Book picks similar to
Three for a Letter by Mary Reed


mystery
mystery-historical
historical-fiction
historical

Veil of Lies


Jeri Westerson - 2008
    Crispin Guest is a disgraced knight, stripped of his rank and his honor - but left with his life - for plotting against Richard II.  Having lost his bethrothed, his friends, his patrons and his position in society.  With no trade to support him and no family willing to acknowledge him, Crispin has turned to the one thing he still has - his wits - to scrape a living together on the mean streets of London.  In 1383, Guest is called to the compound of a merchant - a reclusive mercer who suspects that his wife is being unfaithful and wants Guest to look into the matter.  Not wishing to sully himself in such disgraceful, dishonorable business but in dire need of money, Guest agrees and discovers that the wife is indeed up to something, presumably nothing good.  But when he comes to inform his client, he is found dead - murdered in a sealed room, locked from the inside.  Now Guest has come to the unwanted attention of the Lord Sheriff of London and most recent client was murdered while he was working for him.  And everything seems to turn on a  religious relic - a veil reported to have wiped the brow of Christ - that is now missing.

The Sheen on the Silk


Anne Perry - 2010
    Arriving in the ancient Byzantine city in the year 1273, Anna Zarides has only one mission: to prove the innocence of her twin brother, Justinian, who has been exiled to the desert for conspiring to kill Bessarion, a nobleman.Disguising herself as a eunuch named Anastasius, Anna moves freely about in society, using her skills as a physician to manoeuver close to the key players involved in her brother’s fate. With her medical practice thriving, Anna crosses paths with Zoe Chrysaphes, a devious noblewoman with her own hidden agenda, and Giuiliano Dandolo, a ship’s captain conflicted not only by his mixed Venetian-Byzantine heritage but by his growing feelings for Anastasius.Trying to clear her brother’s name, Anna learns more about Justinian’s life and reputation—including his peculiar ties to Bessarion’s beautiful widow and his possible role in a plot to overthrow the emperor. This leaves Anna with more questions than answer, and time is running out. For an even greater threat lies on the horizon: Another Crusade to capture the Holy Land is brewing, and leaders in Rome and Venice have set their sights on Constantinople for what is sure to be a brutal invasion. Anna’s discoveries draw her inextricably closer to the dangers of the emperor’s treacherous court—where it seems that no one is exactly who he or she appears to be.Richly detailed and finely wrought, The Sheen on the Silk is a bold and brilliant work that affirms Anne Perry’s talent as a master storyteller.

The Silver Pigs


Lindsey Davis - 1989
    She confesses to him that she is fleeing for her life, and Falco makes the rash decision to rescue her—a decision he will come to regret. For Sosia bears a heavy burden: as heavy as a pile of stolen Imperial ingots, in fact. Matters just get more complicated when Falco meets Helena Justina, a Senator's daughter who is connected to the very same traitors he has sworn to expose. Soon Falco finds himself swept from the perilous back alleys of Ancient Rome to the silver mines of distant Britain—and up against a cabal of traitors with blood on their hands and no compunction whatsoever to do away with a snooping plebe like Falco….The Silver Pigs is Lindsey Davis' classic novel which introduced readers around the world to Marcus Didius Falco, a private informer with a knack for trouble, a tendency for bad luck, and a frequently inconvenient drive for justice.

The Apothecary Rose


Candace Robb - 1993
    Suspicious, the Archbishop sends for Owen Archer, a Welshman with the charm of the devil, who's lost one eye to the wars in France and must make a new career as an honest spy.Masquerading as an apprentice to Apothecary Nicholas Wilton, whose shop dispensed the fatal potion, Owen's dark curls, leather eyepatch and gold earring intrigue Wilton's wife. But is this lovely woman a murderess? and what links the Wiltons to bumbling Brother Wulfstan, ascetic Archdeacon Anselm and his weaselly agent Potter Digby, and the ragged midwife Magda the Riverwoman? Answers as slippery as the frozen cobblestones draw Owen into a dangerous drama of old scandals and tragedies, obsession and unholy love...The Apothecary Rose marks the arrival of a bold and quick-witted detective in this expertly detailed, engrossing tale of medieval life-and death.

