86 books like Absolution by Murder

By Peter Tremayne,

Here are 86 books that Absolution by Murder fans have personally recommended if you like Absolution by Murder. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Book cover of The King in the North: The Life and Times of Oswald of Northumbria

Theresa Tomlinson Author Of A Swarming of Bees

From my list on throwing light into the Dark Ages.

Why am I passionate about this?

I spent much of my childhood living close to Whitby Abbey and heard many stories of the famous Saint Hilda. As a mother of three, I began writing stories, initially to entertain my children, and eventually published many historical stories for children and young adults – twice shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal. I moved back to the Whitby area in my 60s determined to write for an older age group and indulge my lifelong fascination for the Anglo-Saxon period. I took the half pagan Fridgyth character from my Young Adult adventure mystery – Wolfgirl - and developed her role as a warm, curious, flawed, investigator. I'm working on a third Fridgyth the Herbwife novel.

Theresa's book list on throwing light into the Dark Ages

Theresa Tomlinson Why did Theresa love this book?

Good research is so important to me and this is the historical study that I’d recommend to anyone who wants to know more about the Anglo-Saxon Kingdom of Northumbria. Max Adams has studied the period in detail, but his style of writing is easy to read and sometimes exciting, so much so that I almost felt that I was reading a novel. I love the way Max Adams suggests various possible scenarios, from the written evidence, studies, and archaeology that we have. This is a perfect research book for a novelist, wanting to bring the time period to life. I found that I couldn’t put the book down, once I’d started reading it.

By Max Adams, Max Adams,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The King in the North as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'A triumph - a Game of Thrones in the Dark Ages' TOM HOLLAND.

The magisterial biography of Oswald Whiteblade, exiled prince of Northumbria, who returned in blood and glory to reclaim his birthright.

A charismatic leader, a warrior whose prowess in battle earned him the epithet Whiteblade, an exiled prince who returned to claim his birthright, the inspiration for Tolkein's Aragorn.

Oswald of Northumbria was the first great English monarch, yet today this legendary figure is all but forgotten. In this panoramic portrait of Dark Age Britain, archaeologist and biographer Max Adams returns the king in the North to his…


Book cover of Peace-Weavers and Shield Maidens: Women in Early English Society

Theresa Tomlinson Author Of A Swarming of Bees

From my list on throwing light into the Dark Ages.

Why am I passionate about this?

I spent much of my childhood living close to Whitby Abbey and heard many stories of the famous Saint Hilda. As a mother of three, I began writing stories, initially to entertain my children, and eventually published many historical stories for children and young adults – twice shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal. I moved back to the Whitby area in my 60s determined to write for an older age group and indulge my lifelong fascination for the Anglo-Saxon period. I took the half pagan Fridgyth character from my Young Adult adventure mystery – Wolfgirl - and developed her role as a warm, curious, flawed, investigator. I'm working on a third Fridgyth the Herbwife novel.

Theresa's book list on throwing light into the Dark Ages

Theresa Tomlinson Why did Theresa love this book?

I first came across this short book when researching for stories set in the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Northumbria. Kathleen Herbert, (herself a historical novelist) provided not only excellent information, but also a practical vision of the period specifically from a woman’s point of view. It is easy to read and presents the information in an accessible way; perhaps one of the earliest books focussed on women’s history.

By Kathleen Herbert,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Peace-Weavers and Shield Maidens as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An account of the earliest Englishwomen; the part they played in the making of England, what they did in peace and war, the impressions they left in Britain and on the continent, how they were recorded in chronicles and how they come alive in heroic verse and jokes.


Book cover of The Sins of the Father

Theresa Tomlinson Author Of A Swarming of Bees

From my list on throwing light into the Dark Ages.

Why am I passionate about this?

I spent much of my childhood living close to Whitby Abbey and heard many stories of the famous Saint Hilda. As a mother of three, I began writing stories, initially to entertain my children, and eventually published many historical stories for children and young adults – twice shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal. I moved back to the Whitby area in my 60s determined to write for an older age group and indulge my lifelong fascination for the Anglo-Saxon period. I took the half pagan Fridgyth character from my Young Adult adventure mystery – Wolfgirl - and developed her role as a warm, curious, flawed, investigator. I'm working on a third Fridgyth the Herbwife novel.

Theresa's book list on throwing light into the Dark Ages

Theresa Tomlinson Why did Theresa love this book?

