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More real people turned into fictional Sleuths!

For my first post of real people turned into fictional sleuths click here.

A cozy mystery novel. The bumbling local police inspector. The useful spinster who side-hustles as a detective. People drop dead all over the place. In between judging the WI’s needlepoint competition, planning the parish Fete, taking Old Lady Soto Voce down a peg, and miffing the sniffing vicar, and running for Parliament, she somehow always manages to finger the correct suspect. I say “she” because in all of the following books, as in my old post, all of our new fictional heroines of crime are women.

Thanks to Carla Loves To Read for bringing this book to my attention.

First of all, very clever title and premise. The Queen’s Uncle David, aka Edward VIII/aka The Duke of Windsor, is credited with creating the Windsor knot. Add in a who-done-it solved by Her Maj and well, this just sounds like pure fun. The Queen has been portrayed in a mystery novel before (William F. Buckley’s wonderful Saving the Queen in the 1980s–one of his Blackford Oaks thrillers, back with a hideous new cover). So has the Duke of Windsor and so has his nephew, the Queen’s first cousin, Prince Michael of Kent, but that’s all for another post. I hope the corgis get at least a cameo and maybe one of those lovely Fell Ponies she now rides as well. This new novel is going strait to my TBR.

The Windsor Knot by S. J. Bennett

Note: Link is to Amazon UK. This book is not yet available in the USA

Mrs. Julian Downton Abbey Kitchener Fellowes (aka Lady Fellowes) has turned turned the 1930’s fabulous Mitford Sisters into sleuths in this still-expanding murder mystery series.. I’ve been meaning to start on this series since book one (above) debuted. Maybe 2021 will be the year. British Aristocratic Society with its servants and grand houses and big parties are partially the backdrop. Other famous names crop up. It sounds really fun and I’m not sure why I’ve dragged my feet on reading it.

The Mitford Murders by Jessica Fellowes

Murder on the Cliffs: A Mystery Featuring Daphne Du Maurier features the great author  as a 21-year old solving mysteries in her beloved Cornwall. Like the Mitford mysteries, these also feature grand society, country houses, and more as young Daphne gets into and out of scrapes and solves mysteries.

Murder on the Cliffs: A Mystery Featuring Daphne DuMaurier by Joanna Challis

Like Josephine Tey in my earlier post,  the great murder mystery author Agatha Christie herself is now a fictional sleuth. She’s up to a 4-book series so far! This one was a totally new series to me–I had not run across it before today.

A Talent for Murder by Andrew Wilson

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Two real people made over into fictional sleuths and two fast book reviews….

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Eleanor Roosevelt and her son, Elliott.

Elliott Roosevelt, via a ghost writer, lent his mother’s visage and some of her personality to a murder mystery series. The first book, Murder and the First Lady, saw the author soundly and deservedly criticized for cheapening his mother’s legacy and for disrespecting her in general.  That didn’t stop mystery fans from enjoying them however! At the same time, another Presidential child, Margaret Truman Daniel, had entered the New York Times Bestseller’s list multiple times with her murder series set, first, at the White House and, later, at other landmark buildings in Washington, D.C. [For more about Margaret Truman Daniel’s first mystery and how it helped my writing career, see this post].

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My great-aunt, typical I suppose of the devotees to the Mrs. Roosevelt mysteries, was a fan from back in the day of her time as First Lady. (I do wonder though, if any other of the series’ fans refused to read male authors?) I delivered one of these books to her when I was home on a visit in the 1980s and, lacking other entertainment, enjoyed reading Murder at Hobcraw Barony–the Eleanor mystery I was to return for her.  So a murder, solved by a now fictitious Eleanor, set at the real world country home of real life financier Bernard Baruch–Hobcraw Barony in South Carolina.

I actually enjoyed the story, but I could also easily see why Roosevelt was soundly criticized. Margaret Truman Daniel’s mysteries did not bring the legacy of a real life President, First Lady or even a famed Wall Street Financier into the story. Still, as paperback sleuths go, I found Eleanor did a great job of catching the baddies. And, let’s be honest. Mysteries are written to entertain not to edify.

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This lady is Elizabeth MacKintosh, better known to the world as either Josephine Tay or Gordon Daviot. The first was her mystery writing nom de plume, the second was used for her plays. I’ve now thoroughly enjoyed two of her excellent mysteries—one of which I’ll review in a minute.

Since the 1990s however, Ms Tay (or should that be Ms MacKintosh? Mr. Daviot??) has been the fictional sleuth in her own series of mysteries authored by Nicola Upson. It was finding this series that jogged my mind about the Eleanor mysteries.  I look forward to reading the first one sometime soon. An Expert in Murder by Nicola Upson.

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Meanwhile, after a series period of the reading duldrums, I broke out of the gloom by reading the real Josephine Tey’s (or should that be the real Elizabeth MacKintosh’s?) mystery, Brat Farrar. This little book has it all! Horses to rival Dick Francis, a plot that keeps twisting and story line that immediately brings back the “Mummy” episode of Downton Abbey, season 2 (aka Melty-Faced Patrick)  as well as the flickering of an almost forbidden romance.  Brat Farrar by Josephine Tey is only $2.99 for Kindle.

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Previously I read Tey’s mystery, Daughter of Time, which is included in  Year 7 of the Ambleside Online homeschool curriculum (a fabulous reading list for anyone, by the way). In this little outing Ms. Tey/MacKintosh/Mr.Daviot sets out to prove that the Princes in the Tower were not killed in the manner told by history. And, the whole thing is done without the main character ever leaving his hospital bed. Now that’s a great read for a research geek like me!  Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey.

Can you think of other real people turned into fictional sleuths? Leave me a comment, I’d love to hear about them.