Books that meet high moral standards and contain limited foul language, sexual content, and descriptions of violence.

Christie, Agatha

The Mysterious Affair at Styles (mystery)

“A refugee of the Great War, Poirot has settled in England near Styles Court, the country estate of his wealthy benefactor, the elderly Emily Inglethorp. When Emily is poisoned and the authorities are baffled, Poirot puts his prodigious sleuthing skills to work.”.

Collins, Wilkie

The Dead Secret (English classic)

On her death bed, wealthy Mrs. Treverton dictates a letter to her maid Sarah Leeson, detailing a secret that only the two of them share. Mrs. Treverton scares Sarah into swearing that she won’t destroy the letter or take it out of the house by threatening to haunt her. She then dies before she can exact a promise from Sarah to deliver the letter to her husband. Sarah hides the letter in an abandoned part of the house and disappears, leaving Mrs. Treverton’s family in the dark about this secret that affects them greatly.

I Say No (English classic)

“Emily Brown is an orphan girl that almost no one can help but love when they meet her. She is pursued by two worthy men: Mr. Alban Morris, the drawing master at her school; and Rev. Miles Mirabel, a clergyman. However, one of them is lying to her after she discovers that her father’s death wasn’t natural, as she was led to believe.”

The Moonstone (English classic)

“Hinging on the theft of an enormous diamond originally stolen from an Indian shrine, this riveting novel features the innovative Sergeant Cuff, the hilarious house steward Gabriel Betteridge, a lovesick housemaid, and a mysterious band of Indian jugglers.”

The Woman in White (English classic)

“Engaged as a drawing master to the beautiful Laura Fairlie, Walter [Hartright] becomes embroiled in the sinister intrigues of Sir Percival Glyde and his ‘charming’ friend Count Fosco, who has a taste for white mice, vanilla bonbons, and poison.”

Doyle, Sir Arthur Conan

The Sign of Four (Scottish classic)

“[Sherlock Holmes’s] mood is . . . lifted by a visit from a beautiful but distressed young woman–Mary Morstan, whose father vanished ten years before. Four years later she began to receive an exquisite gift every year: a large, lustrous pearl. Now she has had an intriguing invitation to meet her unknown benefactor and urges Holmes and Watson to accompany her.”

The Hound of the Baskervilles (Scottish classic)

“Holmes and Watson are faced with their most terrifying case yet. The legend of the devil-beast that haunts the moors around the Baskerville families home warns the descendants of that ancient clan never to venture out in those dark hours when the power of evil is exalted. Now, the most recent Baskerville, Sir Charles, is dead and the footprints of a giant hound have been found near his body.”

Sherlock Holmes stories (Scottish classics)

Leroux, Gaston

The Phantom of the Opera (French classic)

“After a time at the opera house, [Christine Daae] begins hearing a voice, who eventually teaches her how to sing beautifully. All goes well until Christine’s childhood friend Raoul comes to visit his parents, who are patrons of the opera, and he sees Christine when she begins successfully singing on the stage. The voice, who is the deformed, murderous ‘ghost’ of the opera house named Erik, however, grows violent in his terrible jealousy, until Christine suddenly disappears.”

Note: I don’t know what English translation I read.

Secret of the Night (French classic)

“The surviving Nihilists have condemned the Russian General Trebassof to death for the crimes he and his troops committed against the revolution. Three attempts on his life have failed, but the Czar is determined to keep him alive. The Czar assigns the redoubtable French detective reporter Rouletabille to the case. It quickly becomes apparent that one of the General’s own retinue is in league with the assassins! But why?”

Note: I don’t know what English translation I read.

Lewis, Laura Marie, a.k.a. Laurie (L.C.) Lewis

Secrets Never Die (contemporary suspense)

“Tallie Brown’s life has never made any sense. Raised in isolation by her mother, Julia, Tallie was dragged suddenly and without explanation from one third-world outpost to another until life normalized seven years ago when Julia took a position on a mountaintop in the Pacific northwest. But when Julia unexpectedly dies, Tallie uncovers clues suggesting that Julia had a secret life.”

