Genre Blend: Historical Fiction and Mysteries

"Postcards and magnifying glass" by Anna - Flickr: records. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons -
“Postcards and magnifying glass” by Anna – Flickr: records. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

I am a huge fan of mysteries, especially during the summer! I love a good page-turner that keeps me guessing until the very last page. A great thing about mysteries are that they also work well when they are blended with other genres.  One of my newest favorite genre blends are historical fiction and mysteries! If you are also a fan, or have yet to explore this genre blend, check out some of the titles below to get you started!




Death CloudDeath Cloud by Andrew Lane (2015 Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults)

Set in the summer of 1868, fourteen-year-old Sherlock Holmes is sent to live with his aunt and uncle where he uncovers two mysterious deaths that appear to be plague victims. However, Sherlock suspects that these deaths are not what they seem so he sets out to investigate and uncover the truth.






northern light donnelly printzA  Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly (2004 Printz Honor Book, 2011 Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults, 2004 Selected Audiobooks for Young Adults, 2004 Top Ten Best Books for Young Adults)

Based on the true story of the 1906 Gilette murder case, Maggie is working the summer at a nearby inn, when one of the guests drowns.  Mysterious circumstances surround the death, including Maggie’s own involvement and interactions with the victim.





A Spy in the House by Y.S. LeeA Spy in the House by Y.S. Lee (2015 Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults)

In Victorian London, Mary is saved from the gallows at the last minute and sent to a school where she is secretly trained to be a spy.  She is eventually selected to work a case where she is undercover as a lady’s companion to investigate a wealthy merchant’s shady business dealings.




seasonThe Season by Sarah MacLean

The year is 1815 and Alex is not your typical debutante.  She doesn’t want much to do with men or being married off, but when one of her brother’s friends catches her eye she starts to change her mind.  But Gavin is distracted by his father’s sudden death, one which Alex discovers was actually murder.







PrisonerNightFogPrisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman

Gretchen is considered one of Hitler’s pets and is known for being favored, due to the valiant death of her father.  Gretchen lives a life of privileged in Munich in the 1930’s, but when she meets a young Jewish reporter, she begins to question her father’s death and unravels the lies that were told to her.






palaceofspiesPalace of Spies by Sarah Zettel

In 1700’s London, Peggy is orphaned and homeless so she decides to take a chance: she disguises herself as lady in waiting in the palace of King George I. Under disguise she is to act as a spy for Mr. Tinderflint and Peggy gets wrapped up in a web of secrets, lies, and even romance.







GirlIsMurderThe Girl is Murder by Kathryn Miller Haines (2012 Readers’ Choice List)

It’s 1942, and Iris’s life has taken a turn for the worse.  The former private school girl is now living on the Lower East Side and attending public school.  Her father has just returned from the war and has started a private detective agency, and when one of his cases involves a missing boy from her school, Iris insinuates herself in the case acting as her father’s assistant.





Ripper2Ripper by Stefan Petrucha

Set in New York in 1895, orphan Carver Young is searching for his father.  When he is adopted by Detective Hawking, he takes advantage of his new father’s abilities and resources and begins an investigation that leads him all over the city.  At the same time, a killer is on the loose and is mimicking the murders of London’s Jack the Ripper from years ago.  Soon Carver’s investigation leads him to believe that his father and Jack the Ripper may be one in the same.




revolverRevolver by Marcus Sedgwick (2011 Printz Honor Book, 2011 Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults)

In 1910, just outside a small village in Scandinavia, Sig’s father has just died carelessly trekking across the frozen lake. Sig wonders why his father took the chance he did, and discovers the truth when a intimidating stranger appears at his door demanding the gold that Sig’s father stole from him.  Held at gunpoint, Sig tries to figure out where the stolen gold might be and whether or not he has another way out.




DeadToMeDead to Me by Mary McCoy

Four years ago, Alice’s sister disappeared.  Now at sixteen, Alice is surprised to discover her sister beaten and lying in a coma in the hospital. When Alice sees the state her sister is in, she vows to find out who did this to her. This leads Alice through the seedy underbelly of Hollywood in 1948, and in the path of some colorful characters.






deadly2Deadly by Julie Chibbaro

Prudence, at sixteen years old, has just landed a job as the assistant to an epidemiologist for the Department of Health and Sanitation in New York.  However, it is 1906 and Typhoid Fever is about to become an American epidemic.  Prudence is part of a team that investigates the case of “Typhoid Mary” to find what she believes may be the cause of the disease.





musiciansdaughterThe Musician’s Daughter by Susanne Dunlap

Set in 18th century Vienna, Theresa is desperate to solve the murder of her father and to retrieve his valuable violin.  What Theresa is surprised to discover, however, is that her father was leading a secret life– a life that may have gotten him killed.







VenomPaulVenom by Fiona Paul

Cass is 15 years old and a wealthy noblewoman, constrained by life in Renaissance Vienna.  Things take a turn for the dramatic when she discovers the body of her recently deceased friend is missing and the grisly murdered body of a courtesan in her friend’s crypt.  Cass sets out to discover the mystery of this strange death and what this has to do with the disappearance of her friend’s body.





ScandalousSisterhoodThe Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place by Julie Berry (2015 Odyssey Honor, 2015 Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults)

At a Victorian boarding school, the young students get a surprise when their headmistress and her brother suddenly die at the dinner table.  Poison is the suspect, and the girls think they can get away with hiding the bodies and enjoying the school all to themselves, but when they begin to fear their lives may also be in danger, the girls try to solve the suspicious murders.





ruby in the smoke philip pullmanThe Ruby in the Smoke by Philip Pullman (2005 Selected Audiobooks for Young Adults, 1998 Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults)

Sally lives in the London slums of the Victorian era.  She has been recently orphaned, since her father died at sea, but Sally learns that she may be the rightful owner of a valuable ruby.  The search to find it sends Sally and her friends on a deadly hunt, filled with colorful Dickensian characters and action-packed adventure.





–Colleen Seisser, currently reading Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz