Some of the best, most enduring mysteries have been written by women. Such authors as Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers, Ngaio Marsh, and Margery Allingham have been dubbed as “Queens of Crime,” rising to prominence during the period known as the Golden Age of Detective Fiction (in the 1920s and 1930s). Sample some of these great women mystery mavens and read along with The Poisoned Martini …
As before with previous discussion series, such as “A Taste of Murder” in 2011, “A Little French Murder” in 2012, and “Murder by Decade” currently in progress, I invite readers of The Poisoned Martini to join me online in sharing their love of mysteries. Comment on this post with some of your favorite female mystery authors, and join me in reading the books selected for the series, “Grande Dames of Mystery.”
The series kicks off in September with the very first Lord Peter Wimsey mystery. Read Whose Body? by Dorothy L. Sayers. In this 1923 novel, a dead body is found in a London flat bath wearing a pair of pince-nez. The flat’s owner, Thipps, is suspected by the police, and Lord Peter Wimsey will investigate to clear Thipps’ good name and discover what connection the corpse had to a missing financier.
Then in October, read Strangers on a Train by Patricia Highsmith. In this classic psychological suspense thriller, which inspired the Alfred Hitchcock movie, two strangers discuss how convenient the removal of an unfaithful wife and a domineering father would be.
November brings a time-bending tale. In Josephine Tey’s The Daughter of Time, Inspector Alan Grant—recovering from a broken leg—chooses to spend his recuperation by testing the theory of whether Richard III is responsible for the murder of his nephews, familiarly known the two princes in the tower.
For December, read any book by New Zealand author Ngaio Marsh. Marsh wrote 32 mysteries between 1934 and 1982 with Metropolitan Police Inspector Alleyn of the Criminal Investigation Department. Many of her mysteries feature Marsh’s love of theatre and painting.
Finally, during the course of this series, mystery lovers are encouraged to read Anna Katherine Green’s The Leavenworth Case. This 1878 mystery launched the career of native New Yorker Green. When a New York merchant is shot dead, his two nieces come under suspicion, but could someone else have gained access to the locked mansion. This optional read will be featured in December.
Discover these classic and historical mysteries, starting September. In the meantime, don’t forget to check out previous discussion series, “A Taste of Murder”, “Unusual Sleuths”, “Unearthing Murder”, “A Little French Murder” , “Purr-fect Murders” And “Murder by Decade.” Click on the series titles for the relevant book lists.
Reviews for these books in the “Grande Dames of Mystery” series will appear around the middle of the month for which they’re selected. Look for them and share your thoughts on these classics!