Lund, Gerald N. with Roger Hendrix

Leverage Point (Christian fiction, Latter-day Saint)

“For Mark Jeppson, a professor of Arabic, life has suddenly become dangerously complicated. He’s hired by an arms dealer to help cinch a multi-million dollar deal with Saudi Arabia and he’s pulled into a world of international politics, fast living and organized crime. Is the deal, the money and the knowledge of horrible crimes, worth the risk of losing his children and fiancee?”

Nicholson, Meredith

The House of a Thousand Candles (mystery)

 “A novel of romance and adventure, of love and valor, of mystery and hidden treasure. The hero is required to spend a whole year in the isolated house, which according to his grandfather’s will shall then become his. If the terms of the will be violated the house goes to a young woman whom the will, furthermore, forbids him to marry. Nobody can guess the secret, and the whole plot moves along with an exciting zip.

 Lady Larkspur (mystery)

“A country house mystery involving a missing actress of exceptional talents and virtues, a bogus widow, a returned soldier, spies, plots and suspicions.”

Palliser, Charles

The Quincunx (mystery)

“Searching for clues to his origins, John Huffam, a young man from the north of England, comes to believe that he is the victim of a vast and ancient conspiracy, and that only by claiming his mystery-enshrouded birthright can he escape it. . . . Each time he believes that he has eluded the conspiracy, its tentacles seem to entrap him and those dearest to him, destroying them or turning them against him.”

Perry, Anne

The Cater Street Hangman (mystery, Pitt)

“While the Ellison girls are paying social calls, one of their housemaids becomes the third in a series of young women murdered in a genteel Victorian London neighborhood. As the investigation proceeds, uppercrust facades begin to crumble, and [Thomas] Pitt relies on help from the unconventional Charlotte Ellison. Although drawn to her, the Inspector knows that a romance between a lady and a policeman is unthinkable.”

Callander Square (mystery, Pitt)

“Murders just don’t happen in fashionable areas like Callander Square—but these two have. The police are totally baffled. Pretty, young Charlotte Ellison Pitt, however, is curious. Inspector Pitt’s well-bred wife doesn’t often meddle in her husband’s business, but something about this case intrigues her—to the point that staid Charlotte Pitt is suddenly rattling the closets of the very rich, seeking out backstairs gossip that would shock a barmaid, and unearthing truths that could push even the most proper aristocrat to murder.”

Rutland Place (mystery, Pitt)

“When Charlotte [Pitt] learns of her mother’s distress in losing a locket with a compromising picture, she has no idea that it’s just the beginning of a series of bizarre events that will end in sudden death. For hidden behind the sumptuous elegance of Rutland Place, where Charlotte’s mother lives, are terrible secrets—secrets so horrifying that only murder can conceal them.”

Bethlehem Road (mystery, Pitt)

“The gentleman tied to the lamppost on Westminster Bridge is most elegantly attired—fresh boutonniere, silk hat, white evening scarf—and he is quite, quite dead, as a result of his thoroughly cut throat. Why should anyone kill Sir Lockwood Hamilton, that kindest of family men and most conscientious member of Parliament? Before Inspector Thomas Pitt can even speculate on the reasons, a colleague of Sir Lockwood’s meets the same fate in the same spot.”

Ashworth Hall (mystery, Pitt)

“When a group of powerful Irish Protestants and Catholics gather at a country house to discuss Irish home rule, contention is to be expected. But when the meeting’s moderator, government bigwig Ainsley Greville, is found murdered in his bath, negotiations seem doomed. Unless Superintendent Thomas Pitt and his wife, Charlotte, can root out the truth, simmering hatreds and passions may again explode in murder.”

