82 books like Have Mercy on Us All

By Fred Vargas,

Here are 82 books that Have Mercy on Us All fans have personally recommended if you like Have Mercy on Us All. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Blanche on the Lam

Joan L. Kelly Author Of Notions of Murder

From my list on cozy mysteries to snuggle up with now and then.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a person who likes to nibble on poetry and taste history and non-fiction. But I love to devour fiction, especially mysteries. Reading a feel-good adventure with an excellent plot and engaging characters is my way of relaxing. My philosophy is that life can often be difficult, and fiction stories, such as cozy mysteries, are good therapy. When I’m not reading, quilting, or spending time with my grandkids, I’m writing stories. As a former teacher, I try to live up to the saying: Writing is painting pictures with words.

Joan's book list on cozy mysteries to snuggle up with now and then

Joan L. Kelly Why did Joan love this book?

I get a kick out of a story that presents a main character who doesn’t fit the expected norms of a hero or heroine. A feisty, middle-aged African-American housekeeper/cook is not your typical amateur sleuth. When her checks bounce because her rich employer fails to pay her, Blanche goes on the lam. Hiding as a maid for a wealthy family, things look bleak when a murder occurs in the home.  Blanche calls on her savvy and wit to discover the truth. As the story unfolds, the author uses humor and biting sentences to present a glimpse into the foibles of southern society toward domestic help. This is the first of this cozy mystery series featuring a very memorable character, Balance White. An enjoyable read!  

Once you read Blanche on the Lam, I believe you won’t hesitate to search out book two of the series to see what further adventures…

By Barbara Neely,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Blanche on the Lam as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Award-winning author Barbara Neely presents the first in a series of novels featuring Blanche White, bla ck domestic worker extraordinaire and accidental sleuth. '


Book cover of The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency

Susan McCormick Author Of The Fog Ladies

From my list on mysteries with senior sleuths and older characters.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a doctor, an award-winning writer, and lifelong lover of mysteries. Many mysteries feature smart characters. I prefer those with wise characters, who can teach me something about a life well-lived. Or not. Sometimes the mistakes are more instructive and more fun. Stories with older characters offer a plethora of life experience and wisdom, and usually poignancy and humor as well. From my life as a doctor and my daily visits to my mother’s retirement community dinner table, I see seniors who are strong, wise, vital, and often overlooked. I love stories that give voice to this robust and rich generation who have so much to offer.

Susan's book list on mysteries with senior sleuths and older characters

Susan McCormick Why did Susan love this book?

Some might consider this cheating, as Mma Ramotswe’s age is not obvious as the books progress, but after 23 adventures, I will count her tending toward middle if not old age.

If she is not, the gentle mannerisms and thoughtful concerns of her and her husband, Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni, definitely put the books into this category of wise and poignant characters.

There may still be a mystery to each book, but these stories offer marriage advice, friendship advice, life advice in as joyful and tranquil a way possible.

By Alexander McCall Smith,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Precious Ramotswe, a cheerful woman of traditional build, is the founder of Botswana's first and only ladies' detective agency. Here is a gentle interpretation of the detective role: solving her cases through her innate wisdom and understanding of human nature, she 'helps people with problems in their lives'. With a tone that is as elegant as that which is unfailingly used by his protagonist, Alexander McCall Smith tenderly unfolds a picture of life in Gaborone with a mastery of comic understatement and an evident sympathy for his subjects and their milieu. In the background of all this is Botswana, a…


Book cover of The Marshal's Own Case

Janice Law Author Of Fires of London

From my list on unexpected detectives.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a long-time writer and reader of mystery novels and short stories, but I have also written contemporary novels, scholarly work in history and culture, and history books. I am particularly interested in the psychology of crime and of detectives, and in each of the books I’ve recommended, the characters are drawn with unusual subtlety and depth or are interestingly eccentric. In addition, Vargas’s novels usually include interesting and little-known historical information, while Tallis’s Lieberman Papers series gives a lively picture of Vienna in its golden age of culture without neglecting the disquieting anti-Semitism and political unrest under the surface.

Janice's book list on unexpected detectives

Janice Law Why did Janice love this book?

Nabb’s Marshal Guarnaccia, unflamboyant and patient, is an unspectacular thinker but a brilliant listener with a real, if unsentimental sympathy for the people he deals with on both sides of the law. Without fancy vices or personal charisma, Guarnaccia’s fundamental decency is nowhere on better display than in The Marshal’s Own Case, set among the desperate young transgender prostitutes of the Florentine sex trade, a culture quite different from the Marshal’s own secure family life.

