Tag Archives: mysteries

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

Great Reads from the Land Down Under: Kim Wilkins, Kerry Greenwood, and Graeme Base

6 Apr

One of my favorite trips I have ever taken was to Australia where I was able to see the Sydney Opera House, the Great Barrier Reef, and Uluru (Ayers Rock).  But for all the wonders down under, the best part of Australia was all the kind and friendly people I encountered.  I’ve just started reading the quirky period comedy The Mystery of the Venus Island Fetish, about the misadventures of a young anthropologist by Australian author, Tim Flannery.  My enjoyment of the work got me thinking about Australia and some of my other favorite Australian authors and their works.  I hope you’ll check out some of their books and if you are thinking of taking your own trip there, you can borrow Frommer’s Easyguide to Australia from HPL and start planning your own adventure.

Kim Wilkins

veil-of-gold
I first fell in love with Kim Wilkins’s Europa Suite, a set of three books which although each with unique plots and characters are connected by their basis in the folklore of different parts of Northern Europe.  You can borrow from BCCLS libraries the third work of this “trilogy,” The Veil of Gold where creatures from Russian myth and legend transform the lives of three modern individuals.  The Europa Suite would be best categorized as romantic urban fantasy and would appeal to fans of mythpunk like Catherynne M. Valente.

Wilkins’s earlier work such as her first novel The Infernal tend more towards supernatural thriller and horror in the vein of Anne Rice and Poppy Z. Brite.  Unfortunately many of her early works have not yet been published in the US.  If you like your work more grounded in reality you may want to check out some of her most recent fiction works which are written under the pen name Kimberly Freeman including Evergreen Falls which was inspired by her own grandmother’s life.  What runs through all of her writing is despite often being set in our modern world there is a fascination and some type of connection with different time periods such as the 1920s in Evergreen Falls.  Wilkins also has written a children’s series, The Sunken Kingdom (available from BCCLS libraries).

Kerry Greenwood

castlemaine-murders
Kerry Greenwood is probably my favorite mystery writer.  Rosary wrote about her Phryne Fisher series in an early blog post and I also mentioned the excellent TV adaptation of that series.  Both the Phryne Fisher book series and the first three seasons of the television series, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries are available from the Hoboken Public Library.  But besides Phryne you should also check out Greenwood’s terrific six book Corinna Chapman Mysteries which star a zaftig baker who lives and works in a quirky apartment building with her charming feline companion.  Unlike the Phryne Fisher series, the Corinna Chapman series is set in modern times, but like Phryne there are a lot of delightful characters in Corinna’s life.  You will want to eat this series up! Greenwood’s Delphic Woman trilogy was also recently published in the United States for the first time (they are actually some of her older works written back in the 90s) which are based on the stories of women from Ancient Myths including Cassandra, Medea, and Electra.

Graeme Base

eleventh-hour
Graeme Base is one of my favorite picture book authors and illustrators.  My Grandma Lived in Gooligulch will introduce you and the little explorer in your life to the native wildlife of his adopted homeland (he moved from England to Australia as a child).  My top pick of his would be The Eleventh Hour, a mystery book for the younger set about an elephant’s birthday feast that disappears before the assorted animal guests can enjoy it.  The gorgeous bright detailed illustrations, clever rhymes, and fun puzzle of who-dun-it will have your little ones enthralled.  If your kids have fun looking for the hidden images in the book they can also check out other of Base’s works such as The Legend of a Golden Snail, The Last King of Angkor Wat, and Enigma: A Magical Mystery.  Tykes learning their ABC’s will find Animalia to be one of the most beautiful alphabet books to enjoy and they’ll giggle at the tongue twisting alliteration.  BCCLS libraries also have the TV adaptation of Animalia available.  For older children there is Base’s first novel, TruckDogs, about truck/dog hybrids living in an outback like setting.

-Written by Aimee Harris, Head of Reference

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