Category Archives: Historical Mystery

Fiercombe Manor by Kate Riordan

Fiercombe Manor

Reviewed by Book Bug

– My Description –
The year is 1933.
Alice Eveleigh is in love with the man of her dreams, or so she thinks….

John is married. He tells her he plans on leaving his wife for her. (Never ever believe that, girlfriend. Lol)

After a brief tryst, Alice discovers she’s pregnant. He informs her he’s changed his mind and is not leaving his wife. Alice decides not to tell John about the baby.

Young Alice is unmarried and pregnant. This was quite the stigma for young women back then.

Death in the Time of Ice (A People of the Wind Mystery Book 1) by Kaye George

Death in the Time of Ice

Reviewed by Teri Davis

“There has always been the wind. Since our planet began to turn, there has always been the wind. This ball of dirt and fire and water started to spin. The air stirred. And Earth’s time began. But the beginnings of the wind are lost in the mists of time. The wind blew…Before Man.

More than thirty-thousand years ago, North America was nearing the time of the Ice Age forcing tribes of people to move tino areas where there was abundant food needed for their survival. Although we don’t know everything about life thirty-thousand years ago, it is believed that the Neanderthals possibly lived at the same time of the Cro-Magnons and other early forms of mankind. Some of these likely made it to the continent of North America.

Jack of Spies by David Downing

Jack of Spies

Reviewed by Jud Hanson

The year is 1913. Tensions are rising in Europe and Jack McColl, auto salesman and part-time spy for the British Empire, must flee China when an attempt is made on his life. Things get dicey when he is tapped to track a German national across the globe and meets Caitlin, feminist journalist and sibling of one of the leaders of the Irish Independence Movement. When his handlers learn who her family is, Jack is forced to choose between the woman he loves and his loyalty to the British Crown, a choice that will have far-reaching consequences.

La Salle’s Ghost by Miles Arceneaux

La Salle's GhostReviewed by Caryn St. Clair

In this the second Charlie Sweetwater mystery, readers find Charlie out on the water for the anniversary of his brother’s death. Set fifteen years after the first book, readers find out what Charlie has been up to during that time as this story slowly unfolds. Charlie is sitting on the deck of his boat in total darkness when he imagines he hears someone swimming towards the boat. What he thinks he’s imagining turns out to indeed be a man swimming straight for the boat. He ends up diving in to save the man and brings him on board. The man, Julien Dufay, turns out to be a Frenchman from an oil rig some thirty miles from the boat. But the reasons for him to be in the Gulf at all are not about the oil rig, but about a family secret dating back over three hundred years. As Charlie was soon to learn, while Julien’s dream may be all about the past, Julien’s brother has another goal in his sight-one rooted very much in the present. There may be a mother lode of French history buried here, but there are also fossil fuels.

The Demon’s Parchment: A Medieval Noir (Crispin Guest Novels) by Jeri Westerson

The Demon's Parchment Reviewed by Teri Davis

Oh, reading a well-written, well-researched, well-organized novel where the crime is horrendous, but the writing is so outstanding that you feel as if you are the investigator is a privilege and luxury. That is reading THE DEMON’S PARCHMENT.

THE DEMON’S PARCHMENT is one of a series in an unusual medieval series which is considered a noir by its darkness and style. This particular novel in Westerson’s Crispin Guest series is the third, following VEIL OF LIES, and SERPENT OF THE THORNS. Previously, I have reviewed the fourth book, Troubled Bones, and enjoyed it so much that I was asked to look at the previous ones. These books can be read as standalone novels, but are definitely better when you know the characters and some of their history.

Crispin Guest is a former knight who lost everything when he was accused of treason and lost his favor with the king. Essentially living minimally in a bare existence now, with his young apprentice, Jack, he works as a Tracker, one who logically tracks from the victim back to the criminals.

Crispin has agreed to find the lost parchments stolen from a Jewish physician residing at the King’s court. This is definitely unconventional since Jews are not allowed to be living in England at this time and were previously expelled. It was generally believed that those of this religion practiced human sacrifice.

Also, Crispin has agreed to help the new sheriff in stopping who is killing young boys in a distinctive gruesome manner. These unfortunate victims though have not been reported as missing. Why would someone give their son to another?

