100 books like The Pilgrim of Hate

By Ellis Peters,

Here are 100 books that The Pilgrim of Hate fans have personally recommended if you like The Pilgrim of Hate. 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 A Free Man of Color

Eleanor Kuhns Author Of Murder on Principle

From my list on historical mysteries with a dash of social commentary.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love the mysteriousness of the past. Learning dates or the importance of battles does not yield understanding. Skillfully written historical fiction can make a reader live history—in a twelfth-century abbey or nursing in WWI. The characters I find the most gripping are outsiders: a Black man always in danger of capture and slavery, and investigating the murders of the marginalized; a monk, once a crusader, who sees human frailties clearly; or a Victorian lady, restless under the constraints of her time, who marries beneath her. Why murder mysteries? Because, although murder is forbidden in almost every culture and every religion, we still kill each other. 

Eleanor's book list on historical mysteries with a dash of social commentary

Eleanor Kuhns Why did Eleanor love this book?

Benjamin January is a rarity in New Orleans 1830s; a free Black man. He is free because his mother is a place, the mistress of a wealthy white planter. Ben is educated and smart, but the casual racism of the times means he makes a living as a musician instead of a surgeon.

Despite his papers, he is always afraid of being kidnapped and sold into slavery, and that fear casts a shadow over his life.

When a beautiful quadroon is murdered, and no one cares, Ben’s sense of justice inspires him to investigate, despite risking his own freedom.

I love the exotic setting and reread every few years. I marvel at the way Hambly threads the mystery through this unusual culture.

By Barbara Hambly,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked A Free Man of Color as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This lush and haunting novel tells of a city steeped in decadent pleasures and of a man, proud and defiant, caught in a web of murder and betrayal.

It is 1833. In the midst of Mardi Gras, Benjamin January, a Creole physician and music teacher, is playing piano at the Salle d'Orléans when the evening's festivities are interrupted--by murder.

The ravishing Angelique Crozat, a notorious octoroon who travels in the city's finest company, has been strangled to death. With the authorities reluctant to become involved, Ben begins his own inquiry, which will take him through the seamy haunts of riverboatmen…


Book cover of The Cater Street Hangman

Anastasia Hastings Author Of Of Manners and Murder: A Dear Miss Hermione Mystery

From my list on dark and stormy Victorian vibes.

Why am I passionate about this?

I confess to a life-long interest in both the Victorian era and in crime, and I blame my dad for both. Dad was a Cleveland Police detective who introduced me to the Holmes stories at an early age. We read Doyle and we both enjoyed Basil Rathbone’s take on Sherlock in the old black-and-white movies. Dad also gave me my first chance to practice my detecting skills when on his days off, he’d load me into the car, buy me an ice cream cone (no doubt to keep me quiet), and take me for a cruise around the city looking for stolen cars.  

Anastasia's book list on dark and stormy Victorian vibes

Anastasia Hastings Why did Anastasia love this book?

I will admit it’s been a while since I read this, the first Charlotte and Thomas Pitt mystery.

The fact that I still remember it and include it on this list says something. The mystery is convoluted enough to keep readers interested and the story of the lead characters going against societal norms (young woman from a good family attracted to a “lowly” police inspector) is intriguing. 

Throw in the foggy atmosphere of Victorian London and you’ve got a real winner. Be aware, though, Hangman is the first of 32 Charlotte and Thomas Pitt novels.

By Anne Perry,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Cater Street Hangman as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the debut of the New York Times–bestselling Victorian crime series, Inspector Thomas Pitt seeks an elusive strangler among upper-class British society.

Panic and fear strike the Ellison household when one of their own falls prey to the Cater Street murderer. While Mrs. Ellison and her three daughters are out, their maid becomes the third victim of a killer who strangles young women with cheese wire, leaving their swollen-faced bodies on the dark streets of this genteel neighborhood. Inspector Pitt, assigned to the case, must break through the walls of upper-class society to get at the truth. His in-depth investigation…


Book cover of The Gods of Gotham

Eleanor Kuhns Author Of Murder on Principle

From my list on historical mysteries with a dash of social commentary.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love the mysteriousness of the past. Learning dates or the importance of battles does not yield understanding. Skillfully written historical fiction can make a reader live history—in a twelfth-century abbey or nursing in WWI. The characters I find the most gripping are outsiders: a Black man always in danger of capture and slavery, and investigating the murders of the marginalized; a monk, once a crusader, who sees human frailties clearly; or a Victorian lady, restless under the constraints of her time, who marries beneath her. Why murder mysteries? Because, although murder is forbidden in almost every culture and every religion, we still kill each other. 

