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Monday, March 15, 2010

Historical Mystery Reading Challenge

Welcome to the Historical Mystery Reading Challenge

I have recently gotten into historical mysteries and thought I would share the fun in a reading challenge.  So signup with me for the next few months.
* This reading challenge runs March - June 2010

Suspense, amateur sleuth or police procedures and the entire menagerie under the mystery genre are all available for the challenge.

*  In three (3) months read five (5) historical mysteries.

* Cross overs / overlaps to other challenges are okay and the more you can utulize your TBR stack the better.

* Sign up below with Mr Linky, if you like. If you don't have a blog then post your list of books here in the comments and return to share what you finished.

* If you have given the book you chose a good chance and you just can't read/finish it, feel free to pick a new one.

* Those who complete the challenge get a Badge of Completion that can be posted on their blog or website and entered for a random drawing for one of five Challenge winners bookmarks to be given away.  I scrapbook and stamp so they are handmade.

* Prize restrictions - bookmarks will only mailed within the U.S and Canada.

Random drawing of challenge participants who completed the challenge will have 2 weeks from prize notification to provide a mailing address. If a mailing address is not provided then a new person will be drawn and notified.

* The books I am planning to read for the Historical Mystery Reading Challenge are:

-  Maids of Misfortune by M. Louisa Locke - DONE

-  The Pendragon Murders by J.M.C. Blair - DONE

-  Murder Has No Class by Rebecca Kent - DONE

-  The Last Illusion by Rhys Bowen- DONE

-  Murder on Lexington Avenue by Victoria Thompson  DONE

Extra Credit:
Read Murder on the Cliffs a Daphne du Maurier Mystery set in 1928 Cornwall England.

Read Serpent in the Thorns by Jeri Westerson set in 1384 London.

Read Murder in Paradise by Alanna Knight set in Victorian England.

Okay, the Challenge has closed but we have had a great time finding new and exciting historical mysteries to read.  Thank you all for your participation and your comments.
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raidergirl3 said...

You mean books set in other times, not necessarily written long ago?
Like the Anne Perry Victorian mysteries? or brother Cadfael?

I'll have to have a look around and see what I can find that I'd like to read.

ps mailing bookmarks to Canada wouldn't be very expensive, *crosses fingers*

A.F. Heart said...


Yes, books set in other times just like the Anne Perry Victorian Mysteries or Brother Cadfael.

A.F. Heart said...




Cometprof said...

This will be fun. I already have Winspear's and Bowen's new books on my list as well as the newest Sister Fidelma story. Actually, I'm one behind there, can I read two in a series? What a lovely challenge.

A.F. Heart said...

This reading challenge is open to non-bloggers.

Just sign-up here in the comments section and come back to note your progress in the challenge.

Thanks everyone - this will be a FUN reading challenge. And YES you can read more than one book in a historical mystery series.

Gary Corby said...

This is a brilliant idea!

Thanks for thinking of it. I won't list my 5 targets because I have a whole pile of to-be-read, most of them historicals, and I tend to pick up the next at random.

Ann Parker said...

What fun! I'm going to have to attack this book-by-book, as I have a huge stack and am uncertain which ones I'll do for this.
Starting with Vienna Secrets by Frank Tallis, and we'll see where it goes from there.

Fleisch said...

I certainly don't have a blog, but I do read tons of mysteries, especially historicals. Not sure what I'll be reading (and in addition to the new ones, I may post some recommendations of ones I'll already read if I don't see them pop up here).

A.F. Heart said...

Please remember that the point to Reading Challenges is to introduce you to something new or inspire you to look at new authors you may not have otherwise in order to fulfil the challenge. So expand your horizens a little.

Please read books and post them here or on your blog. Please refrain from posting books you have already completed before the challenge began. Again - expand yourself and explore a little for this challenge. Who is the author of a historical mystery you have been meaning to read but just haven't gotten around to it - well here is your opportunity! It is part of the fun!!!

A.F. Heart

Teddy Rose said...

I just add the link to your challenge on "A Novel Challenge" to let others know about it. When in June is it ending, so I would like to include the ending date is it June 1st?

A.F. Heart said...

June 30th is the end date to allow for plenty of time to get those 5 books read!

pennyt said...

I love historical mysteries, so this is a great challenge.

I just finished Murder on the Cliffs by Joanna Challis and enjoyed it a lot.

It is set in Cornwall right after WW I and featuring a young Daphne DuMaurier.

A.F. Heart said...

I have started MAIDS OF MISFORTUNE, the first on my list so I am steaming right along. How about all of you? Have you picked out your first one yet?

A.F. Heart

Cea said...

Just finished The Spies of Sobeck. On to the first in the St. Cyr series.

A.F. Heart said...


I looked up The Spies of Sobeck and it looks good. I had not heard of the St Cyr series before so that also looked good.

Do you want to tell us if The Spies of Sobeck is a thumbs up or down from you?

A.F. Heart

Cea said...

