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It’s time to get into the cozy world of Victorian mysteries.
Whether you are a fan of classic mysteries set in the Victorian period, or modern Victorian mysteries you can find captivating novels perfect to curl up with.
If you ask me, the best part about these mysteries are the atmospheric autumnal book covers, the enchanting world building and the mysterious plots.
So let’s dive into the mesmerizing world of Victorian mysteries, that would make the perfect cozy autumn reads.
The Big Book of Victorian Mysteries by Otto Penzler
The Big Book of Victorian Mysteries is the first book in the list is a collection of exciting mysteries set in the Victorian era.
Edgar Award winner Otto Penzler—”detective fiction’s best editor and champion” (The Washington Post)—returns with a new anthology of exhilarating mysteries, assembling Victorian society’s lords and ladies and most miserable miscreants.
Behind the velvet curtains of horse-drawn carriages and amid the soft glow of the gaslights are the detectives and bobbies sniffing out the safecrackers and petty purloiners who plague everything from the soot-covered side streets of London to the opulent manors of the countryside.
With his latest title in the Big Book series, Otto Penzler is cracking cases and serving up the most thrilling, suspenseful Victorian mysteries.
This collection brings together incredible stories from Arthur Conan Doyle, Thomas Hardy, Oscar Wilde, Charles Dickens, Wilkie Collins, and Guy de Maupassant, among other legendary writers of the grand era of the British Empire.
So brush off your dinner jackets and straighten out your ball gowns for these exciting, glitzy mysteries.
Sherlock Holmes Series by Arthur Conan Doyle
Sherlock Holmes novels need no introduction. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s prominent detective series is famous for watching closely and using smart thinking to solve hard cases. Some people might think he uses deductive reasoning, but it’s a bit different.
Many people think he’s the most famous detective in stories. So dive into the dark and eerie Victorian mysteries through a detective’s lens.
Murder at the Mayfair Hotel by C.J. Archer
Murder at the Mayfair Hotel is a cozy historical mystery set in the Victorian era. It follows a young woman named Cleopatra Fox who moves to her uncle’s fancy hotel in London after her grandmother’s death.
However, things take a dark turn when a guest is poisoned on Christmas Eve, causing chaos in the hotel. Cleo soon realizes she can’t trust anyone, not even Scotland Yard or the charming assistant manager of the hotel.
With the New Year’s Eve ball approaching and the hotel’s reputation on the line, Cleo must solve the murder mystery before it ruins the ball and the hotel itself.
But catching the murderer is as tricky as dealing with her family’s secrets and the hotel’s strange hierarchy.
Dive into Murder at the Mayfair Hotel by C.J. Archer to uncover the truth.
The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins
The Moonstone is a novel written by Wilkie Collins. It is often considered one of the earliest detective novels in English literature.
The story begins with a valuable yellow diamond called the “Moonstone” being stolen from an Indian temple and brought to England. It’s given as a birthday gift to a young lady named Rachel Verinder from a wealthy family. However, the diamond’s arrival leads to a series of mysterious events and bad luck for those who possess it.
The narrative is told from different characters’ perspectives, and it revolves around uncovering the thief who stole the Moonstone and trying to retrieve it. Along the way, there are many unexpected twists and hidden secrets.
The Moonstone is a classic of Victorian literature and a pioneering work in the detective genre.
Bleak House by Charles Dickens
Bleak House by Charles Dickens is set in the foggy and mysterious streets of London.
The story revolves around several interconnected characters and plotlines.
One central issue is the Jarndyce and Jarndyce legal case, which shows how legal fees can eat away at an inheritance, revealing problems in the legal system. The book also explores the romance between Esther Summerson and her mysterious past.
Detective Inspector Bucket solves mysteries in the story, adding a crime-solving element. Jo, a crossing-sweeper, highlights the contrast between rich and poor in London.
The novel vividly portrays different lives and social classes in London, from the wealthy to the poor.
Lady Audley’s Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon
Lady Audley’s Secret by M. E. Braddon is a classic sensation novel.
It uncovers the hidden secrets of its seemingly innocent and beautiful main character, Lady Audley.
Despite her lovely appearance, Lady Audley hides dark mysteries that slowly come to light as the story unfolds.
The novel’s plot revolves around themes of bigamy, arson, and murder.
Lady Audley, an intriguing Victorian heroine, is the central focus of the story.
Unlike other Victorian mysteries in the list, this book combines elements from different genres, including detective fiction, psychological thriller, and upper-class romance.
