New Historical Mystery Authors

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New Historical Mystery Authors

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Jun 18, 2007, 12:42 pm

A couple of new authors that I have recently picked up and enjoyed:

Deanna Raybourn Silent in the Grave


Tasha Alexander And Only to Deceive

Any other fledgling historical mystery authors that we should all support?

Jun 18, 2007, 4:28 pm

I've ordered Silent in the Grave from the library, but I hadn't heard of And Only To Deceive, looks interesting! Both are set in the period I love, I just hope they're as good as they look.

Ta for the recs!

Jun 19, 2007, 2:35 pm

Actually - *cough* - I'm not so sure Silent in the Grave would be my cuppa after all, I just read the first chapter on and I'm not sure I'd like the heroine.

"To say that I met Nicholas Brisbane over my husband’s dead body is not entirely accurate. Edward, it should be noted, was still twitching upon the floor."

Yes, it's witty, but... she's cracking an elegant if rather contrived joke whilst remembering her husband's horrible death? "Twitching" - now there's a dehumanizing verb! This lady obviously married someone she couldn't care less about... Oh no, wait, reading further into the chapter I see she knew her husband as far back as childhood. So he's a childhood friend as well as a husband, and she's still empty of all emotion about his death.

The first chapter reads like the most bloodless of cozies, very "let's concentrate on the butler, the fact the narrator is called "my lady", elegant costumes etc. and ignore the passion a death would normally inspire". I will give the book a go once the library orders it in, but I'm no longer tempted to run to the bookshop and splurge on it.

If I change my mind, I'll say so here ;)

Jun 19, 2007, 4:13 pm

May I indulge in some BSP (Blatant Self-Promotion) as a fledgling hm author who would love lots of support? ;-)

I'm a big fan of hm and am also the author of two historical mysteries set in revolutionary Paris, Game of Patience (2006) and A Treasury of Regrets (just came out in April). I hope you'll read them and recommend them. Hardcover only, but lots of libraries have copies (ask your local library to buy copies if they don't have them).

And I've just signed a contract for two more novels in the series! Yippee!

Susanne Alleyn

Jun 19, 2007, 9:50 pm

Bibliotheque, I'll have to dig out my copy and reread that. You may be right, and I would question myself as to why I didn't pick up on that. May be I don't expect a high level of realism in a historical mystery? I'll have to say that I think And only to deceive is better than Silent in the Grave. The mystery in Only to Deceive is much more intellectual. In fact, it has inspired me to go read Alexander Pope's translation of the Iliad.

Jun 19, 2007, 9:53 pm

Susanne, congratulations! That must feel good to have some certainty about your authoring future! I will be sure to pick up your books and try them out. You definitely fit the crieria of the post *grin*!

Jun 20, 2007, 10:08 am

I just picked up Susanne's books from my library and will be starting them once I finish Tina Brown's recent book on Princess DIana. Looking forward to them as I'm partial to that era.

I LOVED And Only to Deceive -- one of my favourite reads last year and I just read the follow up (The Poisoned Season) which I enjoyed as well.

Jun 26, 2007, 7:51 am

To Susanne - I ordered A Treasury of Regrets from the library and have just finished it! I enjoyed the couple of chapters you posted on your site, and the rest didn't disappoint either - the research was casually worn, your explanation of the nightmarish economic inflation crystal clear, the characters sharply-drawn and, best of all, it was a proper whodunit. Yes, I failed to spot the killer, but as Aristide's marvellous speech pointed out, who else *could* it be? ;) Brava! Game of Patience, here I come!

Out 11, 2007, 4:05 pm

Bibliotheque, I apologize for not replying earlier to your nice post. I honestly didn't read it until five minutes ago--I have to keep better tabs on my LibraryThing browsing...

Many thanks for your kind words, and I'm delighted that you enjoyed A Treasury of Regrets. Hope you enjoyed Game of Patience just as much.

I'm currently working on the next novel--no title yet. OK, I admit it, not much of anything yet! ;-)

Cheers, Susanne Alleyn

Out 11, 2007, 11:17 pm

Susanne ~ I read Game of Patience awhile back. I really enjoyed it and am looking forward to reading more of your historical mysteries (and anything else you write). I completely agree with biblioteque's comments with regard to Game of Patience, though she meant them about A Treasury of Regrets. I'll only add that I thought the writing was excellent, and I'm a pretty tough critic on that score! :)

Nov 30, 2007, 2:12 pm

Well, I've finally got my hands on a copy of And Only to Deceive and whilst Alexander seems accurate with her period detail, the plot and whodunit were all too predictable. (As was the fact that she grabbed Lady Emily's two competing suitors directly from the pages of Pride and Prejudice!! The Darcyesque character was even called 'Colin'!!)

