Who doesn’t love a mystery – especially one with a British setting? These books on our Very British Mystery list represent genres from police procedural to cozy, and settings from the rain slick streets of London to the green hills of the Cotswolds. We’ve invited the authors to tell us a bit about their books. Pour yourself a nice cuppa and enjoy a mystery from the Sisters in Crime.
In Prior’s Wood
by G.M. Malliet
Newly returned from investigating a murder in Monkslip-super-Mare, handsome Max Tudor is settling back into his predictable routine as vicar of St. Edwold’s Church in the village of Nether Monkslip. But before long the flow of his sermon on Bathsheba is interrupted.
The lady of the local manor house is found in a suicide pact with her young lover. When soon after a young girl goes missing and a crime writer becomes a target, DCI Cotton asks Max to lend his MI5 expertise to the investigation. The inquiry soon widens beyond the writers participating in a retreat at the manor house to villagers who had crossed swords with the insufferably smug crime author. But Max begins to wonder: was the attack on the writer only part of a broader conspiracy of silence? In Prior’s Wood focuses on the themes of forgiveness and redemption, and asks which - if any - crimes can be forgiven.
A Lady's Guide to Etiquette and Murder
by Dianne Freeman
Frances Wynn, the American-born Countess of Harleigh, enjoys more freedom as a widow than she did as a wife. After an obligatory year spent mourning her philandering husband, she puts aside her drab black gowns, leaving the countryside and her money-grubbing in-laws behind. With her young daughter in tow, Frances rents a home in Belgravia and prepares to welcome her sister, Lily, arriving from New York for her first London season. No sooner has Frances begun her new life than the ghosts of her old life make an unwelcome appearance. The Metropolitan police receive an anonymous letter implicating Frances in her husband’s death. Frances must unmask the villain before Lily’s season—and her life —come to a most unseemly end.
Frances is itching to choose her own future, but just what does an aristocratic woman of the 1890s have to do to be the hero of her own story? If Frances wants independence, she’ll have to work around the rules of society and the men in her life who find it more convenient to keep her in her place.
by Jim Napier
Detective Inspector Colin McDermott is assigned to learn the identity of a young woman who died in a London traffic accident and to notify her family. He discovers that she had two identities, one of which concealed a very private life, and that her death may very well have been intentional. The trail leads back to McDermott’s alma mater and he must determine if an old friend and mentor is her killer.
Legacy has been highly praised as a multi-layered contemporary police procedural with well-drawn characters and a challenging puzzle at its heart.
A Tale of Two Murders
by Heather Redmond
In the winter of 1835, young Charles Dickens is a journalist on the rise at the Evening Chronicle. Invited to dinner at the estate of the newspaper’s co-editor, Charles is smitten with his boss’s daughter, vivacious nineteen-year-old Kate Hogarth. They are having the best of times when a scream shatters the pleasant evening and soon, a young woman will be dead.
When Charles hears that another young woman died precisely a year before under similar circumstances, he feels compelled to investigate. The lovely Kate uses her social position to gain access to members of the upper crust, some of whom are now suspects in two murders.
The famed author Charles Dickens is a fascinating topic for many. This tale of his youth echoes his novels and the time period he lived in, and offers an enjoyable puzzle of a mystery.
This Side of Murder
by Anna Lee Huber
England, 1919. Verity Kent's grief over the loss of her husband intensifies when she receives a cryptic letter suggesting that her beloved Sidney may have committed treason before his untimely death. The mysterious writer refers to Verity's previous work for the Secret Service, something her husband knew nothing about. Lured to Umbersea Island to attend the engagement party of one of Sidney's fellow officers, Verity mingles among the men her husband once fought beside and discovers a murder had been committed to conceal dark secrets. Relying on little more than a coded letter, the help of a dashing stranger, and her own sharp instincts, Verity is forced down a path she never imagined—and comes face to face with the shattering possibility that her husband may not have been the man she thought he was.
A Daphne-award winner, this book confronts issues of truth, trust, betrayal, and the difficulties of moving forward after facing tragedy. It also pays homage to Agatha Christie's classic, And Then There Were None.
Murder in an English Village
by Jessica Ellicott
In 1920, two girlhood friends renew their acquaintance from finishing school days when Beryl Helliwell, an American adventuress, answers an advertisement for a lodger placed by English gentlewoman, Edwina Davenport. Beryl has a habit of creating excitement wherever she goes and the tiny village of Walmsley Parva is no exception. Before long someone makes an attempt on Edwina's life and a second woman is found dead in a fallow field. Beryl and Edwina undertake an investigation that uncovers old secrets and gives the pair a new perspective on their own capabilities.
The Beryl and Edwina series has received a starred and boxed review from Publishers Weekly, a starred review from Library Journal and was nominated for an Agatha Award as well as the Salt Lake County Library System Readers’ Choice Award.
Scared to Death
by Rachel Amphlett
When the body of a snatched schoolgirl is found in an abandoned biosciences building, the case is first treated as a kidnapping gone wrong. But Detective Kay Hunter isn’t convinced, especially when a man is found dead with the ransom money still in his possession. When a second schoolgirl is taken, Kay’s worst fears are realized. With her career in jeopardy and desperate to conceal a disturbing secret, Kay’s hunt for the killer becomes a race against time before he claims another life. For the killer, the game has only just begun…
Scared to Death is a gripping murder mystery thriller that introduces readers to British detective, Kay Hunter. With engaging characters and a protagonist who is winning hearts worldwide, Scared to Death is a fast-paced read that will have you turning the pages well into the small hours.
Outside the Lines
by Sheila Lowe
What should have been a routine afternoon on the witness stand for forensic handwriting expert Claudia Rose turns into a shocking assault that leaves her traumatized. Then her getaway trip to the UK lands her in trouble with the FBI, New Scotland Yard, and her fiancé, LAPD Detective Joel Jovanic. Jovanic's homicide case has followed Claudia to London where she finds herself unexpectedly allied with the chief suspect. Real life settings – The British Institute of Graphology, the Eagle, a real pub frequented by American fliers in WW1, London, Sidcup in Kent, and Cambridge - bring the tale of psychological suspense alive.
Shari Randall the Library Liaison for Sisters in Crime. Her latest book, Drawn and Buttered, Book Three of the Lobster Shack Mystery series, will be published February 26 by St. Martin’s Press. Marilyn Levinson’s latest book is Read and Gone, written as Allison Brook.
Sisters in Crime is an organization devoted to the ongoing advancement, recognition, and professional development of women crime writers.