Thursday, January 17, 2013

Contemporary, historical crime fiction set in the 1930-1950s

Yesterday a colleague asked if I could recommend some crime fiction set in 1930s-1950s.  I jotted down a bunch of suggestions on a sticky note.  Last night I decided it would be better to email her links to various reviews and then decided I might as well share it here.  So, if you're interested in historical crime fiction in this period, then you might like books by these authors (I've only picked one book per author, but there are others reviewed on the blog if you search for them).  If you have any other suggestions, please leave a comment.

Icelight by Ali Monroe (London 1946)
The City of Shadows by Michael Russell (Dublin/Danzig 1934)
Istanbul Passage by Joseph Kanon (Istanbul, 1946)
The Envoy by Edward Wilson (S.E. England, early 1950s)
The Foreign Correspondence by Alan Furst (Paris 1939)
Silesian Station by David Downing (Germany/Poland 1939)
A Lily of the Field by John Lawton (Vienna 1934/London 1948)
A Few Right Thinking Men by Sulari Gentill (Australia 1931)
Lumen by Ben Pastor (Poland, 1930)
The Holy Thief by William Ryan (Moscow 1936)
Half Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan (Paris/Berlin 1939-40)
Bury Me Deep by Megan Abbott (Arizona, 1931)
The Silver Stain by Paul Johnston (Crete 1942/2003)
Stratton's War by Laura Wilson (London 1940)
A Beautiful Place to Die by Malla Nunn (South Africa 1952)
Field Grey by Philip Kerr (France/Cuba/Germany 1931/1954)
The Information Officer by Mark Mills (Malta, 1941)
A Trace of Smoke by Rebecca Cantrell (Berlin 1931)
Death in Breslau by Marek Krajewski (Breslau 1933)
Alone in Berlin by Hans Fallada (Berlin 1940)
Carte Blanche by Carlo Lucarelli (Italy 1945)
HHhH by Laurent Binet (Czechoslavakia, 1942)
Restless by William Boyd (Pairs, Belgium, US 1939-41; UK 1976)
The Last Sunrise by Robert Ryan (India, Burma, Singapore, China 1941/1948)
The Sleepwalkers by Paul Grossman (Berlin, 1932)
The Red Coffin by Sam Eastland (Russia, late 1930s)
The Hanging Shed by Gordon Ferris (Scotland 1946)
The Killing of Emma Gross by Damien Seaman (Dusseldorf, 1929/30)
Hour of the Cat by Peter Quinn (New York/Berlin 1938)
Ostland by David Thomas (Berlin/Minsk 1940/1959)
Echoland by Joe Joyce (Dublin, 1940)
Once in Another World Brendan John Sweeney  (Ireland, 1937)
Death of a Nationalist by Rachel Pawel (Madrid 1938)
The Devil in a Blue Dress by Walter Mosley (Los Angeles, 1948)
Last Rights by Barbara Nadel (London, 1940)
A Death in Bordeaux by Allan Massie (Bordeaux, 1940)
In Search of Klingsor by Jorgi Volpi (US, Germany, post-war)
Diggers Rest Hotel by Geoffrey McGeachin (Australia, 1947)

Updated as of Dec 2013


Anonymous said...

Thanks for this, Rob. Too many people think of historical fiction as only stories from at least a few hundred years ago...

Dorte H said...

You have some great ones there, but I also like Andrew Taylor's Lydmouth series quite a bit, especially the first ones which take place a few years after the war.

Paul D Brazill said...

Thanks for that list. Plenty for me to check out. I'd add The Killing Of Emma Gross by Damien Seaman.

Rob Kitchin said...

Dorte, I'll take a look at Andrew Taylor. Thanks for suggestion.

Paul, I've read and reviewed The Killing of Emma Gross. Thanks for reminding me. I've added it to the list.

Mrs. Peabody said...

Dear Rob

Here are a few extras! Best wishes, Mrs P.

The Final Solution: A Story of Detection by Michael Chabon (Sussex 1944)
Comfort to the Enemy by Leonard Elmore (Oklahoma 1944)
The Arms Maker or Berlin by Dan Fesperman (partly Berlin, 1941-45)
The Good German by Joseph Kanon (Berlin 1945)
March Violets by Philip Kerr (Berlin 1936)
The Pale Criminal by Philip Kerr (Berlin 1938)
A German Requiem by Philip Kerr (Vienna post-1945)
If the Dead Rise Not by Philip Kerr (Berlin 1934; Havana 1950s)
After the Mourning by Barbara Nadel (London 1940)
Death of a Nationalist by Rebecca Pawel (Spain 1939)
The Big Blowdown by George Pelecanos (Washington DC 1946)
The Murder Farm by Andrea Maria Schenkel (rural West Germany 1950s)
The Office of the Dead by Andrew Taylor (UK 1957)

Rob Kitchin said...

Many thanks Mrs P. I've read all the Philip Kerr and also the Fesperman. I'll take a look at all the others though. Best, Rob