The best Georgian and Regency mystery books

Who am I?

As the best-selling author of The Detective Lavender Mysteries, which feature Stephen Lavender, a principal officer with the Bow Street Runners, I’ve always been fascinated with the Georgian Era and the Regency. Despite the crime and the grime and the incessant warfare across Europe and the Americas, this was the last era of fun and frolics before the respectable Victorians choked the life and licentiousness out of society. What’s not to love about a world full of dashing soldiers, duels at dawn, white muslin gowns, and ostrich feathers? This was also the era of the clever, amateur sleuths who cracked the case long before the police force was founded. The books I recommend are full of those likable amateurs. 

I wrote...

The Heiress of Linn Hagh

By Karen Charlton,

Book cover of The Heiress of Linn Hagh

What is my book about?

Northumberland, 1809: A beautiful young heiress disappears from her locked bedchamber at Linn Hagh. The local constables are baffled and the townsfolk cry ‘witchcraft’. The heiress’s uncle summons help from Detective Lavender and his assistant, Constable Woods, who face one of their most challenging cases: the servants and local gypsies aren’t talking; Helen’s siblings are uncooperative and the sullen local farmers are about to take the law into their own hands. Lavender and Woods find themselves trapped in the middle of a simmering feud as they uncover a world of family secrets, intrigue, and deception in their search for the missing heiress.

Taut, wry and delightful, The Heiress of Linn Hagh is a rollicking tale featuring Lavender and woods – a double act worthy of Holmes and Watson.

The books I picked & why

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The Scent of Death

By Andrew Taylor,

Book cover of The Scent of Death

Why this book?

I can understand why Andrew Taylor is an award-winning writer of historical mysteries. I really enjoyed The Scent of Death which is set in 1778 in the besieged loyalist stronghold of New York in the middle of the War of Independence against Britain. I was particularly fascinated because of our personal connection. Some of our Charlton ancestors emigrated from Northern England to become farmers around New York at this time. When the Yankee rebels won the war, like many loyal to the Crown, they scurried up to Canada. Having now read this vivid description of what life was like at the time, I understand why they fled.

The Devil in the Marshalsea

By Antonia Hodgson,

Book cover of The Devil in the Marshalsea

Why this book?

Thomas Hawkins is a likable rogue whose ambition to live the life of a lazy, indolent Georgian gentleman is frequently thwarted by powerful and shadowy figures who want him to solve their mysteries and other rogues who simply want to kill him. The action is fast-moving; the dialogue lively; the research impeccable and the characters memorable. The Devil in the Marshalsea won the CWA Dagger for Historical Crime Fiction.  

What Angels Fear: A Sebastian St. Cyr Mystery

By C.S. Harris,

Book cover of What Angels Fear: A Sebastian St. Cyr Mystery

Why this book?

Set in the same period as my Lavender novels, I can recommend this well-researched Regency mystery series. Sebastian St Cyr, otherwise known as Viscount Devlin, is the sleuth and works alongside a Bow Street magistrate to solve the crimes. These are mostly crimes committed by the upper-classes in Belgravia drawing rooms (and the occasional palace) but this enigmatic and restless hero isn't afraid to put on a disguise and scrap on the filthy streets with the villains. There are nineteen books available in this series – and it’s still going strong. A binge reader's paradise! Enjoy!

Murder on Black Swan Lane

By Andrea Penrose,

Book cover of Murder on Black Swan Lane

Why this book?

Like my Detective Lavender books and the Sebastian St Cyr series by C. S. Harris these novels are also set in Regency London. But the protagonist, Charlotte Sloane is an enterprising – and unique – woman who's carved out a secret and successful career for herself as a satirical cartoonist. She’s the perfect match for the mercurial and scientific Earl of Wrexford, her crime-solving partner, and the chemistry between them adds an extra layer of interest to the novels. The secondary characters in this series are delightful, especially the Raven and Hawk, the street-wise young orphans whom Charlotte has taken under her wing.

An Appetite for Violets: A Novel

By Martine Bailey,

Book cover of An Appetite for Violets: A Novel

Why this book?

Martine Bailey brings the Georgian period vividly to life and creates brilliant characters. An Appetite for Violets is set in 18th century Italy while The Penny Heart whisks us through the stench and horror of Newgate Gaol; the drawing rooms of the landed gentry and the fledgling penal colony in Botany Bay. Historical suspense at its best, these novels also have a delicious culinary twist. I'm now reading her third novel, The Almanack

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in the upper class, King George III, and murders?

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And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

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