By Magdalen Nabb,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The shocking discovery of a dismembered body on a Florentine hillside was only the first of the shocks in a case no one wanted to handle. Finally Marshal Guarnaccia was detailed to investigate. The author also wrote "The Marshal and the Madwoman".


Book cover of Mortal Mischief

Janice Law Author Of Fires of London

From my list on unexpected detectives.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a long-time writer and reader of mystery novels and short stories, but I have also written contemporary novels, scholarly work in history and culture, and history books. I am particularly interested in the psychology of crime and of detectives, and in each of the books I’ve recommended, the characters are drawn with unusual subtlety and depth or are interestingly eccentric. In addition, Vargas’s novels usually include interesting and little-known historical information, while Tallis’s Lieberman Papers series gives a lively picture of Vienna in its golden age of culture without neglecting the disquieting anti-Semitism and political unrest under the surface.

Janice's book list on unexpected detectives

Janice Law Why did Janice love this book?

Two reasons for this selection: the setting cosmopolitan pre- WW1 Vienna with its glittering art world, cutting edge science, and murky politics, and the unusual sleuth, Dr. Max Liebermann, a young disciple of Sigmund Freud, who is called upon by his friend, Oskar Rheinhardt for particularly sticky cases. There are plenty of them, thanks to author Tallis’s background as a clinical psychologist. He embeds gruesome crimes in complex plots and constructs solutions of real ingenuity, in parallel with young Dr. Liebermann’s developing expertise and his negotiation of the tricky balance between modernity, science, and progressive developments and his more traditional, and beloved, Jewish family.

By Frank Tallis,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The hit novels behind the major new TV series Vienna Blood
___________________________
Vienna, at the turn of the century.

Philosophy, science and art are flourishing. Coffee shops are full of the latest cultural and political theories. The new field of psychoanalysis, formed in the wake of Freud, is just beginning to make itself heard.

And a woman is dead.

Dr Max Liebermann is a young psychoanalyst, and friend to Detective Inspector Oskar Rheinhardt. Rheinhardt, though hard-working, lacks Liebermann's insights and forensic eye - and so Liebermann is called upon to help with police investigations surrounding the death of a beautiful…


Book cover of One for All

Allyson Dahlin Author Of Cake Eater

From my list on YA that put a fictional twist on real history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been fascinated by Marie Antoinette since I watched Sofia Coppola’s film about her as a teenager. Pair that with a Les Miserables musical obsession and a Francophile dad that loved history, and I became fascinated with the French Revolution. My interest was re-ignited years later after I visited Versailles and wandered the foggy gardens where I must have gotten haunted by a French ghost because the idea for Cake Eater struck me after I returned home. I was in a bit of a writing slump at the time, but the idea took hold of me and wouldn’t let go. I drafted Cake Eater for Nanowrimo and it became my debut novel.

Allyson's book list on YA that put a fictional twist on real history

Allyson Dahlin Why did Allyson love this book?

Ballgowns, swords, and secrets abound in One for All, a fresh retelling of The Three Musketeers. As the daughter of one of the original Musketeers, the main character Tania is an expert sword fighter who also struggles will the chronic illness, POTS.

There is so much action, intrigue, and mystery in this book while adding fresh and needed representation to the genre. Even though this isn’t strictly a historical event, a lot of us associate The Three Musketeers with the time of Louis XIV, and it’s fantastic to see that time period in a new light from a fresh perspective.

By Lillie Lainoff,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked One for All as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

"There are no limits to the will-and the strength-of this unique female hero." -Tamora Pierce, writer of the Song of the Lioness and the Protector of the Small quartets

One for All is a gender-bent retelling of The Three Musketeers, in which a girl with a chronic illness trains as a Musketeer and uncovers secrets, sisterhood, and self-love.

