100 books like This Side of Murder

By Anna Lee Huber,

Here are 100 books that This Side of Murder fans have personally recommended if you like This Side of Murder. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ 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 Invisible Woman

Joyce Tremel Author Of Death On A Deadline

From my list on historical mysteries with women in non-traditional jobs.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been fascinated with historical fiction, especially the World War II era, ever since I listened to my mother playing her Big Band Records. I’ve also loved mysteries since I picked up my first Nancy Drew book. Once I discovered historical mysteries, I haven’t been able to separate the two. I’ve recently expanded my interest to include the first world war. There are so many great stories that I’m afraid I’ll never get to read them all. It was really hard to narrow down my list to five books and I hope you’ll love the ones I’ve chosen for you.

Joyce's book list on historical mysteries with women in non-traditional jobs

Joyce Tremel Why did Joyce love this book?

I love this book. Although it’s a novel, Virginia Hall was a real person. She was recruited by the Allies to be a spy.

The book is written in present tense—which I usually find distracting—but it works in this book. It really lends an air of immediacy to the story. My heart didn’t stop pounding through the entire book. Even though I knew the basics of Virginia Hall’s life, this novel really brings it to life. She was an extraordinary woman.

By Erika Robuck,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Invisible Woman as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“An extraordinary profile of immense courage and daring.”—Chanel Cleeton, New York Times bestselling author of Before We Left Cuba
 
“If you only read one WWII book this year, make it this one."—Natasha Lester, New York Times bestselling author of The Paris Orphans
 
In the depths of war, she would defy the odds to help liberate a nation…a gripping historical novel based on the remarkable true story of World War II heroine Virginia Hall, from the bestselling author of Hemingway’s Girl
 
France, March 1944. Virginia Hall wasn't like the other young society women back home in Baltimore—she never wanted the debutante…


Book cover of Lovely War

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?

This totally unique retelling blends Greek mythology with World War I and II history in a beautiful way that stuck with me long after I finished the last page.

There are tons of Greek retellings to choose from, but the added element of the World Wars storyline makes this one stick out from the crowd. Aphrodite strikes a deal on trial and must tell the story of two war-torn couples. The story has a big sweeping feel, full of tragedy and romance.

Lovely War brings to mind Greek epics in its scope and feeling, but the setting gives it a fresh feel. I’ve never read anything quite like it.

By Julie Berry,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Lovely War 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?

A New York Times bestseller!

A sweeping, multi-layered romance set in the perilous days of World Wars I and II, where gods hold the fates--and the hearts--of four mortals in their hands.

They are Hazel, James, Aubrey, and Colette. A classical pianist from London, a British would-be architect turned soldier, a Harlem-born ragtime genius in the U.S. Army, and a Belgian orphan with a gorgeous voice and a devastating past. Their story, as told by the goddess Aphrodite, who must spin the tale or face judgment on Mount Olympus, is filled with hope and heartbreak, prejudice and passion, and reveals…


Book cover of The Indigo Girl

Megan Easley-Walsh Author Of What Edward Heard

From my list on historical fiction with strong women by women.

Why am I passionate about this?

Before I became an author of ten historical fiction novels (thus far), I was a reader of historical fiction. The challenges of history are best navigated by strong characters. Throughout history, women have played an integral role but have been overlooked too often. Historical fiction with strong women brings these characters to life, giving them a voice and agency. Whatever role the woman has, from nurse to investigator to planter to maid to scientist to artist and more… interesting characters are necessary to activate an engaging plot, and that is something I look for both as a reader and as an author.

Megan's book list on historical fiction with strong women by women

Megan Easley-Walsh Why did Megan love this book?

Sometimes strength, particularly for women in history, has been quieter. The colonial early American setting of The Indigo Girl echoed part of the painting’s story from my book as well. In The Indigo Girl, Eliza is willing to speak up, to do what is right, even when it’s the furthest thing from anyone’s mind. As a huge art history fan, and as a hobbyist painter, I am always interested in learning more about where pigments and colors come from. This story told about that, but it also explored forbidden friendship and love and touched the heart, leaving a stain of remembrance, deeper than the indigo itself. 

