These cozy summer days are perfect for exploring the historical mystery genre. It’s a great change of pace for fans of historical fiction. All of these books are set in London. A few of them feature Marlowe who was a contemporary of Shakespeare. Even more daring, one of them explores the possibility that Marlow was Shakespeare himself!
So settle in, let’s travel through time. Our first book begins way back during the reign of the Roman Empire.
(Medicus Investigations #1)
By Ruth Downie
Set in England way back during the Roman Empire. On a whim, Gaius Perius Ruso rescues a slave girl. She winds up causing him all sorts of trouble because he finds himself in the middle of a multiple murder investigation of lady prostitutes.
(Matthew Shardlake #1)
By C.J. Sansom
Something is going on at the monasteries. Henry VIII has decided that ordering them all to be disbanded will solve these forensic troubles. After Commissioner Robin Singleton is killed, a full investigation ensues in a true Sherlock fashion.
(Giordano Bruno #1)
By S.J. Parris
Giordano Bruno is a fugitive on the run from the Inquisition. His crime? He dared to say the Earth isn’t the centre of the universe. This book is set at the historical and beautiful Oxford University in England. He was brought here to give lectures on this Heliocentric notion. But he’s actually here to solve a more urgent mystery. Pass the smelling salts, the drama!
The Marlowe Papers
By Ros Barber
Marlow did not fall during a bar brawl. He was alive and well all along! He continued on while hiding on a island … writing under the name:
That cheeky bard!
The Bookman's Tale
By Charlie Lovett
This bookseller discovers a photo that looks like his beloved wife. Alas! This photo could be the mysterious, long lost, love interest of William Shakespeare!
The identity of this mysterious lady has taunted scholars and literature professors for hundreds of years! Endless sonnets were written about her. This sends the bookseller a on a quest to discover who Shakespeare really was.
And most of all who is this lady in the photo?
(Christopher Radcliff #1)
By A.D. Swanston
Set during the same period as Heresy, social chaos and crime surrounds England under Elizabeth I. Citizens were afraid of both a plague and an invasion. “Earl of Leicester's chief intelligencer, lawyer Dr Christopher Radcliff is tasked with investigating rumours of treachery at home and the papist threat from abroad. And with heresy and religious unrest simmering beneath the surface of a country on the brink, Radcliff is under pressure to get results” (Goodreads).
By Steven Price
Set in London in 1885, this is the most recent book on this list. It’s also the longest with an epic 1400 pages of a sweeping narrative that spans from London, to the diamond mines of South Africa then to the Civil War in the USA. Ghostly, foggy nightly quests through this cobblestone underground set the atmosphere for this mystery. As in The Bookman’s Tale, we have a quest based around mysterious love lost long ago with a Adam Foole searching for her, armed with only a letter. The detective, Edward Shade holds the answers that Adam is searching for.