The Canterville Ghost by Oscar Wilde
The Canterville Ghost is a humorous short story written by Oscar Wilde.
The narrative revolves around an American family who relocates to a castle in England, only to discover that it is haunted by the ghost of a deceased English nobleman.
This ghost’s backstory involves a gruesome tale of his killing his wife and subsequently being walled in and left to starve to death by his wife’s brothers.
The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher by Kate Summerscale
Now this is going to be an unusual book in the list.
The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher by Kate Summerscale is a compelling work of nonfiction that reads like a Victorian thriller.
The book is based on a true crime that occurred in June 1860 when three-year-old Saville Kent was found murdered, with his throat slit, at the bottom of an outdoor privy. This gruesome crime shocked all of England and sparked a national obsession with detective work.
At the time, the concept of a detective was relatively new, with only a handful of detectives in all of England, and they were rarely called outside of London. However, the brutality of this crime prompted Scotland Yard to send its best detective, Inspector Jonathan Whicher, to investigate.
This brilliantly crafted narrative not only delves into a historical crime but also explores the development of the detective genre in literature. Which is also why it’s a great crime audiobook for the lovers of mysteries and crime thrillers.
The Ripper’s Shadow by Laura Joh Rowland
Up next comes a Victorian Mystery set in London in 1888 during the terrifying reign of Jack the Ripper.
The main character Miss Sarah Bain is a photographer who supplements her income by taking discreet boudoir photographs of the town’s local prostitutes.
However, when two of her models are gruesomely murdered within a short period, Sarah begins to suspect that there may be more to these killings than mere coincidence.
She assembles an unlikely team of allies, including a street urchin, a gay aristocrat, a Jewish butcher and his wife, and a beautiful young actress, to help her investigate the crimes of the century.
The Ripper’s Shadow is a suspenseful and atmospheric novel that explores the dark and chilling atmosphere of Victorian London during a time of terror and fear. Because of its dark, moody and chilling storytelling it’s also a great book to read in autumn.
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is an exciting short story written by Robert Louis Stevenson.
In this story, we meet Dr. Jekyll, a man who has two very different sides to his personality. One side is good, and the other side, well, not so good at all. These two sides have completely different ideas about what is right and wrong, and it’s really interesting to see how they clash.
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is a must-read classic for the lovers of mystery novels set in Victoran era.
Death at Bishop’s Keep by Robin Paige
Death at Bishop’s Keep features Kate Ardleigh, an outspoken, free-thinking, American, and a writer of sensational penny dreadfuls.
When Kate arrives in Essex, England, her life takes an unexpected turn when a body is discovered at a nearby archaeological dig.
This discovery presents Kate with an opportunity to not only conduct research for her latest story but also to embark on her first case as an amateur detective, partnering with Sir Charles Sheridan.
Death at Bishop’s Keep offers you a glimpse into the social norms and challenges of Victorian England while delivering an engaging and suspenseful mystery.
The Art of Dying by Ambrose Parry
The story unfolds in 1849, where a mysterious epidemic is claiming the lives of numerous patients across the city.
Doctors are baffled as their treatments prove ineffective, and rumors begin to circulate, accusing Dr. James Simpson, a pioneer of medical chloroform, of being a murderer.
Determined to clear Dr. Simpson’s name, his protégé Will Raven and former housemaid Sarah Fisher embark on a perilous journey through the treacherous streets of Edinburgh. Their mission is to uncover the truth behind the deaths and find out who or what is responsible.
Murder as a Fine Art by David Morrell
Murder as a Fine Art by David Morrell is a captivating historical thriller set in gaslit London.
The story centers on Thomas De Quincey, famous for his memoir “Confessions of an English Opium-Eater,” who becomes the prime suspect in a series of gruesome mass murders that mirror a terrorizing spree from 43 years earlier.
The blueprint for these new killings appears to be drawn from De Quincey’s essay “On Murder Considered as One of the Fine Arts.”
Desperate to clear his name but hindered by his addiction to opium, De Quincey enlists the help of his devoted daughter, Emily, and two determined Scotland Yard detectives.
Murder as a Fine Art is one of the gripping victorian mystery series in the list that explores the themes of crime, literature, and the shadows of the past.
The Strings of Murder by Oscar de Muriel
The Strings of Murder by Oscar de Muriel is a thrilling historical mystery set in 1888 Edinburgh.
The story begins with the brutal murder of a violinist in his home. Fearing the possibility of a national panic reminiscent of Jack the Ripper, Scotland Yard sends Inspector Ian Frey to investigate.