Tania de Batz is most herself with a sword in her hand. Everyone thinks her near-constant dizziness makes her weak, nothing but "a sick girl." But Tania wants to be strong, independent, a fencer like her father-a former Musketeer and her greatest…


Book cover of City of Light, City of Poison: Murder, Magic, and the First Police Chief of Paris

Michelle Bennington Author Of Widow's Blush: A Widows & Shadows Mystery

From my list on traveling back in time.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was an English major in college. In pursuing my love of books and language, I fell into a love of history. The passion for history began with author biographies as I tried to understand how the culture affected various authors’ writings. This is why my history strength resides in European history, because most of my favorite authors come from Europe. The more I read of the biographies, I often came across historical events I wasn’t knowledgeable about and so fell down a rabbit hole of historical research. The more I learn, the more I love history! 

Michelle's book list on traveling back in time

Michelle Bennington Why did Michelle love this book?

I grabbed this historical true crime nonfiction book in order to conduct research for one of my own projects. 

This book is about the rampant crime in 1600s Paris and, by extension, the Affair of the Poisons and Louis, The Sun King’s, solution. The king’s solution was to hire a police chief, La Reynie, to bring peace to the city streets. La Reynie ordered candles put in every window in the belief that the light would deter the criminal element, thus creating the City of Lights.

La Reynie was also the central investigator in the Affair of the Poisons and responsible for arresting the key figures in the crimes. Tucker also shows in this fascinating book how many of these criminal incidents were related to witchcraft and black magic. 

The beauty of this book is how it reads more like a novel than nonfiction history.

By Holly Tucker,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In the late 1600s, Louis XIV assigns Nicolas de la Reynie to bring order to the city of Paris after the brutal deaths of two magistrates. Reynie, pragmatic yet fearless, tackles the dirty and terrifying streets only to discover a tightly knit network of witches, poisoners and priests whose reach extends all the way to Versailles. As the chief investigates a growing number of deaths at court, he learns that no one is safe from their deadly love potions and "inheritance stews"-not even the Sun King himself.

Based on court transcripts and Reynie's compulsive note-taking, Holly Tucker's riveting true crime…


Book cover of Arab Jazz

Jake Lamar Author Of Viper's Dream

From my list on social thrillers about money, race, and power.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was born in the Bronx, New York. I arrived in Paris, France at the age of 32. Thought I would stay for one year. That was thirty years ago. I'm still in Paris, and the author of a memoir, a play, and seven novels. Many of my novels fit the term "social thriller," popularized by Jordan Peele to define his ground-smashing classic film Get Out. Peele identified a genre that has been with us, particularly when it comes to crime fiction, for a long time. I've always been fascinated by dark, suspenseful stories that explore the nature of greed, of racism, of political power. And how the three are so often wrapped around each other.

Jake's book list on social thrillers about money, race, and power

Jake Lamar Why did Jake love this book?

This witty and suspenseful tour-de-force is set in a Paris most tourists never see: the Nineteenth Arrondissement, a sprawling, multicultural district where working-class grit coexists uneasily with encroaching gentrification.

The author, who doubles as a well-known documentary filmmaker, is also a friend of mine from the French noir world.

Arab Jazz, first published in 2012, sardonically explores the religious fanaticism of Jews, Muslims and evangelical Christians while weaving a thrilling intrigue that earned it France's top prize for crime fiction.

By Karim Miske, Sam Gordon (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Kosher sushi, kebabs, a second-hand bookshop and a bar: the 19th arrondissement in Paris is a cosmopolitan district where multicultural citizens live, love and worship alongside one another. This peace is shattered when Ahmed Taroudant's melancholy daydreams are interrupted by the blood dripping from his upstairs neighbour's brutally mutilated corpse.

The violent murder of Laura Vignole, and the pork joint placed next to her, set imaginations ablaze across the neighbourhood, and Ahmed finds himself the prime suspect. But detectives Rachel Kupferstein and Jean Hamelot are not short of other leads. What is the connection between a disbanded hip-hop group and…


Book cover of Crow's Row

Jennifer Loren Author Of The Devil's Eyes

From my list on dark, twisted, and sexy.

Why am I passionate about this?

Ever since I was a child, I would hide in my special place and dream away. Reality was rarely the best place to be, even as an adult I fantasize, I step away from reality without ever truly stepping away. Mafia Romance, paranormal, and fantasy excite me, but add in a little touch of real to the story and now even reality makes you wonder. This was the basis for The Devil’s Eyes. I took a new world and mixed in a little bit of what we know is true and a little bit of what-if and a lot of dark and sexy. 

Jennifer's book list on dark, twisted, and sexy

Jennifer Loren Why did Jennifer love this book?

