The best books about Scotland Yard

2 authors have picked their favorite books about Scotland Yard and why they recommend each book.

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A Bitter Feast

By Deborah Crombie,

Book cover of A Bitter Feast

When I think of the classic mysteries of the Golden Age, I automatically picture an English country house. In Deborah Crombie’s A Bitter Feast, Scotland Yard Detective Superintendent Duncan Kincaid and his wife, Detective Inspector Gemma James, are invited for a fall getaway at Beck House a country estate in the Cotswolds. When a posh charity luncheon catered by brilliant young chef Viv Holland turns deadly, Duncan and Gemma are pulled into the investigation. While I enjoyed the masterful unfolding of the investigation and the fascinating behind-the-scenes look into a high-end restaurant kitchen, it was the iconic setting that hooked me. Worthy of Miss Marple herself.


Who am I?

My love of British crime fiction began when, as a young teen, I discovered Agatha Christie on the shelves of my local library. With Scottish grandparents, I was already well indoctrinated in the “everything British is best” theory, but it was as a student at St. Clare’s College, Oxford, that I fell totally under the spell of the British Isles. No surprise, then, that my Kate Hamilton Mystery series is set in the UK and features an American antiques dealer with a gift for solving crimes. I love to read the classic mysteries of the Golden Age as well as authors today who follow that tradition.


I wrote...

The Shadow of Memory

By Connie Berry,

Book cover of The Shadow of Memory

What is my book about?

American antiques dealer Kate Hamilton and her colleague, Ivor Tweedy, visit Netherfield, a former insane asylum on the Suffolk coast. They’ve been asked to auction off a fine collection of antiques, including a 15th-century painting by Jan Van Eyck. But when retired policeman Will Parker is found dead, Kate suspects the halls of Netherfield housed more than priceless art. Will Parker was her friend Vivian’s first boyfriend. They met in 1963 when, along with three other teens, they explored an abandoned house near the asylum where a doctor and his wife had died under bizarre circumstances. When a second member of the childhood gang dies unexpectedly—and then a third—it becomes clear the teens unwittingly discovered a deadly secret, one that now threatens Vivian.

The Wolfman

By Jonathan Maberry,

Book cover of The Wolfman

I saw the 2010 movie first and then later found the book version in a thrift store and had to grab it. Both book and movie deftly create a gloomy, gothic, Romantic atmosphere; the book develops the characters and relationships further. It’s the age-old story of a man seeking to rid himself of a curse, pursued by the law and betrayed by someone who was supposed to protect him—I’m a sucker for that kind of tale! If you enjoy the classics like Dracula and Frankenstein, but find it harder to get through them or connect with them emotionally because of the older language and style, give this book a try.


Who am I?

While the werewolf curse isn’t real (as far as we know/thank goodness!), I do know what it’s like to have my life turned upside down by a painful illness that seems like a curse. When I was 23, I almost died from a rare autoimmune disease that tried to devour my lungs. More than a decade later, I’m still here and fighting, and my escapist love of reading fantasy books turned into a passion to write them. I also love metaphors and werewolves, and it all combined nicely with my BA in English! Aside from writing, I help other “underdog” authors as COO for indie publisher Thinklings Books.


I wrote...

Hunter's Moon

By Sarah M. Awa,

Book cover of Hunter's Moon

What is my book about?

College was hard enough before Melanie got bitten by a werewolf. Now she has to deal with painful transformations, a secret organization stalking her, and hunters looming on the horizon.

Rotherham Murders

By Margaret Drinkall,

Book cover of Rotherham Murders: A Half-Century of Serious Crime, 1900-1950

I investigated the murder of Irene Hart after I found an account of the crime in this anthology of murders. I was horrified to see that there had been an apparent miscarriage of justice with the wrong man being hanged. I researched the case and wrote my first book. Margaret’s book is very special to me as it started my career as a true crime writer. Although this is an anthology of crimes committed in the author’s home town they could have happened anywhere. The motives and reasons for murder are the same everywhere: greed, jealousy, sex, envy, or just a purely evil soul. Excellent book by an author who had a weekly true crime column in the local paper.


Who am I?

I’ve been fascinated by true murder cases ever since I started reading about them when I was sixteen years old. They draw on all your senses and emotions: your curiosity about the psychology behind the killer’s actions and your horror and sympathy for the victims, their families, and the families of the killers because they suffer too. As a writer I am particularly drawn to apparent miscarriages of justice and I think there must be a secret detective hidden deep in my soul because I love to delve and investigate these. I wrote my first book after retiring from my long career in Social Services and Mental Health Services. 


I wrote...

