If you enjoy good old fashioned murder mysteries without the advancements in DNA, tracking on cell phones, and the other ways that the FBI is able to bring down a killer, a historical murder mystery may be just what you need. These are the murder mysteries that bring back the isolated feeling of trying to hunt down a killer without technology and forensic evidence and rely strictly on the brilliance of sleuthing.
Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger
In New Bremen, Minnesota the year of 1961, thirteen-year-old Frank Drum is dealing with a depressing and terrifying summer. A recent tragedy has affected everyone in Frank’s family, turning his summer of adolescence into a moment in which he must mature well beyond his years. Frank tells his story of what happened to his family that summer including his Methodist minister father, artistic mother, dancer sister, and intelligent younger brother.
The Great Gaston Murder by Colette Clark
The year is 1925 and Penelope Banks is turning twenty-five. With that, she is going to be throwing the most lavish party to ever happen on Long Island. When Penelope arrives to the mansion where the party is being held, she finds the handsome and mysterious artist, James Gaston, is living in one of the cottages on the property. But something dark is also lurking in the shadows as a maid has been murdered at the estate across the bay. As the party approaches, Penelope’s evening is about to be a whirlwind of love triangles, mystery and murder.
Murder at the Serpentine Bridge by Andrea Penrose
Countess of Wrexford, Charlotte, is looking forward to a summer of relaxation and peace with her husband, family, and friends. All of that is a mere prayer when Wrexford and two young wards, Raven and Hawk, find a body floating in the lake. Jeremiah Willis was an intelligent engineer who recently designed a top secret weapon that’s prototype is missing from the laboratory. Now, Wrexford must find the prototype before it ends up in the wrong hands but is about to find out the person who has it isn’t far away at all.
Above the Bay of Angels by Rhys Bowen
Bella is a servant who has always dreamed of being a chef and has just received an opportunity to work in the kitchens at Buckingham Palace. Shortly after arriving as Helen Barton from Yorkshire, she is now creating meals for Queen Victoria and before she knows it, she is being invited to Nice. When a guest to the queen dies, Bella is the prime suspect as she prepared their meal and is now accused of poisoning them.
The Unknown Beloved by Amy Harmon
In 1923, Dani Flanagan is ten years old and has just returned to her home in Chicago to find the police at her home and her parents dead. Young patrolman, Michael Malone, believes there’s more to Dani and the case, but he is told to do his job and Dani is sent to Cleveland to live with family. Fifteen years later, Michael is investigating a serial killer and crosses paths with Dani once again. Taking this as a sign, Michael enlists Dani’s help to solve these murders.
Snow by John Banville
Detective Inspector St. John Strafford has just been summoned to a crime scene where a parish priest has been found dead by his wealthy family. It’s 1957 and the Catholic Church is the ruler of Ireland, but Strafford is Protestant and that alone hinders him from getting answers from the tightknit community. Strafford may just be dealing with his most dangerous case yet as the snow starts to accumulate and his deputy disappears.
The Alienist by Caleb Carr
In 1986 New York City, journalist John Schuyler Moore has been asked by psychologist or “alienist” Dr. Laszlo Kriezler to investigate the murder of an adolescent boy. The two then create a psychological profile of the killer based on the crime and use the profile to help them hunt down a killer who is already searching for their next victim.