Set in 1930s-1950s

I have a particular interest in historical crime/spy fiction set in the 1930s through 1950s.  Below are links to all the books I've read and reviewed set (not written) during the period.  If you have any suggestions for other books to read, please leave a comment - thanks. 

Bury Me Deep by Megan Abbott (Arizona, 1931)
Die a Little by Megan Abbott (Los Angeles, 1950s)
The Song is You by Megan Abbott (Los Angeles, 1950s)
Queenpin by Megan Abbott (Las Vegas, 1950s)
Concrete Angel by Patricia Abbott (Philadelphia, 1950s-80s)
The Dead of Winter by Rennie Airth (London, 1944)
A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson (England, 1920s-2000s)
Life After Life by Kate Atkinson (England, 1910s-1960s)
City of Thieves by David Benioff (Leningrad, 1942)
The First Wave by James R Benn (Algeria, 1943)
Billy Boyle by James Benn (England, Norway, 1942)
The Big Kiss-Off of 1944 by Andrew Bergman (New York, 1944)
The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes (Chicago 1930s-2000s)
HHhH by Laurent Binet (Czechoslavakia, 1942)
Holy Orders by Benjamin Black (Dublin, late 1950s)
Elegy for April by Benjamin Black (Dublin, late 1950s)
The Silver Swan by Benjamin Black (Dublin, late 1950s)
The Nuremberg Enigma by Yves Bonavero (Germany, 1945)
Restless by William Boyd (Paris, Belgium, US 1939-41; UK 1976)
The Smoke by Tony Broadbent (London, 1947/48)
A Trace of Smoke by Rebecca Cantrell (Berlin 1931)
A Night of Long Knives by Rebecca Cantrell (Munich/Berlin 1933)
Corpus by Rory Clements (England, 1936)
I Will Have Vengeance by Maurizio De Giovanni (Naples, 1931)
Blood Curse by Maurizio de Giovanni (Naples, 1931)
Garden of Beasts by Jeffery Deaver (US, England, Scotland, Germany, Sweden, 1936)
Paris Trout by Pete Dexter (Georgia, late 1940s)
Winston’s War by Michael Dobbs (London, 1938-40)
All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (France, Germany, Russia, Austria, 1939-45)
Masaryk Station by David Downing (Germany, Italy, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, 1948)
Lehrter Station by David Downing (London, Berlin 1945)
Potsdam Station by David Downing (Moscow/Berlin 1945)
Stettin Station by David Downing (Berlin, 1941)
Silesian Station by David Downing (Germany/Poland 1939)
Zoo Station by David Downing (Germany, Europe, 1939)
Auslander by Paul Dowswell (Poland, Germany, 1939-42)
The Red Coffin by Sam Eastland (Russia, late 1930s)
The Elegant Lie by Sam Eastland (Germany 1949)
Half Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan (Paris/Berlin 1939-40)
Princes Gate by Mark Ellis (London 1940)
Stalin’s Gold by Mark Ellis (London 1940)
Whiskey River by Loren Estleman (Detroit, 1920s/30s)
Alone in Berlin by Hans Fallada (Berlin 1940)
The Spring of Kasper Meier by Ben Fergusson (Berlin 1946)
Pilgrim Soul by Gordon Ferris (Scotland, Hamburg, 1947/48)
The Hanging Shed by Gordon Ferris (Scotland 1946)
Bitter Water by Gordon Ferris (Glasgow, 1946)
The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan (Australia, Thailand 1930s-present day)
The Foreign Correspondence by Alan Furst (Paris 1939)
Kingdom of Shadows by Alan Furst (Europe, 1938)
The Spies of Warsaw by Alan Furst (Poland, 1939)
Night Soldiers by Alan Furst (Bulgaria, Russia, Spain, France 1933-45)
Dark Star by Alan Furst (Belgium, Germany, Czechoslovakia, France, Poland and Russia, 1937-41)
A Negro and an Ofay by Danny Gardner (Illinois, 1952)
The Long Home by William Gay (Tennessee, 1940s)
A Few Right Thinking Men by Sulari Gentill (Australia, 1931)
A Decline in Prophets by Sulari Gentill (Cruise, Australia 1933)
The Zig Zag Girl by Elly Griffiths (Brighton/Inverness 1940s, 1950)
The Sleepwalkers by Paul Grossman (Berlin, 1932)
The Holiday Murders by Robert Gott (Australia, 1943)
The One Man by Andrew Gross (Poland, United States, 1944)
The Winter of Her Discontent by Kathryn Miller Haines (New York, 1943)
The Way Back to Florence by Glenn Haybittle (Italy, England, 1938-45)
Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey (England, late 1940s, present)
Devastation Road by Jason Hewitt (Czechoslovakia, Germany, 1945)
Clinch by Martin Holmen (Stockholm, 1932)
Black Cross by Greg Iles (England, Scotland, Germany, Sweden, US, 1944, 1990s)
The Shadow District by Arnaldur Indridason (Iceland, 1944)
Evil Things by Katja Ivar (Finland, 1952)
Deep as Death by Katja Ivar (Finland, 1953)
Season of Darkness by Maureen Jennings (England 1940)
Flight from Berlin by David John (Berlin, London, 1936)
The Silver Stain by Paul Johnston (Crete 1942/2003)
Echoland by Joe Joyce (Dublin, 1940)
Echobeat by Joe Joyce (Dublin, 1940/41)
Leaving Berlin by Joseph Kanon (Berlin, 1948)
Istanbul Passage by Joseph Kanon (Istanbul, 1946)
The Good German by Joseph Kanon (Berlin, 1946)
Metropolis by Philip Kerr (Berlin, 1929)
Greeks Bearing Gifts by Philip Kerr (Germany, Greece, 1957)
Prussian Blue by Philip Kerr (France and Germany, 1938/1956)

