Sherlock Holmes, Brother Cadfael, and Lord Peter Wimsey all noted British detectives. All men. The British ladies have done more than their share of detection.
Let’s meet some of the great ladies of British detection.
Maisie Dobbs by Winspear, Jacqueline.
Maisie Dobbs worked as a servant during her youth and served as a nurse during World War I. After the war her former employers helped her to continue her education. She interns with noted investigator Maurice Blanche and follows in his footsteps. The plotlines are like Maisie herself, calm and methodical , but with hidden depths and twists and turns. Fans of smart detective novels who prefer their murders to be not too graphic might find Maisie to be good company! Currently this series is comprised of nine volumes. Click here for the complete list.
India Black by Carr, Carol K.
Perhaps the most unlikely of detectives... India Black is the madam of her own brothel. She is called in by one of her employees, whose client has just dropped dead. India discovers the gentleman in question worked for the British government, and his briefcase had contained some highly sensitive diplomatic materials. India finds herself involved in more than a simple accidental death. India, as narrator, has little respect for those in power. She refers to Queen Victoria as “Vicky” and Prime Minister Disraeli as “Dizzy” (though never in front of those august personages). A fun and smart mystery with a cheeky heroine! Current this series is composed of two volumes. Click here for the complete list.
Miss Marple: The Complete Short Stories by Christie, Agatha.
Jane Marple, spinster, resides in the picturesque English village of Saint Mary Mead. Her various family connections take her out and around and of course into murders. Miss Marple’s genial demeanor hides a mind that would put someone half her age to shame (and frequently confounds the constabulary). She sees everything and misses nothing, making her an ideal detective. Suspects often underestimate her, but Miss Marple always closes the case.
And Only to Deceive (a Lady Emily Ashton Mystery) by Alexander, Tasha.
Suddenly widowed Lady Emily was forced to retire from society. After her period of mourning ends Emily decides to rejoin society. Her husband was an amateur archaeologist and was a great traveller. He had an extensive knowledge of the Ancient World and its artifacts. Emily decides to follow in his footsteps and begins to study Greek and starts spending a lot of time in the British museum. She stumbles upon a plot that concerns stolen artifacts. Emily is an interesting and smart character who chafes at the role that women are given in Victorian society. Rich with historical detail and a fascinating plot, this is a great historical mystery series! Currently this series is composed of seven volumes. Click here for the complete list.
Prime Suspect by LaPlante, Linda.
While there only three Jane Tennison Prime Suspect books written, she has made her mark. As a woman invading the male bastion of the British Police Force, Tennison has to work and fight harder to gain the respect she deserves. Her personal relationships are problematic and her only consistent relationship is with a bottle. Tennison is an alcoholic. Despite her issues she is a brilliant detective. The three books were expanded into a five season television show with Helen Mirren as Tennison. Fans of Elizabeth George’s Inspector Lynley series may want to give this series (both in print and the show) a try! For the complete listing click here.