I did a little review of The Spies of Sobeck on my blog, the Blue Pig Cafe. I give it a thumbs up. I enjoyed it although Doherty isn't my favorite "Egyptian" author. I'm not sure how to link things yet but if you'd like to read my initial foray into doing something useful with my blog go to
I hope you enjoy the book. I've enjoyed the series. I actually liked Lynda S. Robinson's Lord Meren series better. I think she develops her characters more fully.

Gary Corby said...

This one's a cheat because it isn't really historical, unless you believe the premise of the story, in which case it is...

My daughters and I have finished The Sisters Grimm - The Fairytale
Detectives, which is the first in the series by Michael Buckley, and
it's really quite good!

The idea is that two sisters, Sabrina and Daphne, are the direct
descendants guessed it... the Brothers Grimm, and that the
famous fairytales are in fact true crime reports from the land of
Everafter (hence it's historical in the book's world, sort of). Sabrina and Daphne find themselves with their own crime to solve, and away we go.

Recommended for the 8 to 12 year old children in your life, and when
the kids are finished the grown-ups can read it too for a chuckle.

pennyt said...

This week I read The Tale of Hawthorn House by Susan Wittig Albert. I love this series, which features Beatrix Potter as a strong female heroine with the writing and sales of her books in the background of each book.

I also read Alanna Knight's Murder in Paradise. This book features Inspector Faro and is set in 1860; murder against the background of William Morris and the pre Raphaelites. This author also writes the Rose McQuinn series set in the 1890s.

I'm enjoying seeing what others are reading and looking for new authors.

A.F. Heart said...

I finished Maids of Misfortune: A Victorian San Francisco Mystery. Review is on the site. I really enjoyed it. It is self-published but I have to honestly say I felt it was written better than some published by traditional presses.

Definitely one of those little known gems!

Cometprof said...

I think I'm technically done with the challenge. See my post at but, as three of my books were by the same author and I really didn't care all that much for the last perhaps I'll consider myself still challenged. I noted that you are reading one of the books I read (Murder Has No Class). I'll be interested in your review. Thanks for the challenge. I'm having a blast.

pennyt said...

This week I read Murder on Astor Place by Victoria Thompson. This is the first bookin excellent series about a widowed midwife and an irish policeman who solve mysteries in 1800's NY as Teddy Roosevelt has become police comissioner. I read one of the later books and vowed to go back and read the series in order.

Cea said...

I forgot that I'd read Rhys Bowen's newest Molly Murphy story, The Last Illusion. She saves Harry Houdini, gets introduced to the world of espionage, comes closer to the status of matrimony (I'm not looking forward to it) and doesn't spend nearly enough time with Sid and Gus. Daniel wants her to give up her detecting when she marries (I guess Bowen will have to write another Evan Evans book!) and Molly is unsure of her feelings about that. I always come away highly entertained from Bowen's stories and, from Molly's world, completely sure that I could not exist in pre-feminist society. I'd be branded as a blue stocking and sent off to an asylum for sure.

A.F. Heart said...

I just finished reading MURDER HAS NO CLASS and posted my full review here on this blog. Check it out.

So I have 2 of the 5 done. How about everyone else?

Keep posting your progress - I love it.

pennyt said...

This week I read Harold Schecter's Humbug. This is the second book in the series with Edgar Allan Poe as the detective and I really enjoy them. In this book, Edgar works with PT Barnum to solve a series of murders in NYC in the 1840s.

raidergirl3 said...

I finished The Green Mill Murder by Kerry Greenwood, set in 1920s Melbourne. Great series!

pennyt said...

This week I read Silence is Golden by Jeanne Dams. I really enjoy this series about a Swedish housemaid and the Irish Catholic policeman that her family hates because of his race and religion teaming up to solve mysteries in South Bend in the early 1900s. I think I've posted five books and technically finished the challenge, but I love historical mysteries, so I will continue to post what I read.

A.F. Heart said...

Thank you everyone for your comments keeping us all aware of the great books out there in historical mysteries.

I am just starting The Pendragon Murders featuring Merlin.

A.F. Heart said...

Okay...I finished The Pendragon Murders by J.M.C. Blair. I posted the review here on the blog.

I have to be honest and say I was disappointed. I usually really enjoy Merlin, Morgan and Arthur but not this time out.

That leaves me two more to do by the end of June. It seems as though the challenge has plenty of time for the five books.

How is everybody else doing??

Gary Corby said...

I can add Dark Assassin by Anne Perry, an Inspector Monk mystery in Victorian England to my list.

Cea said...

A.F.Heart, I was waiting to read what you thought about the Pendragon mysteries. I was similarly let down. Ever since reading Mary Stewart's Crystal Cave trilogy a long, long time ago, followed by any and everything Merlin, I've always glommed onto anything Arthurian. This series is not so great. I'm glad it wasn't just me.
By the way, I've posted here as Cea and Cometprof (I was logged into my teaching site that day) and I've finished the challenge, but, if it is okay with you, I'll keep posting my historical musings. I'm enjoying your blog.

A.F. Heart said...


I would love if you or anybody else continued posting even if they have read the 5.

I love the posts and sharing if you liked the books or not. Absolutely let's keep this going.

