Nine Historical Mysteries for the Summer

Buckley, Fiona. Queen’s Bounty. Crème de la Crime: Severn House. Aug. 2012. 240p. ISBN 9781780290249. $28.95.
Ever glad to help her queen, Elizabeth, Ursula Blanchard has uncovered the treasonous plotting of Anne Percy, Countess of Northumberland. Now the exiled countess has sent Ursula a threatening letter, which she dismisses until odd mishaps start plaguing her household. Then Ursula is accused of witchcraft. Not the best way to start off her third marriage.

Gordon-Smith, Dolores. Trouble Brewing. Severn House. Aug. 2012. 256p. ISBN 9780727881694. $28.95.
Appropriate title: Mark Helston has made a success of himself at Hunt Coffee Limited. Then, in January 1925, he vanishes after leaving his Albemarle Street flat, and, Scotland Yard’s shoulder shrug be damned, his uncle asks series regular Jack Haldean to find him. Instead, Jack finds trouble‚ and we’re not talking competition from Starbucks.

Morris, R.N. Summon Up the Blood. Crème de la Crime: Severn House. Aug. 2012. 224p. ISBN 9781780290256. $28.95.
Morris takes a break from his popular Porfiry Petrovich series with a mystery set in 1914 London. Scotland Yard’s Detective Inspector Silas Quinn is stymied by a serial killer who leaves his victims drained of blood, and it probably chills his blood that clues are leading him to an exclusive gentleman’s club.

Nickson, Chris. The Constant Lovers. Crème de la Crime: Severn House. May 2012. 224p. ISBN 9781780295183. $28.95.
Near 1732 Leeds, a well-dressed young woman is found murdered amid the ruins of Kirkstall Abbey, a mysterious love note crumpled in her pocket. Richard Nottingham, Constable of the City of Leeds, has no leads‚ and not a lot of cooperation when he finally locates her family.

Peacock, Caro. Keeping Bad Company. Crème de la Crime: Severn House. Jun. 2012. 240p. ISBN 9781780290201. $28.95.
Private investigator Liberty Lane can’t help but get involved when her brother, an employee of the East India Company, returns to 1840s London, where he’s asked to give evidence in the murder of a wealthy merchant’s assistant who was on his way to Bombay. Does it have something to do with the booming opium trade?

Rowe, Rosemary. A Whispering of Spies. Severn House, Jul. 2012. 256p. ISBN 9780727881632. $28.95.
Volus: he’s rich, he’s powerful (having served as the lictor of to the Imperial Governor of Gaul), and he’s retiring to Gelvum, which worries Libertus’s patron, local magistrate Marcus Septimus Aurelius. But when he’s asked to check up on Volus, Libertus attracts the unwanted attentions of a bunch of spies.

Saylor, Steven. The Seven Wonders: A Novel of the Ancient World. Minotaur: St. Martin’s. Jun. 2012. 336p. ISBN 9780312359843. $25.99.
Here’s some backstory for Saylor’s acclaimed protagonist, Gordianus the Finder. It’s 92 BCE, and a teenaged Gordianus sets out on a tour of the Seven Wonders of the World with his tutor, Antipater of Sidon. Strange that Antipater fakes his death before leaving‚ but maybe not so strange, with rebellion in the air. As he travels, Gordianus learns all about the art of crime-solving‚ and love.

Sedley, Kate. The Tintern Treasure. Severn House. Jul. 2012. 208p. ISBN 9780727881649. $28.95.
In autumn 1483, while taking refuge in Tintern Abbey after having been dragged into the Duke of Buckingham’s rebellion against nasty Richard III, delightfully rough-and-ready Roger the Chapman takes refuge in Tintern Abbey. The night he’s there, a priceless treasure is stolen from the abbey, and trouble follows him home to Bristol.

Wortham, Reavis Z. Burrows: A Red River Mystery. Poisoned Pen. Jul. 2012. 250p. ISBN 9781464200052; pap. 348p. ISBN 9781-590588222.
It’s the late 1960s, and Ned Parker has retired as constable of Center Springs, TX. But he has to help nephew Cody Parker, the newly elected constable, when a dead body in Red River leads to a decaying Cotton Exchange warehouse packed with trouble.


Barbara Hoffert About Barbara Hoffert

Barbara Hoffert (, @BarbaraHoffert on Twitter) is Editor, LJ Prepub Alert; past chair of the Materials Selection Committee of the RUSA (Reference and User Services Assn.) division of the American Library Association; and past president, treasurer, and awards chair of the National Book Critics Circle.