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History Mysteries, 20th Century

Read your mysteries decade-by-decade and get a taste of U.S. history.

1900s

Rubenfeld, Jed
Interpretation of Murder: A Novel
A vicious murder takes place during Sigmund Freud's only visit to the United States, in 1909, and his expertise is needed to extract suppressed memories from the one person who can help solve the case.
 

1910s

Dyja, Thomas
The Moon in Our Hands: A Novel
A blond-haired, blue-eyed African American is sent to Tennessee by the NAACP to investigate a lynching, by passing in the white community, and nothing is as black-and-white as it appears.
 

1920s

Holden, Craig
The Jazz Bird
A bootlegger's wife is shot, and the bootlegger turns himself in. The question is, why? The story we learn through the courtroom trial is steeped in jazz and bootleg liquor.
 

1930s

Baxter, Holly
Tears of the Dragon
A young woman in Depression-era Chicago gets a lot more than she bargained for when she tries to earn some extra money serving at a private party and violence ensues.
 

1940s

Scoppettone, Sandra
This Dame for Hire
Faye Quick starts off as the secretary, but soon takes over as PI when her boss gets drafted in 1943. Her first case: the body of a young woman she trips over in a Greenwich Village street.
 

1950s

Mosley, Walter
Fear of the Dark: A Novel
Bookseller Paris Minton and his friend Fearless Jones get drawn into the problems of Paris' cousin, "Useless" S. Grant, who has disappeared in 1950s Los Angeles.
 

1960s

Pelecanos, George P.
Hard Revolution: A Novel
Derek Strange, a young African American cop in 1960s Washington, D.C., tries to keep order in the weeks surrounding the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., while his brother Dennis, back from the service, becomes part of a plot to rob a convenience store.
 

1970s

Kuhlken, Ken
The Do-Re-Mi
It's 1972, and folk singer wanna-be, Clifford Hickey, is on his way to law school when he gets embroiled in a murder investigation involving his Vietnam-vet brother at a folk festival in Evergreen, CA.
 

1980s

Thorp, Roderick
River: A Novel of the Green River Killings
A fictional account of the story behind the Green River serial murders that took the lives of over 50 young women in the 1980s Pacific Northwest.
 

1990s

Grisham, John
The Firm
Perhaps the quintessential 90s suspense novel, featuring a hot shot law school grad who goes for the money in a Memphis, and finds himself entangled in a very dangerous situation.
 

Updated:08/18/2009