Category Archives: Historical Fiction

An Historic Mystery to Entrance and Entertain You

The Anatomist’s Apprentice

By Tessa Harris

Copyright January 2012

Publisher: Kensington Mystery

In eighteenth-century England, the murder of Sir Edward Crick sends a torrent of gossip breezing through Oxfordshire; although, aside from his sister, Lady Lydia Farrell, few mourn the young man. When Lady Farrell’s husband becomes the prime suspect in the murder, she enlists the help of Dr. Thomas Silkstone–an anatomist and pioneering forensic detective–to solve the murder and prove his innocence.

Though Dr. Silkstone studied medicine in England under the foremost surgeon in the region, his unconventional methods and unfamiliar field of study have made him an outsider. Still, he agrees to examine Sir Edward’s corpse, but the keenest blade he will use is his intellect. He must determine both the cause and motive of this suspicious death in what will be the first of many cases.

This is the first book in the new “Dr. Thomas Silkstone Mystery” series.  I wasn’t quite sure what to make of it when I saw the notes on the list of offerings for the month. But being an enthusiast of Period Mysteries I just knew I would have to delve into it and see what the author could do with the subject matter.

Dr. Silkstone is a pioneer in what is today called Forensic Pathology.  The science of the body and finding out how and why it died.  He is an American Colonist studying under the tutelage of the very well know surgeon Dr. William Carruthers. In fact Dr. Silkstone is his premiere student,  whose skill with the scalpel was the envy of all the other students.

When a strange woman (who introduces herself as Lady Lydia Farrel) appears at his apartments asking for his assistance in the investigation of her brother’s death and the possible killer being her husband, Dr. Silkstone accepts her request and arranges to go to Oxfordshire and meet with the Coroner before the inquest and offer his services.

This heinous murder has a plethora of possible killers, and the death was caused by devious and at the time undetectable means, truly a challenge to Dr. Silkstone’s skills and abilities.  He will single handedly be inventing the skills to detect and prove the means of death.

While enjoyed the mystery involved very much, I did feel that the story dragged in a few places. I hope in the future the author will try to tie things up a bit more neatly, bringing the causes, and the people involved to a less dragged out conclusion.  All in all it was a challenge to my mind and I recommend this book to lovers of medical and forensic mysteries.

FTC Full Disclosure: I was sent this book by the publisher who asked only for a fair and impartial review.

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A Truly Amazing Adventure Story

The Beads of Lapis Lazuli

By: Doris Kenney Marcotte

Copyright: September 2011

Publisher: Outskirts Press Inc.

 

Katheryn Marshall is just an everyday Cincinnati housewife and mother-until she purchases an ancient strand of lapis lazuli beads on holiday in Crete. That’s the start of a two-year obsession with ancient Minoan civilization, culminating in an unfinished novel about the culture’s greatest mystery of love and desertion. But as she delves deeper into the myth, Katheryn finds holes in the story that she refuses to accept, preventing her from completing the book. And what happens next could rewrite history-even as it stretches her marriage to the breaking point.

Now, against the vehement wishes of all those around her, Katheryn is about to drop everything to embark on a fact-finding mission that will take her to a deserted island in the middle of the Mediterranean. Along for the ride is Jake Deupree, a renowned psychic who helps archeologists locate important excavations. But as they hone in on their goal, it’s Katheryn who experiences odd premonitions. And neither of them is prepared for what their mission will uncover-and what it will uncover about themselves.

The Beads of Lapis Lazuli is part mystery, part psychological drama as it mixes history, obsession, and the paranormal for an exhilarating read. Bridging time and space, it is about seeking truth and taking control of our lives. And it is about discovering the unknown strength within us-that housewives can also be heroes and adventurers-as we write our own personal stories.

 

What do you get when you mix an everyday housewife who is an avid sailor, a surprise trip to Crete to avoid bad sailing weather and a Lapis Lazuli necklace?  You have all the ingredients necessary for an adventure worthy of Indiana Jones or Laura Croft.  Katheryn Marshal has always been interested in the Minoan civilization. Her interests have driven her to write a book answering the questions that remain about the Myth of Ariadne and Theseus.

Katheryn has been planning a return trip to Crete to look for more information but it seems that everyone around her is doing their best to keep her from going. Finally she just buys her ticket and plans to leave on her own.  She had read a short article in the paper about a man who helped a group of French Archeologists. He was a well known psychic who helped them select a new dig site. His success rate was unbelievable. She heads off to meet Jake Dupree and see if he can help her decide where to look and which island is the actual site.

