I’ve been trying to come up with a list of historical thrillers that have been commercially successful, but I haven’t got very far.
The Name of the Rose, The Alienist … there must be others that have hung on the best seller list for a while. I can think of quite a few novels that deserve to be read more widely than they are, but that’s not what I need at this moment in time. I can also come up with a couple alternative history thrillers — Fatherland, for example, that is set in Europe thirty years after Hitler won WWII.
Usually thrillers have a murder in there somewhere, but are otherwise known for fairly quick action and lots of twists. And often a really distinct primary (good guy) character with a lot of personality. Sometimes this kind of story is based on actual events. Sort of historical fictionalized true crime.
Can you think of any? That is, a novel set in the past (pre WWII) that enjoyed a lot of commercial success. At this moment I’m not worried about critical success.