Yep, Pendragon mysteries had a good premise but the execution didn't work for me - it wasn't just you.

pennyt said...

I read "Woman in the Wing" by Jean Sheldon this week. The book is set during WWII and focuses on members of the WASP and sabotage at an aircraft assembly facility. I enjoyed the mystery and was amazed at what those women put up with to "work a man's job" in that era.

raidergirl3 said...

I read Maisie Dobbs, set in 1929 London. It was wonderful, and am looking forward to more in the series.

I'm enjoying the new titles to investigate from these comments. keep them coming.

Gary Corby said...

Okay, I've finished Jester Leaps In, by Alan Gordon, part of the Fools Guild Mystery series, which has an interesting premise: the Fools Guild is a secret society of professional jesters, who in fact are spies working to keep the politics of mediaeval Europe on an even keel.

A.F. Heart said...

Great updates. Gary, I have been eyeing the Fools Guild series. What did you think - thumbs up or down?

I thought you guys and gals might like this - I found this webpage, associated Yahoo group and Facebook group called Crime Thru Time for historical mysteries.


Cea said...

I've been reading the Jester series. I like it. It gets a bit convoluted at times but not in the way that makes you want to throw the book at the wall. Just a bit Machiavellian. Which seems somewhat appropriate. I do recommend them and I'm glad you reminded me of them. I read the first two in the series and I see that I am now quite behind. Great! I love having to catch up!
A.F. Heart, I noted your comment on Crime Through Time... I link to that site on my site. It is a a terrific resource.
I'll ask you all to rejoice with me. I have one more major project to complete today at the college and I'm done for the semester. Into summer mode! And then, while I am teaching a couple of online summer courses, I get to tend to the garden and read to my heart's content. O frabjous day, callou callay!

Gary Corby said...

I'm thumbs up on the Jester series. The idea of a secret society of Fools is worth the read alone, and this period and time is interesting and not as well covered as it deserves. The plots are intricate, the characters diverse, good dialogue, the history well researched.

I may have a slight bias though. The Jester series is edited by Keith Kahla at Minotaur, who happens to be the editor of my own forthcoming Hellene Mystery series.

Cea said...

School's done for me. Now I'm just finishing up two reviews for Poison Pen and a review for a Guide to APA Writing Style (fascinating, actually, it is) and prepping my summer on-line courses. So, I've been on a reading splurge. Two Caroline Roe books I've missed, Consolation for an Exile and Poultice for a Healer, Margaret Frazer's Apostate's Tale and Arianna Franklin's, A Murderous Procession.
I really enjoy Roe's Issac of Girona. Spain in the mid 1300's was such a fascinating place and very different from Sister Frevisse's England. The politics and the positioning of the church were so different. Given that Roe's protagonist is a Jew and Frazer's a nun makes for differing perspectives, the fact is that England and Spain did have different policies and politics at the time and Issac's and Dame Frevisse's involvement in the politics of their times always makes for interesting reading. A note however, politics does not play a part in the Apostate's Tale. It is a good one though and the ending introduces another twist into Dame Frevisse's vocation.

Seccionista said...

I just completed the challenge and I really enjoyed the books I've read. Thanks for organising it!

A.F. Heart said...

Hello there,

If you didn't know, check out the guest blogger posted yesterday

Jeri Westerson, who writes the Crispin Guest Medieval Mysteries, was my guest blogger. Great stuff. And I am reading her book THE SERPENT IN THE THORNS.

A.F. Heart said...

We are coming to the end of the Challenge. I have read and reviewed here The Serpent in the Thorns by Jeri Westerson and just now finished Murder in Paradise by Alanna Knight. Check out the review just posted.

So how is everybody doing? Do you have any books left to go to complete the challenge? Should the challenge have asked for more books in the three months?

Gary Corby said...

I've a couple more to add! Any moment now...

Cea said...

I finished my challenge a while ago, but now I'm on the search for Jeri Westerson's books. They sound interesting and I need another series to sink my teeth into. I enjoyed this very much, reading my books and seeing what everyone else read, and getting ideas for new books to find. Thanks so much for the fun.

A.F. Heart said...

Just finished Murder on Lexington Avenue (review posted here on the site). I have to say I enjoyed it. Have any of you read the other books in the Gaslight series?

Next I am on to the last one I have been waiting to read for this challenge - The Last Illusion.

A.F. Heart said...

The Challenge has officially closed. I am a little behind because of business travel - again.

If you have successfully completed the challenge and want one of the three bookmarks, please leave your name and email. I will do a random drawing and pick the winners of the book marks.

Give a few days to do the Winner button for any bloggers to place on their blogs.

Thanks again for all your active participation. It has been a great time with all of you.

Cea said...

Don't need the bookmark, but thanks for the fun!

Gary Corby said...

Thanks Ariel for organizing it. This was fun! (I'll go bookmarkless too).

A.F. Heart said...

Hello everyone who participated in this reading challenge, I have a new one for 2013 and thought you might be interested. Please check it out here:

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Find Dubai Hotels said...

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