History-related Mysteries

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By Sara Allen

Would you like to read mystery novels with a genealogist or historian as the main character or that have a plot-twist related to family history? Or would you like to read mystery novels set in the St. Joseph County area? If so, read on!


Mystery Series about Genealogists

Torie O'Shea mysteries by Rett MacPherson

Torie O'Shea is a county historian in rural Missouri who solves mysteries using her genealogical research skills. These cozy mysteries are rooted in the heartland values of home, family, community, and church. MacPherson is a good writer and Torie is a likable, yet nosy character, which is how she gets involved in so many criminal cases. Those who are familiar with family history research will agree that MacPherson's plots are very believable. No previous knowledge of genealogy is necessary to enjoy these books!

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1) Family Skeletons

2) A Veiled Antiquity

3) A Comedy of Heirs

4) A Misty Mourning

5) Killing Cousins

6) Blood Relations

7) In Sheep's Clothing

8) Thicker Than Water

9) Dead Man Running

10) The Blood Ballad

Natasha Blake mysteries by Fiona Mountain

Natasha Blake, adopted child turned professional genealogist, is fascinated by other people's families because her own background is unknown. Through her vocation, she encounters family research problems that turn into homicides in the Cotswolds area of England. Moody, complex plots help these novels evolve into mysteries about Natasha's feelings about her own past as well.

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1) Pale as the Dead: A Genealogical Mystery

2) Bloodline: A Genealogical Mystery

Mystery Series set in St. Joseph County

Hilda Johansson mysteries by Jeanne Dams

"The Hilda Johansson mysteries are set in turn-of-the-last-century South Bend, when the Studebakers and Olivers still ruled local society. It was not until after I moved here and settled down to my work in Local & Family History Services that I discovered that Jeanne Dams had researched some of these books right here in the Library. These books are fun to read in part because they are so well researched. When I read them I feel as though I can see the city of South Bend as it used to be, rising again before my eyes."--review by Libby the Librarian.

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1) Death in Lacquer Red

2) Red, White, and Blue Murder

3) Green Grow the Victims

4) Silence is Golden

5) Crimson Snow

Click here to see a complete list of Jeanne Dams' books at SJCPL. We have LARGE PRINT and Sound recording editions of these titles also.

Notre Dame mysteries by Ralph McInerny

Brothers Philip and Roger Knight solve academic whodunits set on our very own Notre Dame campus, a place real-life Notre Dame professor McInerny knows well.

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1) On This Rockne

2) Lack of the Irish

3) Irish Tenure

4) The Book of Kills

5) Emerald Aisle

6) Celt and Pepper

7) Irish Coffee

8) The Green Thumb

9) Irish Gilt

10) The Letter Killeth

11) Irish Alibi

For a list of all books by Ralph McInerny at SJCPL, including other mysteries, philosophy, religion, and academic titles, click here.

If You Like These Books, Try ...

NoveList Database

For more suggestions about books similar to these books, try the NoveList database. NoveList is an electronic reader's advisory database. Click here for a help sheet for using NoveList.

You may search NoveList by author, title, series and plot (keywords). Using the keyword search, you could enter words like "cozy," "mysteries," "genealogy," "Indiana," "women," or "history" as examples of how you might come up with lists of similar books. Author interviews and book discussion guides are also featured in the database.

Other Campus Mystery Series

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Anneke Haagen mysteries by Susan Holtzer are set at the University of Michigan

Sarah Deane and Alex McKenzie mysteries by J.S. Borthwick are set on a Maine campus.

Karen Pelletier mysteries by Joanne Dobson are set on a New England campus.

Kate Fansler mysteries by Amanda Cross are set on a New York City campus.

Princeton mysteries featuring Professor McLeod Dulany by Ann Waldron are set at the Princeton University campus.

Ohio Amish mysteries featuring Professor Michael Branden by Paul Gaus are set on a rural Ohio private college campus and in the nearby Amish community.

Back to the Genealogy page

Last updated by: Sara Allen, November 22, 2008

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