Historical Fiction Stars - Mystery, Suspense, Thrillers and Crime Fiction: 2005

Lists of historical crime fiction titles receiving starred reviews.

Annotated lists of books receiving at least one starred review from one of four major review sources: Booklist, Kirkus, LJ and PW. The review source assigns the star.

Annotations are from Advance, the Ingram Book Magazine, unless otherwise noted.

Historical fiction is loosely defined on this page - a book set 25 years ago may qualify for inclusion.


  • The Blood-Dimmed Tide
    Author: Airth, Rennie
    Publisher: Viking $ 24.95 ISBN: 0670899968 Date: 2005
    star PW
    The author of the "New York Times" Notable Book River of Darknessreturns with a macabre tale of the social struggles of post-World War I Britain and the looming menace of Hitler's Germany. When a young girl is savagely murdered in rural English village, the crime catapults former Inspector John Madden into the grisly world of a brutal killer.
    Updated 6.20.05
  • The Devil's Own Rag Doll
    Author: Bartoy, Mitchell
    Publisher: Minotaur $ 23.95 ISBN: 0312340885 Date: 2005
    star LJ
    1940's Detroit: the war effort is in full swing and racial tensions are running high. When a vivacious white heiress is murdered in the black part of town, the city threatens to erupt into mob violence, bringing the factories to a grinding halt and imperiling Allied forces around the world. Newly minted Detective Pete Caudill is charged with covering up the crime in the interests of civic peace and finding some kind of justice for the dead girl. Odds are the girl was killed by her black boyfriend, but some whisper of an Axis plot to hamper America's war effort. Or is Detroit's shadowy political machine manipulating events to its own ruthless ends? As he delves deeper, Caudill soon learns the hard way that friends are rarely what they seem, family ties are often deceptive, and sometimes the bravest thing a man can do is think for himself. - Publisher Marketing.
    Suggested Reading: Hard Boiled
    Updated 9.17.05
  • Spectres in the Smoke: A Creeping Narrative
    Author: Broadbent, Tony
    Publisher: Minotaur $ 23.95 ISBN: 0312290268 Date: 2005
    star Booklist
    In austere, post-World War II England, Jethro the cat burglar must again take on the mantle of spy for MI5 as he attempts to prevent a plot to undermine Britain's new Labour Government.
    Updated 9.17.05
  • The Man from Beyond
    Author: Brownstein, Gabriel
    Publisher: Norton $ 23.95 ISBN: 0393051528 Date: 2005
    star Booklist
    Sir Arthur Conan Doyle arrives in New York on a spiritualist crusade, defending the powers of the mysterious medium Margery. His good friend Harry Houdini is a skeptic, and when Doyle claims Margery's powers are superior to Houdini's, the magician goes on the attack.
    Suggested Reading: Elementary Stars | Magic & Magicians | Spiritualist Stars
    Updated 8.15.05
  • Rogues' Game
    Author: Burton, Milton
    Publisher: Minotaur $ 23.95 ISBN: 0312336810 Date: 2005
    star Booklist star Kirkus
    With a wildcatting spirit--and set in a West Texas town in 1947-- The Rogues' Game is a high stakes novel and an exquisite quest for revenge.
    Updated 5.25.05
  • Year of the Hyenas: A Novel of Murder in Ancient Egypt
    Author: Geagley, Brad
    Publisher: S & S $ 23 ISBN: 074325080X Date: 2005
    star LJ
    In this evocative murder mystery set in ancient Egypt, an empire's sumptuous glory and intrigue blend seamlessly with timeless themes of greed, ambition, and crimes of passion.
    Suggested Reading: Egyptian Stars
    Updated 1.23.05
  • The Serpent in the Garden
    Author: Gleeson, Janet
    Publisher: Simon & Schuster $ 14 (trade paper) ISBN: 0743260058 Date: 2005
    star Booklist
    With sure understanding of period detail and character of 18th-century England, the bestselling author of The Arcanum delivers a stunning and richly nuanced tale of greed, suspense, intrigue, and revenge.
    Updated 1.18.05
  • Away With the Fairies
    Author: Greenwood, Kerry
    Publisher: Poisoned Pen $ 24.95 ISBN: 1590580222 Date: 2005
