It’s now secret that I enjoy a good mystery and these two, The Red Palace and A Rip Through Time definitely fit that bill. These are historical mysteries, one set in Korea in 1758 and the other in Scotland in 1869. Although very different from one another, they were both excellent stories that I recommend.

The Red Palace by June Hur, Michelle H. Lee (Narrator)

Published January 25th 2022 by Feiwel & Friends (MacMillan), Listening Library

4 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Earlier this year, Debjani @ Debjani’s Thoughts reviewed The Red Palace and it intrigued me. I finally got the chance to listen to this historical mystery and I very much enjoyed it. You can read her review here.

The Red Palace is a historical mystery, a detective story as well as a bit of romance. The story is set in 1758, in the capital city of Korea. 18-year-old Hyeon is an illegitimate child of Lord Shin and as such has very little opportunity. After being abandoned by her mother, she is rescued and raised by Nurse Jeongsu, her mentor and saviour. She gets a job as a palace nurse and is hoping to earn her father’s approval. When four women are murdered in one night, her mentor is the prime suspect. She knows she could not have been responsible, so begins her own investigation. During her secret investigation, she meets a police inspector, Eojin. He recognized her quick mind and they begin to work together to unravel the crime. As evidence points to the Crown Prince, they must carefully tread the political minefield to find the truth.

This is not a book I would normally pick up, but reviews convinced me to give it a try and I am glad I did. First, I enjoyed learning about this time in Korean history. I know very little about Korea, but learning a bit about the customs, laws, and palace politics, as well as early nursing and the hierarchy of the medical community was interesting. Both Hyeon and Eojin were great characters. They are smart, good at putting clues together, have insights and are very tenacious when it came to solving this crime. They were willing to take chances and risks to make sure that an innocent person not be convicted of this crime. Hyeon’s loyalty to Nurse Jeongsu was well deserved as she had saved her from life as an geisha and given her a different life. The investigation kept me interested and I enjoyed how it all played out. The author’s notes tell us that the story is loosely based on the life of Crown Prince Sado (1735 – 1762) who was a murderer and was punished by his father, causing his death. If you enjoy historical mysteries, or like stories set in places you may not know a lot about, I recommend The Red Palace. I listened to the audiobook narrated by Michelle H. Lee. She had a very easy to listen to voice, that gave the story a calm reverence that fit it well.

A Rip Through Time (A Rip Through Time #1) by Kelley Armstrong, Kate Handford (Narrator)

Published May 31st 2022 by Minotaur Books, Macmillan Audio

4.5 Stars:

A Rip Through Time is a timeslip story starring, Vancouver homicide detective Mallory Atkinson, who is strangled in Edinburgh in 2019 and wakes up in the body of housemaid Catriona Thomson in 1869. Both women had been strangled on the same spot, 150 year apart. Catriona works as a housemaid for Dr. Duncan Gray and his widowed sister. Dr. Gray is an undertaker, who also works as a medical examiner in Victorian Scotland. As Mallory tries to pretend she is Catriona, she finds out about the murder of a man that is similar to her own brush with death. This gives her the slim hope that if she finds the murderer, maybe she will find her way back to 2019. Working with Duncan and Detective Hugh McCreadle, they try to catch the strangler.

A Rip Through Time is the first book in a new series and I am looking forward to more. Although there is a time travel element, this story is set in 1869 for the most part and is basically a historical mystery. Mallory/Catriona is a great character. It is interesting to see how she lived in 1869, knowing so much that happened after that date. She is careful not to give anything away that will disrupt the future, yet she uses some knowledge to help solve the crime. I loved how she came up with excuses about her language, forgetting things and even how she could now read. She began to assist Dr. Gray in his work, and they develop a friendship with one another. His sister, Isla Ballantyne, is not a shrinking violet. She works with those who have convicted of minor crimes, gives them a job and helps them find a better life. She is a woman beyond her times and not only being caring, she is smart. Duncan Gray is a handsome man, a doctor who is not well thought of. He works and studies to find out why people have died and tries to come up with things to help solve crimes. He is extremely intelligent in his work, but not so much in social ways. There seems to be a bit of chemistry between Mallory and Duncan and I am interested to see how that plays out in future books. The mystery was very unique and I really enjoyed how it unfolded. I had no idea who the culprit was, and as the investigation unfolded, it had action, red herrings, and several clues. With great characters, a well researched setting and well plotted mystery, this is a book I definitely recommend. I listened to the audiobook narrated by Kate Handford, a new narrator to me. I enjoyed her wonderful performance and won’t hesitate to listen to other books she narrates.