Discussion Forums - Historical Fiction

Topic: 2009 H/F - #5 - Murder!

Club rule - Please, if you cannot be courteous and respectful, do not post in this forum.
Page:   Unlock Forum posting with Annual Membership.
Subject: 2009 H/F - #5 - Murder!
Date Posted: 1/13/2009 8:44 AM ET
Member Since: 10/29/2005
Posts: 3,823
Back To Top

5. Read a book of Historical Fiction with the word "murder" in the title.



Last Edited on: 1/13/09 8:44 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/31/2009 12:00 PM ET
Member Since: 7/21/2008
Posts: 437
Back To Top

I just finished reading Deception: A Novel of Murder and Madness in T'ang China by Eleanor Cooney and Daniel Altieri.  It is written by the same authors as The Court of the Lion, which I have not yet read but has been highly recommended by members of this forum.  There are 2 threads throughout the story through the eyes of China's Empress Wu and Magistrate Dee, it's an epic that weaves events throughout their life and Empress Wu's rise to power through a series of mysteries that bring them together.

Initially, I found it hard to get into this book as it felt to me that it was jumping back and forth between Empress Wu's and Dee's stories, but as I got further into the story it became clearer how they were coming together.  There were many details throughout the story that were tied together very well at the end, and I found myself getting more engrossed as things pulled together.  The Empress Wu in this story is much different than Anchee Min's versions - a very evil character.  I may have to do some research to see which version is more accurate.

I'm posting this to my bookshelf now if anyone's interested in reading this one.

Date Posted: 2/22/2009 6:02 PM ET
Member Since: 5/27/2005
Posts: 2,390
Back To Top

Posting as Linda:

I just finished Still Life with Murder by P.B. Ryan.  This is book one of a series entitled Gilded Age Mysteries.  The heroine is a plucky girl with a mysterious, and probably rather sordid past, who has educated herself, and is now working as a governess in one of Boston's finest, most aristocratic homes.  Somewhat similar to Victoria Thompson's Gaslight Mysteries which are set in NYC, same time frame.  I really like the Thompson mysteries better; but I enjoyed this one enough to add the second one in the series to our ever expanding Wish List.

Linda



Last Edited on: 2/23/09 12:17 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/23/2009 5:48 PM ET
Member Since: 8/10/2005
Posts: 4,597
Back To Top

I just finished Murder on Lenox Hill by Victoria Thompson, one of her Gaslight mysteries set in early 1900's New York. Enjoyed it--a fairly quick, light read and pretty typical of the series. Features a widowed midwife and a police detective working (unofficially) together.

Cheryl

Kat (polbio) -
Date Posted: 3/7/2009 3:17 PM ET
Member Since: 10/10/2008
Posts: 3,067
Back To Top

I finished Murder in Grub Street by Bruce Alexander. I liked this book better than the first in the series. It is about a family and two apprentices that were murdered in their beds. Among the household is an insane poet who at first looks to be the culprit. Sir John with the help of Jeremy uncover the full story. 

Date Posted: 3/21/2009 1:03 PM ET
Member Since: 5/27/2005
Posts: 2,390
Back To Top

I chose Life, Liberty & the Pursuit of Murder, by Karen Swee for this challenge; and I will confess, this was not one of my better decisions. I didn't enjoy the book very much at all and it was only stubbornness that got me through it rather than tossing it down and walking away.

My review is here.

Katy also has this book as one of her challenge books. Best advice - find something else!

Kelly

 

Subject: Recommendation
Date Posted: 4/8/2009 8:05 PM ET
Member Since: 3/15/2009
Posts: 33
Back To Top

I can't use this book, because I read it back in 2007, but I would highly, highly recommend Perfume: The Story of a Murderer by Patrick Suskind.  I can safely say that it is the most original book I have ever read - there has never been anything like it, and yet after you finish it, you wonder why no one has thought of the premise years ago!  It is the story of an 18th century French man who sees the world through his accute sense of smell, and the lengths to which he will go to create the perfect scent.  Very dark, quite disturbing, in fact - but brilliant!

Date Posted: 4/8/2009 9:38 PM ET
Member Since: 4/23/2008
Posts: 1,755
Back To Top

Olga - Thanks for the recommendation.  I've been wondering what book to use for this challenge.  Nothing I'd looked at intrigued me.  This does, very much!  The reviews mention "gruesome," "disburbing," "depravity," etc.  Yeah, that's intriguing.  LOL!  Just ordered it! 

Date Posted: 4/9/2009 1:32 PM ET
Member Since: 3/15/2009
Posts: 33
Back To Top

I hope you enjoy, Shelley, it really is an astounding book! 