The Rotherham Trunk Murder: Uncovering an 80 Year Old Miscarriage of Justice

By Jeannette Hensby,

Book cover of The Rotherham Trunk Murder: Uncovering an 80 Year Old Miscarriage of Justice

What is my book about?

When I was about 9 years old my grandma told me about a murder committed by someone that she knew. In 2014 I found an account of the crime and was horrified to read that the man that they hanged, Andrew Bagley, was not the person that grandma had named as the murderer.

After devoting a double centre-page spread to the book, the Nottingham Post wrote: “In her fascinating first book, the author argues that Bagley was innocent. She examines the evidence in forensic detail, asks questions that should have been asked at the trial, exposes a scandalous cover-up at the London appeal court, and in the final chapters, points an accusing finger at the person she believes was the real murderer.”

The Inspector and Mrs. Jeffries

By Emily Brightwell,

Book cover of The Inspector and Mrs. Jeffries

If you love underdog stories, this one offers a double helping. First, Inspector Witherspoon’s career is threatened by ambitious and unscrupulous men who want to see him fail. Secondly, his household staff are the real heroes, tracking down clues that they cleverly feed to their unsuspecting employer to help him solve murder cases. Each staff member has unique methods for uncovering information, and together they make an effective team. I chuckle at their close calls as they scramble to hide their secret sleuthing from the inspector and the rest of the police force.  

This first novel gives the backstory: what’s at stake for the inspector and his household, plus why his housekeeper (Mrs. Jeffries) is a plausible and capable sleuth.


Who am I?

I enjoy authors who craft twisty mystery plots with vivid historical settings filled with memorable characters. I enjoy them even more when they make me laugh out loud. When I read for pleasure, I don’t want books filled with gritty realism or tragic stories. I want a bit of fun, but my dry sense of humor is left wanting by many novels purported to be funny. I often find their main characters either annoyingly frivolous or painfully cynical. Give me intelligent characters, stories filled with hope, and an occasional one-liner that tickles my funny bone. I hope this list has introduced you to authors who do just that.


I wrote...

Fountains and Secrets

By Lisa E. Betz,

Book cover of Fountains and Secrets

What is my book about?

A quirky mystery set in first-century Rome. When her husband’s friend goes missing, spunky Livia Aemilia eagerly joins the search for clues. She discovers two key facts: A) the missing man is tied to more serious crimes and B) her husband does not appreciate her sleuthing behind his back. 

Oops. Livia makes amends, but her curiosity soon gets her into trouble again. Worse, her husband discovers the mastermind behind the crimes is a ruthless longtime enemy. He orders her to cease investigating without explaining why, which only infuriates her into reckless action. Can they learn to trust each other and work together before their enemy identifies the pesky woman who’s been asking too many questions?

Memoirs of a Bow Street Runner

By Henry Goddard,

Book cover of Memoirs of a Bow Street Runner

Before the Metropolitan Police (popularly known as Scotland Yard) existed, the Bow Street Runners were in charge of criminal investigation in Britain. Henry Goddard, the brilliant and incisive Runner, employed Sherlockian techniques years before the first Sherlock Holmes story was published. In later years, as a private detective, he continued to investigate and solve famous and complex crimes-He traveled widely, pursuing suspects through the Middle East, Europe, and Australia all of which he vividly describes.

In his old age, he dictated these memoirs, which give us a detailed account of his methods, and how he found "The Man With the Hidden Limp" and how he proved "The Butler Really Did It." It also makes clear how many errors of fact crept into later accounts of these famous crimes. Anyone with an interest in early criminal history will find this fascinating.


Who am I?

I’m a crime historian and storyteller. I study old crimes, particularly those of scientific interest, and present my findings in public presentations. Sometimes I write about them- in the NY Times, Smithsonian, Lancet, Ellery Queen. I’ve researched in autopsy suites, crumbling archives, and crime labs. I was the founder and moderator of the annual Forensic Forum at Stony Brook University. I’ve consulted on criminal matters for PBS, BBC, and commercial stations. I am fascinated by ancient crime because so much great literature derives from it - the sadly dysfunctional Oedipus family, the fraternal dispute between Cain and Abel- the unhappy Borden family of Fall River. All grist for my mill.


I wrote...

The Science of Sherlock Holmes: From Baskerville Hall to the Valley of Fear, the Real Forensics Behind the Great Detective's Greatest Cases

By E.J. Wagner,

Book cover of The Science of Sherlock Holmes: From Baskerville Hall to the Valley of Fear, the Real Forensics Behind the Great Detective's Greatest Cases

What is my book about?