This is the second book in an exciting series. I loved the first book, which told the story of the fierce Mercian King Penda! The Sins of the Father focuses on the life of Penda’s more sensitive, less warlike son, Ethelred. Annie Whitehead (who is also a respected historian) brings vibrantly to life many of the people and places that I’m interested in, more from the point of view of the ancient Kingdom of Mercia, rather than Northumbria. Familiar characters appear and I find it so interesting to view them from a different angle. These books are not murder mysteries, but utterly fascinating historical novels, which vividly capture both the humanity and battles for power in the ancient kingdoms.

By Annie Whitehead,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A father's legacy can be a blessing or a curse...
AD658: The sons of Penda of Mercia have come of age. Ethelred, the youngest, recalls little of past wars while Wulf is determined to emulate their father, whose quest to avenge his betrayed kinswomen drew him to battle three successive Northumbrian kings.
Ecgfrith of Northumbria is more hostile towards the Mercians than his father was. His sister Ositha, thwarted in her marriage plans, seeks to make her mark in other ways, but can she, when called upon, do her brother's murderous bidding?
Ethelred finds love with a woman who is…


Book cover of The Song of Heledd: At the Hall of Cynddylan

Theresa Tomlinson Author Of A Swarming of Bees

From my list on throwing light into the Dark Ages.

Why am I passionate about this?

I spent much of my childhood living close to Whitby Abbey and heard many stories of the famous Saint Hilda. As a mother of three, I began writing stories, initially to entertain my children, and eventually published many historical stories for children and young adults – twice shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal. I moved back to the Whitby area in my 60s determined to write for an older age group and indulge my lifelong fascination for the Anglo-Saxon period. I took the half pagan Fridgyth character from my Young Adult adventure mystery – Wolfgirl - and developed her role as a warm, curious, flawed, investigator. I'm working on a third Fridgyth the Herbwife novel.

Theresa's book list on throwing light into the Dark Ages

Theresa Tomlinson Why did Theresa love this book?

This is another historical novel set in my favourite time period AD 600’s, this time in Powys. The main character is Heledd – a peace-weaver bride, she is human, flawed, compelling, and courageous. The background detail is vivid and well researched, but what I love most about this book is the lyrical style of writing, which may almost give the reader the sense that the story is being sung,  reflecting with feeling and humanity, the real Anglo-Saxon poetry that has come down to us. Here is a powerful sense of sadness, regret, and gathering doom, lifted by moments of pure joy – a true lament!

By Judith Arnopp,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Song of Heledd as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In seventh century Powys at the hall of King Cynddylan of Pengwern, the princesses, Heledd and Ffreur attend a celebratory feast where fifteen-year-old Heledd develops an infatuation for a travelling minstrel. Their illicit liaison triggers a chain of events that will destroy two kingdoms and bring down a dynasty. Set against the backdrop of the pagan-Christian conflict between kings Penda and Oswiu The Song of Heledd sweeps the reader from the ancient kingdom of Pengwern to the lofty summits of Gwynedd where Heledd battles to control both her own destiny and those around her. Judith Arnopp has carried out lengthy…


Book cover of A Vow of Silence

Elizabeth Bailey Author Of The Gilded Shroud

From my list on mysteries to escape the now and voyage the past.

Why am I passionate about this?

Even as a child, I wanted to escape from current times and visit bygone or future eras. History and literature were favourites and I gleaned most of what I know of the past by reading. Then I found Georgette Heyer, prompting a lifetime love affair with all things Georgian and Regency. Agatha Christie got me into mystery. I loved both the puzzle of whodunit and being whirled away into Poirot, Marple, or Cadfael territory. A good mystery and a deep dive into history as well? Heaven! Best of all is the author who draws me so completely into their imaginary world that the real one fades away.

Elizabeth's book list on mysteries to escape the now and voyage the past

Elizabeth Bailey Why did Elizabeth love this book?

Sister Joan is yet another religious sleuth. Set in the early 1990s, I think this series now qualifies as a historical mystery. It is a lighter read than my other choices, but one I absolutely loved and, like Cadfael, I dived in and devoured the lot. Vow of Silence is the first and hooked me straight away. The religious life fascinates me and I enjoyed the way the ceremonial routine of the convent was woven into the mysteries. This detail serves to immerse you in the life of Sister Joan, a down-to-earth heroine who drew my admiration. The mysteries unfold naturally into the setting and don’t seem incongruous. A more gentle read than the others I have chosen, but acutely satisfying.

