I fell into the Historical Mystery genre when I was about ten years old. I never really know how to really define the books that I read but I think Historical Fiction/Murder Mysteries that always have romance is a good description. Full disclosure: I will be going from memory for this list (some of these books I’ve read 3 or 4 times) so there may be some slight inaccuracies.
If you are looking for the perfect murder mystery series with Female Amateur Detective Main Characters and the best romances then take a look at this list!
Amelia Peabody Murder Mysteries by Elizabeth Peters
I constantly rave about this series but I love it. The books follow Amelia Peabody who when we meet her is considered a spinster by Victorian standards (Near 30 and not married) and likes to think herself of a bit of an amateur detective. Amelia’s spinster status quickly changes and what follows are the adventures of Amelia Peabody and Emerson as they work as Archaeologists in Egypt. This series starts in the 1890’s and spans an epic 30 years following the life and family of the Emersons and Peabodys.
This series is perfect for people who love romances (there is two worth reading about in this book series), Egyptology, Ancient Egypt, Murder Mysteries, Victorian Society, Cats, Art Theft, Master Criminals, and an endless amount of family drama.
The Lady Grey Series by Deanna Raybourn
This series kicks of with Lady Grey watching her husband die in front of her at a dinner party. Lady Grey’s whole life changes when her husband dies and a private detective Nicholas Brisbane suspects murder. This book series starts off really strong and is set in a similar time period as Amelia Peabody (possibly a little earlier).
Lady Grey is a bit of a wallflower whose only role in life thus far was to be a good wife and run the household. This all changes as she decides to help with the investigation into her husband’s murder. You think romance might not blossom under these circumstances but think again!
One small point I will have to say the books do eventually get reduced down to Novellas so if you are looking for a satisfying conclusion to Lady Grey’s story you won’t find it unfortunately.
Vicky Bliss Mysteries by Elizabeth Peters
These books are written by the same author of Amelia Peabody Murder Mysteries and are eventually linked with that series (albeit very loosely). This series has all the charm of the other one but is much more modern, starting out being set in the 1970s with a weird time skip to the early 2000s on the last book.
Vicky Bliss is an American art historian who works in a museum in Munich. All the murder mysteries are primarily based around Artefacts, Art and Fraud. The first book Borrower of the Night isn’t that entertaining but the series vastly improves with the introduction of John Smythe.
I won’t say much more but it is one of my favourite romances of all time.
Mara, Daughter of the Nile by Eloise Jarvis McGraw
This book is different as it is directly set during Ancient Egypt during the reign of Hatshepsut and while there is no “murder mystery” it is jam packed with court intrigue, politics as Mara becomes a double agent for Hatshepsut and contender to throne – Thutmose III.
Mara is a slave who is seen stealing one day and narrowly avoids a whipping from her master when someone decides to buy her and to make her a spy for the Queen.
In an unlucky twist of fate Mara was also spotted by Lord Sheftu the day she was caught stealing and when he bumps into her on a boat later he believes shes a runaway. He offers her the choice of spying for him or face death for being a runaway slave.
Mara is devious though and decides to play both sides to suit her and ultimately gain her freedom.
I loved this book despite the historical inaccuracies (the book is 70 years old and I don’t think the information we have now on the life of Hatshepsut was available back then).
Veronica Speedwell Mysteries by Deanna Raybourn
Like seemingly most Historical Mystery books this series is also set in the Victorian Era. This book follows Veronica Speedwell, lepidopterist (someone who studies butterflies) and self-declared spinster. This series starts of with the mystery of Veronica Speedwell’s heritage and introduces Stoker – disgraced Natural Historian, Ex- Naval Surgeon and former adventurer before a mission went badly in Brazil.
Stoker becomes Veronica’s partner in crime and together they solve mysteries and work within the Natural History profession. Wildlife has a huge focus in this series which I loved but at the moment I have only read the first two books!
Please let me know any books you would recommend for me based on these suggestions!