"Holmes is, first, a great detective, but he has also proven to be a great scientist, whether dabbling with poisons, tobacco ash, or tire marks. Wagner explores this fascinating aspect of his career by showing how his investigations were grounded in the cutting-edge science of his day, especially the emerging field of forensics .... Utterly compelling. " Otto Penzler, member of the Baker Street Irregulars and proprietor of The Mysterious Bookshop

The Science of Sherlock Holmes won an Edgar Mystery Writers' award as well.

The Man with a Load of Mischief (A Richard Jury Mystery)

By Martha Grimes,

Book cover of The Man with a Load of Mischief (A Richard Jury Mystery)

The first in Martha Grimes’ pub-named series introduces not one but two detectives: Richard Jury meets Melrose Plant while investigating a case in the wonderfully-named Long Piddleton. It becomes clear from the beginning that these two clever gentlemen, the Scotland Yard detective and Lord of the Realm, are as well-matched as they are handsome. Their backstories make one want to hug them tightly, as do their not-wonderful luck with women. A diverse and frequently annoying cast of cozy characters adds to one’s sympathy for their dual lot. 


Who am I?

I have been reading mysteries since childhood. You know the sort of thing: Trixie Belden, Nancy Drew, Enid Blyton books, The Bobbsey Twins. The desire to profoundly understand the battles of good versus evil, the delicious gathering of clues, and the hope of solving the cases never left me. As I grew, I began to read the adult-themed greats, and dominantly the women of crime fiction. I couldn't possibly count the number of mysteries I have read. Then, seven years ago, I was violently moved to write them as well. My “real” job as a journalist was little different. In a way, every story, every interview subject, has been a little mystery to unravel. 


I wrote...

Adam's Witness

By Joanne Paulson,

Book cover of Adam's Witness

What is my book about?

When newspaper reporter Grace Rampling learns that a gay choir has been kicked out of its venue — the Catholic cathedral — she decides to confront church officials. But she gets more than she bargained for when she literally stumbles over the corpse of a high-ranking cleric. Minutes later, Detective Sergeant Adam Davis strides into the church to take on the investigation...and sees Grace with her wild auburn hair rising from between the pews.

She is his primary witness and a potential suspect in the case. Grace is therefore legally off-limits, forcing Adam to fight a fierce attraction even as he races to unwind a potential hate crime and high-profile murder.

The Daughter of Time

By Josephine Tey,

Book cover of The Daughter of Time

In Josephine Tey’s classic novel, Inspector Alan Grant of Scotland Yard, recuperating from a broken leg, becomes fascinated with a contemporary portrait of Richard III. Grant determines to find out who Richard III really was and who killed the Princes in the Tower. Published in 1951, Tey’s novel is a page-turner of the highest order and has never been out of print. 


Who am I?

I am a British writer/producer with a 30-year interest in Richard III (1452-1485). A visit to Bosworth Field, the penultimate battle of the Wars of the Roses changed my life irrevocably. This haunting place captured my imagination and with it the story of the last Plantagenet monarch who died fighting in this small corner of Leicestershire for crown and country.


I wrote...

The Lost King: The Search for Richard III

By Philippa Langley, Michael Jones,

Book cover of The Lost King: The Search for Richard III

What is my book about?

Whilst researching Richard III for a biographical screenplay, in 2004 Philippa Langley visited the site of the Greyfriars precinct in Leicester. Here King Richard had been buried after Bosworth. Fifty years later, at the Dissolution of the Monasteries, the grave was lost and the king’s remains believed to have been thrown into a nearby river. 

Following an intuitive experience in a car park in the Greyfriars precinct, The Lost King tells the story of Langley’s years of research and belief that she would find the church and grave in this exact spot, as historian Michael Jones tells of Richard's 15th-century life and death. The Lost King is now a major motion picture starring Sally Hawkins and Steve Coogan. (Previously titled: The King’s Grave: The Search for Richard III)

A Great Deliverance

By Elizabeth George,

Book cover of A Great Deliverance

This is the first book in George’s twenty-one book series featuring Scotland Yard Inspector Thomas Lynley, the eighth earl of Asherton, and Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers, a commoner.

When I read A Great Deliverance, I fell in love with George’s beautiful writing, found her two characters fascinating, and adored the cast of characters supporting the detectives. Plus, the book is unusual because the reader knows from the start who the killer is and the investigation focuses on why she killed him.

When I sat down to write my first ever fiction, Linley and Havers were the inspiration for my two detectives, NYPD Detectives Chiara Corelli and P.J. Parker. And I learned from George that the characters are as important, if not more important, than the plot. She inspired my writing.


Who am I?

I write the NYPD Detective Chiara Corelli Mystery series featuring Corelli and her partner Detective P.J. Parker. Most mysteries have a single main character so I’m passionate about finding other authors who write mysteries with two professional investigators as main characters. It’s fascinating to see how authors writing the same type of characters handle them and what they do about character growth over the course of the series. To me, watching two characters react to each other, seeing their relationship change over the course of a book or a series is much more interesting than reading about a single detective.


