Five Best These historical mystery novels are superb mixtures of the scholarly and the suspenseful, says David B. Rivkin Jr.
Take a look. At number one we have:
Alexandria by Lindsey Davis
“One of Davis’s virtues is the way she roots her tales in ancient times even as she adds sly modern touches; in Alexandria she lampoons today’s universities with a hilarious portrayal of academia circa A.D. 75, replete with rancorous board meetings, pretentious intellectual wrangling and petty professional jealousies.
A Morbid Taste for Bones by Ellis Peters
The author keeps the suspense high, but Peters raises the story well above the average whodunit with his descriptions of the Welsh countryside’s stark beauty, his vivid characters and his command of medieval church matters. Mystery, after all, is best framed by history.
The Emporer’s Pearl by Robert H. van Gulik
One of the pleasures of the Judge Dee mysteries-in addition to the fine storytelling and attention to period detail, like the Chinese love for dragon-boat racing- is the sprinkling of illustrations by the author, the Dutch diplomat and student of Chinese history, Robert H. van Gulik who died in 1967.
Slayer of Gods by Lynda S. Robinson
Lynda S. Robinson has a doctorate in anthropology, specializing in archaeology. Such expertise clearly informs her richly atmosphere depictions of ancient Egypt in her Lord Meren mysteries. In “slayer of Gods,” we find Meren serving as chief security officer for Pharoah Tu Tutankhamun in the 14th century B.C…It’s considered a cold case, but Meren won’t let it go and is soon entangled in a story fraught with immense political and religious significance, colored by that characteristics obsessions of ancient Egypt, the afterlife.
The Fire Kimono by Laura John Rowland
…The Fire Kimono lingers in the memory as a haunting story of an honest man trying to navigate in an honor-obsessed culture where elaborate ritual can conceal sinister intrigue.
So, after Carl‘s Once Upon A Time Challenge, which will begin March 21, and after The Brother’s Karamazov read-along which I’m hosting this April, I’m going to dive into these five. Don’t they look awesome?!
Thanks, David B. Rivkin, author of this article. And thanks, Mother of mine, for always enlightening me.