Crime Through Time III

Written by Sharan Newman (ed.)
Review by Trudi Jacobson

The eighteen stories in this volume take us from ancient Rome to 20th century America. English and US settings predominate, though there are forays into Ireland, Scotland, Asia Minor and Italy. We meet familiar characters, such as Leonard Tourney’s Matthew and Joan Stock, Steven Saylor’s Gordianus the Finder, and Bruce Alexander’s Sir John Fielding and Jeremy Proctor. Other well-known mystery authors have written created characters outside their historical series, including Sharyn McCrumb, Maureen Jennings, Peter Lovesey, and Miriam Grace Monfredo. Stories from authors better known for their fantasy and science fiction writings—Harry Turtledove, Michael Coney, Eileen Kernaghan, and the versatile William Sanders—mingle with those by noted mystery writers Jan Burke, HRF Keating, and Peter Robinson.

While I enjoyed virtually all the stories, the highlights for me were McCrumb’s haunting “Lark in the Morning,” based on an old ballad and set in medieval England; Coney’s “Suspicion,” which takes place during the Clearances in Scotland; Lovesey’s “Dr. Death,” set in England in 1873, and appropriately characterized by its author as “Grand Guignol”; and Kernaghan’s “Dinner with H.P.B.,” referring to Madame Helena Blavatsky. I expect this volume contains something for everyone who enjoys historical mysteries, and it is a wonderful introduction to the genre for those approaching it for the first time.