The King's Gambit


John Maddox Roberts - 1990
    Vicious gangs ruled the streets of Crassus and Pompey, routinely preying on plebeian and patrician alike. So the garroting of a lowly ex-slave and the disembowelment of a foreign merchant in the dangerous Subura district seemed of little consequence to the Roman hierarchy. But Decius Caecilius Metellus the Younger, high-born commander of the local vigiles, was determined to investigate. Despite official apathy, brazen bribes and sinister threats, Decius uncovers a world of corruption at the highest levels of his government that threatens to destroy him and the government he serves. Set in 70 B.C.

Interrupted Aria


Beverle Graves Myers - 2004
    Opera is the popular entertainment of the day and the castrati are its reigning divas. Tito Amato, mutilated as a boy to preserve his enchanting soprano voice, returns to the city of his birth with his friend Felice, a castrato whose voice has failed.Disaster strikes Tito's opera premier when the singer loses one beloved friend to poison and another to unjust accusation and arrest. Alarmed that the merchant-aristocrat who owns the theater is pressing the authorities to close the case, Tito races the executioner to find the real killer. The possible suspects could people the cast of one of his operas: a libertine nobleman and his spurned wife, a jealous soprano, an ambitious composer, and a patrician family bent on the theater's ruin.With carnival gaiety swirling around him and rousing Venetian passions to an ominous crescendo, Tito finds that the most astonishing secrets lurk behind the masks of his own family and friends.

The Peacock's Cry


Paul Doherty - 2016
    Includes an exclusive extract from the eighteenth Corbett novel DARK SERPENT, the follow up to THE MYSTERIUM. If you love historical mysteries from Robin Hobb, Susanna Gregory or Bernard Knight you will love this.It is 1311 and England seethes with unrest. Sir Hugh Corbett, former keeper of the Secret Seal, has been absent from royal service for over six years. Content to live a life more relaxed with his wife and children in the country Corbett has enjoyed his time away from the machinations of court and the secrets men will kill to keep. But a visit from his new King, Edward II, brings about change. His former protégé, Ranulf Atte-Newgate, now Senior Clerk in the Chancery, has been implicated in the death of a young novice, and Edward has made it clear that Corbett must resume his post and solve the case if Ranulf is not to hang for the murder...Corbett knows that resuming his post will bring him to the fore of Edward's political machinations but with Ranulf's life at stake, does Corbett have any choice but to accept the Seal once more?

Limelight


Emily Organ - 2017
    Actress Lizzie Dixie drowned in the River Thames, so how was she murdered five years later in Highgate Cemetery?Intrepid Fleet Street reporter Penny Green was a friend of Lizzie’s and Scotland Yard needs her help. Does Penny unwittingly hold clues to Lizzie’s mysterious death? Penny must work with Inspector James Blakely to investigate the worlds of theatre, showmen and politicians in search of the truth.But who is following her? And who is sending her threatening letters?Penny is about to discover that Lizzie’s life was more complicated, and dangerous, than she could ever have imagined.If you like a murder mystery then you'll love this atmospheric Victorian mystery by Emily Organ.

Medicus


Ruth Downie - 2006
    His arrival in Deva (more commonly known as Chester, England) does little to improve his mood, and after a straight thirty six hour shift at the army hospital, he succumbs to a moment of weakness and rescues an injured slave girl, Tilla, from the hands of her abusive owner. Now he has a new problem: a slave who won't talk and can't cook, and drags trouble in her wake. Before he knows it, Ruso is caught in the middle of an investigation into the deaths of prostitutes working out of the local bar. A few years earlier, after he rescued Emperor Trajan from an earthquake in Antioch, Ruso seemed headed for glory: now he's living among heathens in a vermin-infested bachelor pad and must summon all his forensic knowledge to find a killer who may be after him next. Who are the true barbarians, the conquered or the conquerors? It's up to Ruso—certainly the most likeable sleuth to come out of the Roman Empire—to discover the truth. With a gift for comic timing and historic detail, Ruth Downie has conjured an ancient world as raucous and real as our own. Published in the UK as Medicus (Ruso) and the Disappearing Dancing Girls.

