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Immersion in the Past: Historical Mystery Series

Joy Oria
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Get lost in history with these historical mystery series. 

If history class had been taught with historical fiction mysteries, I would have been the best student in class. There’s nothing like a juicy mystery in a historical setting to turn dry facts into a full sensory experience for the imagination. Here are three historical mystery series that offer a trove of reading and feature female characters. Join these women in their adventures as they find solutions and workarounds to society’s provoking limitations.

The Kopp Sisters series is based on a real-life New Jersey family, featuring eldest sister Constance Kopp, who became the first female undersheriff in the United States in 1915. Author Amy Stewart bases her novels on her research into newspapers, historical documents and interviews with family descendants. The series begins with Girl Waits with Gun, and the sixth book, Dear Miss Kopp, releases in January 2021.

An undertaker may seem like an unusual choice for a heroine, but Violet Harper of Christine Trent’s Lady of Ashes series is entirely relatable to modern women. She runs her own business in a male-dominated field and balances work with married life. Get insight into Victorian attitudes about death and funerary practices that may strike us as unusual. This series has six books published and more to come.

Sherlock Holmes has been rebooted several times, but perhaps the best literary take is that of author Sherry Thomas. Instead of the man Sherlock Holmes, we have Charlotte Holmes, a woman too intelligent for the tedious constraints of upper crust society. With a wicked sense of humor and an eye for detail, Charlotte Holmes always finds a solution. The series begins with A Study in Scarlet Women, and the fifth book, Murder on Cold Street, releases Oct. 6, 2020.
Many of these books can be requested through Houston Public Library’s curbside pickup service, HPL TO GO, or can be checked out as e-books.  

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