If you like the book, there is a movie made of it that my father says is incredible.  I haven't seen it precisely because of the gruesome factor - I'm a complete coward when it comes to gore in movies.  The movie is directed by a German director - Patrick Suskind refused to sell the movie rights to Hollywood because he knew that in the United States it would either have to be significantly sterilized or recieve an NC-17 rating (not necessarily because of the gruesome factor, but the sex factor).  Its got an incredible cast (think Dustin Hoffman and Alan Rickman!).  I'm working up the courage to see it!

Enjoy!

Date Posted: 4/13/2009 2:07 PM ET
Member Since: 1/12/2008
Posts: 1,356
Back To Top

Olga, I wish I'd seen your recommendation before I'd finished Confessing A Murder by Nicholas Drayson; yours sounds infinitely more intriguing!  CAM wasn't bad at all, actually, just a little dry. Narrated by a typical (and possibly real life--one of the most intruiguing aspects of the book is its flirtation with being true or not) pompous 19th c Englishman/expat to Australia and the South Pacific, it take a gruesome turn at the end and deals with decidedly non-19c subject matter throughout (homosexuality is a recurring theme).

It's one I would never have picked up but for the HF Challenge, which is one of the things I love about our BoMs and the challenge, it's the story of a 'naturalist'--read bug guy--who supposedly was an intimate of Charles Darwin's, and who relates two tales--one of his life and friendship with Darwin and the evolution of the theory of evolution, and a second of his being stranded on an uninhabited South Pacific island that is no more. It is at the same time pompous but dark, intellectual but simple. I enjoyed it!

Subject: Challenge Complete!
Date Posted: 5/5/2009 12:36 PM ET
Member Since: 4/23/2008
Posts: 1,755
Back To Top

I finished Perfume: The Story of a Murderer last night.  I guess I was kind of "eh" on this one.  I didn't hate it, but I certainly didn't love it.  I'm not even sure that I really liked it, but it kept my interest enough for me to finish it.  LOL!  I could see where this would be fascinating for some.  It is certainly an intriguing premise, and there would be quite a bit of fodder for discussion which could be gleaned from this book - all sorts of "deeper issues" or subjects that are presented somewhat symbolically in the book. I didn't find it that gruesome or even really full of a lot of sex.  It was certainly a bit disturbing to witness the main character's development - or maybe it would be the opposite in his case, a regression.  He started out "off" and ended up completely psychotic, IMO.  And the only real "sex factor" or really gruesome part came pretty much at the end.  To me this book was more distrubing in that the main character was so devoid of human-ness and you basically witness him descend into madness.  However, despite all that interesting stuff, I kind of found this book well, just plain weird.  LOL!  It is well written though, and I can see where some people would really enjoy it. 

Date Posted: 5/7/2009 2:11 PM ET
Member Since: 3/15/2009
Posts: 33
Back To Top

Sorry that you didn't like Perfume, Shelley!  I guess I have to keep in mind just how incredibly weird my tastes are when I recommend books.  I actually read the darn thing on my honeymoon, if you can believe it!  That probably borders on twisted and depraved! 

Date Posted: 5/8/2009 1:41 PM ET
Member Since: 4/23/2008
Posts: 1,755
Back To Top

Olga - Don't be sorry!  It's not like I hated the book, I just found it a bit odd!  LOL!  We all have our own tastes and I bet yours aren't that incredibly weird.  LOL! 

Date Posted: 6/17/2009 12:29 AM ET
Member Since: 3/11/2008
Posts: 924
Back To Top

I just finished Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Murder, and picked it up with trepidation after reading Kelly's review (which I didn't see until after I already had received the book). I figured, since it was here, I might as well read it.

After the last book I read (Until I Have No Country), this book was actually a great improvement. I found it to be quite entertaining. I enjoyed the mystery and the characters. But I'm a sucker for a good mystery, and although I had some of it figured out before the heroine did, there were some aspects of the mystery that surprised me. I did find some of the sentence structures to be awkward, and found myself correcting them in my head as I read. LOL

The one piece of factual information that bugged me the most was her comment on Benjamin Franklin being a Quaker, which he was not.

Anyway, for me, it turned out to be a fun, quick read. It wasn't the best historical fiction or mystery I've read, but it was enjoyable nonetheless.

Date Posted: 8/21/2009 12:01 AM ET
Member Since: 6/5/2007
Posts: 2,507
Back To Top

I read Murder on Astor Place by Victoria Thompson (upon the recommendation of a HF member - thanks!). It was a very quick read and very enjoyable as it portrayed Victorian Society very well, and knowing who to say what to, etc.  The main character was a midwife, which is another one of my favorite things to read about, so it was a good fit.