    star Booklist
    Searching for the murderer of a famous author, sexy, sassy Phryne goes undercover-and is up to her ears in fashion gossip and office politics.... Phryne Fisher is asked to investigate the puzzling death of a famous author and illustrator of fairy stories. To do so, she takes a job within the women's magazine that employed the victim and finds herself enmeshed in her colleagues' deceptions. But while Phryne is learning the ins and outs of magazine publishing first hand, her personal life is thrown into chaos. Impatient for her lover Lin Chung's imminent return from a silk-buying expedition to China, she instead receives an unusual summons from Lin Chung's family followed by a series of mysterious assaults and warnings. - Publisher Marketing.
    Updated 11.2.04
  • Mosiac of Shadows
    Author: Harper, Tom
    Publisher: Minotaur $ 23.95 ISBN: 0312338678 Date: 2005
    star PW
    In this thrilling historical drama set in medieval Constantinople, Demetrios the Apokalyptor is commissioned to investigate an assassination attempt on the Emperor's life -- before the assassin can strike again.
    Suggested Reading: Debuts
    Updated 5.16.05
  • What Angels Fear
    Author: Harris, C.S.
    Publisher: NAL $ 23.95 ISBN: 0451216695 Date: 2005
    star LJ
    A scholar of 19th-century Europe pens the debut of a historical suspense series "filled with suspense, intrigue, and plot twists galore" (Victoria Thompson, author of Murder on Lenox Hill).
    Updated 10.11.05
  • Demon of the Air: An Aztec Mystery
    Author: Levack, Simon
    Publisher: Minotaur $ 23.95 ISBN: 0312348347 Date: 2005
    star PW star LJ
    In this gripping murder mystery, intrigue, drama, treachery and romance combine with historical fact and a potent imagination to bring life to the strange and brutal world of the Aztecs.- Publisher Marketing.
    Suggested Reading: Aztec Stars
    Updated 9.17.05
  • After the Armistice Ball
    Author: McPherson, Catriona
    Publisher: Carroll & Graf $ 25 ISBN: 0786716088 Date: 2005
    star PW
    Updated 7.18.05
  • Cinnamon Kiss
    Author: Mosley, Walter
    Publisher: Little Brown $ 24.95 ISBN: 0316073024 Date: 2005
    star PW
    This "New York Times" bestselling author's sizzling new novel pits Easy Rawlins against his greatest challenge ever--a terrifying murder during the Summer of Love.
    Suggested Reading: African American Stars
    Updated 7.11.05
  • Painted Veil
    Author: Myers, Beverle Graves
    Publisher: Poisoned Pen $ 24.95 ISBN: 1590581407 Date: 2005
    star PW
    It's Venice, 1734--after being demoted to secondary roles due to neglecting his vocal practice in favor of dubious pleasures, castrato soprano Tito Amato jumps at the chance to reclaim his status by solving a murder case that threatens to close the opera house.
    Suggested Reading: Venice
    Updated 2.28.05
  • Rebels of Babylon
    Author: Parry, Owen
    Publisher: HarperCollins $ 24.95 ISBN: 0060513926 Date: 2005
    star Kirkus
    Civil War detective Abel Jones investigates murder and theft in New Orleans in this dark and rich sixth installment in the Hammett and Herodotus award-winning series.
    Suggested Reading: New Orleans | Civil War Stars
    Updated 1.5.05
  • The Serpent on the Crown
    Author: Peters, Elizabeth
    Publisher: Morrow $ 25.95 ISBN: 0060591781 Date: 2005
    star PW
    Once again the incomparable "New York Times" bestselling master of suspense, Elizabeth Peters, brings an exotic world of adventure, intrigue, and danger to vivid life, in a tale as exciting, mysterious, and powerful as ancient Egypt.
    Suggested Reading: Egyptian Stars
    Updated 3.10.05
  • The Mapmaker's Daughter
    Author: Pilkington, John
    Publisher: Severn $ 27.95 ISBN: 0727861603 Date: 2005
    star Booklist
    Updated 1.18.05
  • Rosa
    Author: Rabb, Jonathan
    Publisher: Crown $ 24.95 ISBN: 1400049210 Date: 2005
    star Booklist
    From the bestselling author of The Overseer comes a riveting historical mystery about a German police inspector in post-World War I, post-Revolution Berlin, who stumbles upon the body of famed social activist Rosa Luxemburg and a conspiracy involving the highest levels of the new National Socialist government and the political police. - Publisher Marketing.
