Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Why I Love Historical Mysteries

Dear Mrs. Orser,

I’m not sure if you remember me, but you have a very special place in my heart. You befriended a very shy child almost thirty years ago, and through that friendship came my love of reading. But not just any type, the magical and adventurous type. The historical mystery type. My favourite!

You first introduced to me the wonderful stories by Enid Blyton. I devoured them all: Famous Five, Mallory Towers, Mystery series, the Secret Seven and St. Clare’s. What wasn’t to love about Enid Blyton? Her stories were about children living in a different country, in a different time and they were the heroes. I still have most of those books in my shelves, and one day my children will read those stories that kept me occupied for hours and hours.

And after I was done with those you suggested I try Agatha Christie. I fell in love with Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple. And as I grew older I went further back in history. I discovered Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle, and had a wonderful time reading his adventures and cases. Although I loved all the stories, the main thing that kept me coming back for more was the setting. The historical setting. And the mystery aspect helped as well. The way people spoke, dressed, their everyday life was so interesting and captivating I couldn’t stop. According to my mom it became an obsession.

That obsession, I took to school. I went to university where I studied history. And during that time I had to put my recreational reading aside.

A few years ago, I re-discovered my love of historical mysteries. I started reading a wonderful series by Robin Paige, it’s set in Victorian and Edwardian times, the heroine is a writer of penny dreadful’s, who travels to England to meet a relative. She a knack for discovering and deciphering mysteries. And from this “little” series a whole world was opened to me.

Here are the series I cannot live without:

Rhys Bowen’s Molly Murphy series. Molly is an Irish immigrant in turn of the century New York. She’s not your conventional woman of that time, she’s super independent and she’s not afraid to stand up for her rights or the rights of the people she deems worthy.

Anne Perry’s William Monk series. Although I’ve read her Thomas and Charlotte Pitt series, I prefer the Monk series. I find it more entertaining.

Elizabeth Peter’s Amelia Peabody series. What’s not to love about a bossy, curious woman who has the ability to discover ancient artefacts while she’s snooping out killers and thieves.

Victoria Thompson’s Gaslight Mystery series. The heroine, Sarah Brandt is a mid-wife in the turn of the century New York.

Jacqueline Winspear’s Maisie Dobbs series. Maisie is a psychologist and investigator in post World War I.

I can’t thank you enough from showing me this wonderful world of historical mysteries!

Yours sincerely,

Leya Mateus Kleist
Wandeca Reads


  1. Thanks Leya! Great post. I do read historical mysteries, but the only one that you have mentioned that I have read is the Amelia Peabody series! It is time for me to read the next one!

    I have read a lot of Enid Blyton but I didn't really focus on her mysteries - more the fantasy ones like the Wishing Chair and Faraway Tree books.

  2. And I have yet to try Rhys Bowen and Victoria Thompson. I'm a big Anne Perry fan and I've read the first Masie Dobbs book.

    The older authors I also read while growing up and loved them. ;-)

  3. I want to thank you for inviting me over to guest blog. I had a wonderful time! Thank you, ladies! :D

  4. I love Agatha Christie and I grew up reading Enid Blyton! Thank you for this amazing post and suggestions! ;)

  5. I personally prefer Thomas & Charlotte to Monk. And I adore Ramses in the Peabody series.

  6. Love, Love, LOVE Amelia! Very fond of Charlotte and Thomas and William is growing on me. Anything Christie is fabulous.

    Have you tried Nero Wolfe? Not specifically historical but they do paint interesting pictures of the times when they were written.

    Great post!

  7. Hi Leyal,
    Thanks for sharing the interesting post.
    Keep up posting the good work........ :)