By Natasha Boyd,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In this incredible story of ambition, betrayal, and sacrifice, an extraordinary sixteen-year-old girl in Colonial South Carolina defies all expectations to achieve her dream.

An incredible story of dangerous and hidden friendships, ambition, betrayal, and sacrifice.

The year is 1739. Eliza Lucas is sixteen years old when her father leaves her in charge of their family's three plantations in rural South Carolina and then proceeds to bleed the estates dry in pursuit of his military ambitions. Tensions with the British, and with the Spanish in Florida, just a short way down the coast, are rising, and slaves are starting to…


Book cover of Maisie Dobbs

Ellen Barker Author Of East of Troost

From my list on magical books for realists.

Why am I passionate about this?

I write and read realistic fiction. I’m not a fan of fantasy, sci-fi, ghost stories, or magical (other than, you know, Tolkien). I don’t want to have to suspend a lot of belief and buy into an alternate reality. And yet, and yet. . . . All these books have a little element of something going on, and they each grabbed me and kept my attention, and I didn’t roll my eyes once. The supernatural is just a little extra kick and, in every case, as believable as it can possibly be. 

Ellen's book list on magical books for realists

Ellen Barker Why did Ellen love this book?

This book is about a private investigator in London in the early 1900s. It is the first of a long series about Maisie’s cases and the people who are dear to her.

This first book gives us an introduction to Maisie and her working-class background, the people who influenced her, and the way she uses her own version of second sight to understand both clients and criminals. Her description of Maisie mimicking someone’s body movements to figure out their motives actually made me try it out.

I also got a strong sense of London during the difficult years of wars and depression and a bedraggled peace. If you enjoy this one, you’ll have a nice backlog to return to whenever you need more.

By Jacqueline Winspear,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Maisie Dobbs as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A favorite mystery series of Hillary Clinton (as mentioned in What Happened, The New York Times Book Review, and New York Magazine)
A New York Times Notable Book of the Year
Agatha Award Winner for Best First Novel
Macavity Award Winner for Best First Novel
Alex Award Winner

Fiercely independent Maisie Dobbs has recently set herself up as a private detective. Such a move may not seem especially startling. But this is 1929, and Maisie is exceptional in many ways.

Having started as a maid to the London aristocracy, studied her way to Cambridge and served as a nurse in…


Book cover of Mr. Churchill's Secretary

Jennifer Kincheloe Author Of The Secret Life of Anna Blanc

From my list on smart historical mysteries that start a series.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a public health research scientist who writes humorous historical mysteries set in 1900s Los Angeles among the police matrons of the LAPD. Like you, I read. I love smart, well-researched historical fiction with strong female protagonists and a good romantic subplot. Extra points if the book is funny because studies show laughter is good for you. 

Jennifer's book list on smart historical mysteries that start a series

Jennifer Kincheloe Why did Jennifer love this book?

In 1940 London, Maggie Hope, a brilliant mind who graduated top of her class, is recruited by Number 10 Downing Street to be…a typist. Of course. She’s a woman. She’s also a crackerjack code breaker. I think you know where this is going. The character is wonderful, the writing strong, the story tight. A highlight for me was when Maggie –a young, virginal, cerebral type—pulls off a daring motorcycle jump with a man on the back because she has to. I don’t know, I think there’s a life lesson somewhere in there.

By Susan Elia MacNeal,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Mr. Churchill's Secretary as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

BARRY AWARD WINNER • Heralding the arrival of a brilliant new heroine, Mr. Churchill’s Secretary captures the drama of an era of unprecedented challenge—and the greatness that rose to meet it.