Brunswick Gardens (mystery, Pitt)

“In London’s affluent Brunswick Gardens, the battle over Charles Darwin’s revolutionary theory of evolution intensifies as the respected Reverend Parmenter is boldly challenged by his beautiful assistant, Unity Bellwood—a “new woman” whose feminism and aggressive Darwinism he finds appalling. When Unity, three months pregnant, tumbles down the staircase to her death, superintendent Thomas Pitt is virtually certain that one of the three deeply devout men in the house committed murder.”

The Face of a Stranger (mystery, Monk)

“His name, they tell him, is William Monk, and he is a London police detective. But the accident that felled him has left him with only half a life; his memory and his entire past have vanished. As he tries to hide the truth, Monk returns to work and is assigned to investigate the brutal murder of a Crimean War hero and man about town. Which makes Monk’s efforts doubly difficult, since he’s forgotten his professional skills along with everything else.”

The Sins of the Wolf (mystery, Monk)

“Nurse Hester Latterly finds herself well-suited for the position: accompany Mrs. Mary Farraline, an elderly Scottish lady with delicate health, on a short train trip to London. Yet Hester’s simple job takes a grave turn when the woman dies during the night. And when a postmortem examination of the body reveals a lethal dose of medicine, Hester is charged with murder—punishable by execution.”

A Breach of Promise (mystery, Monk)

“In a sensational breach-of-promise suit, two wealthy social climbers are suing on behalf of their beautiful daughter, Zillah. The defendant is Zillah’s alleged fiancé, brilliant young architect Killian Melville, who adamantly declares that he will not, cannot, marry her. Utterly baffled by his client’s refusal, Melville’s counsel, Sir Oliver Rathbone, turns to his old comrades in crime—William Monk and nurse Hester Latterly. But even as they scout London for clues, the case suddenly and tragically ends, in an outcome that no one—except a ruthless murderer—could have foreseen.”

Peters, Elizabeth (pen name of Barbara Mertz)

Crocodile on the Sandbank (mystery)

“At thirty-two, strong-willed Amelia Peabody, a self-proclaimed spinster, decides to use her ample inheritance to indulge her passion, Egyptology. On her way to Egypt, Amelia encounters a young woman named Evelyn Barton-Forbes. The two become fast friends and travel on together, encountering mysteries, missing mummies, and Radcliffe Emerson, a dashing and opinionated archaeologist who doesn’t need a woman’s help—or so he thinks.”

Rinehart, Mary Roberts

The Case of Jennie Brice (mystery)

“A blood-stained rope and towel, and a missing tenant, convince Mrs. Pittman that a murder has been committed in her boarding house. But without a body, the police say there is no case. Now, it’s up to Mrs. Pittman to ferret out the killer. For as the landlady, she has the perfect excuse to do a little snooping–and the key to Jennie’s apartment.”

The Window at the White Cat (mystery)

“Jack Knox adored the beautiful Margery Fleming, but she adored the less-than-reputable Harry Wardrop. When Margery’s father is found dead and her aunt disappears, Jack knows he has to put the pieces of the puzzle together before someone starts searching for his remains.”

Wentworth, Patricia

The Dower House Mystery (mystery)

“Amabel’s nineteen-year-old daughter . . . has been invited to join her friends—and the boy she adores—on a trip to Egypt. But she needs two hundred pounds from her mother. George Forsham is offering that exact sum to anyone willing to stay six months at Dower House. . . . The fact that the overgrown, sadly neglected house is rumored to be haunted doesn’t deter Amabel. Until strange things start happening . . .”

The Grey Mask (mystery)

“After Charles was jilted at the altar by Margaret, he discovers that she is mixed up in a vicious kidnapping plot masterminded by a sinister figure in a grey mask. Charles turns to Miss Silver to uncover the strange truth behind Margaret’s complicity, and the identity of the terrifying and mysterious individual behind the grey mask.”

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The featured image “Reflection of Black Trees” is Copyright © 2022 by Katherine Padilla. All rights reserved.