    Updated 12.6.04
  • The Chariots of Calyx
    Author: Rowe, Rosemary
    Publisher: Headline $ 9.99 (paper) ISBN: 0747265194 Date: 2005
    star PW star LJ
    Libertus is in Londinium, at the invitation of the Roman Governor, when news arrives of the brutal murder of Caius Monnius, the city's chief corn-officer. Still reeling from the shock of catching sight of the wife he lost to slavery 20 years earlier, only to lose her again, the ever-inquisitive Libertus is, for once, uninterested in unmasking the murderer. But when the Roman Governor asks you to investigate...The dead man's mother is convinced that the truth behind the killing lies with Fortunatus, a celebrated charioteer with whom Monnius' wife was having an affair. But with the discovery of a second corpse, it soon becomes clear that this case is more complex--and more sinister--than anyone ever expected. - Publisher Marketing.
    Updated 8.22.05
  • A Gladiator Dies Only Once: Gordianus the Finder
    Author: Saylor, Steven
    Publisher: Minotaur $ 23.95 ISBN: 0312271204 Date: 2005
    star Booklist
    This is the second compilation of short pieces featuring Gordianus the Finder, filling in the gaps between the novels Roman Blood and Catilina's Riddle.
    Suggested Reading: Adult Books for Teens
    Updated 4.7.05
  • This Dame for Hire
    Author: Scoppettone, Sandra
    Publisher: Ballantine $ 21.95 ISBN: 034547810x Date: 2005
    star PW star LJ
    Meet Faye Quick, a sassy secretary who reluctantly becomes a P.I. when her boss joins the Army. As it turns out, she catches on quickly and is especially adept at solving crimes she stumbles over--literally.
    Suggested Reading: P.I. Stars
    Updated 7.12.05
  • Trance
    Author: Sorrrentino, Christopher
    Publisher: FSG $ 26 ISBN: 0374278644 Date: 2005
    star Booklist
    Sorrentino's second novel traces the Symbionese Liberation Army in the mid-70s, leading the reader on a breathtaking, hilarious, and heartbreaking underground tour across a beleaguered America, in the company of scam artists, visionaries, cultists, and a mismatched gang of middle-class people who typify the guiding conceit of their time, that of self-renovation.
    Updated 6.20.05
  • Cold Treachery
    Author: Todd, Charles
    Publisher: Bantam $ 25 ISBN: 0553803492 Date: 2005
    star PW
    December, 1919: Deep in England's frozen Lake District, constables discover a scene of unimaginable carnage: the bodies of five family members splayed across a bloodied cottage kitchen. Somewhere amidst the peaks and valleys of this beautiful country lurks a murderer who considers so much spilt blood the least of his revenge.
    Updated 12.6.04
  • Two Trains Running
    Author: Vachss, Andrew
    Publisher: Knopf $ 25 ISBN: 1400043816 Date: 2005
    star Kirkus
    In a thrilling departure, Vachss, the creator of the Burke novels, takes readers back to 1959 in this masterful crime novel that is also an epic story of postwar America.
    Updated 3.10.05
  • Pardonable Lies: Maisie Dobbs
    Author: Winspear, Jacqueline
    Publisher: Holt $ 23 ISBN: 0805078975 Date: 2005
    star LJ star PW star Booklist
    In the third novel of this bestselling series, London investigator Maisie Dobbs faces grave danger as she returns to the site of her most painful World War I memories to resolve the mystery of a pilot's death.
    Suggested Reading: All Stars | Historical Crime Fiction
    Updated 8.16.05

Starred Review Lists

Books that received at least one starred review from Booklist, Kirkus, LJ, and PW.

2013 Crime Fiction: Jan-June | Fiction: Jan-June | Speculative Fiction

2012 Crime Fiction: July-Dec | Fiction: July-Dec | Speculative Fiction

Hotlists@ Google Docs

Crime Fiction... 2013 | 2012 | 2011

Fiction... 2013 | 2012 | 2011

(lists of new and notable books - lists are sortable and can be downloaded)

more stars lists...

book mark Overbooked

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