bookish posts

Top Ten Tuesday: Alt-history mysteries

This is a post for Top Ten Tuesday, hosted at The Broke and the Bookish. You can find out more and follow along there!

This week is a freebie, and I decided to do a post on a sub-sub genre that I’ve been really enjoying recently: mysteries set in alternate worlds or historical fantasies. For some reason, this combination of history + fantasy + mystery works really well for me. This isn’t an official subgenre as far as I know, but it’s one I’d love to see more books in, especially from different time periods and cultures. (If you know of any, please do let me know!)

pocket full of murder sorcerer to the crown CityThousandDolls green lion

A Pocket Full of Murder by R.J. Anderson: Middle-grade, with a setting inspired by 1930s Toronto, this book has a great examination of class and religion as well as an exiting story and engaging characters.

The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place by Julie Berry: Middle-grade/YA crossover with a light, fun tone (despite all the murders). My favorite book by Berry to date, this one is ridiculously enjoyable.

Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho: YA/adult crossover. This one wasn’t officially billed as a mystery, but that’s definitely part of it and I loved it so much that I’m putting it on this list because I do what I want. One of my favorites from the last year.

City of a Thousand Dolls by Miriam Forster: YA, South Asian-inspired setting. A thoughtful and complex story, with some great characters and a focus on friendship that I really liked.

Daughter of Mystery by Heather Rose Jones: Adult fantasy. I’m maybe stretching a point with the mystery aspect, but I think it’s definitely there, and was the perfect follow up once I had finished all of Madeleine Robins’s books.

The Inquisitor’s Apprentice by Chris Moriarty: Middle-grade, early 1900s NYC mystery, with a Jewish mc. I adored these two books and I keep (probably vainly) wishing for more. They’re exciting and thoughtful in a way that I just love.

The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace & Babbage by Sydney Padua: This graphic novel adventure where Ada Lovelace and Charles Babbage team up TO FIGHT CRIME is everything I didn’t know I wanted, but did.

The Margaret of Ashford series by Judith Merkle Riley: Adult, medieval setting. I absolutely love this series–Margaret is a wonderful narrator and character, and the way Merkle Riley depicts women and their relationships in this historical setting is awesome.

Jackaby and sequels by William Ritter: YA, Victorian setting. An abrasive paranormal investigator and a spunky assistant is a pretty cliched setup, but somehow  it works–perhaps because Abigail is more the main character than it sounds, and perhaps because her friendship with Jenny is one of the central relationships of the story.

Point of Honour and sequels by Madeleine Robins: Adult, Regency-inspired setting. Robins is an excellent writer and her Regency world is vivid and sharply-drawn. But it’s Sarah Tolerance, investigator, swordswoman, and Fallen Woman, who really carries the books. Marvelous stuff.

By Maureen LaFerney

My name is Maureen. I currently work as a library assistant in a public library in the Indianapolis area, and also just so happen to be a voracious reader. I frequently end up under a cat.

11 replies on “Top Ten Tuesday: Alt-history mysteries”

I already said this before, but I just want to say it again. I love love love your list. It’s actually my favorite among my top ten. It has everything I love– fantasy, mystery and a dash of history.

Hey, I adored The Inquisitor’s Apprentice as well! One of my favorite books of all time. I’m still waiting for the next books in the series (madly waiting for it). I need more of Sacha and his big cozy family~ I love Moriarty’s version of New York.

Thank you so much! I know what you mean—I loved the Inquisitor’s Apprentice series a lot and I really hope we get some more books. I also wouldn’t say no to a whole series about the Inquisitor!

You know, I think she’s on my list, but I haven’t actually tried anything by her yet!

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