The Other Side of Silence by Philip Kerr (France 1956, Germany 1938, 1944/5)
Field Grey by Philip Kerr (France/Cuba/Germany 1931/1954)
A Man Without Breath by Philip Kerr (Germany/Poland, 1943)
Prague Fatale by Philip Kerr (Berlin/Prague, 1941/42)
If the Dead Rise Not by Philip Kerr (Berlin/Cuba, 1934/1954)
The Lady from Zagreb by Philip Kerr (France, Germany, Yugoslavia, Switzerland, 1942/43, 1956)
Death in Breslau by Marek Krajewski (Breslau 1933)
The End of the World in Breslau by Marek Krajewski (Breslau, 1927, 1960)
Babylon Berlin by Volker Kutscher (Berlin, 1929/30)
The Hidden Child by Camilla Lackberg (Sweden, Norway, Germany 1940s/2007)
A Fine Dark Line by Joe Lansdale (Texas, 1958)
Fires of London by Janice Law (London, 1941)
Friends and Traitors by John Lawton (England, Austria, 1935-58)
Riptide by John Lawton (London, 1941)
A Lily of the Field by John Lawton (Vienna 1934/London 1948)
Then We Take Berlin by John Lawton (London, Hamburg, Berlin, 1930s-50s)
Old Flames by John Lawton (London/Portsmouth, 1956)
Black Out by John Lawton (London, 1944)
Live by Night by Dennis Lehane (Boston/Tampa, 1930s)
Who Killed Palomino Molero? by Mario Vargas Llosa (Peru, 1950s)
Carte Blanche by Carlo Lucarelli (Italy, 1945)
The Damned Season by Carlo Lucarelli (Italy, 1946)
Via Delle Oche by Carlo Lucarelli  (Italy, 1948)
Midnight in Berlin by James MacManus (Berlin, 1938)
A Death in Bordeaux by Allan Massie (Bordeaux, 1940)
Tightrope by Simon Mawer (France, Germany, England, 1943-2000s)
The Divided City by Luke McCallin (Berlin, 1947)
The Man From Berlin by Luke McCallin (Yugoslavia, 1943)
The Pale House by Luke McCallin (Yugoslavia, 1944/45)
The Innocent by Ian McEwan (Germany, 1954/55)
Diggers Rest Hotel by Geoffrey McGeachin (Australia, 1947)
Black Wattle Creek by Geoffrey McGeachin (Australia, 1957)
The Cypher Bureau by Eilidh McGinness (Poland, France, Spain, England, 1930s-40s)
The Information Officer by Mark Mills (Malta, 1941)
Icelight by Aly Monroe (London, 1946)
The Maze of Cadiz by Aly Monroe (Spain, 1944)
Washington Shadow by Aly Monroe (US, 1945)
Black Bear by Aly Monroe (US, 1947)
Black Betty by Walter Mosley(Los Angeles, 1961)
The Devil in a Blue Dress by Walter Mosley (Los Angeles, 1948)
A Red Death by Walter Mosley (Los Angeles, 1953)
White Butterfly by Walter Mosley (Los Angeles, 1956)
The Lightning Men by Thomas Mullen (Atlanta, 1950)
Dark Town by Thomas Mullen (Atlanta, 1948)
Last Rights by Barbara Nadel (London, 1940)
Present Darkness by Malla Nunn (South Africa, 1953)
Let the Dead Lie by Malla Nunn (South Africa, 1953)
A Beautiful Place to Die by Malla Nunn (South Africa, 1952)
Blessed are the Dead by Malla Nunn (South Africa, 1953)
When the Doves Disappeared by Sofi Oksanen (Estonia, 1941-4, 1963-6)
The Sentinel by Mark Oldfield (Spain, 1938, 1953, 2009)
The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje (Italy, Libya, Egypt, 1930s/40s)
African Sky by Tony Park (Zimbabwe, 1943)
The Horseman’s Song by Ben Pastor (Spain, 1937)
Lumen by Ben Pastor (Poland, 1939)
Tin Sky by Ben Pastor (Ukraine, 1943)
Liar Moon by Ben Pastor (Italy, 1943)
The Road to Ithaca by Ben Pastor (Crete, 1941)
A Dark Song of Blood by Ben Pastor (Italy, 1944)
Design for Dying by Renee Patrick (Los Angeles, 1938)
Death of a Nationalist by Rachel Pawel (Madrid 1938)
