A recent trip the library found me laden with a stack of mysteries, most of which were historicals. I've started with Nicola Upson's Fear in the Sunlight, the fourth book in her series in which Golden Age mystery writer Josephine Tey is featured as not-so-amateur sleuth.
As Tey is one of my favorite mystery writers, I was drawn to this series immediately. What's fun about this entry is the appearance of Alfred Hitchcock and his wife Alma, who play pivotal roles in the story. Upson skillfully captures the setting of England between the wars, and has nailed Hitchcock, both as a man and a director. Though the murder scenes are a bit graphic for my taste, I love the complexity of Upson's work. And how cool is that cover?
Next up is G. M. Malliet's Wicked Autumn, the first entry in her Max Tudor series. Max is a former MI-5 agent-turned-vicar in a small English village. When the universally unpopular Wanda Batton-Smythe ends up dead, Max finds himself involved. I'm a fan of Malliet's Inspector St. Just mysteries, and I'm excited to dive into Max's adventures in quaint Nether Monkslip. I'm also hoping Malliet has a love interest lined up for the attractive vicar! Malliet's work hearkens back to Golden Age writers like Christie and Sayers--perfect comfort reads.
Finally, Jacqueline Winspear's latest Maisie Dobbs mystery, Leaving Everything Most Loved, features private investigator Dobbs looking into the disappearance of an Indian woman in 1930s London. I'm intrigued to see how Winspear handles the issues of class and race, and if she resolves Maisie's complicated love life. (Can I say here that I don't love James Compton as a partner for Maisie? Is there not an attractive Scotland Yard inspector out there for her?)
As one who harbors a secret wish to write historical mysteries, these writers serve as real inspiration--and a great distraction from my deadline!