2013 Books of the year: best historical mystery

December: time for the Books of the Year posts.  I will finish 130 books by the end of the year with lots of new authors and some familiar writers showing great improvement, like the one below.

Best Historical Mystery (foreign setting): Circle of Shadows by Imogen Robertson.  While I’ve enjoyed the previous books in the Harriett Westerman and Gabriel Crowder series by Imogen Robertson, the fourth volume is definitely a step up and takes readers on a dizzying ride in 1780s Germany.  The widow Westerman and the reclusive anatomist Crowder leave their respective Sussex homes to rescue Westerman’s brother-in-law from a charge of murder at the ducal court of Maulberg.  Upon arriving, they discover the court is awash with spies, including their arch-nemesis the castrato Manzerotti, secret societies, an alchemist, some very talented craftsmen and a despotic duke, all of whom are living at least dual roles.  The list of suspects grows daily, as does the roster of victims.  Robertson creates a good sense of pace and tension, culminating in a satisfactory conclusion.  Overall, an excellent entry in a quality series.

Best Historical Mystery (U.S. setting): As was the case last year and in 2011, the choices here were too few and not that special.

For all my previous “books of the year” lists, see my dedicated page for these titles.

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