Tokyo Year Zero by David Peace (Tokyo 1946)
The Secrets We Kept by Lara Prescott (Russia, United States 1930s-60s)
Werewolf by Matthew Pritchard (Germany 1945)
Our Friends in Berlin by Anthony Quinn (England, 1930-40s)
Hour of the Cat by Peter Quinn (New York/Berlin 1938)
Murderer in the Ruins by Cay Rademacher (Hamburg, 1947)
The Detour by Andromeda Romano-Lax (Italy 1938/48)
The Informant by Andrew Rosenheim (Los Angeles, Washington DC 1941)
Red Joan by Jennie Rooney (England, 1940s, 2000s)
Lennox by Craig Russell (Glasgow, 1953)
The Long Glasgow Kiss by Craig Russell (Glasgow, 1953/54)
The Deep Dark Sleep by Craig Russell (Glasgow, 1955)
The City in Flames by Michael Russell (Ireland, London, 1940)
The City of Shadows by Michael Russell (Dublin/Danzig, 1934)
The City of Strangers by Michael Russell (Ireland/New York, 1939)
City of Lies by Michael Russell (Ireland, Portugal, France, Germany, 1940)
The City in Darkness by Michael Russell (Ireland, Spain, UK, 1940/41)
The Last Sunrise by Robert Ryan (India, Burma, Singapore, China 1941/1948)
Early One Morning by Robert Ryan (Ireland, France, England, Germany 1926-1946)
The Holy Thief by William Ryan (Moscow, 1936)
The Bloody Meadow by William Ryan (Ukraine, 1936)
The Twelfth Department by William Ryan (Moscow, 1937)
The Constant Soldier by William Ryan (Germany/Poland 1944/45)
The Age of Treachery by Gavin Scott (England, Germany, Denmark, Norway, 1946)
The Killing of Emma Gross by Damien Seaman (Dusseldorf, 1929/30)
Tokyo Station by Martin Cruz Smith (Tokyo, 1922/41)
Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith (Russia, 1953)
Red Plenty by Francis Spufford (Russia, 1950s/60s)
Once in Another World Brendan John Sweeney  (Ireland, 1937)
A Thousand Falling Crows by Larry Sweazy (Texas, 1933/34)
Night Life by David C Taylor (New York, 1954)
Ostland by David Thomas (Berlin/Minsk 1940/1959)
Black Roses by Jayne Thynne (Britain, Berlin, 1933)
A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles (Moscow, 1922 to 1950s)
Bad Penny Blues by Cathi Unsworth (London, 1958-65)
Without the Moon by Cathi Unsworth (London, 1942)
The Informers by Juan Gabriel Vásquez (Columbia, 1930-40s, 1990s)
The Good Assassin by Paul Vidich (Cuba, 1958)
Pavel and I by Dan Vyleta (Berlin, 1946)
In Search of Klingsor by Jorgi Volpi (US, Germany, post-war)
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut (Germany, United States, 1944/45, post-war)
The Interrogator by Andrew William (London, 1941)
The Whitehall Mandarin by Edward Wilson (1950s/60s, England, US, Cuba, Russia, Vietnam) 
The Envoy by Edward Wilson (S.E. England, early 1950s)
The Darkling Spy by Edward Wilson (London, Budapest, East Germany, 1956)
The Midnight Swimmer by Edward Wilson (Berlin, London, Cuba, 1959-62)
The Girl in Berlin by Elizabeth Wilson (London, Berlin, 1951)
A Capital Crime by Laura Wilson (London, early 1950s)
Stratton's War by Laura Wilson (London, 1940)
A Willing Victim by Laura Wilson (London/Suffolk, 1956)
The Riot by Laura Wilson (London, 1958)
An Empty Death by Laura Wilson (London, 1944)
Journey to Munich by Jacqueline Winspear (London, Munich, 1938)
The Frangipani Tree Mystery by Ovidia Yu (Singapore, 1936)
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (Germany, 1939-43)


