Although I have been lax this past year in keeping a reading list, I have more or less kept track of all the things I have read since 1984 or so. It is nothing complex, just a title and author list to help jog the memory when I need it. This week’s posts are mostly ones from that list — older titles that I think warrant a second look, or, if you are not familiar with these authors or books, a first look. These are, in many cases, the titles that I go back to when I am looking for something familiar to read. I think that these titles are ones that have retained their currency.
I am always interested in well-researched historical mysteries, as readers of this blog know. One that I have particularly enjoyed is Wilder Perkins’ Bartholomew Hoare series. Set in early 19th century England, Perkins’ books follow the career of former naval captain Bartholomew Hoare. Hoare’s promising naval career is cut short by a throat wound that renders him unable to speak above a whisper, preventing him from assuming command of a ship. Instead, Hoare is assigned to investigate a variety of crimes that involve both civilians and the navy. Here, we find Hoare in command of a motley crew of spies serving King George III. When two prominent navy officers are found decapitated in Dorchester, Hoare and his crew have to figure out if this is a ritual murder of some sort, or part of a more sinister plot by Bonapartists to overthrow the royal family.
With lots of detail of both civilian and naval life and its mix of espionage and mystery, this story should appeal to fans of Bruce Alexander’s Sir John Fielding series as well as to those who enjoy Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey and Maturin series, but really, any fan of historical crime fiction should give Perkins a read.
Check the WRL catalog for Hoare and the Headless Captains