Detective Dames of Days Gone By
There is a printable bookmark of this list. (6/2014)
Detective Dames of Days Gone By
A list of historical mysteries featuring female sleuths.
- Amelia Peabody strides confidently through the world of Victorian Egyptology, trading quips with handsome Radcliffe Emerson, excavating tombs, and attracting trouble. Start with The Crocodile on the Sandbank, or jump in anywhere in this long-running series by Elizabeth Peters. Full series list.
- Daisy Dalrymple is a journalist in 1920s England in this cozy series which starts with Death at Wentwater Court, by Carola Dunn. Full series list.
- Dido Kent, a spinster among society in Georgian/Regency England, navigates ballrooms and deduces culprits in this engaging, Austen-esque series. It begins at Bellfield Hall, in the series by Anna Dean. Full series list.
- Miss Dimple Kilpatrick teaches first grade in Elderberry, Georgia during World War II. She leads the endearing characters in the tight-knit small town as they come together to solve situations in this homespun historical mystery series. Read this series in order, starting with Miss Dimple Disappears, by Mignon Ballard. Full series list.
- Lady Emily Ashton is a young widow among the aristocracy of Victorian London. Her exploits dealing with theft, murder, and scandal among society are laced with a little romance and a lot of suspense. Start your adventures with Lady Emily in And Only to Deceive, by Tasha Alexander. Full series list.
- Sister Fidelma solves mysteries and uncovers secrets as a member of a religious order and a legal advocate in 7th century Ireland. This long-running series is written by a Celtic scholar, which lends accuracy to the rich historical detail. It begins with Absolution by Murder, by Peter Tremayne. Full series list.
- Flavia Albia was born in Britain but was adopted and now lives in Rome – ancient Rome – and like her father is a private informer. Her independent personality and the vivid historical setting make for entertaining reads. Start with The Ides of April, by Lindsey Davis. Full series list. (This series is a spin-off of the one featuring Marcus Didius Falco, Flavia’s father.)
- Flavia de Luce is a precocious 11-year-old concocting chemistry experiments in the attic of the country house in 1950’s England, and one-upping the local constabulary in solving murders. Start with The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, by Alan Bradley. Full series list.
- Glynis Tryon, a bluestocking in a small town in upstate New York in the 1840s and ‘50s, brushes up against important historical movements while also solving murders - Elizabeth Cady Stanton and women’s rights, the Underground Railroad, and the Temperance movement all find description in this vivid and engaging series. Start with Seneca Falls Inheritance, by Miriam Grace Monfredo. Full series list.
- Kate Shackleton, whose husband is MIA from WWI, is an amateur sleuth in 1920s Yorkshire, England. Classic mysteries featuring a sweet, somewhat quirky lead who is good at solving intrigues. Start with Dying in the Wool, by Frances Brody. Full series list.
- Maggie Hope gets swept into the world of military intelligence during WWII in London, using her pluck and skills as a mathematician to decode secrets, investigate plots, and maybe save England, too. Start with Mr. Churchill’s Secretary, by Susan Elia MacNeal. Full series list.
- Maisie Dobbs uses her intuition to practice psychology and private investigation in 1930s London. Start with the eponymous Maisie Dobbs, by Jacqueline Winspear. Full series list.
- Molly Murphy is an Irish woman starting a new life in early 1900s New York City, strong and smart, and also solving murders. Historical detail of the city and its immigrant population add to the texture of this cozy series. Start with Murphy's Law, by Rhys Bowen. Full series list.
- Phryne Fisher is a London socialite living in 1920s Australia. The books by Kerry Greenwood were adapted into a television series, Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries. First in the series of books: Cocaine Blues; start at JMRL with Murder on the Ballarat Train. Full series list.
- Ursula Blanchard is a lady-in-waiting to Queen Elizabeth I of England, in the midst of court scandals and treachery. The characters and historical detail shine in this series, and Ursula’s wit and resourcefulness help her as she spies and sleuths, protecting the crown and solving the occasional murder. To Shield the Queen is the first in this series by Fiona Buckley. Full series list.
- Constance Kopp and her sisters really did exist, and were private detectives in 1920's New Jersey. Historical detail and entertaining personalities drive Amy Stewart's mystery novel Girl Waits with Gun, set in 1914 which sets off the story of Constance, who became the first female Deputy Sheriff in Bergen County. The sequel is Lady Cop Makes Trouble.
- Find more historical mysteries with women sleuths at this Women in World History site.