This confirms it - I like my mysteries historical, but they MUST BE MYSTERIES. As in, the plots must be intriguing enough to keep me guessing and the perpetrator should ideally be a surprise. The perp here was so obvious I was hoping he was actually a Red Herring!

Dez 27, 2007, 10:13 am

Well, Susanne, your blatant self promotion worked. I didn't know you'd written anything since A Far Better Rest until I joined this group, but when I saw this, I added Game of Patience to my Amazon wishlist, and I got it for Christmas. I've been enjoying it so far.

Dez 27, 2007, 4:58 pm

Thanks EstelleChauvelin!

Yay! Hope you continue to enjoy Game of Patience!

The next novel in the series is progressing . . . slowly . . . but maybe a visit to Paris in February will inspire me . . .


Dez 29, 2007, 4:15 am

Your books sound interesting. I'll definitely look for them.

Dez 29, 2007, 12:21 pm

I know I enjoyed Game of Patience and am looking forward to reading more of Ms. Alleyn's stuff.

Jan 18, 2008, 10:04 am

Well, whaddaya know?

After reading Silent in the Grave's first chapter, and recoiling from the callousness of "still twitching upon the floor" I thought it would be a typical romance-disguised-as-a-mystery, lacking any real emotion. Looking at the description of And Only to Deceive, however, I anticipated a clever whodunit with lots of academic heft.

How wrong was I?

And Only To Deceive turned out to be the shallow romance-disguised-as-a-mystery.

Silent In the Grave turned out to be a proper whodunnit with enticing red herrings and properly fleshed-out characters. It wasn't perfect (there wasn't much urgency in the narrative) but the heroine wasn't annoyingly idealized: unconventional, yes, but this was just about believable given her upbringing! The end was a complete surprise, as it should have been.

So, how wrong was I? Just glad I gave SitG another chance, as it was worth a read.

Jan 22, 2008, 11:58 pm

I'll have to look for Silent in the Grave...

I didn't mind And Only to Deceive. True, the mystery was not much and as the book went on, the fantasy-as-in-not-very-true-to-life and romantic elements became more apparent. The book seemed difficult to classify (romance, historical fiction, mystery?). But I did like the idea that part of the mystery was coming to know one's own husband.

I'm currently reading A Poisoned Season, but it seems less interesting because it doesn't have that extra-interest. Half-way through it now... but she's just seriously annoyed me by doing a Stupid Thing (on top of not seeming that very motivated to pursue solving the mystery)--something I always find problematic in a protagonist...

Jan 24, 2008, 3:57 am

Finished A Poisoned Season. It wasn't that bad by the end. Well... heheh, they usually DO solve the mystery, after all, so they aren't quite hopeless...

Started something much more interesting: The Tomb of Zeus by Barbara Cleverly. About a feisty (but not obnoxiously so) young archaeologist (Laetitia Talbot), in the 1920's, in Crete to supervise her first small team. I love Minoans and most archaeological-themed stories... so even though it takes a while for the mystery to gear up, it's still been an interesting read so far.

Fev 11, 2008, 7:44 pm

I'm in a Readers' Advisory class for my Masters of Library Science right now, and I'll be sharing my thoughts on A Treasury of Regrets with the class on Friday when we cover Mysteries. Since I needed it quickly and didn't have a lot of spare room in my budget, I got it from the library, but I'll be getting my own copy at some point down the road, I'm sure. Until then, when I can post a review, all I'll say is that I think it was even better than the first. I'm looking forward to more of these.

Ago 3, 2008, 2:51 pm

Reviving this dormant thread to say I just finished reading Mistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin and loved it! It's set in the time of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine, and the protagonist is a woman doctor has trained in Salerno who specializes in the dead, i.e., a forensic pathologist or coroner.

Set 25, 2008, 7:59 am

I just wanted to comment also on Silent in the Grave When I read the first couple chapters, I contemplated quitting it also, for just the reason bibliotheque mentioned--I thought the main character to be a bit of a prissy, insensitive, nasty bit of work. But I usually try to give a book fifty pages before giving up, and in this case, I'm glad I did. (I see that you eventually did too, bibliotheque! LOL) I really, really WANTED to hate the main character but by the end of the book found myself rooting for her and thoroughly enjoyed the book! I've got the second one here and really should get to it soon. I just hope that the series doesn't devolve into a romance-cum-mystery. I just can't abide that! The only reason I've not gotten to Tasha Alexander's series is that I've seen it classified as 'romantic suspense' in some places. No tanks!