THE DEMON’S PARCHMENT is enthralling. The characters are believable and likable with the murderer always being in disguise. With shared responsibilities, the relationship between Crispin and Jack is strong while neither is without fault. The supporting characters are outstanding with vivid descriptions and definitely showing the “shady” side of London while still demonstrating how nobility was frequently above the law. With actual historical events being intertwined into this story, the reader truly feels like this mystery transports them to another time and place. THE DEMON’S PARCHMENT is not for the feint-of-heart. The descriptions are graphic and gory. However, this novel excels in all categories and proves that Jeri Westerson is a true story teller.

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A Lonely Death by Charles Todd

A Lonely Death by Charles ToddReviewed by Nancy Eaton

Chief Inspector Cummins is retiring but before he makes an exit, he confides in Scotland Yard detective Ian Rutledge that there is one unclosed case that will remain in his mind forever.

Things soon get very busy for Detective Rutledge. Three men are discovered murdered in Sussex. They all had something in common. Each one was a World War I veteran. They were all discovered with a wooden identity disc in their mouth. In addition, each one has been garrotted. Detective Rutledge was injured in the war and he depends on his job at Scotland Yard to keep from thinking about the many horrors he witnessed.

Detective Rutledge is called in to help solve these murders. There are some clues but they really don’t seem to make any sense. The first thing Detective Rutledge has to do is to investigate the background of each man murdered to see if he could find something the three had in common other then the fact that they were all World War I veterans.

Is Detective Rutledge able to solve this case?

Print the Legend by Craig McDonald

printReviewed by Caryn St. Clair

On thing readers have to love about McDonald’s books is that every one of them is a surprise. Readers just have no way of knowing where McDonald is going to take them until they have turned the very last page. And Print the Legend is no exception. What on the surface is another fictional account of Hemingway’s delusional final days and his power hungry fourth wife Mary, is also an accurate account of the extreme lengths J. Edgar Hoover went to while compiling dossiers on American writers. But more than either of these stories, Print the Legend is a highly involved book with twisted plot lines about what extremes people are willing to go to in order to get the big scoop on our celebrities, to advance their own careers without regard to the reputations left sullied in their path and the public’s pathological desire to know even the most sordid details of someone’s life.

Hollywood Buzz by Margit Liesche

Reviewed by Teri Davis

Women’s contributions during the wartime years have always been overshadowed by the men’s, especially those brave heroes who risked their lives for others. A story about Hollywood’s contribution to World War II and the women who were the Women Airforce Service Pilots, WASP, is well overdue. HOLLYWOOD BUZZ accomplishes this while basing the story on many actual historical people and events.

Pucci Lewis is asked by the legendary Jackie Cochran to advise a Hollywood documentary about the true women pilots who are contributing to the war effort while also discretely investigating the plane crash of a fellow WASP pilot. HOLLYWOOD BUZZ immediately transports you back to the 1940s in Hollywood with the lifestyle, the clothes, the celebrities, the threats of attacks by the Japanese, smuggling, drug usage, the problems of being Hungarian, Italian, or Japanese, and especially espionage.

This is a novel that is easy to immediately to relate to the celebrity and the normal people characters. With many of the legendary celebrities like Betty Grable, Bette Davis, Bela Lugosi, Clark Gable, and references to “Gone with the Wind” the story has the feeling of being more realistic. I thoroughly enjoyed learning about the problems that Bela Lugosi was having at this time.

Another aspect that added to the realism was the problems of the writers, producers, and directors with any production. Most people outside the movie industry do not realize that although the business looks glamorous, much of the day-to-day processes are hard work, long hours, and dealing effectively with difficult people.

My one criticism of this book is that it does rely a little on the previous book, LIPSTICK AND LIES. HOLLYWOOD BUZZ does work as a standalone book, but really is easier to understand after reading the first book.

The book causes constant wondering about who is responsible for sabotaging the aircraft and also how go change the image of Hollywood’s view of women to the actual lives of being a WASP. The characters, especially Jackie Cochran and Bela Lugosi, were more than real people, they had a purpose and a mission for the betterment of others. Their commitment to helping others is the true realism in this delightful book.

Margit Liesche comes from a family of Hungarian refugees who were a missionary family while serving in China. She was born in Ohio and currently lives in California.