I’ve looked at mysteries that were a ‘little different’, mysteries with ghosts, and I’ve even taken a look at some great mystery movies. Here are some mysteries with a bit of science fiction and time-travel.
Gate to Nowhere – by Leanna Sain. Emma Franklin inherits her grandmother’s farm in MacKinlay, North Carolina. When Emma steps through an iron gate in front of the farmhouse she finds herself thrust 177 years into the past where she must solve a mystery surrounding her ancestors and the farm. It’s a good mixture of time-travel, mystery, adventure and romance.
Gun with Occasional Music – by Jonathan Lethem. You have to like really crazy stuff to enjoy this one, but for those that do it’s a good read. You might call it a ‘hard-boiled detective pastiche’, if there is such a thing. Our detective, of course, becomes the major suspect in the murder case in a far-out crazy world featuring talking animals and a society where only the police can ask questions.
Caves of Steel – by Isaac Asimov. This is one of Asimov’s earlier novels and one of the rare ones that is also a mystery. Elijah Bailey is our policeman, who gets a robot for a partner in a futuristic world.
11/22/63 – by Stephen King. This is a love story between Jack and Sadie; a man from 2011 and a young librarian in 1958. It is a love story for all of us who remember with nostalgia, the time between 1958 and 1963 and who would, if they could, do all in their power to prevent the assassination of JFK, which is Jake’s mission. This is King’s best work.
The Map of Time – by Felix Palma. This book has everything: mystery, adventure, time-travel, alternative history, love, sex, murder and mayhem plus characters from the past to create that mayhem – Jack the Ripper, Edward Merrick, H.G. Wells, and Bram Stoker. It’s Victoria’s England and H.G. Wells has just published The Time Machine. A business named “Murray’s Time Travel” has just opened. To tell you more is to possibly give something away. What a read it is.
The Time Machine Did It – by John Swartzwelder. If you are in need of a laugh, and IF you found The Simpson’s funny – this is a series for you. Imagine what could happen if the worst detective in the world got a hold of a time machine. Swartzwelder wrote 59 episodes of The Simpsons.
The Dagger in the Crown – by Alanna Knight. This is a historical mystery. Is time-travel involved? It’s 1566 and an attempt is made on Lord Bothwell, confidant to Mary Queen of Scots. Tam Elder, steward to Lord Bothwell’s mistress, investigates. But Tam is also a mystery, having vague and disquieting glimpses of the future.
Kill Time – by T. J. MacGregor. Time travel adds to this political thriller/mystery. Its title is revealing; is it time to kill, do you need to kill time, or can you use time to kill? It’s a tightly written, satisfying read, even if the possibilities it suggests are a bit scary and altogether too real.
Time for the Death of a King – by Ann Dukthas (pen name of P. C. Doherty). Here we are again, with Mary Queen of Scots and Lord Bothwell. In this mystery, scholar Nicholas Segalla travels through time to observe history as Lord Bothwell is accused of killing Mary’s husband, Lord Darnley.
Sherlock Holmes in Orbit – edited by Mike Resnick and Martin Greenberg. This compilation of Holmes pastiches has four time-travel adventures: Two Roads, No Choices by Dean Wesley Smith is my favorite. It concerns two time travelers seeking Holmes’ help in discovering why in one dimension (their own) the Titanic sinks and in another dimension it does not. Holmes and Watson journey with the time travelers ahead in time to witness the accident. The other time-travel stories are The Richmond Enigma by John DeChancie and The Greatest Detective of All Time by Ralph Roberts and You See But Do Not Observe by Robert Sawyer. All of them were fun, as is the entire collection.