Eleanor's book list on historical mysteries with a dash of social commentary

Eleanor Kuhns Why did Eleanor love this book?

Disfigured and jobless after a fire, Timothy Wilde takes a job with the newly formed NYPD. He is assigned to the Sixth Ward, right on the border of the Five Points, a ward notorious for the desperately poor who live there and the rampant crime. One night he finds a young girl running through the street in a nightgown soaked with blood. She tells an unbelievable story of bodies buried in a nearby woods. Wilde investigates and soon finds himself a target of the city’s wealthy, several of whom are guilty of the most heinous of crimes but feel entitled to escape any accountability. Written in the slang of the times, it reads with the immediacy and plausibility of a memoir. I loved this book because it treats such serious issues: income inequality and the lack of accountability for the rich and powerful—even when engaged in child prostitution and murder.

By Lyndsay Faye,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Spectacular' Gillian Flynn. GODS OF GOTHAM is the fantastic first novel in Lyndsay Faye's Edgar Award-nominated series, for fans of Andrew Taylor and Antonia Hodgson's The Devil in the Marshalsea.

August 1845 in New York; enter the dark, unforgiving city underworld of the legendary Five Points...

After a fire decimates a swathe of lower Manhattan, and following years of passionate political dispute, New York City at long last forms an official Police Department. That same summer, the great potato famine hits Ireland. These events will change the city of New York for ever.

Timothy Wilde hadn't wanted to be a…


Book cover of A Duty to the Dead

Eleanor Kuhns Author Of Murder on Principle

From my list on historical mysteries with a dash of social commentary.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love the mysteriousness of the past. Learning dates or the importance of battles does not yield understanding. Skillfully written historical fiction can make a reader live history—in a twelfth-century abbey or nursing in WWI. The characters I find the most gripping are outsiders: a Black man always in danger of capture and slavery, and investigating the murders of the marginalized; a monk, once a crusader, who sees human frailties clearly; or a Victorian lady, restless under the constraints of her time, who marries beneath her. Why murder mysteries? Because, although murder is forbidden in almost every culture and every religion, we still kill each other. 

Eleanor's book list on historical mysteries with a dash of social commentary

Eleanor Kuhns Why did Eleanor love this book?

Bess Crawford is a nurse during WWI. While tending a wounded soldier, she promises him she’ll deliver a message to his brother back in England. Several months later, wounded herself and on leave, Bess takes a trip to the soldier’s village. But his brother is indifferent to the message and in fact seems indifferent to his brother’s death. Bess realizes she’s stepped into a hornet’s nest of old secrets. The setting is so well described I felt like I was there, in the middle of World War I and in danger from the secrets someone will kill to protect. I finished it in two sittings, unable to sleep until I knew what happened.

By Charles Todd,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Duty to the Dead as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“Another winner....Todd again excels at vivid atmosphere and the effects of war in this specific time and place. Grade: A.”
—Cleveland Plain Dealer

 

“Readers who can’t get enough of Maisie Dobbs, the intrepid World War I battlefield nurse in Jacqueline Winspear’s novels…are bound to be caught up in the adventures of Bess Crawford.”
—New York Times Book Review

 

Charles Todd, author of the resoundingly acclaimed Ian Rutledge crime novels (“One of the best historical series being written today” —Washington Post Book World) debuts an exceptional new protagonist, World War I nurse Bess Crawford, in A Duty to the Dead. A…


Book cover of The Leper of Saint Giles

Lyn Farrell Author Of The Blind Switch

From my list on mysteries that carry us to different worlds.

Why am I passionate about this?

I taught myself to read when I was 4 and have been an omnivorous reader ever since. By the time I was in high school, I was reading the Grand Dame Agatha Christie’s wonderful mysteries. The cozy genre captured me with its deft characterization and clever solutions to “who dunnit.” I wanted to be a writer, received a B.A. and M.A. degree in Literature and later a Ph.D. Once retired from full-time work, I returned to my original desire and as Lia Farrell wrote and published The Mae December Mysteries. Since then, as Lyn Farrell, I have written The Rosedale Investigations series. Together the books have sold 30,000 copies.

Lyn's book list on mysteries that carry us to different worlds

Lyn Farrell Why did Lyn love this book?

Ellis Peters—the penname of Edith Pargeter—wrote eighteen Brother Cadfael mysteries as well as a set of Inspector Felese Mysteries and a separate Trilogy.

