Valerie Geary is the author of several suspense novels, including the Brett Buchanan Mystery Series, Everything We Lost,and Crooked River, her debut and a finalist for the Oregon Book Award. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband where she finds inspiration for her stories by taking long walks in the woods.
I began this series of female mystery authors, now up to #26, with the idea of focusing on classic, contemporary and indie writers in rotation. I need to include Patricia Wentworth, a woman largely forgotten today although she was incredibly popular and productive during her career and her books are still in publication.
Wentworth began by writing historical fiction in 1910 then jumped into the genre now known as cozy mystery initiating many of the familiar tropes: the amateur female sleuth, the upper-class clients, the English village setting and knitting.
She published over seventy novels with over thirty devoted to the detecting skills of Miss Maude Silver. The Grey Mask is the first in that series. Click on the cover for a sample.
Buy it now Young nurse Aggie Burnside and her doctor boyfriend are asked for a holiday weekend in a remote mansion in Vermont to calm the nerves of the threatened owner. But their hostess, a wealthy widow and renowned romance writer, has other plans for her guests. With a series of games, she hopes to reveal who is out to kill her, but to everyone’s shock, someone else dies first
Revel in the atmosphere of a 1931 New England winter, the extravagant house, tales of a Scottish curse, sumptuous meals, and more suspects than you can shake a stick at. Will Aggie’s curiosity catch the killer or put her into more danger?
Christmas Recipe for Murder is the lively third book in the Berkshires Cozy mystery series. If you like good-hearted heroines, delightful doses of humor, and smart surprises, then you’ll love Andrea Kress’s fast-moving whodunit.Buy Christmas Recipe for Murder to untangle a treacherous scheme today!
! Meet Author Rachel Woods
At a Thanksgiving party, the host drops dead. It looks like an allergic reaction but turns out to be cold-blooded murder.
Reporter Roland “Beanie” Bean covers the case and discovers a slew of suspects: The cheating wife. The bitter ex-wife. The vengeful rival. And a mysterious stranger who’d sent the dead man bizarre threats.
Beanie is determined to get the truth even though his sleuthing makes him the target of a sadistic killer.
Gobble, Gobble Murder is a holiday cozy murder mystery novel. With lots of clues and red herrings, it features plenty of twists and turns to keep you guessing until the end!Get it here
Meet Author Magda Alexander
England. 1923. After a year away at finishing school where she learned etiquette, deportment, and the difference between a salad fork and a fish one, Kitty Worthington is more than eager to return home. But minutes after she and her brother Ned board the Golden Arrow, the unthinkable happens. A woman with a mysterious connection to Kitty’s brother winds up dead, and the murderer can only be someone on the train.
When barely a week after the murder her brother becomes the main suspect, Kitty sets out to investigate. Not an easy thing to do while juggling the demands of her debut season and her mother’s attempts to find a suitable, aristocratic husband for her.
With the aid of her maid, two noble lords, and a flatulent Basset Hound named Sir Winston, Kitty dives deep into the glamorous world of British High Society and London’s dark underbelly alike. She must discover the murderer before the insufferable Inspector Crawford can hang a noose around her brother’s neck.
Murder on the Golden Arrow, the first book in The Kitty Worthington Mysteries, is a frolicking cozy historical mystery filled with dodgy suspects, a dastardly villain, and an intrepid heroine sure to win your heart.
I am blown away by the positive energy of Patti Larsen, an international, multiple award-winning author with a passion for the voices in her head. With over 150 cozies, paranormal cozies and young adult books in happy publication, she lives in beautiful Prince Edward Island, Canada, with her plethora of pets.
For avid readers, she has free first-in-series offers at her website. For authors, she has a system for writing productivity called Get Your Book Done.
One of the best restatements of mystery mythology are those contained in Laurie King’s Mary Russell Sherlock Holmes series. With a female central character as smart, resourceful, and egotisical as Holmes himself, they set off on a series of adventures with mysteries to be solved. I’ve read almost all her books and the first, the Beekeeper’s Assistant is a treasure that I’m going to reread this week.
Born in Kansas, Sara Paretsky is more associated with Chicago as is her well-known protagonist, V.I. Warshawski, the independent and sarcastic private investigator. It seems incredible that when the first in the twenty-book series was published in 1982, the female P.I. was an anomaly and the usual work costume of jeans and tee-shirt was considered far from the norm.
V.I.’s cases usually start out as white-collar crimes and she gets to display her strong sense of justice in pursuing her quarry, often in a physically demanding way, and also often involving smashing cars.
Gillian Flynn is known to readers and moviegoers alike for her vibrant, evil, female characters. In a 2015 piece entitled, “I was not a nice little girl…” she outlines her belief that women can be just as bad as men and goes on to explain the ways it manifests in real life and in her books.
Villains are important in stories to better define what the main character is up against and the nastier the villain, the better. This story dynamic is taught early on when our children watch Disney movies featuring some of the best of the baddies: the Evil Queen in Snow White (no name needed), Ursula, the sea witch in the Little Mermaid, Cruella de Vil in the Dalmation movies and Maleficent in Sleeping Beauty.
Flynn refines the unreliable narrator into a fully realized person, sometimes repentant and often not which makes her novels fascinating to read. Below is her debut novel.
Katherine Hall Page, educated on the East Coast, became a teacher and developed a program for at-risk adolescents, affording her with deep insights into family relationships. Her first mystery novel was The Body in the Belfry which won an Agatha Award for Best First Mystery Novel. It was followed by fourteen more in that series while writing the Malice Domestic X books with many awards along the way. Check out her first novel below:
It is hard to find a more prolific and versatile author than Ruth Rendell who introduced the Inspector Wexford character and took him through an exhaustive series of cases. But then, she moved into the psychological thriller genre with more intense fare.
As an author, I appreciate that she wrote so many stand-alone novels, creating new universes and relationships in each one, a difficult feat. Under the pen name Barbara Vine, she wrote even more complex thrillers, my favorite being A Fatal Inversion (1987) which holds up well today.
You know that I always refer readers to the author’s first book but dig deeper into her vast reservoir. It is worth it.