 

Date Posted: 8/21/2009 7:52 AM ET
Member Since: 5/27/2005
Posts: 2,390
Back To Top

Mimi - Both Kelly and I have really enjoyed this series; now ready for book ten.  Sometimes after reading a thick, engrossing historical fiction tome, it is necessary to take a break between "medieval courses" and read something less demanding yet interesting and enjoyable.  These well-written mystery series fit the bill. Would also recommend the Brother Cadfael series by Ellis Peters, and the Sir John Fielding mysteries by Bruce Alexander.

Linda

Date Posted: 8/21/2009 2:22 PM ET
Member Since: 6/5/2007
Posts: 2,507
Back To Top

Linda - I'm definitely planning on reading the next one - mysteries aren't my favorite genre, but I really enjoy cozies.

I also agree, I've enjoyed the first  Brother Cadafel, and have the first of Sharon Kay Penman's Justin de Quincy and the first of the Sister Fidelma series as well.

Date Posted: 8/21/2009 5:09 PM ET
Member Since: 5/27/2005
Posts: 2,390
Back To Top

Kelly and I both loved the SKP mysteries, and wish she would continue the series.  After reading the first Cadfael, I didn't bother to try to get any more of the series until Elizabeth Chadwick mentioned that Cadfael book 2 was one of her favorites.  So, naturally I had to try book 2 and then I was off and running; waiting for book six now. We're in wish list position 1, and they seem to show up fairly often.

Linda

Date Posted: 8/21/2009 6:03 PM ET
Member Since: 6/5/2007
Posts: 2,507
Back To Top

Maybe I should look for #2 myself. It seems I have a friend who has a good portion of them, I should borrow one (like I need another book in the TBR pile)

Kat (polbio) -
Date Posted: 8/21/2009 6:33 PM ET
Member Since: 10/10/2008
Posts: 3,067
Back To Top

Linda, I am reading the Sir John Fielding mysteries now and am loving them.

Date Posted: 9/4/2009 11:23 PM ET
Member Since: 3/23/2008
Posts: 2,451
Back To Top

I just finished Murder Most Royal by Jean Plaidy this evening.  It was OK, not one of my favorites of hers certainly.  Maybe I am just a little OD'd on all things Tudor lately.

Date Posted: 9/14/2009 10:05 PM ET
Member Since: 6/26/2008
Posts: 456
Back To Top

Cheryl and Mimi- I also read one of Victoria Thompson's books in that series.  It came up on the main page and I figured I'd check it out (when I ordered it I didn't realize it was part of a series, guess I didn't read that description page well because quite a few tags do mention that, lol).  I picked Murder in Little Italy.

Besides Mistress of the Art of Death, which I read for this challenge for #6 Solve a Crime, I don't recall ever reading a mystery book before as an adult (since I'm not going to count stuff I read as a teen/kid).  I REALLY enjoyed this story a lot!  So much so that I picked up 2 others from the series from the library (not that I need more books, I practically had to smuggle them into the house, lol).  I found the characters to be interesting, I liked the dynamic between the midwife and the detective (the two main characters), I felt the suspects weren't too one-dimensional, and it was just a nice, light read to work on while I'm reading a rather large, non-fiction book on the side (John Adams by David David McCullough which I'm enjoying but it's heavy stuff so I can't just sit and read it for as long as I can a fiction book). 


I guess the point of the 2009 Historical Fiction Challenge is to get introduced books that you wouldn't normally read and find something new to enjoy, and I certainly did here!  I guess this is technically a "cozy" (not too familiar with the term but I'm just guessing).  :)

Date Posted: 9/14/2009 10:31 PM ET
Member Since: 8/31/2007
Posts: 482
Back To Top

Got Murder on Lenox Hill today (received it from another user) so that's my murder challenge book.  I know there's a whole series from Victoria Thompson, all with murder in the title - anyone read any of them?  I just want to know if they're good.

Date Posted: 9/14/2009 11:09 PM ET
Member Since: 6/26/2008
Posts: 456
Back To Top

Erika- LOL, I just read Murder in Little Italy for this challenge, I must have submitted my post above right around when you did! :-P  I REALLY enjoyed it and look forward to trying to read the whole series (I have issues with series books, I tend to skip around too much to other stuff and then forget to come back to the series so we'll see how this goes).

Date Posted: 9/14/2009 11:25 PM ET
Member Since: 8/31/2007
Posts: 482
Back To Top

Wow I didn't even see that! Haha glad you enjoyed that book, hope that means Murder on Lenox Hill will be good as well!

Page: