A few of my favorite reads... Jennifer S Alderson

A few of my favorite reads…

To celebrate the end of 2018, I thought it would be fun to share a few of my favorite books in the art mystery, historical fiction and thriller genre – all strong in setting. A few are recent reads and others are old favorites. If you’re looking for gift ideas, this list might be a good place to start!

  1. The Art Forger by BA Shapiro. A brilliantly conceived and executed art history mystery. As a mystery fan, I was entertained and captivated by the twists and turns. As a trained art historian, it was wonderful to get lost in the art-infused story lines about modern masters and their patrons. Highly recommended for mystery readers, especially those interested in art crimes and history.
  2. Return of the Courtesan by Victoria Blake. Her lush, evocative descriptions of Venice in the 16th century and present-day London transported me back to both cities. Her eye for detail brings the characters, settings and story to life. It’s one of my favorite books.  [Her crime fiction novel, Jumping the Cracks, also deserves a special mention. It is the first mystery I read that effectively combined anthropology, the museum world and crime fiction.]
  3. The Secret Wife by Gill Paul. Excellent dual timeline novel about the Romanov’s last days. It’s not really a mystery, but the author does keep you in suspense as several important storylines converge at the end of the novel.
  4. The Master by Dora Ilieva. This archeological mystery is well-crafted and intriguing, as are the author’s descriptions of Bulgaria, a country I’ve yet to visit but now want to.
  5. Fast Track to Glory by Tomasz Chrusciel. This extremely well-executed action thriller is set in around the world. I am in awe of his pacing and plotting.
  6. The Expats by Chris Pavone. Sophisticated mystery and wild goose chase through Europe. I really connected with the amateur sleuth driving the story.
  7. The Art Whisperer by Charlotte and Aaron Elkins. This is the third book in an enjoyable series of four following a freelance art restorer who has a knack for getting into art-related trouble.
  8. The Ghost by Robert Harris. This is one of the most impressive stories I have ever read. Every word matters and his pacing is incredible. This is a true page-turner that kept me guessing until the very last sentence.
  9. The Beach by Alex Garland. This classic is the reason I began writing. Not that I thought I could do better, or anything like that! It was the first fiction story I had read that combined crime, mystery, young adult angst, backpacking, wanderlust and adventure so seamlessly.
  10. Trouble in Nuala by Harriet Steel. Engaging cozy mystery series set in Sri Lanka. Perfect for readers who love vintage-style mysteries.
  11. Casket Cache by Janice J. Richardson. In this cozy mystery series – set in a funeral home – the characters are driven by their compassion for their fellow man, as well as the recently-deceased they attend to. I highly recommend this series to fans of mysteries, amateur sleuths, and cozies.
  12. Bridge of Sighs and Dreams by Pamela Allegretto. A captivating World War Two historical fiction novel set in Italy. The characters and story line will quickly draw you in.

And as a bonus, here is a non-fiction favorite: Savage Harvest: A Tale of Cannibals, Colonialism, and Michael Rockefeller’s Tragic Quest for Primitive Art by Carl Hoffman. A journalist and explorer recounts his fascinating journey to Papua New Guinea, where he retraces the last art-collecting expedition made by anthropologist Michael Rockefeller. He effortlessly combines mystery, adventure, personal self-discovery and colonial history into one captivating novel.

Happy reading and holidays!


Jennifer S. Alderson

Hello! I am the author of the Travel Can Be Murder Cozy Mystery series, the Zelda Richardson Art Mystery series, and Adventures in Backpacking novels. I love to write and blog about travel, art, museums, expat life, and great books. Thanks for stopping by!

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Pamela Allegretto

    Thank you for including Bridge of Sighs and Dreams to your list. I am grateful for your kindness and generosity. I have Tweeted the page. Best wishes!

    1. Jennifer S. Alderson

      It’s a wonderful book, Pamela. Happy to include it! Happy New Year 🙂

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