[Last month, Green Forest’s library director, Tiffany Newton, was kind enough to write a review for Robin Sloan’s Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. It was an incredibly popular post, and we’re excited to continue the Guest Blogger series with a new post from LeAnn Stark, the assistant librarian at Green Forest. ]
My New Favorite Women Sleuths
Early detectives have mainly been male, with a few exceptions–Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple being the most famous. Recently I discovered 3 authors, Laurie R. King, Jaqueline Winspear and Susan Elia MacNeal, with strong female private investigators. They were inspired by real-life stories from the women who pitched in during the 2 great world wars. While thousands of men were fighting, women found themselves filling in jobs that had previously been deemed unacceptable to them: building ships, aircraft, and tanks, delivering milk and coal and other supplies, driving ambulances, and much more. After the wars were over, many women didn’t want to return to the old restricted ways. Some had to keep working, due to a lack of men lost in the wars. These 3 authors do a wonderful job of exploring these issues.
Jacqueline Winspear’s Maisie Dobbs series*
Jacqueline Winspear’s character, Maisie Dobbs, starts out as a young British servant girl who reads everything she can get her hands on. She is mentored by a renowned doctor and psychologist who assists the police. After working as a nurse in WWI she starts her own private investigative company.
*Most but not all of the books in this series are also available as ebooks and audiobooks on Libby.
First book in the series: Maisie Dobbs, latest book Journey to Munich (March 29, 2016)
Laurie R. King’s Mary Russell series**
An American in England has the starring part in my favorite – Laurie R. King’s Mary Russell. She is an orphaned girl who goes to live with her aunt in pre-WWI Britain. She encounters an older Sherlock Holmes tending his bees. He notices her curiosity and intellect and begins teaching her.
**Most but not all of the books in this series are also available as ebooks and audiobooks on Libby.
First book in the series: The Beekeeper’s Apprentice, latest book, The Murder of Mary Russell (April 5, 2016)
Susan Elia MacNeal’s Maggie Hope series
Susan Elia MacNeal’s character Maggie Hope is an orphaned Brit raised in America. Upon completion of her college degree she returns to England in 1940 to settle an estate she inherited. Selling a house during WWII proves to be difficult and so Maggie gets a job working for Winston Churchill, just to make ends meet. She is soon involved in the war effort.
First book in the series: Mr. Churchill’s Secretary, latest book, The Queen’s Accomplice (Oct. 4, 2016)
[Thanks so much to LeAnn for writing this post for us! I love historical mysteries and am looking forward to trying these series. Don’t forget you can find more information on our library catalog. Who are some of your favorite female sleuths? Have you read any of these series? Tell us in the comments!]