in London, England

You cook Kat Holloway is starting her new position with a family in Mayfair. It’s an eccentric bunch, but as long as they leave her alone in her kitchen, she’s happy. And happy she is, until her young Irish assistant is murdered. Determined to find out who has killed her assistant she turns to the ever resourceful Mr Daniel McAdam for help in her investigation. Although the charming Daniel pretends to be a delivery man, there’s far more to him than appears. With the help of Daniel, and other unconventional friends Kat realises she has stumbled onto plot that might threaten Queen Victoria herself.

the-vanished-bride-bella-ellis

The Vanished Bride
by Bella Ellis

bronte sisters mystery #1

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  • Time Period: 1840s
  • Set in Yorkshire, England

A historical mystery about the Bronte sisters investigating the disappearance of a woman in their community, the only clue seeming to be a bedroom soaked in blood. One of the first classics, and first romances, I ever read and fell in love with was Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. The moody gothic atmosphere, the quintessential ‘plain jane’ heroine, the broody hero, the shocking twist at the end, what’s not to love? So, seeing Bella Ellis bring the Bronte sisters to life in this mystery tale was a delight.

girl-who-knew-too-much-amanda-quick

The Girl Who Knew Too Much
by Amanda Quick

burning cove #1

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  • Time Period: 1930s
  • Set in California, USA

The Girl Who Knew Too Much pulls you into the glamour and underbelly of 1930s Hollywood as Irene Glasson, a gossip columnist with a mysterious past investigates a murder at a star studded hotel. The hotel is owned by the infamous Oliver Ward, a former magician whose last performance turned deadly. Together they investigate the goings on in the hotel which draws them into the murky underbelly of Hollywood glamour.

A-curious-beginning-deanna-raybourne

A Curious Beginning
by Deanna Raybourn

a veronica speedwell mystery #1

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  • Time Period: 1880s
  • Set in London, England

Veronica Speedwell intends to embark upon the journey of a lifetime. But fate has other plans. When Veronica thwarts her own abduction with the help of an enigmatic German baron, he offers her sanctuary in the care of his friend Stoker – a reclusive and bad-tempered natural historian. When the Baron is murdered, Veronica and Stoker are forced to go on the run from an elusive assailant, wary partners in search of the villainous truth.

City of Lies-victoria-thompson

City of Lies
by Victoria Thompson

a counterfeit lady #1

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  • Time Period: 1920
  • Set in New York, USA

Elizabeth Miles is just like any other woman trying to get by in 1920s New York…only she does it with clever cons. Only her most recent ploy seems to have gone massively astray and forces her to hide amongst some conveniently located Suffragettes. She never expected to come to admire the ladies she has been stranded with and she definitely didn’t expect to find the one honest man in the whole of New York. However, Elizabeth must pull a massive con on the people she has come to greatly respect and form real friendships with, if she doesn’t her life will be forfeit.

the-alienist-caleb-carr

The Alienist
by Caleb Carr

Dr lazlo kreizler #1

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  • Time Period: 1890s
  • Set in New York, USA

Hypocrisy in high places is rife, police corruption commonplace, and a brutal killer is terrorising young male prostitutes.
Forensics and psychological profiling are still in their infancy, but as the body count rises, Police Commissioner Theodore Roosevelt calls on eminent psychologist or ‘alienist’, Dr Laszlo Kreizler and crime reporter John Schuyler Moore to trial these new methods.
Kreizler, Moore and their team must venture to the darkest corners of New York – and the human mind – to catch the sadistic killer before they strike again.

historian-elizabeth-kostova

The Historian
by Elizabeth Kostova

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  • Set in Eastern Europe

The Historian is the story of a young woman plunged into a labyrinth where the secrets of her family’s past connect to an inconceivable evil: the dark fifteenth-century reign of Vlad the Impaler and a time-defying pact that may have kept his awful work alive through the ages. The search for the truth becomes an adventure of monumental proportions, taking us from monasteries and dusty libraries to the capitals of Eastern Europe.

