Enter the world of Historical Mysteries...

YPRL Staff

13 July, 2023

Introducing historical mystery writers…..


Already I can feel the excitement building from those who enjoy reading historical mysteries. For those who have not yet entered the wonderful world of a historical mystery, fear not, I was once like you. I had been reading crime and thriller novels for many years and never once considered reading from the historical mystery genre until a friend of mine said ‘have you considered reading this….’ -the rest is history (no pun intended).

I must confess, my preference is historical mystery books set in the 19th and early 20th centuries such as Charles Todd, ‘Bess Crawford’ and ‘Ian Rutledge’ series and C S Harris' ‘Sebastian St. Cyr Mystery’ just to name a few! There are so many more great reads out there.

So, lets jump right in check out one of my favourite historical mystery authors, Victoria Thompson and her ‘Gaslight Mystery’ book series...


You are drawn to the characters, the uncertainty and the thrills and spills that befall the much-loved central character.

- Jane at Rosanna Library

The main character in this series is widow Sarah Brandt who is a midwife in the early 1900s and lives in New York City; she is estranged from her wealthy family and becomes involved by chance with Detective Sergeant Frank Malloy and helping him solve murders. Over time Sarah’s character evolves and through her work she meets some interesting characters, reconnects with her parents and other acquaintances from her past, finds her outlook on life and her position in the community changes, and supports Detective Sergeant Frank Malloy in his endeavours as they are drawn together solving crimes related to the underclass. 

From Victoria’s first book in the series ‘Murder on Astor Place’ (published in 1999) to her latest book ‘Murder on Madison Square’ (published 2022), you are drawn to the characters, the uncertainty and the thrills and spills that befall the much-loved central character.

Victoria has a wonderful way of weaving the characters and events from one book to another, a bit like a knitting pattern, making sure all the loose ends are neatly tied off by the time you turn to the last page. This makes for a seamless narrative, ensuring context for the reader. Because of this writing style, the usual recommendation of starting a new series with the first book could be ignored. 

A photo of a desk with books open, shelved, and a deer-stalker hat

I encourage you to step into the world of historical mysteries and give Victoria Thompson a go! If you enjoy reading the Gaslight Mysteries, you may also like to consider her other series; ‘Counterfeit Lady’, which will slowly but surely draw you into the historical world of counterfeit and cons. Book one in the 'Counterfeit Lady' Series starts with "City of Lies", also available in Large Print, eBook (Borrow Box). 

If you would like to sample the start of your ‘Gaslight Mystery’ journey, the library catalogue currently has Murder in the Bowery available in hard copy and as an eBook. Murder in Chelsea is also highly recommended and is available on Borrow Box.

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