Kathy Lynn Emerson
Best Nonfiction of 2008
The Art and Adventure of Sleuthing Through the Past
trade paperback original
also available as an ebook
From the Publisher:
HOW TO WRITE KILLER HISTORICAL MYSTERIES
by Kathy Lynn Emerson
Subtitled The Art and Adventure of Sleuthing Through the Past, this useful guide will inspire and delight writers and readers of historical mystery fiction. The popular genre features the amateur sleuth or early PI/police-equivalent confronted with crime at any period during the last few thousand years, and is an enjoyable and memorable way to experience history up close and personal, combined with an intellectual puzzle. Ranging from Samurai Japan to turn-of-the-twentieth-century New York, from Medieval and Renaissance Europe to the American frontier, these books open a vast historical panorama to the curious reader who enjoys murder and mayhem along with past mores and morals.
Veteran historical novelist-nonfiction author Kathy Lynn Emerson published her first mystery back in 1985. How to Write Killer Historical Mysteries is her thirty-sixth published book, and it draws on her experience in researching, writing, selling, and sustaining both her Lady Appleton series, set in Elizabethan England, and her Diana Spaulding series, taking place in the U.S. in the 1880s. This unique reference book also includes the contributions of more than forty other historical mystery writers. Emerson's book includes the authors' anecdotes, practical advice, and suggestions for research as well as additional input from assorted editors, booksellers, reviewers, and fans.
How to Write Killer Historical Mysteries is a useful, complete, and fascinating guide that no mystery or history buff should be without. For the published or the aspiring historical fiction writer who wants to bring the past alive, it's a must-read.
From the Reviewers:
review by Marv Lachman in Deadly Pleasures:
"Kathy Lynn Emerson's HOW TO WRITE KILLER HISTORICAL MYSTERIES from Perseverance Press is the best book about writing mysteries that I have ever read. Even if not read as a how-to book, it is a splendid introduction to this sub-genre of the mystery, at all times informative and lively reading."
review by Jon L. Breen in Mystery Scene:
"One of the best specialized technical manuals in the crime fiction genre."
review by Susan Cook in Historical Novels Review:
"I actually had to remind myself to write a review of this book, as I was so busy putting it to use. It is an excellent introduction for writers starting out in the genre as well as a handy reference guide and encouragement for the more experienced."
review by Christine Zibas in Reviewing
"This wealth of information is a gold mine for anyone interested in the world of historical mysteries, whether he or she is a would-be author or not."
Writer's Digest Books (1996)
out of print but available as an e-book
THE WRITER'S GUIDE TO EVERYDAY
LIFE IN RENAISSANCE ENGLAND
(revised and expanded edition)
"Even if you're not
writing historical fiction, this volume is full of fascinating period information."
"An invaluable reference book for scholars of the Renaissance
as well as for librarians, genealogists, and Women's Studies specialists."
(Virginian Pilot and Ledger-Star)
This book was written in 1980 and published in 1984. With the advent of the Internet and search tools like Google Books, many more resources became readily available. Wives and Daughters is hopelessly outdated. Please see the revised and enlarged version at A Who's Who of Tudor Women instead.