maisie-dobbs-jacqueline-winspear

Maisie Dobbs
by Jacqueline Winspear

maisie dobbs #1

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  • Time Period: 1930s
  • Set in London, England

Maisie Dobbs, Psychologist and Investigator, began her working life at the age of thirteen as a servant in a Belgravia mansion, only to be discovered reading in the library by her employer, Lady Rowan Compton. Fearing dismissal, Maisie is shocked when she discovers that her thirst for education is to be supported by Lady Rowan and a family friend, Dr. Maurice Blanche. But The Great War intervenes in Maisie’s plans, and soon after commencement of her studies at Girton College, Cambridge, Maisie enlists for nursing service overseas.
Years later, in 1929, having apprenticed to the renowned Maurice Blanche, a man revered for his work with Scotland Yard, Maisie sets up her own business. Her first assignment, a seemingly tedious inquiry involving a case of suspected infidelity, takes her not only on the trail of a killer, but back to the war she had tried so hard to forget.

the-lost-apothecary-sarah-penner

The Lost Apothecary
by Sarah Penner

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  • Time Period: 1790s
  • Set in London, England

Hidden in the depths of eighteenth-century London, a secret apothecary shop caters to an unusual kind of clientele. Women across the city whisper of a mysterious figure named Nella who sells well-disguised poisons to use against the oppressive men in their lives. But the apothecary’s fate is jeopardized when her newest patron, a precocious twelve-year-old, makes a fatal mistake, sparking a string of consequences that echo through the centuries. Meanwhile in present-day London, aspiring historian Caroline Parcewell spends her tenth wedding anniversary alone, running from her own demons. When she stumbles upon a clue to the unsolved apothecary murders that haunted London two hundred years ago, her life collides with the apothecary’s in a stunning twist of fate—and not everyone will survive.

her-royal-spyness-rhys-bowen

Her Royal Spyness
by Rhys Bowen

The Royal Spyness #1

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  • Time Period: 1930s
  • Set in London, England

Georgie, aka Lady Victoria Georgiana Charlotte Eugenie, cousin of King George V of England, is penniless and trying to survive on her own as an ordinary person in London in 1932.

So far she has managed to light a fire and boil an egg… She’s gate-crashed a wedding… She’s making money by secretly cleaning houses… And she’s been asked to spy for Her Majesty the Queen.

Everything seems to be going swimmingly until she finds a body in her bathtub… and someone is definitely trying to kill her.

the-strings-of-murder-oscar-du-muriel

The Strings of Murder
by Oscar de Muriel

A frey and mcgray mystery #1

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  • Time Period: 1880s
  • Set in Edinburgh, Scotland

A violinist is murdered in his home. The dead virtuoso’s maid swears she heard three musicians playing in the night. But with only one body in the locked practice room – and no way in or out – the case makes no sense.
Fearing a national panic over another Ripper, Scotland Yard sends Inspector Ian Frey to investigate under the cover of a fake department specializing in the occult. However, Frey’s new boss, Detective ‘Nine-Nails’ McGray, actually believes in such supernatural nonsense. McGray’s tragic past has driven him to superstition, but even Frey must admit that this case seems beyond reason. And once someone loses all reason, who knows what they will lose next . . .

a-study-in-scarlet-women-sherry-thomas

A Study in Scarlet Women
by Sherry Thomas

lady sherlock #1

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  • Time Period: 1880s
  • Set in London, England

Charlotte Holmes has always been odd, notably odd. But even she never thought she would become an outcast from Society, forced to make her own way. But she does have some very interesting talents, such as the ability to tell everything about a stranger from a glance. Such talents have been largely useless to a young lady expected to nod and smile, but in her new life, she is finding out that she can solve puzzling problems and mind-boggling murders by masquerading as assistant to her fictional brother, Sherlock Holmes, the world’s only consulting detective.

the-widos-of-malabar-hill-sujata-massey

The Widows of Malabar Hill
by Sujata Massey

perveen mistry #1

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  • Time Period: 1920s
  • Set in Bombay, India