Katheryn and Jake head off to Crete and from there, her adventure takes on a life of its own.

I love the stories of Ancient Greece and Rome. The pantheons of Gods and Goddesses, the heroes and heroines entertained me as a child and still hold me enthralled to this day.  Ms. Marcotte has produced a story of ancient love, paranormal adventure, history of a lost culture and an extremely must read book.

FTC Full Disclosure:  I received this book from the author who only asked for a fair review.

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Filed under Historical Fiction, Paranormal Mystery, Women Mystery Authors

Murder in Burnt Orange is Blazing Hot!

Murder in Burnt Orange

By Jeanne M. Dams

Copyright September 2011

Publisher Perseverance Press

 

Hilda Johansson, formerly a housemaid and now a lady, is pregnant with her first, longed-for child–but she’s miserable in the scorching Indiana summer heat in 1905. Since she’s making everyone else miserable as well, her family encourages her to look into some current local crimes to take mind off her discomfort. No one thinks she’ll actually be able to solve matters of labor unrest, arson, and train wrecking, especially since custom forbids her even leaving the house. But they reckon without Hilda’s quick mind and stubborn determination to see the job through–even when the crime wave turns into murder, and touches her nearest and dearest.

 

Hilda is not happy. In fact she hot, tired, restless, crabby, touchy, and making everyone in her house unhappy also.  Hilda is six months into her first pregnancy (and a/c hasn’t been invented yet) and just can’t sleep or get comfortable.  Her mother and her aunt Molly decide that what she needs is something to take her mind off her body and put her brain to use solving a mystery.

At first her husband is happy to go along with this since Hilda won’t be going out of the house, sticking her nose into things.  The plan is for her to do all the brain work and have her “Baker Street Irregulars” help her out.  Her mother and Aunt Molly also will keep their ears open for information that will help her solve this problem.

The “problem” is a series of train accidents that are unexplained and done purposely by person or persons unknown for purpose unknown at this time.  Innocent people have been hurt and killed. The reason the problem is brought to her attention is that members of the family travel on the trains to get back and forth from South Bend to Indianapolis.

We’re going to be involved with Unions, Union Busters, Gangsters, and Pinkertons. How will it all turn out you ask?  Well you’ll just have to read the book.

Jeanne M. Dams’ can be found at her website http://www.jeannedams.com/

FTC Full Disclosure: This book was sent to me by the publisher in hopes that I would review it.

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Filed under Historical Fiction

Leah and the Bounty Hunter- a total bulleye

Leah and the Bounty Hunter

By Elaine Levine

Copyright August 2011

Publisher Zebra Historical Romance

To Leah Morgan’s mind, the last thing her hometown of Defiance needs is another gunman stalking its dusty streets-especially one as sweet-talking and fine-looking as Jace Gage. Despite her warnings, the infuriating man seems determined to meddle in her life and risk his own, all for a town that can’t be saved and a heart she locked away long ago.

Professional bounty hunter Jace Gage has cleaned up plenty of corrupt towns in his lifetime, and he knows he can handle whatever Defiance’s thugs have to offer. But the town’s most lawful citizen is another story. Beautiful, willful and exasperating at every turn, Leah is the one person capable of bringing the ruthless gunslinger to his knees-and capturing his desire with a single kiss…

Jace and Leah are thrown together during one of his jobs.  He is being paid by the U.S. Marshal’s office to capture or take out the Sheriff of Defiance. After of course he finds out where the sheriff is hiding the gold he’s stolen from the various shipments passing through his area.

Jace is riding leisurely into town when he sees what appears to be a young man being attacked by two ruffians.  Not one to normally get involved he continues watching the scene play out.  When the young person’s shirt is ripped open Jace realizes that this is in fact a girl or young woman and decides to step in.  As he approaches he sees the young woman knee one attacker while ordering her wolf (yes, I said wolf) to attack the other guy.

This was Jace’s introduction to Leah Morgan, who is another reason he’s in town. He’s been tasked by some friends to protect her while he’s there.

I’ve never been a fan or a reader of Historical Romance, not even Western ones. This book took me totally by surprise. It’s local, the time frame, and the cast of characters brought me back to the TV westerns and Western movies I watched back in the 1950’s.

Very nicely done.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received this book from the publishers, who only asked for a fair review.

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Filed under Historical Fiction, Romance