Frey’s assignment leads him to Detective “Nine-Nails” McGray, a local legend with a starkly contrasting personality to the English inspector.
McGray is driven by tragic events in his past and clings to superstitions. Despite his skepticism, even Frey cannot deny the eerie circumstances of the case.
The dead man’s maid insists that three musicians were playing before the murder took place.
Furthermore, the suspects all speak of a cursed violin believed to have been played by the Devil himself.
People of Abandoned Character by Clare Whitfield
People of Abandoned Character by Clare Whitfield is a gripping historical thriller set in 1888 London.
The story follows Susannah, who rushes into marriage with a young and wealthy surgeon. Initially, their honeymoon is filled with passion, and she feels in control of her new husband. However, their relationship takes a dark turn as his behavior becomes increasingly volatile and violent. He frequently stays out all night, returning home with blood on his hands and dark secrets.
As Susannah grapples with loneliness and frustration, she begins following the horrifying reports of a series of murders in Whitechapel. She starts to make a chilling connection: every time her husband stays out late, another victim is found dead. She wonders if it’s merely a coincidence or if her husband might be the man the newspapers are calling Jack the Ripper.
The novel explores themes of suspicion, paranoia, and the chilling possibility that someone close might be hiding a sinister secret.
Fingersmith by Sarah Waters
Fingersmith by Sarah Waters is a gripping novel set in Victorian-era London.
The story revolves around Sue Trinder, an orphan raised by Mrs. Sucksby, who operates as a “baby farmer” and cares for her with unusual affection.
Sue grows up in a household that also shelters a group of small-time thieves known as “fingersmiths” in a gritty London slum.
The narrative takes a dramatic turn when Gentleman, a suave con man who is highly regarded among the thieves, arrives with a proposal for Sue.
He suggests that Sue should become the maid to Maud Lilly, a naive and wealthy young woman, and assist in seducing her. The goal is to secure Maud’s inheritance, after which she will be declared insane and confined to a lunatic asylum.
However, as she becomes more intimately involved with Maud, she begins to feel empathy for her and develops unexpected feelings.
Set in a Dickensian world filled with thrills and twists, Fingersmith is a captivating exploration of love, betrayal, and the complexities of human nature.
Murder at Midnight by Katharine Schellman
Murder at Midnight by Katharine Schellman is a Regency-era, christmas themed cozy mystery perfect for fans of authors like Deanna Raybourn and Ashley Weaver.
The story unfolds when a body is discovered, shot to death, during an unexpected snowstorm.
Lily Adler, a Regency widow, is anticipating a quiet Christmastide away from the intrigues and secrets of London. She plans to visit her late husband’s family and reunite with her friend Captain Jack Hartley, who has returned after a long sea voyage.
However, Lily soon realizes that secrets abound even outside London.
Jack’s younger sister, Amelia, is at the center of neighborhood scandal and refuses to disclose the truth about what transpired, even after a snowstorm traps the neighborhood residents together following a Christmas ball.
Their peaceful night is shattered when a maid discovers a lifeless body in the morning.
The victim is a wealthy young man, and his name is scandalously linked to Amelia’s.
The story is filled with mystery, intrigue, and the complexities of Regency-era society.
Miss Morton And The Spirits Of The Underworld by Catherine Lloyd
Miss Morton and the Spirits of the Underworld by Catherine Lloyd is a new historical mystery series that combines elements of Regency romance and detective storytelling.
The story features Lady Caroline, who is back in London society, assisting her employer’s daughter, Dorothy Frogerton, during her first Season.
Dorothy has gained attention as “an original” at the exclusive social club, Almack’s, and is searching for a suitable suitor. Meanwhile, Mrs. Frogerton pursues her own interests, including attending spiritualist gatherings hosted by Madam Lavinia.
Caroline initially doubts Madam Lavinia’s abilities and her affected French accent.
However, her skepticism wanes when Madam Lavinia slips Caroline a note containing intimate family secrets.
Matters take a dark turn when Madam Lavinia is discovered lifeless with a glass of port nearby and a note addressed to Caroline asking for help in finding her murderer.
The motive behind the murder appears to be linked to Madam Lavinia’s blackmailing activities, involving aristocrats who feel wronged by her.
As Caroline and Mrs. Frogerton investigate, they uncover other suspects and a web of deception, some of which hits close to home. Caroline must use her wit and intelligence to unravel the mysteries and prevent more individuals from meeting a similar fate in the afterlife.
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