By Veronica Black,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked A Vow of Silence as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When one nun dies in a bizarre accident and another disappears, hushed whispers of virgin sacrifice, Mother Goddess worship, suicide, and murder spread among the Sisters at Cornwall House convent and Sister Joan is sent to investigate


Book cover of The Clerk's Tale

Lisa E. Betz Author Of Death and a Crocodile

From my list on female sleuth mysteries from centuries past.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an engineer-turned-mystery-writer, and my taste in fiction is as unconventional as my career. I love books set in obscure periods of the past, with underdog characters who rise to the occasion through cleverness and grit. I write the kind of books I love to read, which explains why I set my novels in ancient Rome. The engineer side of my brain thrives on doing historical research while my creative side imagines quirky, imperfect characters who find unconventional ways to solve tricky mysteries. I hope you enjoy my list of clever, spunky sleuths from various periods who solve murders in unique ways. 

Lisa's book list on female sleuth mysteries from centuries past

Lisa E. Betz Why did Lisa love this book?

I love unusual combinations, like a medieval nun who’s also an experienced sleuth with a sharp tongue and an unflappable demeanor. To Dame Frevisse, murder is an unwanted disruption of the quiet life she craves, yet her nimble brain and passion for justice impel her to get involved. She will keep probing until the truth is found, even if that truth isn’t what others want to hear. 

In this book, Dame Frevisse is asked to investigate the death of a man she despised, which doesn’t help her attitude. One of the things I like best about Dame Frevisse is her rich inner life, as she struggles with not-so-godly attitudes and finds moments of deep peace while practicing what to us may look like dry, tedious, duties.

By Margaret Frazer,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Clerk's Tale as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A MAN HATED BY HIS WIFE, HIS CITY... AND HIS KILLER

In Margaret Frazer's latest medieval mystery, the "pious and perceptive" (New York Times) Dame Frevisse accompanies her prioress on a visit of mercy to a nunnery. St. Mary's nunnery is a place of prayer and healing for women - so it is surprising to see a man sprawled out in the cloister garden. Dead. Less surprising, to Dame Frevisse, was the identity of the victim: Master Montfort was not particularly liked by anyone in the town of Goring. Even his own wife and clerk despised him. And as royal…


Book cover of Doubt: A Parable

Will Dunne Author Of The Dramatic Writer's Companion: Tools to Develop Characters, Cause Scenes, and Build Stories

From my list on plays with characters who leap off the page.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a playwright who loves not only writing plays but also teaching dramatic writing workshops – mostly through my San Francisco program and Chicago Dramatists where I’m a Resident Playwright. My plays have received many awards and honors, including three selections for the National Playwrights Conference at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center, and have been presented in Europe, Russia, and Australia as well as the U.S. Meanwhile my workshops and script consultations have given me the opportunity to work with thousands of writers over the past 35 years. This led me to begin writing books for writers, starting with The Dramatic Writer’s Companion, now in its Second Edition.

Will's book list on plays with characters who leap off the page

Will Dunne Why did Will love this book?

You don’t have to grow up Catholic to like this play, but It sure doesn’t hurt.

Set in a Catholic elementary school in the Bronx, Doubt introduces us to Sister Aloysius, an uncompromising principal who runs her school as if it were a Marine bootcamp. This regime gets shaken when suspicions of sexual child abuse begin to arise.

What I like most about this play is how four flesh-and-blood characters – a school principal, a history teacher, a priest/gym instructor, and a student’s mother – can bring an entire school and community onstage in an incredibly vital way.

It’s why I think the play is superior to the later film adaptation and also why the play received so many awards, including a Tony for Best Play and a Pulitzer for Drama. 

By John Patrick Shanley,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“A superb new drama written by John Patrick Shanley. It is an inspired study in moral uncertainty with the compellingly certain structure of an old-fashioned detective drama. Even as Doubt holds your conscious attention as an intelligently measured debate play, it sends off stealth charges that go deeper emotionally. One of the year’s ten best.”—Ben Brantley, The New York Times

“[The] #1 show of the year. How splendid it feels to be trusted with such passionate, exquisite ambiguity unlike anything we have seen from this prolific playwright so far. Blunt yet subtle, manipulative but full of empathy for all sides,…


Book cover of Love in the Ruins

Steven D. Smith Author Of The Disintegrating Conscience and the Decline of Modernity

From my list on why Western civilization is falling apart.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a misplaced law professor, you might say: I never wanted to be a lawyer; I went to law school almost by accident; and for four decades I’ve used law as a window into my deeper interests– religion, history, and philosophy. I couldn’t make myself write books unless the subjects were personally engaging; and in defiance of editors, I insist on writing readable prose. If this adds up to “dilettante,” so be it. My books, published by the university presses of Harvard, Oxford, Notre Dame, Duke, and NYU, as well as Eerdmans, have dealt with constitutional law; Roman, medieval, and modern history; legal philosophy; and religious freedom.

