31 books like The Ides of April

By Lindsey Davis,

Here are 31 books that The Ides of April fans have personally recommended if you like The Ides of April. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Beekeeper's Apprentice

Bruce Stachenfeld Author Of Faythe of North Hinkapee: The Saga of a Young Woman’s Quest for Justice and Love in Colonial America

From my list on irrepressible, exciting and heroic female lead characters that you will never forget.

Why am I passionate about this?

I made up Faythe of North Hinkapee by being a jerk! I was ranting about how bad a "best seller" book I had read was. My wife looked at me and said, "So, could you write a bestseller?" I was challenged, and then, somehow, this book just tumbled out. It was about a girl in Colonial Timesher family burned as witchesvowing vengeance and how she gets it. My wife looked at me and said: “My God, that could be a bestseller!’ My kids also loved the story. For about twenty years, I planned to write it, and after a ton of work, I finally finished.

Bruce's book list on irrepressible, exciting and heroic female lead characters that you will never forget

Bruce Stachenfeld Why did Bruce love this book?

I was hooked in the first chapter when the protagonist, Mary Russell, meets Sherlock Holmes, who is retired. There – do I have to say more?

She is a young woman and Sherlock is, well, Sherlock, and yet she matches wits with him while they end up in the middle of a creative and a bit scary Sherlock Holmes-ish tale. I couldn’t wait to get and read the sequels.

By Laurie R. King,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked The Beekeeper's Apprentice as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In 1915, Sherlock Holmes is retired and quietly engaged in the study of honeybees when a young woman literally stumbles into him on the Sussex Downs. Fifteen years old, gawky, egotistical, and recently orphaned, the young Mary Russell displays an intellect to impress even Sherlock Holmes--and match him wit for wit. Under his reluctant tutelage, this very modern twentieth-century woman proves a deft protegee and a fitting partner for the Victorian detective. But even in their first case together, the pair face a truly cunning adversary who will stop at nothing to put an end to their partnership.


Book cover of The Last Camel Died at Noon

Kathleen Kaska Author Of Murder at the Menger

From my list on lighthearted mystery series to laugh out loud.

Why am I passionate about this?

I read to relax and remind myself that life doesn’t have to be so difficult and serious. I’m a Texas writer who turned to writing humor as a way to deal with Catholic guilt issues. Growing up in a small Czech/Catholic community provided me with a lot of fodder on which to spin my stories. Add that to traveling the backroads across the country, pitching my tent in every state except Hawaii while keeping a journal, gave me even more to write about. I’ve written six humorous mysteries set in the 1950s, each in a different historic hotel. So kick back and enjoy the amusing books I’ve recommended.

Kathleen's book list on lighthearted mystery series to laugh out loud

Kathleen Kaska Why did Kathleen love this book?

Is there a better book title than The Last Camel Died at Noon? When I saw this book in the bookstore, I bought it instantly. What curious mind wouldn’t? I had to know the who, what, where, when, and why of this story. And to my delight, it was set in the early twentieth century in one of my favorite, exotic countries, Egypt. Archeologist couple Amelia Peabody and husband Radcliffe Emerson, are Nick and Nora Charles, Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes, and Tommy and Tuppence Beresford all rolled into one. The Last Camel is the sixth book in Elizabeth Peter’s humorous, mystery series. I’ve read them all many times over. I recommended starting with the first book, Crocodile on the Sandbank

By Elizabeth Peters,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Last Camel Died at Noon as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Join our plucky Victorian Egyptologist, together with her devastatingly handsome and brilliant husband Radcliffe, in another exciting escapade

This time Amelia and her dashing husband Emerson set off for a promising archaeological site in the Sudan, only to be unwillingly drawn into the search for an African explorer and his young bride who went missing twelve years back.

They survive the rigours of the desert, the death of their camels, and the perfidy of their guides, only to find themselves taken prisoner in a lost city and civilisation. Amelia and Emerson must bravely continue making archaeological finds while doing their…


Book cover of Queen of Ambition

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?

Who would expect a queen’s lady-in-waiting might be a spy? 

Ursula Blanchard is a genteel but penniless female trying to survive in the cut-throat world of Elizabethan court intrigue. She proves her intelligence and resourcefulness to Queen Elizabeth’s spymaster, who takes her under his protective wing—a two-edged sword, since it means Ursula is often called into dangerous undercover missions. The vivid, impeccably researched backdrop of Elizabethan England adds to the drama and provides fascinating color.   

In addition to her ability to unravel complicated plots, I appreciate how Ursula often faces ethical dilemmas. In this novel, she is forced to choose between saving a friendship and protecting the queen. She also proves certain male “experts” wrong when she cracks a series of coded messages.