Other new authors I've tried lately:

Maureen Ash (features a medieval ex-Templar knight) with the first in series The Alehouse Murders

Sarah D'Almeida with her Musketeers series--which is not based in history, but rather on other historical fiction with Alexandre Dumas's Three Musketeers characters being the characters in these books.

I also did enjoy Ariana Franklin's Mistress of the Art of Death and have the next one here.

Anyone read Jason Goodwin's The Janissary Tree? That is set in 1860's Istanbul and I really enjoyed it!

Has anyone tried Rhys Bowen's Lady Georgiana series beginning with Her Royal Spyness? I have the first two in the series here but haven't gotten to it yet. I've enjoyed her other series so even though it's set a bit later than my usual favorite historical time-period, I have high hopes.



Set 29, 2008, 4:05 am

I loved The Janissary Tree. We read it last year for one of my mystery groups.

Has anyone else read David Bland's Father Martin and the Hermitage Mystery? Takes place in the early days of Henry II's reign in Britain. The history is excellent, but the writing is dry.

Set 30, 2008, 11:19 am

I regret to say that I'm back with more Blatant Self-Promotion! Those of you who enjoyed Game of Patience and A Treasury of Regrets will, I hope, be pleased to know that the next novel in the series, The Cavalier of the Apocalypse, is with my editor and should be out next summer, possibly June 2009. Cavalier is actually a prequel; it's set ten years before the other two novels, and is Aristide Ravel's first case, set in 1786 amid scandal and conspiracy in the last years of the ancien regime. I'll be dropping in now and then with more news (while I start working on the NEXT book...). Thank you for reading, and please spread the word!
Cheers, Susanne
(Susanne Alleyn, author)

Set 30, 2008, 3:17 pm

>23 SusanneAlleyn:

Wooo! I'm glad for your blatant self-promotion. I've been waiting updates on Aristide Ravel since I read A Treasury of Regrets last spring.

Out 1, 2008, 11:33 pm

Yes! Hooray for your blatant self-promotion, Susanne. I'm very happy to learn about the latest one coming up.

Would it be blatant self-promotion on MY part to ask if you or your publisher will have any early review copies to pass around and, if so, can I have one? I'm finding it extremely pleasurable to post reviews of new or soon-to-be-released books on my blog.

Out 2, 2008, 4:14 pm

I will ask my editor if she can send me a few ARCs when the time comes, probably early '09. Right now CAVALIER isn't even with the copy editor yet...nor have I been paid...:-)...but I'm sure she'll be happy to send me some to spread around. Thanks!

And now back to the mysterious headless corpses!


Out 23, 2008, 12:26 am

I read The Janissary Tree, too. Not bad. There's a sequel out, The Snake Stone, that I've also read. Also not bad. I think I prefer the era of Constantinople, a millennium or so earlier, with the John the Eunuch mystery series starting with One for Sorrow by Mary Reed and Eric Mayer. I like that period better!

Editado: Jun 28, 2009, 10:56 am

More Blatant Self-Promotion: I was thrilled yesterday to learn that Publishers Weekly gave The Cavalier of the Apocalypse a starred review! It's out July 21, and is just now listed here at LT . . . I'll keep you posted . . .

Susanne Alleyn, author

Abr 14, 2009, 8:55 pm

Sweet! Congrats, Susanne!

Editado: Maio 7, 2009, 3:24 pm

Joan Druett is a writer fron New Zealand who is best known for her nautical histories. The last four or five years she has branched out into historical mysteries with her Wiki Coffin Series. The setting for these mysteries is the 4 year United States South Seas Exploring Expedition of 1838 (real fleet real expedition). I read and enjoyed the first one A Watery Grave (2004), and just obtained the next three;

Shark Island (2005)
Run Afoul (2006)
Deadly Shoals(2007)

Editado: Jun 3, 2010, 7:29 pm

I enjoyed The Janissary Tree (haven't read The Snake Stone yet), but I agree with aprillee -- I much prefer the John the Eunuch series. I've read the first seven, but haven't bought Eight for Eternity yet.