“With any luck, the adventures of red-haired super-sleuth Maggie Hope will go on forever. . . . Taut, well-plotted, and suspenseful, this is a wartime mystery to sink your teeth into.” —Kate Quinn, New York Times bestselling author of The Rose Code

London, 1940. Winston Churchill has just been sworn in, war rages across the Channel, and the threat of a Blitz looms larger by the day. But none…


Book cover of His Majesty's Hope

Joyce Tremel Author Of Death On A Deadline

From my list on historical mysteries with women in non-traditional jobs.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been fascinated with historical fiction, especially the World War II era, ever since I listened to my mother playing her Big Band Records. I’ve also loved mysteries since I picked up my first Nancy Drew book. Once I discovered historical mysteries, I haven’t been able to separate the two. I’ve recently expanded my interest to include the first world war. There are so many great stories that I’m afraid I’ll never get to read them all. It was really hard to narrow down my list to five books and I hope you’ll love the ones I’ve chosen for you.

Joyce's book list on historical mysteries with women in non-traditional jobs

Joyce Tremel Why did Joyce love this book?

I adore this entire series, and especially this third book. Maggie Hope, who started out as a typist for Winston Churchill is now a full-blown spy for MI-5 and is sent to Germany.

I love seeing Maggie’s development throughout the series. Even when faced with what seem like insurmountable odds, she doesn’t give up. Maggie is the epitome of a woman working not only in a job that was likely considered “man’s work” but doing it splendidly.

By Susan Elia MacNeal,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • For fans of Jacqueline Winspear, Laurie R. King, and Anne Perry, whip-smart heroine Maggie Hope returns to embark on a clandestine mission behind enemy lines where no one can be trusted, and even the smallest indiscretion can be deadly.

World War II has finally come home to Britain, but it takes more than nightly air raids to rattle intrepid spy and expert code breaker Maggie Hope. After serving as a secret agent to protect Princess Elizabeth at Windsor Castle, Maggie is now an elite member of the Special Operations Executive—a black ops organization designed to…


Book cover of The War Against Miss Winter

Joyce Tremel Author Of Death On A Deadline

From my list on historical mysteries with women in non-traditional jobs.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been fascinated with historical fiction, especially the World War II era, ever since I listened to my mother playing her Big Band Records. I’ve also loved mysteries since I picked up my first Nancy Drew book. Once I discovered historical mysteries, I haven’t been able to separate the two. I’ve recently expanded my interest to include the first world war. There are so many great stories that I’m afraid I’ll never get to read them all. It was really hard to narrow down my list to five books and I hope you’ll love the ones I’ve chosen for you.

Joyce's book list on historical mysteries with women in non-traditional jobs

Joyce Tremel Why did Joyce love this book?

This book was one of the first historical mysteries I read that was set during World War II.

I love the protagonist, Rosie. She is feisty and a bit of a smart aleck. I connected with her immediately. Rosie is an actress, and because parts are hard to come by during wartime, she finds work as a secretary for a private investigator. When he ends up dead, she takes the case to find out why.

By Kathryn Miller Haines,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The War Against Miss Winter as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

It's 1943, and the war escalating in Europe and the Pacific seems far away. But for aspiring actress Rosie Winter, the war feels as if it were right in New York City—what with food rationing and frequent blackouts . . . and a boyfriend she hasn't heard word one from since he enlisted in the navy. Now her rent is coming due and she hasn't been cast in anything for six months. The factories are desperate for women workers, but Rosie the Thespian isn't about to become Rosie the Riveter, so she grabs a part-time job at a seamy, lowbrow…


Book cover of The Lessons We Learn: A Homefront Mystery

Joyce Tremel Author Of Death On A Deadline

From my list on historical mysteries with women in non-traditional jobs.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been fascinated with historical fiction, especially the World War II era, ever since I listened to my mother playing her Big Band Records. I’ve also loved mysteries since I picked up my first Nancy Drew book. Once I discovered historical mysteries, I haven’t been able to separate the two. I’ve recently expanded my interest to include the first world war. There are so many great stories that I’m afraid I’ll never get to read them all. It was really hard to narrow down my list to five books and I hope you’ll love the ones I’ve chosen for you.

Joyce's book list on historical mysteries with women in non-traditional jobs

Joyce Tremel Why did Joyce love this book?

