6 November 2010

Historical Mysteries read this year

The announcement this week of the winner of the 2010 CWA Ellis Peters Award for Historical Mystery reminded me that I really haven't read all that many "historically set" crime fiction titles this year.

Mind you, a history teacher by trade, just as I can see a mystery element in almost every novel, so I can see the historical in many.

Just at the moment I am listening to ALEXANDRIA by Lindsey Davis, and I've just finished Dan Waddell's THE BLOOD DETECTIVE which reminded me how much I enjoy a historical element. 

So I've explored my records to see what else I've read in 2010 that I could count if I was "doing" a Historical Challenge.

The first problem that I came across was the books that were written/published in the past, but did not involve the author delving back into history. They give us a glimpse of times past, but that was not what the author intended. He/she was not writing a book that we would today classify as "historical crime fiction".
So I've separated them out from the others. You might like to comment on what I've done.
And then there are those that provide a sort of bridge between the past and the present - they have sort of dual time frames.
They are listed in the order in which I have read them this year. Who would have thought that I had read so many?

Crime fiction written in the past.
4.4, THREE ACT TRAGEDY, Agatha Christie, 1920s
4.2, THE SWAYING PILLARS, Elizabeth Ferrars - set in an African state in the 1960s
4.1, THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER, Edgar Allan Poe - America, publ. 1840
4.5, THE SPY'S WIFE, Reginald Hill - Britain, Cold War publ 1980
4.4, THE HOUND OF DEATH, Agatha Christie - England 1930s
4.2, THE LISTERDALE MYSTERY, Agatha Christie - England 1930s
4.6, DEATH IN THE CLOUDS, Agatha Christie - England 1935
4.6, THE A B C MURDERS, Agatha Christie  - England 1930s

Crime fiction written recently but given a historical setting.
4.3, CONSEQUENCES OF SIN, Clare Langley-Hawthorne  - England, suffragette movement
4.7, DANCING FOR THE HANGMAN, Martin Edwards - the story of Crippen who was hanged in 1910
4.2, MARCH VIOLETS, Philip Kerr - Berlin 1936
4.7, BURY ME DEEP, Megan Abbott  - America 1931
4.4, THE PILGRIM OF HATE, Ellis Peters  - Brother Cadfael, Shrewsbury 12th century England.
4.3, DEAD MAN'S CHEST, Kerry Greenwood - Australia 1920s
5.0, A BEAUTIFUL PLACE TO DIE, Malla Nunn  - South Africa 1952

Those that bridge the past and the present
5.0, SKELETON HILL, Peter Lovesey - involves modern day police procedural and Civil War re-enactment
4.5, BLOOD & ICE, Robert Masello - Antarctica, bridges 1850s and current time
4.6, THE WHITE GALLOWS, Rob Kitchin - set in Ireland, some elements of bridging between World War 2 and the present.
4.6, THE CROSSING PLACES, Elly Griffiths  - a blend of police procedural and archaeology
4.5, THE BLOOD DETECTIVE, Dan Waddell  - a blend of police procedural and genealogy
4.3, THE LABOURS OF HERCULES, Agatha Christie - bridges ancient legend and 1930s 

4 comments:

Margot Kinberg said...

Kerrie - Thanks for this. You've really separated these novels neatly into reasonable categories, and that makes it much easier to go back through your reviews. Much appreciated!

Margaret @ BooksPlease said...

I like your categories. They do make it simpler to sort out the differing time frames.

I like the idea of a "Historical Challenge" and think I may go through my year's reading and do something similar. I suspect I haven't read as many historical mysteries as you have.

Uriah Robinson said...

Kerrie, thanks for those very useful categories.

Dorte H said...

I agree that it is indeed useful to distinguish between these categories. I do read Golden Age crime now and then (Dorothy Sayers being my favourite writer), but I also love category two, written in the present but with a story set in the past. My favourite series of that kind is Andrew Taylor´s Lydmouth series. I think the first ones are set soon after WWII. Excellent plots, characters and setting.

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