Perveen Mistry, has just joined her father’s law firm, becoming one of the first female lawyers in India. The law firm has been appointed to execute the will of Mr. Omar Farid, a wealthy Muslim mill owner who has left three widows behind. But as Perveen examines the paperwork, she notices something strange: all three of the wives have signed over their full inheritance to a charity. What will they live on? The Farid widows live in full purdah—in strict seclusion, never leaving the women’s quarters or speaking to any men. Are they being taken advantage of by an unscrupulous guardian? Perveen tries to investigate, and realizes her instincts were correct when tensions escalate to murder. Now it is her responsibility to figure out what really happened on Malabar Hill, and to ensure that no innocent women or children are in further danger.

the-red-palace-by-june-hur

The Red Palace
by June Hur

standalone

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  • Time Period: 1750s
  • Set in Korea

There are few options available to illegitimate daughters in the capital city, but through hard work and study, eighteen-year-old Hyeon has earned a position as a palace nurse. All she wants is to keep her head down, do a good job, and perhaps finally win her estranged father’s approval. But Hyeon is suddenly thrust into the dark and dangerous world of court politics when someone murders four women in a single night, and the prime suspect is Hyeon’s closest friend and mentor. Determined to prove her beloved teacher’s innocence, Hyeon launches her own secret investigation. In her hunt for the truth, she encounters Eojin, a young police inspector also searching for the killer. When evidence begins to point to the Crown Prince himself as the murderer, Hyeon and Eojin must work together to search the darkest corners of the palace to uncover the deadly secrets behind the bloodshed.

dead-dead-girls-nekesa-afia

Dead Dead Girls
by Nekesa Afia

harlem reniassance mystery #1

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  • Time Period: 1920s
  • Set in Harlem, USA

Louise Lloyd is doing her best to maintain a normal life. And mostly succeeding. She has a girlfriend, Rosa, a job at Maggie’s cafe and spends her night at the the Zodiac, Harlem’s hottest speakeasy. When a girl is found dead in front of the cafe, not to mention the other two Black girls who have been murdered recently, it forces Louise to face her past. Soon Louise finds herself investigating the murders and facing a mastermind intent on taking more lives…including Louise’s.

a-botanists-guide-to-parties-and-poisons

A Botanist’s Guide to Parties and Poisons by Kate Khavari

a saffron everleigh mystery #1

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  • Time Period: 1920s
  • Set in London, England

Saffron Everleigh is a research assistant for her mentor Dr Maxwell at University College London. However, now Dr Maxwell needs her help as he stand accused of murder, when another professor’s wife dies of poisoning during a dinner party. Now Saffron using her knowledge of botany is tracking down the unknown toxin used in the murder and solve the case, with a little help by Alexander Ashton, a fellow researcher. But, as she starts uncovering the truth, it could but her on the poisioners list.

Lavender-House-lev-ac-rosen

Lavender House
by Lev AC Rosen

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  • Time Period: 1950s
  • Set in San Francisco, USA

Lavender House is the family home of the recently deceased Irene Lamontaine, the head of the famous Lamontaine soap empire. Within it’s walls it has the secret of Irene’s signature scent, but it’s not the only secret in Lavender House. It has long been a refuge for those in the queer community, who can live openly within the wall of the house. But, could one of the residents be responsible for Irene’s death? Irene’s widow hires Evander Mills to investigate the death. Andy is only too happy to accept after his recent dismissal from the police, after being found in gay bar when it was being raided. However, as Andy investigates he soon find the idyllic live behind the doors of Lavender House is fraught with secrets of its own and Irene’s death could just be the beginning…

a-useful-woman-darcie-wilde

A Useful Woman
by Darcie Wilde

rosalind thorne mystery #1

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  • Time Period: 19th Century
  • Set in London, England

