The best crime books set during the interwar years capturing the spirit of Agatha Christie & Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Who am I?

Even though I’m an engineer and accountant by education, I love to write and growing up, I read many historical fiction and murder mysteries. History spanning from the Victorian Era until the mid-twentieth century has always fascinated me, and I’ve studied various events from that period. Therefore, I wrote A Bloody Hot Summer, a crime novel using some historical events as a background. The interwar years were the heyday of crime fiction, and that is why I set my novel during that period. While researching, I get to expand my knowledge regarding history, culture, art, language, and values of those times, which I add to the novel.


I wrote...

A Bloody Hot Summer

By Trevor D'Silva,

Book cover of A Bloody Hot Summer

What is my book about?

In 1927, while England is reeling in an unprecedented heatwave, Dermot Carlyle, while vacationing with his family at Meadowford Village where he grew up, is called to the scene of Lady Fitzhugh’s murder. She was discovered after her eightieth birthday party bound, gagged, and her throat slit.

At first, clues point to a robbery gone horribly wrong because an emerald necklace is missing, but as Dermot investigates, there is more to this murder, and to solve it, he has to dig into the family’s past during the 1857 Indian Mutiny and also the Second Anglo Boer War in South Africa. As more murders take place, Dermot must discover who the killers are and the real reason why Lady Fitzhugh and others had to die.

The books I picked & why

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The Eagle Has Landed

By Jack Higgins,

Book cover of The Eagle Has Landed

Why this book?

Even though this book is mainly about a group of Germans trying to kidnap Prime Minister Winston Churchill as he is on his way to the Tehran Conference in 1943, the backstory gave me a few ideas for my book. It has an unusual story of an English woman revered by the villagers, but only when the Germans take over the village, her real identity is revealed. She is actually a Boer and was a survivor of a Boer Concentration camp run by the British during the Second Anglo Boer in South Africa. Filled with vengeance against the British for what they did to the Boers and to her family, she changes her identity, moves to England, and works as a spy for the Germans to kidnap PM Churchill. 

The Eagle Has Landed

By Jack Higgins,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Eagle Has Landed as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

As the Allied forces slowly begin turning the tide of war, Hitler vehemently orders the impossible-kidnap Winston Churchill, or kill him. A crack team of commandos led by a disgraced war hero must venture into the heart of England to carry out their mission, or die trying.

Meanwhile, in a quiet seaside village, a beautiful widow and an IRA assassin have already laid the groundwork for what will be the most treacherous plot of the war. It begins on November 6, 1943, when Berlin receivs the fateful message...

"First rate...a fascinating adventure story." -San Francisco Chronicle

"The master's master of…


Hercule Poirot's Christmas

By Agatha Christie,

Book cover of Hercule Poirot's Christmas

Why this book?

In this book, a murder takes place in a manor house just like in my novel, but during Christmas time. There is a connection to a diamond mine in South Africa, and how that played a part in the murder of the patriarch of the family. Detective Hercule Poirot has to delve into the family’s past to connect the dots and determine the motive and the identity of the killer. For those who like murders set during Christmas time, this is a novel for you.

Hercule Poirot's Christmas

By Agatha Christie,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Hercule Poirot's Christmas as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

It is Christmas Eve. The Lee family reunion is shattered by a deafening crash of furniture, followed by a high-pitched wailing scream. Upstairs, the tyrannical Simeon Lee lies dead in a pool of blood, his throat slashed.

But when Hercule Poirot, who is staying in the village with a friend for Christmas, offers to assist, he finds an atmosphere not of mourning but of mutual suspicion. It seems everyone had their own reason to hate the old man...


Master of the Game

By Sidney Sheldon,

Book cover of Master of the Game

Why this book?

If you love a rags-to-riches story, set in exotic lands, then this is a must-read book. It goes into detail about how European prospectors mine diamonds and build a business while facing a lot of challenges. Since a portion of my novel takes place in South Africa, it helped me with information on how life was during that period at the turn of the twentieth century. It is also a family saga spanning four generations, but most importantly focuses on the daughter of the man who goes to South Africa to mine diamonds, and the various challenges she faces from her family and enemies who want to destroy her.

Master of the Game

By Sidney Sheldon,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Master of the Game as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Kate Blackwell is the symbol of success—a beautiful woman who has parlayed her inheritance into an international conglomerate. Now, celebrating her 90th birthday, Kate surveys the family she has manipulated, dominated, and loved: the fair and the grotesque, the mad and the mild, the good and the evil—her winnings in life.


The Sign of Four

By Arthur Conan Doyle,

Book cover of The Sign of Four

Why this book?

The basic idea of the story is vengeance for injustices done by greedy people who took advantage of the mutiny to perpetrate them. Characters involved in this mutiny seek revenge years later against those who wronged them. This book helped me develop characters and the reason for the murders using the Indian mutiny as a background for my novel. For those who like crime novels with a historical event as a setting, will like the way Sir Arthur Conan Doyle incorporates that in his book. It also gives the readers a valuable lesson that there are consequences for our actions and unfortunately, the good and the innocent get caught up in it.

The Sign of Four

By Arthur Conan Doyle,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Sign of Four as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

As a dense yellow fog swirls through the streets of London, a deep melancholy has descended on Sherlock Holmes, who sits in a cocaine-induced haze at 221B Baker Street. His mood is only lifted by a visit from a beautiful but distressed young woman - Mary Morstan, whose father vanished ten years before. Four years later she began to receive an exquisite gift every year: a large, lustrous pearl. Now she has had an intriguing invitation to meet her unknown benefactor and urges Holmes and Watson to accompany her. And in the ensuing investigation - which involves a wronged woman,…


Shadow of the Moon

By M.M. Kaye,

Book cover of Shadow of the Moon

Why this book?

M.M. Kaye set this novel before and after the Indian Mutiny of 1857. In it she describes the horrors British women and children go through being killed by the native population and the many ways the protagonist, along with some characters, escape being massacred. The descriptions are vivid and make you feel like you are part of the mutiny, experiencing it firsthand. The mutiny ends up being crushed and the British gain back power ruling India for another ninety years.

People who like novels set during the Victorian Era will certainly love this book as it takes place in Victorian England and then in India. So, one gets the best of both worlds. 

Shadow of the Moon

By M.M. Kaye,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Shadow of the Moon as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

M. M. Kaye, author of The Far Pavilions, sweeps her readers back to the vast, glittering, sunbaked continent of India. Shadow of the Moon is the story of Winter de Ballesteros, a beautiful English heiress who has come to India to be married. It is also the tale of Captain Alex Randall, her escort and protector, who knows that Winter's husband to be has become a debauched wreck of a man.

When India bursts into flaming hatreds and bitter bloodshed during the dark days of the Mutiny, Alex and Winter are thrown unwillingly together in the brutal and urgent struggle…


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