Historical fiction


Posted by on Friday, Sep 9, 2011 - 5:00 PM

Author Amy Waldman came to the Library this week to talk about her novel The Submission. The former New York Times co-bureau chief for South Asia tells a tale of the roiling effects of a 9/11-like memorial competition  for which the winning designer turns out to be a Muslim American.read more

They Fought in the Fields

Posted by on Tuesday, Aug 30, 2011 - 12:08 PM

The Women's Land Army was a British civilian organization created during the First and Second World Wars to work the farms to replace the men serving in the military. The women who worked for the WLA were called Land Girls.

I did not fully comprehend the extent of their sacrifices until the Foyle’s War episode They Fought in the Fields, which portrayed the harsh conditions under which they labored.

One of the most frequent requests we get from mystery fans is for books or videos “like Foyle’s Warand although there are several series set during World War II, none offer quite the same flavor.

Season of Darkness, a recent release from Maureen Jennings—author of the Inspector Murdoch series—shows some promise.read more


Posted by on Tuesday, Aug 2, 2011 - 8:30 AM

Falco book coverLindsey Davis's award-winning and bestselling Marcus Didius Falco mystery series features laid-back First-Century Roman detective Falco and his wife, Helena Justina, plus friends, relations, pets and bitter enemy Anacrites, the Chief Spy.

The most recent book in the series, Nemesis, was the twentieth in this long-running series that began in 1989.

Heeding the vox populi, Davis has put together Falco: The Official Companion.read more

Spring Book Buzz

Posted by SusanM on Wednesday, May 11, 2011 - 1:03 PM

Book BuzzThe publishing industry is always happy to share their new releases and latest best choices for book clubs with library professionals. Last week, at the Connecticut Library Association’s annual conference, I was able to attend a publisher’s “book buzz” session and left with some great suggestions for book groups.  Many favorite authors are back with new titles this spring.read more

Of cabbages and kings

Posted by on Tuesday, Apr 26, 2011 - 9:04 AM

royal wedding banner

All of the news about the upcoming Royal Wedding—and the who’s who of “The Royals” who will (and will not!) attend—brings to mind some of the peskier British monarchs that I have encountered in countless historical novels and mysteries that I have read over the years. 

Most recently I have enjoyed Ariana Franklin’s Adelia Aguilar mystery series. The gutsy Adelia often goes head to head with her “Employer,” Henry II ... not to mention his wife, Eleanor of Aquitaine.  read more

Magical mystery tours

Posted by on Tuesday, Mar 29, 2011 - 11:02 AM

death on tour coverThere is something about Egypt that—despite its antiquity—never seems to get old.

While you wait for the next Amelia Peabody mystery from Elizabeth Peters, here are two new mysteries to tide you over.read more

The unsolvable debate

Posted by on Tuesday, Jan 25, 2011 - 2:19 PM

Notting Hill Mystery coverThe New York Times Book Review of January 7 had an interesting article by Paul Collins called The Case of the First Mystery Novelist.

Reader, never mind whether the butler did it. Here’s a real mystery for you: Who wrote the first detective novel?”

In English? Most people will answer Wilkie Collins, who made the leap from Poe’s short stories to the novel with The Moonstone, published in 1868.read more

Way down yonder in New Orleans

Posted by on Monday, Jan 17, 2011 - 11:41 PM

louisiana lament coverYou bet your life you’ll linger there. .. so why not linger with one of these mystery series set in The Big Easy?

Laura Childs’ cozies starring Carmela Bertrand, a scrapbooking shop owner. 

David Fulmer’s historical novels featuring Valentin St. Cyr, a Creole P.I. in the early 20th century in the Storyville district.

Julie Smith’s Skip Langdon books … Skip is a city policewoman, and her Talba Wallis stories … Talba is a P.I. and is also a poet known as Baroness de Pontalba.read more

Timeless Greece

Posted by on Sunday, Aug 22, 2010 - 10:08 AM

annez.jpgSecond only to my favorite library responsibility – which is selecting mystery books for the collection – is selecting the travel guides and books about the ancient world. I had one of those cosmic “it’s all coming together” moments a few weeks ago when I happened on a review of The Messenger of Athens by Anne Zouroudi in Publishers Weekly. At the start of this first book in a series based on the seven deadly sins, self-styled investigator Hermes Diaktoros ("The Fat Man") is on the island of Thiminos where the body of a young woman has been found at the foot of a high cliff. PW expressed some concern that the book was perhaps better suited to “armchair travelers interested in Greece than mystery buffs,” and Library Journal said “Zouroudi has a deft way with words and an uncanny ability to create a sense of place. “ A mystery novel with a travel guide built right in – sort of. marilynt.jpgAnd then, in the same PW issue there was a review of the “well-plotted“ Still Waters by Marilyn Todd. This book is the third entry in the High Priestess Iliona series which is set in fifth-century B.C.E. Sparta. The head of the secret police needs her help to track down thefts from several caravans transporting gold dust. The first agent he sent to investigate is missing and presumed dead. Another suspicious death follows when an Olympic wrestling champion's chariot, which had been tampered with, crashes into a ravine. Ilonia undertakes the dangerous mission, setting aside her personal comfort and safety, in pursuit of the harsh truth. If you prefer modern Greek encounters, you might want to try the Chief Inspector Andreas Kaldis mysteries by Jeffrey Siger. garyc.jpgIf the ancient world is more to your liking, watch for The Pericles Commission by Gary Corby (also set in the fifth-century B.C.E.) which is due in October. Nicolaos walks the mean streets of Classical Athens as an agent for the promising young politician Pericles. His mission is to find the assassin of the statesman Ephialtes, the man who brought democracy to Athens and whose murder has thrown the city into uproar. PW recommends this one for “those who like their historicals with a touch of humor.” zeus.jpgAnd, for those of you who first developed a yearning to visit Greece through those enchanting Mary Stewart novels as I did, I suggest the Leatitia Talbot series by award-winning mystery author Barbara Cleverly. Set in the post-WWI era, the plucky young archaeologist gets to dig on the island of Crete in The Tomb of Zeus (2007) and in the recent A Darker God, when a British theater company performs Aeschylus's famous play Agamemnon in an ancient amphitheater in Athens, a noted scholar is found murdered and Laetitia is on hand to help in the production and later in the investigation. Library Journal calls A Darker God “a complex puzzle worthy of Agatha Christie ... Cleverly has found her voice in Laetitia Talbot, and fans of Jacqueline Winspear's Maisie Dobbs and Kerry Greenwood's Phrynne Fisher will want to meet her.” Xaire!