Murder in Black and White

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Murder in Black and White

Historical mystery recommendations

With all of history to be inspired by, historical mysteries have been set in dozens of different eras and different countries, from Ancient Rome in the Flavia Albia novels to 1830s New Orleans in the Benjamin January series, just to name two. Sometimes the crimes are solved by a detective of the era or a civilian caught up in the mystery. Whatever the case may be, the mystery and the historical details often blend together in fascinating ways. In this recommendation list, readers will find books set throughout history with a variety of protagonists and settings.  
   
Louise's War by Sarah R. Shaber
The first mystery is set in our very own D.C. in 1942 in the midst of WWII. When Louise Pearlie joins the wartime intelligence agency after the death of her husband, she quickly stumbles into a mystery surrounding one of her old college friends, a woman who is trapped in Vichy France. But Louise may be in for more than she bargained for, as someone she trusts is murdered and the mystery involving her friend deepens.
 
The Glass Ocean by Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig, and Karen White
When Sarah Blake, looking for inspiration for her next novel, ignores family tradition and opens her great-grandfather’s trunk rescued from the HMS Lusitania during its sinking in 1915, she finds herself drawn into a mystery that involves her family and two women aboard the doomed ship: a businessman’s wife and a female con artist looking for one last score.
 
Death Sits Down to Dinner by Tessa Arlen
In this Lady Montfort mystery series entry, an Edwardian-era amateur sleuth and her housekeeper must solve a murder mystery that has interrupted the thirty-ninth birthday celebration of Winston Churchill. With some of the most powerful in society in attendance, as well as their servants, the list of suspects is daunting. Lady Montfort and Mrs. Jackson will have to figure out who committed the murder and how to see justice done before tragedy strikes again.
 
A Casualty of War by Charles Todd
In this mystery set during WWI, a nurse called Bess Crawford meets an army captain first on Barbados, and then twice more as he’s brought to her aid station with worsening head injuries. Both times the captain claims that it was his cousin who tried to murder him, and both times his claims are dismissed as a sign of mental instability. Bess seems to be the only one who wonders why the captain is so convinced that his cousin is trying to kill him.
 
A Rising Man
by Abir Mukherjee

In the aftermath of WWI, a haunted former Scotland Yard detective arrives in Calcutta, India, to take up a new post in the police force there. The murder of an official is a distraction from Sam Wyndham’s own personal ghosts, especially when a note is found stuffed in the victim’s mouth that threatens the British forces in India. Another distraction is Sergeant Banerjee, one of the few Indians on the force and one of the men assigned to the murder case. Together, they must solve the murder or watch the rising tensions in the colony spill into violence.
 
Plague Land by S.D. Sykes
Oswald de Lacy never expected to be lord of Sommerhill Manor in 14th century Kent. But when his father and two older brothers are killed during a plague outbreak, he is taken from the monastery where he has spent the last ten years and thrust, at age seventeen, into ruling his struggling and neglected estate. Things go from bad to worse when a village girl is murdered and the priest claims that she was murdered by demons. When another girl is murdered, Oswald must discover who is behind the murders.