By Fiona Buckley,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Ursula Blanchard, loyal lady of the Queen's Presence Chamber and gifted sleuth, is at home amid the glittering complexities of the royal court. Now, Ursula has a new part to play in the service of her Queen -- a role that exposes her to hidden dangers in the famed university town of Cambridge. Assigned as a harbinger for the Queen's upcoming Summer Progress to Cambridge, Ursula is placed in charge of not only Her Majesty's comfort, but also her safety. For Ursula, that means undertaking menial employment in a pie shop to investigate rumored political perils behind a swashbuckling student…


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 Dancers in Mourning

R. J. Koreto Author Of Death at the Emerald

From my list on mysteries in the theatre world.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in New York City, practically within walking distance of the Broadway theatre district. My first show was the original production of 1776. Everything grabbed my attention: Ian McKellan in Amadeus, Patrick Stewart in Macbeth, Richard Dreyfuss in Julius Caesar, and Rex Harrison in My Fair Lady. In high school, I was an eager, if not especially talented, member of the theatre club. I became curious about the whole theatre scene, and what could be a better place for a mystery, where actors, directors, and scene designers are already creating an alternate world.

R. J.'s book list on mysteries in the theatre world

R. J. Koreto Why did R. J. love this book?

Few authors could delver more perfectly into characters than Allingham. Although she created excellent puzzles, the beauty of her books is in the incisive portrayals. Here, she does a magnificent job of stripping away the glamour and finding the pride and jealousy behind the lively theater world. And it's impossible not to be engaged by the shrewd and mysterious sleuth, Albert Campion.

By Margery Allingham,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

When song-and-dance star Jimmy Sutane falls victim to a string of malicious practical jokes, there's only one man who can get to the bottom of the apparent vendetta against the music hall darling - Albert Campion.
Soon, however, the backstage pranks escalate and an ageing starlet is killed.
Under pressure to uncover the culprit and plagued by his growing feelings for Sutane's wife, Campion finds himself uncomfortably embroiled in an investigation which tests his ingenuity and integrity to the limit.


"Allingham's work is always of the first rank." (New York Times)
"The real queen of crime." (Guardian)
"Allingham captures her…


Book cover of Canary in the Coal Mine

Steven Jankowski Author Of Below the Line

From my list on noir crime with characters that aren’t detectives.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a screenwriter I’ve always enjoyed noir stories, whether books or movies. Stories where the characters are not your squeaky-clean “good guys.” I like to see “ordinary” people; people who are flawed (like all of us), or maybe with a shady past, who are swayed or manipulated by dire circumstances into doing something they would not ordinarily do. I enjoy stories with unique, interesting characters that are not your run-of-the-mill private eyes, and whose moral compass might be a bit off. I particularly like stories where characters are forced to become investigators because of a situation they are thrust into, whether by accident or by their own dubious actions. 

Steven's book list on noir crime with characters that aren’t detectives

Steven Jankowski Why did Steven love this book?

Okay, so this main character is Private Investigator, but I loved this book. A good flawed, dubious, tough-guy main character, a sexy femme fatale, dangerous mobsters, and lots of keep-you-guessing plot twists and turns. This page-turner, with great, witty, wise-guy banter, fulfills all that this Neo-Noir Crime Novel fan craves for.  

By Charles Salzberg,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Canary in the Coal Mine as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

PI Pete Fortunato, half-Italian, half-Jewish, who suffers from anger management issues and insomnia, wakes up one morning with a bad taste in his mouth. This is never a good sign. Working out of a friend’s downtown real estate office, Fortunato, who spent a mysteriously short, forgettable stint as a cop in a small upstate New York town, lives from paycheck to paycheck. So, when a beautiful woman wants to hire him to find her husband, he doesn’t hesitate to say yes. Within a day, Fortunato finds the husband in the apartment of his client’s young, stud lover. He’s been shot…


Book cover of Death in Daylesford

Tessa Floreano Author Of Slain Over Spumoni

From my list on Jazz Age mysteries by the sea.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am fascinated by all that was happening in the world before WWII. Amidst a silent, looming economic collapse, many social norms were turned on their head, women broke out of their molds, and art, literature, technology, and music all flourished. And a heady mix of cultures blended not altogether seamlessly to influence the Roaring Twenties like no other decade before it. The juxtaposition of this exciting yet challenging tumult lures me into reading books and writing immigrant-forward stories about this period—and as an author with deep roots in the boot—I particularly enjoy doing so through an Italian lens.

Tessa's book list on Jazz Age mysteries by the sea

Tessa Floreano Why did Tessa love this book?

I fell in love with Miss Phryne Fisher on TV first, then in all of the books only after binge-watching all the seasons in short order. Her attitude, her clothes, her wit—all of it makes her adventures so fun to read. Besides, what list of Jazz Age mysteries is complete without this bobbed-hair socialite and her gaggle of misfits helping her to solve mysteries? Add in a spa vacation for Phyrne and I was hooked to see how she solved a murder while on holiday in some fabulous resort town. After 7 years, my Phryne drought is over!