I wrote...

A Matter of Blood

By Catherine Maiorisi,

Book cover of A Matter of Blood

What is my book about?

Just back from her second tour in Afghanistan, NYPD Detective Chiara Corelli goes undercover to expose a ring of dirty cops. Ordered to kill to prove her loyalty, she aborts the operation. Now, she’s the one exposed. And being ostracized. Can she trust Detective P.J. Parker to watch her back?

Parker, the daughter of a vehement critic of the NYPD, wants to work homicides. And learn from the best. Unfortunately, Chiara Corelli is the best…and the most hated detective in the department. Without Parker, Corelli will be condemned to desk duty. Without Corelli, Parker loses her entre to homicide. Can they put aside their fears and join forces to solve a brutal murder and stop the dirty cops from threatening Corelli’s family?

A Share in Death

By Deborah Crombie,

Book cover of A Share in Death

As a writer I look to Crombie’s Constable Duncan Kincaid/Sergeant Gemma James series for guidance on how to have your characters grow professionally and personally, to age and experience the kind of changes people go through in real life. I recommend book one of the nineteen in the series, A Share in Death, because it sets up the relationship between the two detectives.


Who am I?

I write the NYPD Detective Chiara Corelli Mystery series featuring Corelli and her partner Detective P.J. Parker. Most mysteries have a single main character so I’m passionate about finding other authors who write mysteries with two professional investigators as main characters. It’s fascinating to see how authors writing the same type of characters handle them and what they do about character growth over the course of the series. To me, watching two characters react to each other, seeing their relationship change over the course of a book or a series is much more interesting than reading about a single detective.


I wrote...

A Matter of Blood

By Catherine Maiorisi,

Book cover of A Matter of Blood

What is my book about?

Just back from her second tour in Afghanistan, NYPD Detective Chiara Corelli goes undercover to expose a ring of dirty cops. Ordered to kill to prove her loyalty, she aborts the operation. Now, she’s the one exposed. And being ostracized. Can she trust Detective P.J. Parker to watch her back?

Parker, the daughter of a vehement critic of the NYPD, wants to work homicides. And learn from the best. Unfortunately, Chiara Corelli is the best…and the most hated detective in the department. Without Parker, Corelli will be condemned to desk duty. Without Corelli, Parker loses her entre to homicide. Can they put aside their fears and join forces to solve a brutal murder and stop the dirty cops from threatening Corelli’s family?

The Last Kashmiri Rose

By Barbara Cleverly,

Book cover of The Last Kashmiri Rose

 The Last Kashmiri Rose: Murder and Mystery in the Final Days of the Raj is the first of Barbara Cleverly’s 13 Joe Sandilands mysteries. In March of 1922, Sandilands’ return to Scotland Yard from Calcutta is delayed by Bengal’s governor, who sends him to a military post where his niece Nancy’s husband is Controller. Nancy’s best friend has committed suicide, according to the local police. But Nancy has learned that since 1911, four other officers’ wives have died in peculiarly violent circumstances. After Sandilands’ investigation uncovers a series of murders, he looks for the murderer amidst tea parties, dances, picnics, and dinners. The portrait of Anglo-Indian society, in which every need is supplied by socially invisible native servants, is excellent.


Who am I?

I’m an historian who writes novels, and an avid reader of historical murder mysteries—especially ones whose characters are affected by social, religious, and political change. Lately, I’ve been fascinated by the breakup of rural British estates between 1880 and 1925, when, in a single generation, the amount of British land owned by the aristocracy fell from 66% to perhaps 15%. I thought it might be interesting to set a “country house” mystery on one of the failing estates, with a narrator influenced by the other great change of the period: from horses to automobiles. “Interesting” was an understatement; writing it was eye-opening.  


I wrote...

All Men Glad and Wise: A Mystery

By Laura C. Stevenson,

Book cover of All Men Glad and Wise: A Mystery

What is my book about?

The end of WWI finds Willingford Hall, a 2000-acre baronet’s estate, in mourning. Its heir has been killed at Passchendaele, leaving behind a historic stable, a talented young horse, and Harry Green, a stable boy whose father is the head groom. In 1919, Willingford Hall’s steward is murdered, and the investigation proves that his embezzlement has brought the estate near bankruptcy. If it’s sold, what will happen to Harry’s father, now that automobiles are replacing horses? And what will happen to Harry, a stable lad who is in fact a lass—and one with no skills suitable to women? Harry’s answer is clear: she must find the murderer, thus proving herself Somebody instead of a servant. Her decision is more dangerous than she knows. 

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