Rosalind Thorne may be a heiress but was nearly completely ruined when her father abandoned her family. To survive she began to manage the affairs of influential society women who soon come to rely on her. So, when Jasper Aimesworth, a renowned aristocrat and wastrel is found dead in the ballroom at Almack’s, it’s only natural that people turn to Rosalind to investigate the issue. Rosalind has to use her connections and wits to uncover the killer amongst high society, including her former suitor Devon Winterbourne.

the-way-of-all-flesh-ambrose-parry

The Way of All Flesh
by Ambrose Parry

a raven & fisher mystery #1

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  • Time Period: 1850s
  • Set in Edinburgh, Scotland

Young women are meeting grisly ends across Old Town, Edinburgh. Meanwhile Will Raven is starting his apprenticeship with the brilliant Dr Simpson. Dr Simpson’s house is on the cutting edge of medical science and also Sarah Fisher, a housemaid. She immediately takes a dislike to Raven, she has all his intelligence yet none of his privileges, like being able to study medicine. But Raven and Sarah find themselves embroiled in the murders as they investigate the deaths. And to survive they’ll have to learn to trust one another.

Historical Mystery books Available on Kindle Unlimited*

*These historical mystery books were all available on Kindle Unlimited at the time of posting.

a-larks-tale-by-lynn-messina

A Lark’s Tale
by Lynn Messina

standalone

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  • Time Period: Regency era
  • Set in London, England
  • Available on Kindle Unlimited

Verity Clark has made it her business to know everything that’s going on with the beau monde. She has to as the London Daily Gazette’s columnist. And, if that means putting on disguises and infiltrating houses so be it. It’s not like people know it’s her. She uses a pen name to guard her anonymity. Mr Twaddle-Thum. He is a figment of her imagination, which is why it comes as quite the surprise when he is spotted around London. What’s even more disturbing? The plan to murder My Twaddle-Thum, which Verity stumbles across. But, are they after her or the imposter?

a-very-english-murder-verity-bright

A Very English Murder
by Verity Bright

A Lady Eleanor swift mystery #1

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  • Time Period: 1920s
  • Set in Chipstone, England
  • Available on Kindle Unlimited

Eleanor Swift has come to England after her extensive travels to the sleep small town of Chipstone and her uncle’s home Henley Hall. It’s not what she expected, or what she wanted. But, things start to get a little more interesting…and dangerous after she witnesses a murder. A man being shot. However, with no sign of the body the police are convinced she’s making it all up. So, what’s a girl to do but investigate it herself? Her investigation is stirring things up in this sleepy English village and the murderer may very well have Eleanor in his crosshairs…

Opium-and-absinthe-lydia-kang

Opium and Absinthe
by Lydia Kang

standalone

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  • Time Period: 1890s
  • Set in New York, USA
  • Available on Kindle Unlimited

Tillie Pembroke finds her sister dead, her body drained of blood and puncture marks in her neck. But, vampires aren’t real right? They are just myths and fictional figures from books like the newly released Dracula by Bram Stoker. Tillie is determined to uncover the truth and find how, or perhaps what, has killed her sister and the other vampire killings amongst the hysteria the killings have caused. But, with her own issues, such as her growing reliance on laudanum for an old injury, it’s getting harder to tell truth from fiction, and who can be trusted and who just wants to drag her down into laudanums dark embrace.

an-extraordinary-union-alyssa-cole

An Extraordinary Union
by Alyssa Cole

the loyal league #1

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  • Time Period: 1860s
  • Set in Virginia, USA, Maryland, USA
  • Available on Kindle Unlimited

This is the story of Elle and Malcolm. Elle is an incredibly smart Black woman who, after getting her freedom from slavery decides to trade that in and go back to slavery but as a spy to obtain information for the Union Army. Malcolm is also a spy for the Union Army, but he’s white. Their paths cross during a mission and there’s no way they can deny their love, forbidden as it is or not.

murder-on-black-swan-lake-andrea-penrose

Murder on Black Swan Lane
by Andrea Penrose

A wrexford & Sloane mystery #1

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  • Time Period: Regency
  • Set in London, England
  • Available on Kindle Unlimited

