Historical mysteries

The Shadow of the Wind

By Carlos Ruiz Zafon

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"Barcelona, 1945--just after the war, a great world city lies in shadow, nursing its wounds, and a boy named Daniel awakes on his eleventh birthday to find that he can no longer remember his mother's face. To console his only child, Daniel's widowed father, an antiquarian book dealer, initiates him into the secret of the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, a library tended by Barcelona's guild of rare-book dealers as a repository for books forgotten by the world, waiting for someone who will care about them again. Daniel's father coaxes him to choose a volume from the spiraling labyrinth of shelves, one that, it is said, will have a special meaning for him. And Daniel so loves the novel he selects, The Shadow of the Wind by one Julian Carax, that he sets out to find the rest of Carax's work.

"To his shock, he discovers that someone has been systematically destroying every copy of every book this author has written. In fact, he may have the last one in existence. Before Daniel knows it his seemingly innocent quest has opened a door into one of Barcelona's darkest secrets, an epic story of murder, magic, madness and doomed love."

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The True Prince

By J. B. Cheaney

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Newly apprenticed to Shakespeare's theater company, Richard and Kit are drawn into a series of crimes involving the members of Queen Elizabeth's court.
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The Quality of Mercy

By Faye Kellerman

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"Rebecca Lopez enjoys a life of privilege in Elizabeth's England -- yet she guards secrets she dares not reveal. The beautiful, tempestuous daughter of the queen's own physician, Rebecca is also a converso -- a Jew who practices her prohibited religion clandestinely -- helping others of her banned faith escape persecution and death. And her insatiable hunger for excitement often takes her to the bustling streets of London in male garb to experience the kind of adventure available only to men. But one such outing is leading her into a dangerous viper's nest built of intrigue and foul murder in the company of a dashing young actor who inflames her romantic passions, even as he escorts her toward peril, a charming and fearless would-be playwright who calls himself Will Shakespeare."

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Lucifer's Shadow

By David Hewson

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"In an ancient burial ground on an island off Venice, a young woman’s casket is pried open, an object is wrenched from her hands, and an extraordinary adventure begins.

"From the moment he arrives in Venice, Daniel Forster is seduced by the city’s mystery and eroticism. An earnest young academic, Daniel has come for a summer job cataloguing a private collector’s library. But when Daniel’s employer sends him to buy a stolen violin from a petty thief, a chain reaction of violence and deception ignites. Suddenly Daniel is drawn into a police investigation--and a tempest swirling around a beautiful woman, a mysterious palazzo, and a lost musical masterpiece dating back centuries.

"With each step he takes, Daniel unwittingly retraces a journey that began in 1733, when another young man came to Venice. And when, in this realm of intrigue and beauty, two lovers came face-to-face with a killer—and a mystery was born. Separated by centuries, two tales of passion, betrayal, and danger collide in David Hewson’s dazzling novel."

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Medicus: A Novel of the Roman Empire, by Ruth Downie

Gaius Petrius Ruso has just arrived for duty in the Britain, a far backwater of the Roman Empire. He’s been assigned to the Valeria Victrix Legion as Medicus, serving the legion and the natives living in the town surrounding the barracks. When the only other doctor on staff is poisoned by a plate of oysters at the local bar/bordello, Ruso works on alone. Tramping the town in an exhausted stupor, he encounters an odious merchant beating an unconscious slave girl—who clearly has a badly broken arm.

Ruso wants to forget he ever saw the girl. He doesn’t have the money to buy her. He has no use for her. But it’s clear that if she stays as she is, she’ll die. So Ruso does buy her, with the plan to heal her and put her to work.  But pretty and clever Tilla has other plans. As a point of honor, she wants to die, and there’s very little Ruso can do about it as she has no plans to tell him.

Fever Season

By Barbara Hambly

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"The summer of 1833 has been one of brazen heat and brutal pestilence, as the city is stalked by Bronze John--the popular name for the deadly cholera epidemic that tests the healing skills of doctor and voodoo alike. Benjamin January's Paris medical training keeps him all night long with the dying at Charity Hospital. Then his work as a music teacher takes him out again into the fetid, empty midday streets. Empty except for Cora Chouteau, a dark-skinned plantation waif come to town in search of her lover, sold in slavery to one of its prominent families. Though January's certain she's a runaway, he agrees to try to pass a message to the man she seeks. Soon, however, he learns that Cora is accused of murdering her lecherous master, Otis Redfern, and poisoning his wife almost to death. And of stealing five thousand dollars and a pearl necklace. Yet it seems that Emily Redfern herself, iron-willed and socially ambitious, had cause to wish her profligate husband dead. And Cora, too--or so the girl insists.... Before Ben can unpick one story from the other, Cora disappears into the torrid night."
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The Weaver's Tale: A Medieval Mystery

Wracked with sickness on a frozen day in 1473, Roger the Chapman collapses on the road in the city of Bristol. Strong as he usually was, he had overestimated his ability to lug his pack of goods the many miles in such gruesome weather. Most of the townspeople want to leave him to die—just such a one might be a plague-bearer—but a weaver’s widow and her young daughter decide to shelter him anyway in Kate Sedley’s The Weaver’s Tale.

Margaret Walker and her daughter Lillis were already regarded with suspicion by their neighbors because of the mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of Margaret’s father. The town feels guilty for the part it played in the affair, and they have taken to bullying the Walker women. The bullying is bad now, but it seems to be getting worse—perhaps fatally so. Roger agrees to stay in the Walker cottage for several weeks until winter has passed. He can help them with their chores and perhaps, too, help in solving the mystery surrounding the weaver’s death.

The Heart Mender: A Story of Second Chances

By Andy Andrews

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While digging up a withering wax myrtle tree beside his waterfront home on the Gulf coast, author Andy Andrews unearths a rusted metal container filled with Nazi artifacts and begins an intriguing investigation that unlocks an unspoken past that took place in his backyard...literally.

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Black Hornet

By James Sallis

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"A sniper appears in 1960s New Orleans, a sun-baked city of Black Panthers and other separatists. Five people have been fatally shot. When the sixth victim is killed, Lew Griffin is standing beside her. He's black and she's white, and though they are virtual strangers, it is left to Griffin to avenge her death, or at least to try and make some sense of it. His unlikely allies include a crusading black journalist, a longtime supplier of mercenary arms and troops, and bail bondsman Frankie DeNoux.Yet it is the character of Lew Griffin that takes center stage, as in each of Sallis's highly praised books."

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A Little Yellow Dog

By Walter Mosley

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"Working as a janitor at Sojourner Truth Junior High School, Easy Rawlins is asked to care for a small dog owned by the attractive Idabell Holland, a teacher at the school. When Idabell's husband is murdered, Easy finds himself mixed up with a gang of criminals engaged in looting Los Angeles schools and smuggling heroin from France."

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