By Kerry Greenwood,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'. . . there is no doubt Phryne is back at her best.' The Book Muse

When a mysterious invitation arrives for Miss Phryne Fisher from an unknown Captain Herbert Spencer in Victoria's spa country, Phryne's curiosity is excited.

Phryne accepts Spencer's invitation but from their arrival, she and her loyal maid Dot are thrown into the midst of disturbing Highland gatherings, cases of disappearing women, murder and the mystery of the Temperance Hotel.

Meanwhile, Cec, Bert and Tinker find a young woman floating face down in the harbour. Tinker, with Jane and Ruth, Phryne's resilient adopted daughters, together decide…


Book cover of The Laws of Murder

L.C. Blackwell Author Of Ready Aim MURDER: A Peter Dumas Mystery, Book 2

From my list on mysteries to take you places you’d like to visit.

Why am I passionate about this?

Puzzles intrigued me since I was a three-year-old. Puzzle pieces that fit into pre-sized spaces. Then, disassembling and reassembling small 3-D animal shapes. Crosswords were next. Finally, Nancy Drew entered my life. I was addicted. Sherlock and Agatha became my mentors. But I loved to paint as well, so art was my first major at Michigan State University. Changed it to advertising in my senior year. Shortly after, Leo Burnett hired me to write print and radio media for Buster Brown shoes. Television was next. I solved many advertising puzzles at Foote, Cone & Belding, but after retiring, mystery re-entered my life when I wrote my first book.

L.C.'s book list on mysteries to take you places you’d like to visit

L.C. Blackwell Why did L.C. love this book?

Charles Finch grabbed my attention with his wonderful character Charles Lenox, an English Gentleman with a penchant for detection.

Finch creates Victorian mystery at its most unyielding moments. He delivers wonderful scenes of London, so real you can almost feel the fog settling on the city. And Lenox proves his mettle, despite being the second son of a titled father. Early London habits and culture give this book an engaging backstory that draws me in as a reader.

By Charles Finch,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

It's 1876, and Charles Lenox, once London's leading private investigator, has just given up his seat in Parliament after six years, primed to return to his first love, detection. With high hopes he and three colleagues start a new detective agency, the first of its kind. But as the months pass, and he is the only detective who cannot find work, Lenox begins to question whether he can still play the game as he once did.

Then comes a chance to redeem himself, though at a terrible price: a friend, a member of Scotland Yard, is shot near Regent's Park.…


Book cover of Hercule Poirot's Christmas

Trevor D'Silva Author Of A Bloody Hot Summer

From my list on Agatha Christie and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Why am I passionate about this?

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.

Trevor's book list on Agatha Christie and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Trevor D'Silva Why did Trevor love 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.

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...


Book cover of Diamond and the Eye

Nina Wachsman Author Of The Gallery of Beauties

From my list on a peak into the world of art and artists.

Why am I passionate about this?

Having taken up the brush myself, I can attest to some sort of mystical, out-of-body experience that sometimes surfaces as an artist creates. Emotions and senses become directly connected to one’s hands, releasing the unconscious, allowing the artist to bring something to life that was buried deep inside. My favorite class in art school was Aesthetics, which explored the philosophy of art – what possessed the artist to paint – and what passions and beliefs were behind some of the art movements, including Surrealism, Dadaism, and Futurism. Books that delve into the craft and passion behind great works of art are my favorite reads.

Nina's book list on a peak into the world of art and artists

Nina Wachsman Why did Nina love this book?

Peter Lovesey’s detective discovers the power of art in this recent mystery set in Bath, England.

This book in the series is unusual, since most of the story is told through the eyes of a cheap private detective, who views Diamond as a grumpy old man. A body found in an antique sarcophagus and the disappearance of the antique dealer is at the start of the mystery, but the piece of art which was purchased in an antiques roadshow drives the plot.

Greed and ambition, stirred by the provenance of the art, results in several murder attempts which confound Diamond’s and the private detective’s investigation.

By Peter Lovesey,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Of all the weird characters Detective Superintendent Peter Diamond has met in Bath, this one is the most extreme: a twenty-first-century private eye called Johnny Getz, whose office is over Shear Amazing, a hairdressing salon. Johnny has been hired by Ruby Hubbard, whose father, an antiques shop owner, has gone missing, and Johnny insists on involving 'Pete' in his investigation.

When Diamond, Johnny and Ruby enter the shop, they find a body and a murder investigation is launched. Diamond is forced to house his team in the dilapidated Corn Market building across the street. His problems grow when his boss…


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