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)
City of Thieves by David Benioff (Leningrad, 1942)
HHhH by Laurent Binet (Czechoslavakia, 1942)
Elegy for April by Benjamin Black(Dublin, late 1950s)
The Silver Swan by Benjamin Black (Dublin, late 1950s)
Billy Boyle by James Benn (England, Norway, 1942)
The Nuremberg Enigma by Yves Bonavero (Germany, 1945) 
Restless by William Boyd (Paris, Belgium, US 1939-41; UK 1976)
A Trace of Smoke by Rebecca Cantrell (Berlin 1931)
A Night of Long Knives by Rebecca Cantrell (Munich/Berlin 1933)
I Will Have Vengeance by Maurizio De Giovanni (Naples, 1931)
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)
The Red Coffin by Sam Eastland (Russia, late 1930s)
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)
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)
Devastation Road by Jason Hewitt (Czechoslovakia, Germany, 1945)
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)
Istanbul Passage by Joseph Kanon (Istanbul, 1946)
The Good German by Joseph Kanon (Berlin, 1946)
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)
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)
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)
Carte Blanche by Carlo Lucarelli (Italy, 1945)
The Damned Season by Carlo Lucarelli (Italy, 1946)
Via Delle Oche by Carlo Lucarelli  (Italy, 1948)
A Death in Bordeaux by Allan Massie (Bordeaux, 1940)
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)
Diggers Rest Hotel by Geoffrey McGeachin (Australia, 1947)
Black Wattle Creek by Geoffrey McGeachin (Australia, 1957)
The Information Officer by Mark Mills (Malta, 1941)
Icelight by Ali 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)
The Devil in a Blue Dress by Walter Mosley (Los Angeles, 1948)
Last Rights by Barbara Nadel (London, 1940)
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)
Lumen by Ben Pastor (Poland, 1939)
Tin Sky by Ben Pastor(Ukraine, 1943)
Liar Moon by Ben Pastor (Italy, 1943)
A Dark Song of Blood by Ben Pastor (Italy, 1944)
Death of a Nationalist by Rachel Pawel (Madrid 1938)
Werewolf by Matthew Pritchard (Germany 1945)
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 City of Shadows by Michael Russell (Dublin/Danzig, 1934)
The City of Strangers by Michael Russell (Ireland/New York, 1939)
The Last Sunrise by Robert Ryan (India, Burma, Singapore, China 1941/1948)
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 Killing of Emma Gross by Damien Seaman (Dusseldorf, 1929/30)
Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith (Russia, 1953)
Once in Another World Brendan John Sweeney  (Ireland, 1937)
Ostland by David Thomas (Berlin/Minsk 1940/1959)
Black Roses by Jayne Thynne (Britain, Berlin, 1933)
Bad Penny Blues by Cathi Unsworth (London, 1958-65)
The Informers by Juan Gabriel Vásquez (Columbia, 1930-40s, 1990s)
Pavel and I by Dan Vyleta (Berlin, 1946)
In Search of Klingsor by Jorgi Volpi (US, Germany, 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)
Stratton's War by Laura Wilson (London, 1940)
A Willing Victim by Laura Wilson (London/Suffolk, 1956)
The Riot by Laura Wilson (London, 1958)
Journey to Munich by Jacqueline Winspear (London, Munich, 1938)


7 comments:

Paul D. Brazill said...

Salazar by Seth Lynch.

http://pauldbrazill.wordpress.com/2013/12/30/top-tips-recommended-reads-10/

Margot Kinberg 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!

Gram Lynch 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.