This book is the third in Liz Milliron’s Homefront series. The protagonist, private detective wannabe Betty Ahern is worried because her friend, Lee Tillotson, is on the verge of being arrested for his father’s murder. Betty will do just about anything to prove his innocence before it’s too late.

I really like Betty’s can-do attitude and I love the support she gets from her family—especially her father. Even though she wants an unconventional career, her father knows she’s capable of anything she sets her mind to. It’s a wonderful book to show the importance of friends and family in chasing your dream.

By Liz Milliron,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

March 1943. As the Buffalo winter ends, the father of Betty Ahern's friend, Lee Tillotson, disappears. At first his absence is a relief, providing Lee, his mother and sisters refuge from the man's frequent drunken rages. But when Mr. Tillotson is discovered drowned in the Buffalo River and the police charge Lee with the murder, the family's newfound peace shatters.


Worse, Lee becomes secretive and unwilling to cooperate with Betty or the police. Betty is certain of Lee's innocence, but there she has very little time to investigate before he must enter his plea in court. To prove Lee's innocence,…


Book cover of The Blackhouse

Angie Spoto Author Of The Grief Nurse

From my list on gothic set in Scotland.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I first visited Scotland, I drove north from Edinburgh, driving through much of the country to catch a ferry to Orkney. This northern archipelago is certainly one of the most magical places I’ve ever been to; the steep sea cliffs and standing stones, windblown grasses, and violent waves put me in a gothic state of mind. I moved to Scotland a few years later to live by the sea. Since that first visit to Orkney, I’ve written my own Scottish gothic novels, as well as presented research on the gothic at various academic conferences. It’s a topic that I’m certain will compel me for a long time to come. 

Angie's book list on gothic set in Scotland

Angie Spoto Why did Angie love this book?

This book is so atmospheric; when I read it, I could taste the Scottish sea air and smell the black peat of the island.

It has the pace of a thriller but does not compromise on rich language and complex characters. Like Johnstone’s first book, Mirrorland, the twists are absolutely brilliant and unexpected; I couldn’t put this one down!

By Carole Johnstone,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A remote village. A deadly secret. An outsider who knows the truth...

'ATMOSPHERIC AND COMPELLING' CATHERINE COOPER

'ENGROSSING, EVOCATIVE AND CHILLING' C. J. TUDOR

'DELICIOUSLY UNSETTLING' OBSERVER

'SPLENDIDLY CREEPY' DAILY MAIL

Maggie Mackay has been haunted her entire life. No matter what she does, she can't shake the sense that something is wrong with her. And maybe something is...

When she was five years old, without proof, Maggie announced that someone in the remote village of Blairmore in the Outer Hebrides had murdered a local man, sparking a media storm.

Now, Maggie is determined to discover what really happened and…


Book cover of A Nutcracker Nightmare

Paula Charles Author Of Hammers And Homicide

From my list on cozy mysteries with strong family ties.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a cozy mystery writer and reader who loves to suss out family dynamics in the books I’m devouring. My love of genealogy and turning family stories into fiction played a large role while writing my first book, Hammers and Homicide. Wherever my husband and I travel, we search for ancestors in ancient cemeteries and try to find out more about their stories. You’ll find a few of them between the pages of my books. I hope you’ll enjoy these books, all featuring some level of family ties, as much as I did! 

Paula's book list on cozy mysteries with strong family ties

Paula Charles Why did Paula love this book?

This book gives me everything I want in a cozy mystery—Christmas, a snowy Montana village, killer chocolates, a mystery bookstore, and a protagonist with an identical twin sister! What more could you want?

I love the dynamics between twin sisters Hanna and Alex as they juggle duties in Murder and Mayhem, the book and chocolate shop they own together. Romeril delivers humor and the quirkiness of small-town life like a pro. I loved all the twists and turns that kept me guessing to the sweet end! 

By Christina Romeril,

Why should I read it?

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


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in murder, murder mystery, and secrets?

11,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about murder, murder mystery, and secrets.

Murder Explore 959 books about murder
Murder Mystery Explore 503 books about murder mystery
Secrets Explore 257 books about secrets