The bad boy falls in love with the young innocent girl, and for her sake, he fully intends to keep her at a distance. The only problem is she won’t stay away. It’s the heart deep inside of the bad boy that we are always drawn to, that need to protect her, but finding she’s too stubborn for her own good so the only way to protect her is to be with her. 

By Julie Hockley,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

For college student Emily Sheppard, the thought of spending a summer alone in New York is much more preferable than spending it in France with her parents. Just completing her freshman year at Callister University, Emily faces a quiet summer in the city slums, supporting herself by working at the campus library.

During one of her jogs through the nearby cemetery while visiting her brother Bills grave, Emily witnesses a brutal killingand then she blacks out. When Emily regains consciousness, she realizes shes been kidnapped by a young crime boss and his gang. She is hurled into a secret underworld,…


Book cover of Remembrance of Things Past

Ernest Hebert Author Of Whirlybird Island

From my list on creating empathy and self-knowledge in readers.

Why am I passionate about this?

For me, writing novels is an attempt in metaphor to clear the ledger of unfinished business in my crazy, contradictory, sometimes funny, sometimes sad, and always messy mind. All the books I've written have long and often intensely personal backstories. All of us live two lives, a life in the world of things, relationships, and time (needs), and a life in the world we create in our minds (wants). When needs and wants come into conflict we have the elements that make a novel. I see my job as a novelist to provide an exciting story and plot that carries a reader through the material world.

Ernest's book list on creating empathy and self-knowledge in readers

Ernest Hebert Why did Ernest love this book?

I didn’t come into contact with Remembrance of Things Past until I was in my late twenties—and was immediately turned off. I thought, what a windbag and slammed the book shut. Later, I gave it another try. Then another. I never did finish Swann's Way and the other novels in Remembrance of Things Past. And yet Proust remains not only a powerful influence on my writing, but a guide in the practice of good prose. What has stayed with me were Proust’s long gorgeous sentences. Any time my writing slackens, or my vision falters, I pick up Proust. I read those long long sentences with my lips moving. They inspire me. They make me pay attention to the most important craft element in the writer’s tool kit—the sentence.

By Marcel Proust, CK Scott Moncrieff (translator), Terence Kilmartin (translator)

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From the French intellectual, novelist, essayist, and one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century: The first two volumes of his monumental achievement, Swann’s Way and Within a Budding Grove.  

The famous overture to Swann's Way sets down the grand themes that govern In Search of Lost Time: as the narrator recalls his childhood in Paris and Combray, exquisite memories, long since passed—his mother’s good-night kiss, the water lilies on the Vivonne, his love for Swann’s daughter Gilberte—spring vividly into being. In Within a Budding Grove—which won the Prix Goncourt in 1919, bringing the author instant fame—the narrator turns…


Book cover of Perfume

Theresa Levitt Author Of Elixir: A Parisian Perfume House and the Quest for the Secret of Life

From my list on perfume and scent.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a historian of science who just completed a book on the role of perfume in the quest for the secret of life and vitality. While writing it, I became fascinated with the challenge of translating scent into language. While our nose can recognize a virtually infinite number of odors, there are only a few basic categories of description (“floral,” “woody,” “citrus,” etc.). To fully describe them often requires a poet’s touch – invoking a tapestry of memories, associations, and feelings to create the experience in the reader’s mind. These are some of the best books I’ve encountered for talking about the complex world of scent, and the importance of perfume in human history.

Theresa's book list on perfume and scent

Theresa Levitt Why did Theresa love this book?

A gruesome story of murder and desire that also happens to have the most vivid olfactory descriptions of any genre.

Suskind’s preternatural ability to summon odor from the page makes you feel as if you are there beside him, walking through the flowered hillsides of Provence, or in the back room of a perfume shop on the Pont au Change. His twisted use of classic perfume techniques is as accurate as it is chilling.

By Patrick Suskind,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked Perfume as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An erotic masterpiece of twentieth century fiction - a tale of sensual obsession and bloodlust in eighteenth century Paris

'An astonishing tour de force both in concept and execution' Guardian

In eighteenth-century France there lived a man who was one of the most gifted and abominable personages in an era that knew no lack of gifted and abominable personages. His name was Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, and if his name has been forgotten today.

It is certainly not because Grenouille fell short of those more famous blackguards when it came to arrogance, misanthropy, immorality, or, more succinctly, wickedness, but because his gifts…


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Interested in murder, murder mystery, and France?

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