Paul D Brazill said...

Salazar by Seth Lynch.

Anonymous said...

Rob - What a great idea! Just out of curiosity, have you read John Banville's Quirke series? He writes it as Benjamin Black. It takes place in 1950's Dublin and features Quirke, who's a pathologist in the city mortuary. I don't know if you'll find the series of interest, but I just thought I'd mention it.

Bernadette said...

Maurizio DeGiovanni's I Will Have Vengeance - set in Naples in 1931 - I liked but didn't love it

Robert Gott is an Australian author who sets one series during the war (it starts with Good Murder) and then last year he wrote The Holiday Murders which is set just towards the end of the war featuring a fledgling Homicide squad in Victoria (a state). This one will likely make my favourites for the year

Tom Rob Smith's Russian trilogy mostly takes place in the 1950's - the first book - CHILD 44 - is the only one I would recommend and it is set squarely in the 50's - a fabulous book about the worst aspects of the soviet system (even with its over-the-top ending)

Rob Kitchin said...

Thanks, Paul. Salazar is on my to buy list.

Margot, I've read the first book. I've have the second one to read and hope to get to it soon.

Bernadette. Have added DeGiovanni to my to buy list. Gott's Good Murder is pretty pricey. The Holiday Murders is affordable though. I have read Tom Rob Smith's Child 44 - I've added it to the list.

Mrs P said...

What a fabulous and useful list, Rob. I'll enjoy browsing these very much. Thanks!

Unknown said...

A terrific list. I have a similar interest in books from the 30's, 40's, 50's and on into the 1960's. Edward Wright's series of John Ray Horn mysteries, set in Los Angeles during the 1940s are worth checking out.

Rob Kitchin said...

Gram, thanks. I'll check out the Wright series.

Roger Westcombe said...

Love your blog, Rob. I also have a passion for crime fiction set in 1940s America, and loved your list covering this period. Essential here is Andrew Bergman's Jack LeVine trilogy, where the homefront background is vivid and adds so much to their pleasure. Cheers, Roger

Rob Kitchin said...

Roger, many thanks for the recommendation. I'll see if I can track down a copy of the first in the series. Best, Rob

David Burket said...

Quite a list! If I didn't already have nearly 500 on my "to-read" list I'd get busy adding these. As is, will save.

Another recommendation for you: "Tokyo Year Zero," by David Peace. Set in immediate post-WWII Japan; could be described as a "police procedural," but is unlike anything of that sort as we know it. Very interesting study of societal norms as well as a good crime tale.

Rob Kitchin said...

Thanks. I'll take a look, esp. as I might be heading to Japan later in the year.