Jan 22, 2011, 6:54 pm

I've just joined this group because I wanted to recommend Susanne Alleyn's Cavalier of the Apocalypse, but I see that you're all way ahead of me in your appreciation of this author. I found a very pleasing balance of historical authenticity and plot in 'Cavalier' and look forward to reading Game of Patience next.

Ago 5, 2011, 11:54 am

If you haven't read Elizabeth Spellers The Return of Captain John Emmett, give it a try. It's set after WWI with great characters and a sophisticated portrayal of the lost generation as well as a plot that won't let you put it down. For a review

Nov 27, 2011, 2:16 pm

I'd have to say that Labyrinth and Sepulchre by Kate Mosse are my favorites so far. There's another one that's supposed to be coming out Sept. 2012 called Citadel that I'm VERY anxiously awaiting, and she's got a few others that aren't part of the Languedoc series. The way that Ms. Mosse fleshes out characters and develops plots is truly stunning, especially since she ties the mystery of the past with a mystery in the present. They're truly a joy to read! I couldn't recommend them highly enough.

Dez 18, 2011, 10:27 am

C. W Gortner's Elizabehan era novels are good. He 2nd book of the series is due to be published soon.

Dez 18, 2011, 10:30 am

Oops. I forgot to mention Barbara Hamilton's series which features Abigail Adams as the protagonist. The 2nd book in the series was just published.

Set 13, 2012, 4:05 pm

>33 Judith_Starkston: I thought this was an excellentl book. I'm am definitely going to buy her second.

Out 27, 2012, 6:19 am

>33 Judith_Starkston:. After reading your review I have just looked that one up on my local library website. They have it, so I have reserved a copy.

Nov 12, 2012, 1:34 am

I'm a big fan of the Deanna Rayburn and Tasha Alexander books. I pick up Rayburn's books when I'm in the mood for a little romance mixed with my mystery and Alexander's Lady Emily series when I want something more academic and lighter on the romantic aspects. Another great historical mystery author I love is C.S. Harris and her Sebastien St. Cyr series. They're probably my current favorites.

Nov 12, 2012, 10:41 pm

Judith Rock has a new mystery series (two books out, one on the way) about a young Jesuit scholar in Paris during the reign of Louis XIV. Excellent!

The Gil Cunningham series by Pat McIntosh has been around for a while, but I haven't seen it mentioned much. Top notch mysteries (the reader has to pay close attention) are set in 1490s Glasgow, where Christian piety and Renaissance learning coexist with judicial torture and blood feuds. When Gil investigates, his whole family seems to get involved. And most of them--including the wolfhound--are characters you want to get to know. I wish there were many more of these stories. (Ms. McIntosh, are you reading this?)

Jul 31, 2013, 3:34 pm

>33 Judith_Starkston: I also really enjoyed The Return of Captain John Emmett and liked her second book also (same main character). I'm hoping she'll continue with this series.

Jul 31, 2013, 3:38 pm

I felt Silent in the Grave was very good, but the rest of the series became too "romancy" for me. I was very disappointed and totally agree that And Only to Deceive was a romance (with slight mystery to it).

Set 27, 2013, 1:17 pm

I have two new authors to recommend: David Ashton and Kenneth M. Cameron. Ashton writes the McLevy (Edinburgh 1880s)series and Cameron the Denton (turn of the century England) series. Excellent writing, plots, characterization; I have read the first book in each series and highly recommend going to Fantastic Fiction and checking them out.

Mar 26, 2014, 11:16 am

Nancy Walker, My Name is Resolute

Mar 26, 2014, 11:25 am

Also D. B. Jackson has a series set in America. His protagonist sees the dead and does magic. Odd to combine fantasy & historical mystery but it works.

Editado: Abr 4, 2014, 4:36 pm

I recommend C.S. Harris, the Sebastian St. Cyr mysteries. 'Where Angels Fear to Tread' kicks off the series and I was hooked. Are any other LT members reading this series?

Abr 8, 2014, 2:52 pm

>46 Inishowen_Cailin: I am! In fact, I'm waiting for the latest in the series from the library.

Abr 9, 2014, 10:29 am

#46, I'm reading this series, just finished listening on audio to the latest Why Kings Confess. Excellent series!

Dez 30, 2015, 10:47 am

Read the new Christmas short A Singular and Whimsical Problem by a new author and enjoyed it a lot. I guess she has a new series starting with the first book The Bachelor Girl's Guide to Murder due out this spring, which I've added to my TBR pile.