Historical mysteries on audio are an engaging way to get a view into life just before, during, and after WWII. This period offers a rich emotional background for uncovering the impact of war on individuals and families.
FIVE DECEMBERS by James Kestrel is read by Golden Voice narrator Edoardo Ballerini. This Earphones Award winner provides listeners with an unusual view of the period just before Pearl Harbor through the ending of WWII. Listeners travel with Joe McGrady, a Hawaiian police detective who travels to Asia, as most Westerners are fleeing, to pursue a serial killer. Ballerini demonstrates his amazing talents for accents and conveying nationalities and personalities as he voices the Japanese, Chinese, and German men and women who McGrady encounters.
DEAR LITTLE CORPSES, book 10 in the Josephine Tey series by Nicola Upson and performed by Helen Lloyd, takes us to London during the Blitz. It is September 1939, and because of the Blitz, thousands of children are being evacuated from London to the countryside, including Suffolk. Lloyd, with her clear and differentiated British and Scottish accents, draws listeners into this tale of a missing child.
With MOTHER DAUGHTER TRAITOR SPY, Susan Elia MacNeal has written a stand-alone that draws on her knowledge and research of the same period as her Maggie Hope series. This audiobook, based on real people and real events, takes listeners into the world of the German Bund as it is growing and recruiting members in Los Angeles. Violet and her daughter Veronica Grace become anti-Nazi spies and go undercover to infiltrate the growing California Reich. As with MacNeal’s Hope series, the attention to detail allows listeners to genuinely experience the fears of life during this time. This is enhanced for listeners by narrator Caroline Hewitt’s skill at accents and ability to shift seamlessly from male to female characters.
Interestingly, Caroline Hewitt has also narrated several historical fiction and nonfiction books set during this period, including AGENT MOST WANTED by Sonia Purnell, a children’s book (ages 10+) biography about Virginia Hall, woman the Gestapo called, “the most dangerous of all Allied spies.” So, although this is not a mystery, this heart-stopping true tale provides a way for the younger set to learn about one woman’s incredible persistence and courage. Adult readers who are curious about Virginia Hall can listen to Hewitt narrate a historical fiction adaptation of her life, THE INVISIBLE WOMAN by Erica Robuck.