All her stories take place during the twelve years when two English monarchs (King Steven and his cousin the Empress Maud) are fighting each other for the throne. Brother Cadfael is a monk who lives in the Abbey of Shrewsbury. A marriage has been arranged between an aging nobleman and a young woman (Iveta, a wealthy heiress), coerced by her greedy guardians. Both parties arrive at the Abbey where the wedding is to take place.

Unbeknownst to her guardians, Iveta has fallen in love with Joscelin, a squire to the bridegroom (Picard). The night before the wedding, Picard goes to visit his long-held mistress and on his return to the Abbey, he is killed. Joscelin is immediately suspected and hunted by the sheriff and his men. He…

By Ellis Peters,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Brother Cadfael sets out to visit the Saint Giles leper colony outside Shrewsbury, knowing that a grand wedding is due to take place at the Abbey of Saint Peter and Saint Paul. As he arrives at Saint Giles the nuptial party passes the colony's gates. He sees the fragile bride, looking like a prisoner between her two stern guardians, and the groom, an arrogant, fleshy aristocrat old enough to be her grandfather. With his usual astuteness he suspects that this union may be more damned than blessed. He is horrifically proved right when a savage murder disrupts the May-December marriage…


Book cover of Monk's-Hood: The Third Chronicle of Brother Cadfael

Toni Mount Author Of The Colour of Bone

From my list on murder mysteries to challenge your brain cells.

Why am I passionate about this?

Many years ago, when I’d read my first medieval mystery, I decided I wanted to write my own. But mine would be as realistic as I could manage; I wanted the reader to smell medieval London and to be there with me. A lot had been written about Kings and Queens but not much about ordinary life so that became the center of my academic study leading eventually to my Master's Degree in medieval medicine. As well as my novels I now write popular factual books and I’m pleased to say people have taken the time to say how much they enjoy the fine details I share.

Toni's book list on murder mysteries to challenge your brain cells

Toni Mount Why did Toni love this book?

A real classic whodunnit and an old-school case of poisoning.

I loved every word of Ellis Peter’s third book in her Brother Cadfael series, taking me back to the turbulent times of King Stephen and the Empress Matilda in the twelfth century – a period I find intriguing. And with the wise and friendly Cadfael, the abbey’s herbalist and unraveller of dastardly deeds to guide the reader, I was hooked from the start.

And what happens when a celibate monk encounters an old flame? Do sparks fly? I couldn’t wait to find out. Cadfael is a proper page turner. 

By Ellis Peters,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Brother Cadfael, Benedictine monk and self-appointed detective of Shrewsbury Abbey, defends a young man accused of poisoning his stepfather, a guest at the abbey, and pursues several seemingly obscure clues to expose the murderer


Book cover of The Virgin in the Ice

Scott Lord Author Of Come November

From my list on thrillers to make you wish you lived in another time.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a longtime Los Angeles trial lawyer, as well as a writer and librettist. I graduated with honors from the University of California at Santa Cruz and from the Santa Clara University School of Law where I was a member of the Law Review. Me and my wife, Susan, are the parents of six children and live in Santa Monica, California. My previous novel, The Logic Bomb, a legal thriller, was published in 2015.

Scott's book list on thrillers to make you wish you lived in another time

Scott Lord Why did Scott love this book?

This is the fifth book in Peters’ Cadfael series.

I’m a fan of the series and the Derek Jacobi television adaptations. This is my favorite. It is filled with thrills and mystery, but, similarly, transcends its genre origins to become a stirring tale of a crucial time in English history.

It shows Cadfael both as a brilliant detective and a deeply sensitive human being.

By Ellis Peters,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

It is winter 1139 and the tranquil life in the monastery gardens in Shrewsbury is again interrupted by violence. Raging civil war has sent refugees fleeing north from Worcester. Among them are two orphans from a noble family, a boy of thirteen and an eighteen year old girl of great beauty, with their companion, a young Benedictine nun. But the trio have disappeared somewhere in the wild countryside. Cadfael fears for these three lost lambs, but his skills are needed to tend to a wounded monk, found naked and bleeding at the roadside. Why this holy man has been attacked…


Book cover of A Morbid Taste for Bones

Emily J. Edwards Author Of Viviana Valentine Gets Her Man

From my list on mysteries set in the perfect time and place.

Why am I passionate about this?

Of course, every mystery needs a perfect crime, but what about the perfect setting? I’m fascinated by how authors manipulate time and place to add to the heightened emotions of their murders, thefts, blackmail, and frauds. It’s the juxtaposition of truth and fantasy—what we believe times were like and how they actually were—that makes setting such an essential detail of every whodunnit. Doing research on my own novel, I wrenched apart the facts and fictions of Post-War America, and grew even more ravenous for mysteries that leveraged their settings for the utmost entertainment. 

