So, I took a quick look at some historical mysteries and established this here list of those most piquing my interest in the next couple of months (listed in chronological order).
Detroit Breakdown by D.E. Johnson – Third in the Will Anderson & Elizabeth Hume series, this one finds Will going undercover as a patient while Elizabeth volunteers her time at Detroit’s Eloise Insane Asylum to investigate a murder which Elizabeth’s incarcerated cousin is suspected of committing. Set in 1912. I love me some spooky asylums. I'm already thinking of Shutter Island which always made me think of William Peter Blatty's Twinkle, Twinkle Killer Kane and the movie he made from his own book, The Ninth Configuration.
The Hot Country by Robert Olen Butler. It's 1914 in Mexico and tensions are all y'know taut. As the world prepares for the Great War, the Americans are in Vera Cruz, the Germans are courting Pancho Villa and US war correspondent Christopher Marlowe Cobb (the only way that moniker could be improved would be to make it... Han Solo or perhaps give him a sweet nickname - oh, wait - he's got one, "Kit," and I've got a natural fondness for anybody named Kit) is courting a laundress named Luisa (I'm picturing Salma Hayek in Desperado) instead of scaring up stories. Until one scares him, instead. I'd love this to read like something between Graham Greene's The Power and the Glory and the Hector Lassiter novel I've been hoping Craig McDonald would get to publish (chronicling Lassiter's ride withBlack Jack Pershing). We'll see. (We'll also see a loooot more of the Gerrys on this list.)
Live by Night by Dennis Lehane. Lehane's always going to get my attention. I mean... c'mon. For anybody who spends as much time demanding crime fiction get a fair shake from the 'literary' types as I do, is there any way I'm not going to get behind a new Lehane book? No. There's not. Still, this one seems custom made for me. Mean streets of Boston, rum-running in Florida, kickin in Cuba - count me in. 1926 through - we'll see - several years anyhow.
Death in Breslau by Mark Krajewski Now we're getting into somewhat familiar territory - as I'm already a fan of Philip Kerr's Bernie Gunther books - I expect great things from this tale of of Nazi occupied Breslau in 1933. Inspector Eberhard Mock is looking into the deaths of two women imaginatively dispatched by scorpion bite. When the Gestapo detain a suspect and obtain a confession, Mock thinks he's off the case, but with the arrival of a terrifying and very personal clue, he's re-committed and obsessively attached.
Not My Blood by Barbara Cleverly finds her Scotland Yard detective Joe Sandiland investigating the death of a teacher in 1933 at a boarding school and discovering a disturbing trend of disappearing students and cover-ups. Perfect for my desire to mix Harry Potter, Sleepers and...Downton Abbey.
Death's Door by James R. Benn features Lieutenant Billy Boyle investigating the murder of an American priest at the Vatican (which is neutral in German occupied Rome circa 1943), and going undercover as an Irish priest himself. Competing personal agendas, politics and more fun with Nazis, plus really great cover art. Say no more. Why do I suddenly want to go catch up on The Borgias and revisit We're No Angels?
The Underground by Laurence McMorrow runs about the Red Scare 1940s US while J. Edgar Hoover's personal police force muddys the waters and runs subterfuge against commies including our heroine Maura Connolly. I'm drawn to this one because I loved James Ellroy's The Big Nowhere andTim Weiner's Enemies so much - plus this one's a novella. Love that format.
The Empty Glass by J. I. Baker. In 1962 Deputy Los Angeles County coroner Ben Fitzgerald is first on the scene discovering the nude body of movie star Marilyn Monroe and her diary The Book of Secretswhich contains mysterious reference a paramour she calls The General. While we're still on Ellroy appreciation, I'm hoping this one can evoke Black Dahlia-esque obsession levels and stir the familiar elements of recent history and pop culture into an zinger of a mystery.
What historical mysteries are your favorites? What have I overlooked?
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