The Earl of Wrexford possesses a brilliant scientific mind, but boredom and pride lead him to reckless behaviour. He does not suffer fools gladly. So when pompous, pious Reverend Josiah Holworthy publicly condemns him for debauchery, Wrexford unsheathes his rapier-sharp wit and strikes back. As their war of words escalates, London’s most popular satirical cartoonist, A.J. Quill, skewers them both. But then the clergyman is found slain in a church—his face burned by chemicals, his throat slashed ear to ear—and Wrexford finds himself the chief suspect.

the-unknown-beloved-amy-harmon

The Unknown Beloved
by Amy Harmon

standalone

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  • Time Period: 1930s
  • Set in Chicago, USA
  • Available on Kindle Unlimited

Michael Malone is sent to investigate a series of murders that has everyone else lost. That’s when he bumps into Dani Flanagan again. Her first saw her when she was 15 years ago, when was ten years old, after her parents died. He always thought there was more to her parent’s death then met the eye, but was told to shut his mouth. But now, 15 years later here she is. It isn’t long before he realises that with Dani’s affinity for the dead and compassion for the destitute that she could help him stop the killer on the loose.

this-side-of-murder-anna-lee-huber

This Side of Murder
by Anna Lee Huber

a verity kent mystery #1

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  • Time Period: 1920s
  • Set in England
  • Available on Kindle Unlimited

Verity Kent’s grief over her husband’s death strikes anew when she gets a cryptic letter accusing her husband of treason. She wants to dismiss the whole thing, but the writer knows too much, including her own secret activities during the Great War. However she puts it out of her mind and attends an engagement part for one of her husband’s officers. But, as she mingles she uncovers secrets, lies and murder. With the help of a dashing stranger, a coded letter and her own smarts, Verity soon discovers that her husband may not have been the man she thought he was.

the-seven-deaths-of-evelyn-hardcastle-stuart-turton

The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

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  • Time Period: 1920s
  • Set in England
  • Available on Kindle Unlimited

Aiden Bishop knows the rules. Evelyn Hardcastle will die every day until he can identify her killer and break the cycle. But every time the day begins again, Aiden wakes up in the body of a different guest at Blackheath Manor. And some of his hosts are more helpful than others. With a locked-room mystery that Agatha Christie would envy, Stuart Turton unfurls a breakneck novel of intrigue and suspense.

the-beekeepers apprentice-laurie-r-king

The Beekeeper’s Apprentice
by Laurie R. King

mary russell & Sherlock holmes #1

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  • Time Period: 1910s
  • Set in Sussex, England
  • Available on Kindle Unlimited

Long retired, Sherlock Holmes quietly pursues his study of honeybee behavior on the Sussex Downs. He never imagines he would encounter anyone whose intellect matched his own, much less an audacious teenage girl with a penchant for detection. Miss Mary Russell becomes Holmes’s pupil and quickly hones her talent for deduction, disguises and danger. But when an elusive villain enters the picture, their partnership is put to a real test.

Brazen-curiousity-lynn-messina

A Brazen Curiosity
by Lynn Messina

beatrice hyde-clare mystery #1

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  • Time Period: 1810s
  • Set in Lake District, England
  • Available on Kindle Unlimited

Twenty-six-year-old Beatrice Hyde-Clare is far too shy to investigate the suspicious death of a fellow guest in the Lake District. A spinster who lives on the sufferance of her relatives, she would certainly not presume to search the rooms of her host’s son and his friend looking for evidence. Reared in the twin virtues of deference and docility, she would absolutely never think to question the imperious Duke of Kesgrave about anything, let alone how he chose to represent the incident to the local constable. And yet when she stumbles upon the bludgeoned corpse of poor Mr. Otley in the deserted library of the Skeffingtons’ country house, that’s exactly what she does.

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Sophia Rose

Historical mysteries are my jam and I’ve loved and enjoyed several series you have up there, but oh the joy to spot a few I was unaware of. Great list!