Emily's book list on mysteries set in the perfect time and place

Emily J. Edwards Why did Emily love this book?

Did I ever think that a nearly 50-year-old mystery series… following the trials of Welsh monk…during the war between King Stephen and Queen Maude in the mid-1100s… would become one of my favorite mystery series of all time? Obviously not. But Brother Cadfael is, of course, not your ordinary monk, and this is not your ordinary cozy series. The strictly ordained lives of cloistered brothers make a fantastic structure on which to hang brilliant murder mysteries that involve reliquaries, lepers, and more than a few gallant soldiers.

By Ellis Peters,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked A Morbid Taste for Bones as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the gentle Shrewsbury spring of 1140 the midnight matins at the Benedictine abbey suddenly reverberates with an unholy sound - a hunt in full cry. Pursued by a drunken mob, the quarry is running for its life. When the frantic creature bursts into the nave to claim sanctuary, Brother Cadfael finds himself fighting off armed townsmen to save a terrified young man. Accused of robbery and murder is Liliwin, a wandering minstrel who performed at the wedding of the local goldsmith's son. But his supposed victim, the miserly craftsman, is still alive, although a strongbox lies empty. Brother Cadfael…


Book cover of An Excellent Mystery

Jeanne M. Dams Author Of Murder in the Park

From my list on historical mysteries that make the period come alive.

Why am I passionate about this?

I used to hate history, until I made the startling discovery that history wasn’t about dates and wars—the stuff we had to memorize in high school—but about people. And what can be more absorbing than people? When I started my first historical series, set in the very early 20th century in my hometown of South Bend, Indiana, I delved into the local newspaper and learned that the people of the time and their problems were very much like today’s. That pulled me in, and never let go. Now, researching the 1920s, I’m meeting people who might live next door. It’s so much fun!

Jeanne's book list on historical mysteries that make the period come alive

Jeanne M. Dams Why did Jeanne love this book?

I love all of Ellis Peters’ Brother Cadfael books for so many reasons.

One is the crisp excellence of writing, one is her illuminating description of her medieval setting, one is her endearing protagonist, one is her exceptional plotting. This particular title has a most intriguing plot and a thoroughly satisfying resolution.

I chose the book (which I have reread many times) with a satisfied smile. And finally, the books are set in the England I so love, even if her setting is 11 centuries ago. 

By Ellis Peters,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In the year of our Lord 1141, August comes in golden as a lion, and two monks ride into the Benedictine abbey of Saint Peter and Saint Paul bringing with them disturbing news of war- and a mystery. The strangers tell how the strife between the Empress Maud and King Stephen has destroyed the town of Winchester and their priory. Now Brother Humilis, who is handsome, gaunt and very ill, and Brother Fidelis, youthful, comely- and mute- must seek refuge at Shrewsbury.

From the moment he meets them, Brother Cadfael senses that they are bound by something deeper than their…


Book cover of One Corpse Too Many

Elizabeth Flynn Author Of Game, Set and Murder

From my list on unravelling knotty murder mysteries.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always enjoyed murder mysteries, with spy novels coming a very close second. I like the puzzle aspect of the story and the unravelling thereof. From early in my childhood I have written and it has never occurred to me to write in any other genre than Crime Fiction. I do like, however, both in my own output and that which I read, to gain an insight into other people’s lives and histories. I like to learn about the surroundings in which the stories are set. Also, for me a must, the characters have to be rounded and three dimensional.

Elizabeth's book list on unravelling knotty murder mysteries

Elizabeth Flynn Why did Elizabeth love this book?

This is the second in a murder series with a historical slant. Brother Cadfael, ex-crusading soldier-turned-monk is an intriguing character in himself. He runs the monastery’s herb garden in Shrewsbury in 12th Century England. When he is asked to bury 94 bodies of people who died because of the fighting between King Stephen and Empress Maud, he discovers a total of 95 corpses and realises that a very clever murder is lurking in the town.  

By Ellis Peters,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked One Corpse Too Many as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Brother Cadfael discovers a murder amid the wreckage of Shrewsbury Castle in this mystery series featuring “a colorful and authentic medieval background” (Publishers Weekly).

In the summer of 1138, war between King Stephen and the Empress Maud takes Brother Cadfael from the quiet world of his garden into a battlefield of passions, deceptions, and death. Not far from the safety of the abbey walls, Shrewsbury Castle falls, leaving its ninety-four defenders loyal to the empress to hang as traitors. With a heavy heart, Brother Cadfael agrees to bury the dead, only to make a grisly discovery: one extra victim that…


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