Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear

The Maisie Dobbs series was an accidental slip of fate which I’m pleased to have stumbled upon. Like many of you, I have Netflix. Also like many of you, I tend to watch an entire series consecutively (night after night) once I’ve begun watching. Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries was one such Netflix find. I was also happy to discover that there is indeed a book series by Australian author Kerry Greenwoodbook series by Australian author Kerry Greenwood, about a sassy flapper-era female detective who is no stranger to adventure and intrique–Miss Phryne Fisher. Unfortunately, my library didn’t have any of the Phryne Fisher books and it wasn’t available as an ebook on Overdrive either. Which means if I want to read the Phryne Fisher books, I’ll have to buy them. And it’s a long series. Anyways, I came across an article which listed authors you should try if you like the Phryne Fisher books-historical mysteries with a plucky female heroine. Which is how I encountered the Maisie Dobbs books.

Maisie Dobbs is not a flapper-era female detective but she is a detective of sorts. She is a well-educated British ex-nurse who opens her own detective agency with interest in helping people. She’s not a scandalous, sassy flapper, she’s a lady with dignity and composure and a strong sense of decorum.

The first novel in the series by Jacqueline Winspear is simply called Maisie Dobbs, and it’s her first case after the Great War ends and she comes back home. She investigates a sort of commune in the country where wounded war veterans are going to get a break from the outside world and live together in peace and harmony among other men who understand them…The problem is that they never seem to come back, and there are some very suspicious deaths out there in the commune. When a close friend in the aristocracy asks for Maisie’s help finding out what is going on out there, Maisie doesn’t hesitate to jump on board.

If you like historical mysteries, definitely try the Maisie Dobbs series. Worth reading.

The Meaning of Night by Michael Cox

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Edward Glyver grew up believing himself to be the son of an authoress and a drunkard, living in near poverty, with no title or status in society. Upon the death of his mother, however, he discovers in her diary that his origins are actually much more scandalous and that he may actually be entitled to much more in life. Before he can claim his status in the world, especially with his true-blood family, he is going to need proof to back up his (and his dead mother’s) claims. So Edward sets out to find solid evidence of his birth and birthright for once and for all, leaving behind his entire life and following leads obsessively. He learns that an old schoolmate-turned-enemy is standing between him and what is rightfully his, and he realizes that by whatever means necessary, his arch-nemesis must be “removed” from the equation.

The Meaning of Night, by Michael Cox,  is a novel of obsession turned psychosis, set in Victorian London. If you love fiction set in the Victorian period, especially of the mystery variety, you will enjoy this novel, but don’t expect the hero to be what you generally expect…This is a tale that smudges the line between protagonist and antagonist, turning the best of men into criminals and making light of serious crimes throughout. The reader will end this book shaking his head and blinking, trying to figure out the puzzle that is this novel, which plays with your sympathies and confuses your sensibilities. Can you feel sorry for a murderer?

 

A Murder at Rosamund’s Gate by Susanna Calkins

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Lucy Campion is a seventeenth century chambermaid with a very simple life…She does her chores for her master, the magistrate, and keeps a low profile. When a gruesome murder occurs nearby and no one knows who could be the murderer, and her closest friend, a lady’s maid who has designs on Lucy’s brother, turns up missing, and Lucy’s brother is arrested for the crime, she decides to take it upon herself to find the clues that the officials have missed in the case.

With the help of Adam, the son of the magistrate, and a few helpful sources along the way, Lucy is starting to put together the pieces, slowly but surely…But not before the plague strikes her household and throws her completely off the scent. Will she discover who killed the servant girls before the killer realizes that she is on his track? Is the killer right under her nose?

This is a historical mystery, and anyone who enjoys these novels, like The Hangman in the Mirror by Kate CayleyThe Midwife’s Revolt by Jodi Daynard , or ‘An Unmarked Grave’ by Charles Todd, or anything in the historical mystery realm (Anne Perry, etc), you won’t want to miss this novel, which is easy to read and a great choice for your next weekend at home.

The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton

13508607Anyone who knows me can already guess that this is going to be a raving review. Kate Morton is HANDS-DOWN my favorite author, has held the title for the last couple of years. I read The Distant Hours, The Forgotten Garden, The House at Riverton as fast as I could get my hands on them, after falling in love with the first title by her that seduced me into her exquisite world of mystery, scandal, and provocative history that she has mastered and made into absolute perfection for the reader.

The Secret Keeper is about actress Laurel Nicolson, a middle-aged icon on London stage who comes home when her mother is dying and discovers a mysterious photograph hidden in a book. She begins to wonder just how well she actually knows her own mother. The woman who fed them, played with them, danced with her father in the moonlight, might actually have a few deep dark secrets of her own, and Laurel just can’t seem to let them go. She starts a journey into the past, following clue after clue until she discovers a shocking secret that will forever change her own perception of her mother.

Delving into the past, two women with similar, yet very different lives, cross paths in air-raid stricken London during World War II…And events spiral, changing the course of lives all around them.

If you loved any of Kate Morton’s previous works, this one will be another delicious treat for you. If you haven’t read one of her works, but you like women’s fiction, literary fiction, historical fiction (of the non-bodice-ripping variety), then these intelligent, beautifully scripted novels are definitely for you.  Pick it up. You won’t regret it.

‘An Unmarked Grave’ by Charles Todd

Bess Crawford is a nurse on the french front in 1918, and she has a gift for stumbling into mysteries. When the death of an officer seems suspicious to all parties, and those parties begin to turn up dead, the circumstances look very dire indeed. Bess comes down with the Spanish flu and is detained from pursuing the matter, and it seems that the case has gone cold, but she is determined to find out just what happened to the dead (murdered) officer. The body count rises as Bess questions people involved with the victim, and someone seems to be following Bess and wishing her ill tidings.

Can Bess evade the murderer long enough to reveal the conspiracy and the identity of a possible mad man? Can she manage to cool the passions of the american soldier who seems to have fallen in love with her and seems like the jealous sort? Join this sassy amateur sleuth as she tracks down a murderer and exposes him for all of his crimes.

If you love historical mysteries you will want to pick up this novel by Charles Todd (a pseudonym for a mother and son writing team actually named Caroline and Charles Todd). Readers who love Anne Perry and her multiple historical mystery series’ will especially adore this “author” and very likely the many other novels written by the writing team.