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Have a Cosy Christmas – A 1920s Mystery Roundup

It is one of my favourite genres, but I suspect many readers enjoy a good cosy mystery over the holiday.

Cosy mystery is a genre which finds inspiration in the Golden Age of mysteries, the 1930s and 1940s. It’s a lighthearted kind of mystery, one that is less concerned with the forensics and more with the ability of the sleuth. Besides, sleuths of cosy mysteries are very often unconventional and unique, and more often than not an amateur. The focus of the investigation is on the sleuth’s knowledge of human nature, their ability to observe and to form logical theories. 

In many modern cosy mysteries the romance side is quite important, often as important (sometimes even more important) than the actual investigation.

Because cosy mysteries find their inspiration in the 1930s and 1940s novels, it isn’t uncommon that they are set in those times. Many, I have found, are set during WWI or the 1920s.

I thought I’d compile a collection of novels and series that have caught my interest lately. Hope you’ll find the time to explore them and – as I like to hope – may you find your next favourite author.

JOSEPHINE TEY MYSTERIES
by Nicola Upson

I stumbled upon Nicola Upson’s series on NetGalley. I read the seventh book in the series, but I totally fell in love with these characters and with the solid, remarkably coherent way Upson builds mysteries. I am on a mission to buy myself the entire series.

The series revolves around Josephine Tey, who was a real mystery author active in the 1940s. Here, she ends up assisting Detective Inspector Archie Penrose more in his investigations.
I really appreciated how strong and well-constructed the mystery was, and how the setting (Cambridge in the 1930s) was vividly portrayed. I also loved the look into these characters’ personal life, which was almost a story in itself, just as solid and well-constructed as the mystery. This sometimes results in the two stories getting in each other’s ways. Here, they just complemented each other in a way that strengthened the overall story rather than detracts from it.

Give it a shot. I’m sure you’ll won’t be sorry.

AN EXPERT IN MURDER Nicola Upson
ANGEL WITH TWO FACES Nicola Upson
TWO FOR SORROW Nicola Upson
FEAR IN THE SUNLIGHT Nicola Upson
THE DEATH OF LUCY KYTE Nicola Upson
LONDON RAIN Nicola Upson
NINE LESSONS Nicola Upson
SORRY FOR THE DEAD Nicola Upson

JACK HALDEAN MURDER MYSTERY SERIES
by Dolores Gordon-Smith

This is another discovery I made courtesy of NetGalley. I read the 10th book in the series. While I admit I felt I lost something (because of the recurring characters’ lives that were well on their way) I really, really enjoyed that novel. It was both strange and logic at the same time, and the characters were so relatable.

The series revolves around Jack Haldean, a mystery writer that in 1920s England often helps the police solving their strangest cases. Jack is a very sympathetic character, a man that sees beyond what people show and may guess the oddest realities, thanks to his novelist’s mind.

A FETE WORSE THAN DEATH Dolores Gordon Smith
MADE ABOUT THE BOY Dolores Gordon Smith
AS IF BY MAGIC Dolores Gordon Smith
A HUNDRED THOUSAND DRAGONS Dolores Gordon Smith
OFF THE RECORD Dolores Gordon Smith
TROUBLE BREWING Dolores Gordon Smith
BLOOD FROM A STONE Dolores Gordon Smith
AFTER THE EXHIBITION Dolores Gordon Smith
THE CHESSMAN Dolores Gordon Smith
FORGOTTEN MURDER Dolores Gordon Smith

AMORY AMES SERIES
by Ashley Weaver

Another discovery made on NetGalley. I read the first novel in the series, which was a mixed experience, but mostly nice.

Amory is a reliable young woman with a grounded sense of justice and fairness. Her husband Milo is a bright and handsome young man who likes to live life fast and dangerously. They are quite an unlikely couple, and their differences have created difficulties already. But when they can work together, they really can work wonders.

MURDER AT THE BRIGHTWELL Ashley Weaver
DEATH WEARS A MASK Ashley Weaver
A MOST NOVEL REVENGE Ashley Weaver
INTRIGUE IN CAPRI Ashley Weaver
THE ESSENCE ON MALICE Ashley Weaver
AN ACT OF VILLAINY Ashley Weaver
A DANGEROUS ENGAGEMENT Ashley Weaver
A 1920s Mystery Roundup – Cosy mysteries set in the interwar years come in many fashions and manners. Which one is your favourite? #historicalnocel #mystery Click To Tweet

JACK AND FRANCES MYSTERIES
by Carmen Radtke

Set in Adelaide in the early 1930s, this is a new, lively cosy mystery series (of sorts) focusing on bootlegger and speakeasy owner Jack Sullivan, who’s have too much of a good heart.

A MATTER OF LOVE AND DEATH Carmen Radtke
FALSE PLAY AT THE CHRISTMAS PARTY Carmen Radtke

HIGH SOCIETY LADY DETECTIVE SERIES
by Sara Rosett

I haven’t tried this series yet, but I’m quite intrigued. In fact, I’ve bought one of the books, the one concerning egyptology. Couldn’t resist.

London, 1923. Olive Belgrave needs a job. Despite her aristocratic upbringing, she’s penniless. For a series of events, she ends up investigating a murder, and since she finds she’s good at it, she then takes it up as a job.
Troubles ensue.

MURDER AT ARCHLY MANOR Sara Rosett
MURDER AT BLACKBURN HALL Sara Rosett
THE EGYPTIAN ANTIQUITIES MURDER Sara Rosett scaled
MURDER IN BLACK TIE Sara Rosett

POSIE PARKER MYSTERIES
by L.B. Hathaway

I read the fourth novel in the series, thank to a friend who gifted it to me. I found it a pleasant read, very relaxing, with a very unintrusive supernatural touch I enjoyed.

Posie Parker is a detective with a past. Her personal life had a prominent part in the story, and it sounds like it’s an ongoing arc, with a mystery to solve all in itself.
It was an enjoyable read.

MURDER OFFSTAGE L.B. Hathaway
THE TOMB OF THE HONEY BEE L.D. Hathaway
MURDER AT MAYPOLE MANOR L.D. Hathaway
THE VANISHING OF DR INTER L.B. Hathaway
MURDER OF A MOVIE STAR L.D. Hathaway
A CHRISTMAS CASE L.D. Hathaway
MURDER IN VENICE L.D. Hathaway
THE SALTWATER MURDER L.D. Hathaway

THE LADY ELEANOR MYSTERIES
by Lynda Wilcox

I stumbled upon this series on Goodreads and I fell in love with the awesome deco covers. It sounds like a nice series too, full of the life of the Brish bright young things of the 1920s and their heady life.
It’s only three books so far. Not a long series. Easy to catch up.

A POISONING IN PICCADILLY Lynda
A BURGLARY IN BELGRAVIA Lynda
A TRAITOR AT TOWER BRIDGE Lynda

1 Comment

  • Margot Kinberg
    Posted December 21, 2019 at 19:14

    What a great selection of book ideas, Sarah! Lots to choose from here! Thanks for putting this together. Buon Natale!

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