Steven's book list on why Western civilization is falling apart

Steven D. Smith Why did Steven love this book?

I don’t read many novels – my work doesn’t leave me much time – but I’ve had to make time for Percy.

His novels are full of intriguing characters, vivid and natural dialogue, and masterfully controlled plots; and in both his fiction and his essays and interviews he offers a trenchant diagnosis of the ills of modern life. Love in the Ruins is borderline sci-fi and quasi-apocalyptic.

Its protagonist, Tom More (a proud if decadent descendant of Sir and Saint Thomas More) lives in an American society much like our own, which is on the verge of collapse even though most of its residents don’t perceive the problem. The book is at the same time compelling, profoundly insightful, and hilarious.

By Walker Percy,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A pair of profound dystopian novels from the “brilliantly breathtaking” New York Times–bestselling and National Book Award–winning author of The Moviegoer (The New York Times Book Review).
 
Winner of the National Book Award for The Moviegoer, the “dazzlingly gifted” Southern philosophical author Walker Percy wrote two vividly imagined satirical novels of America’s future featuring deeply flawed psychiatrist and spiritual seeker Tom More (USA Today). Love in the Ruins is “a great adventure . . . so outrageous and so real, one is left speechless” (Chicago Sun-Times), and its sequel The Thanatos Syndrome “shimmers with intelligence and verve” (Newsday).
 
Love in…


Book cover of The Thorn Birds

Cheri Krueger Author Of Thanks, Universe

From my list on strong women and the difficult choices mothers face.

Why am I passionate about this?

I wrote this book to give my mother an alternate life. She was a mother at age fifteen, mother of five by twenty-seven, and a grandmother by thirty-three. Being a parent defined her life, but she did not enjoy motherhood and was very frank on the subject. Thanks, Universe is my way of giving Mom her freedom and even though she never read anything I wrote, I like to think she would have approved of Pauline and the choices she made.

Cheri's book list on strong women and the difficult choices mothers face

Cheri Krueger Why did Cheri love this book?

I adore sweeping family sagas with strong women characters and with tragedy, romance, and heartache set in Australia, The Thorn Birds is a beautiful example of the genre.

Meggie is rebellious and headstrong and makes questionable choices, but we empathize and root for her. All the well-rounded characters each come with their own secrets that will keep you turning pages.

By Colleen McCullough,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Thorn Birds as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A phenomenal worldwide bestseller since 1977 THE THORN BIRDS is a robust, romantic saga of three generations. It begins in the early years of this century when Paddy Cleary moves his wife and seven children to Drogheda, an Australian sheep station, owned by his autocratic and childless older sister. For more than half a century we follow their fates, particularly those of Meggie, the only Cleary daughter, and the one man she truly loves, Ralph de Bricassart - stunningly handsome, ambitious, and a priest. As background to the Cleary family's lives there is the land itself: relentless in its demands,…


Book cover of The Power and the Glory

Scott Turow Author Of Suspect

From my list on thrillers powered by an eccentric hero.

Why am I passionate about this?

The key to a great contemporary thriller—as opposed to older novels about say, Sherlock Holmes or James Bond—is that solving the mystery reveals something essential about the protagonist. In other words these are character investigations as well as whodunits, where the same action provides revelations in both arenas. It’s what I discovered I wanted to do, when I veered from “serious fiction” to the books I began to write, starting with Presumed Innocent.

Scott's book list on thrillers powered by an eccentric hero

Scott Turow Why did Scott love this book?

Set in Mexico in the 1930s when the revolutionary government engaged in an active campaign against the Catholic Church, Greene’s hero, the so-called Whiskey Priest, is a drunk who has also failed to adhere to his vow of chastity, but his kindness and commitment to worshippers make him an intensely sympathetic figure, as he is hunted by the local police chief determined to put him behind bars.

The book was a revelation to me when I first read it in college. I did not realize that the Mexican government had engaged in this war against the Church so recently. Nor did I realize that a novel so gripping could be told with such literary grace. 

By Graham Greene,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

During an anti-clerical purge in Mexico, a priest is hunted like a hare. Too human for heroism, too humble for martyrdom, the little worldly priest is nevertheless impelled towards his squalid Calvary as much by his own compassion for humanity as by the efforts of his pursuers.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Nuns, Ireland, and detectives?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Nuns, Ireland, and detectives.

Nuns Explore 23 books about Nuns
Ireland Explore 275 books about Ireland
Detectives Explore 2,558 books about detectives