Mystery – Adult

The Jade del Cameron mysteries are set in Colonial Africa immediately after the Great War.  Jade is an independent woman, smart and tough. In the debut novel Mark of the Lion Jade sets out for Africa to investigate the death of her almost fiancee’s father and to find his missing brother. A mystery, adventure series that had the potential to be terrific with an intriguing heroine, plenty of interesting characters and a unique background but sadly I found it too slow in many places.  I ended up skimming the book as well as its sequel Stalking Ivory.

Though I did find it a fascinating glimpse into the impact World War had on changing the roles of women and class within society. Reminded me in this respect of the above British mystery heroines of this time period.

Murder on the Half Shelf – Lorna Barrett

Tricia Miles the main character is the owner of ‘Haven’t Got A Clue’, a mystery bookstore in Stoneham, New Hampshire, America. She is an amateur sleuth and embarks upon solving yet another mystery, this one involves a long ago lover whom she thought dead.

Characters sprinkled throughout the book include Tricia’s selfish sister, her spineless boyfriend the local sheriff and her sweet employees.  This would be labeled a cozy mystery, not a ‘must have’ but a pleasant read.

Rhys Bowen‘s mysteries.

Rhys Bowen has written three different mystery series, featuring very different leading characters, all set in different countries and time periods.

The Constable Evans series is set in rural Wales, possibly in the 1970s or 80s.  The main character is local constable Evan Evans, apparently the books are full of local characters and lots of mysteries to solve.

The first Rhys Bowen books I read were her Royal Spyness mysteries. I totally enjoyed Bowen as a writer and couldn’t wait to read more. I began with Royal Blood and recently enjoyed Naughty in Nice. The main character is Lady Victoria Georgiana Charlotte Eugenie, daughter of the Duke of Altholt and Rannoch, 34th in line to the British throne, the year 1933.  Thanks to Lady Georgiana’s sister-in-law her allowance has been cut off and she is penniless. Whilst fulfilling various requests in England and throughout Europe for Her Majesty, Georgiana stumbles into and solves various mysteries. Sprinkled throughout the stories is the progression of her romance with Darcy O’Mara a penniless Irish peer.  Very enjoyable, highly recommend.

Bless the Bride and Hush Now, Don’t You Cry are a couple of books from Bowen’s Molly Murphy series. Molly an immigrant to America from Ireland in 1900, she opens up a detective agency, highly unusual for that time period. Molly is independent, courageous and determined to solve any mysteries. These are Bowen’s more recent ones and Molly newly married has promised her Police Captain husband Daniel Sullivan she will give up detecting.  I have doubts as to her fulfilling that promise. The Molly Murphy series is my favourite of all three because I love Molly’s character!  Highly Recommended

Carola Dunn has written 20 novels featuring Daisy Dalrymple.  Daisy is the daughter of  a Viscount, who begins her career as a writer in 1922, driven by a need for financial and emotional independence from her family.  In the first novel she meets Detective Inspector Alex Fletcher from Scotland Yard and assists him in solving a murder.  Several books later they marry, defying class boundaries.  Daisy’s guileless blue eyes led many people to confide in her, information that helps her husband solve cases, much to his discomfort.  Like Maisie Dobbs, Daisy is not a typical woman of her times, I found her an immensely likeable character.  Highly recommended.

Kate Shackleton is the leading character of Frances Brody‘s mystery series. Kate was widowed in WW1 and developed a reputation for finding missing persons whilst she searched for her own missing husband.  The first novel of the series opens with Kate embarking upon her official career as a private detective. As Kate solves mysteries the side mystery of Kate’s own parentage, who was adopted as a baby, is unfurled.  Kate is an interesting character, not willing to be hindered by the social stereotyping of her times.  Brody has written 5 novels in this series. Highly recommended.

Jacqueline Winspear’s novels feature Maisie Dobbs, a psychologist and investigator, who began working at 13 as a servant in a Belgravia mansion. Early one morning she was discovered reading in the library by her employer, Lady Compton.  Surprisingly she wasn’t dismissed but her education supported and directed by Lady Rowan and family friend Dr Maurice Blance.  Just after beginning studies at Girton College the Great War breaks out and Maisie enlisted for nursing overseas.

During the War she falls in love with a young Doctor and becomes engaged, there is a related mystery that is entwined for several novels, certainly her lost love explains her melancholy at times.

The first novel begins in 1929, Maisie has completed an apprenticeship with Maurice, who had been revered for his work with Scotland Yard, and she sets up her own business.  The novels are an interesting blend of detective work and psychological understanding.  Entwined throughout is the development of Maisie’s character and the lives of those close to her.  Thus far Winspear has written 10 novels. Highly recommended.

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