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Historical Mysteries

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Carlos Ruiz Zafon
The Shadow of the Wind
The Cemetry of Forgotten - Book 1
2018 (First published: 2004)
Barcelona, 1945 - just after the war, a great world city is nursing its wounds, and a boy named Daniel awakes on his eleventh birthday to find that he can no longer remember his mother’s face. To console his only child, Daniel’s widowed father, an antiquarian book dealer, initiates him into the secret of the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, where he discovers a puzzling secret. More ...
486 Pages
Carlos Ruiz Zafon
The Angel's Game
The Cemetry of Forgotten - Book 2
2010 (First published: 2008)
In this powerful, labyrinthian thriller, David Martín is a pulp fiction writer struggling to stay afloat. Holed up in an abandoned mansion in the heart of Barcelona, he furiously taps out story after story, becoming increasingly frustrated. Thus, when he is approached by a mysterious publisher offering a book deal that seems almost too good to be real, David leaps at the chance. More ...
544 Pages
Carlos Ruiz Zafon
The Prisoner of Heaven
The Cemetry of Forgotten - Book 3
2013 (First published: 2011)
Barcelona, 1957. It is Christmas, and Daniel Sempere and his wife, Bea, have much to celebrate. They have a beautiful new baby son named Julián, and their close friend de Torres is about to be wed. But their joy is eclipsed when a mysterious stranger visits the Sempere bookshop and threatens to divulge a terrible secret that has been buried for two decades in the city's dark past. More ...
278 Pages
Carlos Ruiz Zafon
The Labyrinth of Spirits
The Cemetry of Forgotten - Book 4
2019 (First published: 2016)
Beautiful and enigmatic Alicia Gris, with the help of the Sempere family, uncovers one of the most shocking conspiracies in all Spanish history. Nine-year-old Alicia lost her parents during the Spanish Civil War when the Nacionales (the fascists) savagely bombed Barcelona in 1938. Twenty years later, she still carries the emotional and physical scars of that violent and terrifying time. More ...
816 Pages
Georges Simenon
Dirty Snow 
2003 (First published: 1950)
Set in occupied France during WWII, Simenon's bleak masterpiece is a dispassionate description of human cruelty. No other writer has achieved the psychological intensity of Simenon. “What many regard as the finest of all noir novels…"--Tim Rutten, The Los Angeles Times   More ...
272 Pages
Ken Follett
The Pillars of the Earth
Book 1 of Kingsbridge
2007 (First published: 1989)
This story of intrigue, power, revenge and betrayal chronicles the ups and downs in the life of a prior, his master builder as they struggle to build a Gothic cathedral in 12th century England. Follett weaves human brutality, steamy sex scenes, deep religious faith, agony and glorious success into his epic historical novel. More ...
973 Pages
Ken Follett
World Without End
Book 2 of Kingsbridge
2007 (First published: 2007)
World Without End takes place in the same town of Kingsbridge, two centuries after the townspeople finished building the exquisite Gothic cathedral that was at the heart of The Pillars of the Earth. Brilliant historical novel! More ...
1024 Pages
Ken Follett
A Column of Fire
Book 3 of Kingsbridge
In 1558, the ancient stones of Kingsbridge Cathedral look down on a city torn apart by religious conflict. As power in England shifts precariously between Catholics and Protestants, royalty and commoners clash, testing friendship, loyalty, and love.  More ...
928 Pages
Melville Davisson Post
Uncle Abner: Master of Mysteries
The tales of Uncle Abner take place in what is now West Virginia, in the 1840's or 1850's. The mysteries of the crime solving, justice dispensing West Virginian backwoodsman Uncle Abner - written between 1911 and 1928 - have been called some of "the finest mysteries ever written". More ...
146 Pages
P.D. James
Death Comes to Pemberley
2013 (First published: 2011)
It is six years since Elizabeth and Darcy embarked on their life together at Pemberley, Darcy’s magnificent estate. Their orderly world seems almost unassailable. Then the patrician idyll is shattered. A coach careens up the drive carrying Lydia, Elizabeth’s disgraced sister. Hysterically she is shrieking that her husband has been murdered. Inspired by a lifelong passion for Austen, P.D. James re-creates the world of "Pride and Prejudice". More ...
304 Pages

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The historical mystery or historical 'whodunit' is a subgenre of two literary genres: historical novels and mystery fiction. These works are set in a time period considered historical from the author's perspective, and the central plot involves the solving of a mystery or crime - usually murder.
Though works combining these genres have existed since at least the early 20th century, many credit Ellis Peters's Cadfael "Chronicles" (1977–1994) for popularizing what would become known as the historical mystery (Wikipedia).
Perhaps the first modern English work that can be classified as both historical fiction and a mystery however is the 1911 Melville Davisson Post story "The Angel of the Lord", which features amateur detective Uncle Abner in pre-American Civil War West Virginia. Agatha Christie published "Death Comes as the End", a mystery novel set in ancient Egypt. In 1950, John Dickson Carr published a historical mystery novel called "The Bride of Newgate", set at the close of the Napoleonic Wars.
Some authors have published historical fiction with remarkably accurate historical background, but filled with social tension, intrigue, political conflicts and murder. For instance, Ken Follett's sensational historical fiction "The Pillars of the Earth" (1989), is a novel about building a cathedral in a small English village during the Anarchy in the 12th century.
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