Relative Fortunes


Marlowe Benn - 2019
    For sophisticated booklover Julia Kydd, life’s too short for politics. With her cropped hair and penchant for independent living, Julia wants only to launch her own new private press. But as a woman, Julia must fight for what’s hers—including the inheritance her estranged half brother, Philip, has challenged, putting her aspirations in jeopardy.When her friend’s sister, Naomi Rankin, dies suddenly of an apparent suicide, Julia is shocked at the wealthy family’s indifference toward the ardent suffragist’s death. Naomi chose poverty and hardship over a submissive marriage and a husband’s control of her money. Now, her death suggests the struggle was more than she could bear.Julia, however, is skeptical. Doubtful of her suspicions, Philip proposes a glib wager: if Julia can prove Naomi was in fact murdered, he’ll drop his claims to her wealth. Julia soon discovers Naomi’s life was as turbulent and enigmatic as her death. And as she gets closer to the truth, Julia sees there’s much more at stake than her inheritance…

The Pericles Commission


Gary Corby - 2010
    His mission is to find the assassin of the statesman Ephialtes, the man who brought democracy to Athens and whose murder has thrown the city into uproar. It's a job not made any easier by the depressingly increasing number of dead witnesses.But murder and mayhem don't bother Nico; what's really on his mind is how to get closer (much closer) to Diotima, the intelligent and annoyingly virgin priestess of Artemis, and how to shake off his irritating twelve year-old brother Socrates.The Pericles Commission is the first in an exciting new series by first-time novelist Gary Corby, who takes us to Ancient Greece at one of the most exciting times in history. In this wonderfully approachable, historically rich novel, Athens is brought vividly to life in a mystery engaging from the first page to last.

Roman Blood


Steven Saylor - 1991
    Compelled by this message, the wealthy, sybaritic Sextus Roscius goes not to his harlot, but to his doom—savagely murdered by unknown assassins. In the unseasonable heat of a spring morning in 80 B.C., Gordianus the Finder is summoned to the house of Cicero, a young advocate staking his reputation on this case. The charge is patricide; the motive, a son's greed. The punishment, rooted deep in Roman tradition, is horrific beyond imagining.Gordianus's investigation takes him through the city's raucous, pungent streets and deep into urban Umbria, unraveling layers of deceit, twisted passions, and murderous desperation. From pompous, rouged nobles to wily slaves to citizens of seemingly simple virtue, the case becomes a political nightmare. As the defense proceeds toward a devastating confrontation in the Forum, one man's fate may be threaten the very leaders of Rome itself.

Crowner's Crusade


Bernard Knight - 2012
     1192. Returning from the Holy Land at the end of the Third Crusade with Richard the Lionheart, King of England, Sir John de Wolfe, a Devon knight, finds England simmering with rebellion. Discovering a body washed up on the shores of the River Exe, its throat cut, Sir John deduces that he was a king’s courier. Tasked by Hubert Walter, the Chief Justiciar, to find out why the man died and who killed him, Sir John de Wolfe finds himself drawn unwillingly into affairs of state.  His new career as a king’s coroner is about to begin . . .

A Free Man of Color


Barbara Hambly - 1997
    In the midst of Mardi Gras, Benjamin January, a Creole physician and music teacher, is playing piano at the Salle d'Orleans when the evenings festivities are interrupted--by murder.Ravishing Angelique Crozat, a notorious octoroon who travels in the city's finest company, has been strangled to death. With the authorities reluctant to become involved, Ben begins his own inquiry, which will take him through the seamy haunts of riverboatmen and into the huts of voodoo-worshipping slaves.But soon the eyes of suspicion turn toward Ben—for, black as the slave who fathered him, this free man of color is still the perfect scapegoat....

The Shanghai Tunnel


Sharan Newman - 2008
    It is a rough hewn place, an exploding trading post that has dreams of becoming a metropolis.  Horace Stratton, one of Portland's wealthiest heirs, has decided to come home for good after amassing yet another fortune in Shanghai. With him comes his wife Emily, a shy daughter of missionaries, and their teenaged son. On the brink of that happy return, Horace suddenly falls ill and dies in San Francisco. Emily and her son bring her husband home to Portland and they try to settle into this new culture.While they look as if they should belong, Portland is a strange and unsettling place for them.  Emily is guilt-ridden, but sorrow is one of the few emotions she didn’t feel when told of her husband's passing. For Emily had learned more about her husband’s past than anyone would believe. And she discovers that all of his schemes did not die with him. His partners very much want Emily and her son to go away... by whatever means necessary. Emily will have to delve into her husband's seedy and painful past and set things right so that she can make a life for herself and her son in this strange land.