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Haunting NY City History Mysteries: Murder on Millionaires’ Row & Gin and Panic

13 Mar

I always enjoy a good mystery series, but I find historical mysteries have the added charm of an interesting setting.  Since Hoboken is right across the river from New York City these especially caught my fancy since they depicted familiar haunts as they might have been years ago. These two books also have added some added spookiness with possible ghosts.  I hope you’ll check them out and enjoy them as well!

Murder on Millionaires’ Row
by Erin Lindsey
Millionaires' Row
Set in the end of the 1880’s this new historical mystery series includes a dash of gaslight fantasy.  In Murder on Millionaires’ Row, Rose Gallagher is a housemaid of Irish descent who yearns for bigger things than the small tenement apartment she grew up in Five Point.  Then her boss – who she has a crush on – disappears. It’s in searching for him that she finds she might just have the adventure and life she always dreamed of.  With ghosts and other supernatural elements giving a gothic feel, this novel should appeal to fans of Leanna Renee Hieber’s Eterna Files series which I had written about in a previous blog post.  Some elements of romance and other plot points setup a way in for other books in the series, which I look forward to reading when they are published in the future.  Lindsey’s clear love of her adopted home shines through in the interesting historical details she sprinkles throughout the work.

Gin and Panic
by Maia Chance
GinandPanic
I enjoyed Gin and Panic so much that I immediately went back and checked out Come Hell or High Ball, the first in this flapper era Discreet Retrieval Agency Mystery series.  Lola Woodby is a former socialite who manages to scrape by in Prohibition Era NY with the help of her former Swedish Cook, and now PI partner.  In Gin and Panic Lola and Berta head to a Connecticut estate to try to retrieve a rhinoceros head hunting trophy to its “rightful” owner, but soon their services are being retained to solve a possible murder.  Lola isn’t sure if she is being menaced by someone living or dead when she is attacked in the course of her investigation.  The light hearted humor of the novel will have you at the very least smiling, if not laughing out loud. If you enjoy the period setting of the series and feisty female detectives make sure to check out my favorite Phryne Fisher series set in 1920’s Australia which had previously been written about.

Looking for more novels with historical settings check out my post about mysteries set in the 1930’s.  Have a favorite historical mystery of your own?  Share it with us in the comments!

Written by:
Aimee Harris
Head of Reference

Well-Researched Works for History Buffs: The Revenant, Frederick the Great, and 1491

25 Jul

Do you open a book to the notes and bibliography and marvel at the 150+ pages of thorough research?  Will this assure you that this massive compendium holds all wonderful magic you crave?  18th century Prussian battles? 15th century pre-Columbian Americas?  Yes please!  How about we add a novel with its own short, but concise, bibliography that entices the reader with a fictionalized recreation of a story shrouded in myth but rooted in fact?  Sign me up!

The Revenant
by Michael Punke
revenant
Michael Mann’s The Last of the Mohicans changed my life.  I was seven and it was revelatory; a work of fiction with an historical backdrop.  That being said, when I saw trailers for Alexandro Iñárritu’s The Revenant I was all in. Based on a true story?  Oh yeah!  But, wait, there’s a book!  How did I get so lucky?  Michael Punke delivers a page-turning tale of revenge and survival in a brutal frontier landscape.  Set in 1823, Punke recounts a fictionalized version of the tale of Hugh Glass, a very real fur-trapper who was left for dead after a grizzly attack in the wilderness.  Because Michael Punke researched his subject masterfully, the reader easily finds themselves absorbed in an authentic feeling epic, complete with Hugh Glass’ surprising back story of piracy and his life among the Pawnee Native Americans.  Have you already seen the movie?  Don’t worry, this book has a few surprises for you.  Besides being available in print, HPL resident card holders can also borrow it as an ebook from eLibraryNJ or as an ebook from eBCCLS.

Frederick the Great: King of Prussia
by Tim Blanning
FredericktheGreat
Do you love court intrigue?  Do you love 18th-century European battles?  How exactly does a middling kingdom in central Europe rise to first-rate power in the course of one man’s 46 year reign?  Tim Blanning delivers the authoritative English-language compendium of Frederick the Great in a biography that elucidates the enigmatic King of Prussia through meticulous research that includes a vast array of personal letters.  Complete with detailed maps of battle-lines and marvelous illustrated depictions of the illustrious King’s statues, palaces, and portraits.  Wonderfully accessible, the author instructs readers while keeping them enticed in this top-down analysis of Frederick the Great.  You can borrow it in print from HPL or as an ebook from eBCCLS.

1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus
by Charles C. Mann
1491_Mann
While Charles C. Mann promises a lot with this title, he certainly delivered with precision an invigorating and revelatory history of the people of the pre-Columbus Americas.  Mann’s 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus provided me with a re-education in a subject that most people, myself included, have a tenuous grasp of.  Mann expertly uses archaeology, science, and great writing to compel the reader to question everything they thought they knew about Native American history in the tens of thousands of years before Europeans “discovered” the Americas.  One of my favorite discoveries was finding out that Charles C. Mann wrote a second book, 1493, that I will be suggesting in the future.  You can borrow 1491 in print from HPL or as an ebook from eBCCLS.

Written By:
Adam Cricco
Library Assistant

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