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About Patricia Wentworth
Patricia Wentworth (1878–1961) was one of the masters of English mystery writing. She published her first novel in 1910 and, in the 1920s, introduced the character who would make her famous: Miss Maud Silver. Along with Agatha Christie's Miss Marple, Miss Silver is the definitive embodiment of the English style of cozy mysteries.
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An advertisement appears in the newspaper, asking for genealogical information from descendants of a certain Jeremiah Taverner, who died in long-ago 1888. It looks like an ordinary notice by a curious scholar, but the question is not nearly as simple as that. The man behind the ad is a Taverner himself: estranged, wealthy, and looking for a suitable relation to name in his will. The case grows complicated quickly, for there are many who bear the name, several illegitimate relatives aside. Old feuds reemerge now that there is a whiff of money in the air, and the extended family converges to squabble over the cash. It is not long before there is one less Taverner, and Miss Silver, the genteel detective, is called in to find out who put the knife in his back.
Meet Miss Maud Silver, a retired governess and “little old lady who nobody notices, but who in turn notices everything” (Paula Gosling, author of the Jack Stryker mystery series).
The Clock Strikes Twelve: A wealthy British family convenes in their manor house for New Year’s Eve. But when their industrialist patriarch dies, it’s up to prim Miss Silver to determine who rang in the new year with murder . . .
The Key: A German Jewish scientist working for the British war effort is murdered, and his new formula has been stolen. Now Miss Silver must find the killer or risk an explosive disaster . . .
She Came Back: Three years after everyone thought she died in France, Lady Anne Jocelyn returns to England. The lady may be who she claims to be, or perhaps she’s a fraud—or even a Nazi spy. Only Miss Silver will be able to divine the truth.
Mrs. Smith is not the first woman who has come to Maud Silver, the genteel private detective, claiming that someone is trying to kill her. She tells a story of attempted poisoning, a shove down a flight of stairs, and a house full of relatives who might want to push her out of the way. Miss Silver is intrigued, not least because this is not Mrs. Smith. Despite her attempt at a disguise, the detective recognizes the woman as Adriana Ford, the grand dame of the London stage. Mrs. Smith was a ruse; the attempts on her life are quite real. There is soon a body at Adriana’s country estate, but it is not the actress who has been killed. Fully interested, Miss Silver travels to the house, where she learns that the actress is not the only one who tells lies.
From a “first-rate storyteller,” here are three full-length mystery novels in one volume, set in England between the two world wars and featuring Maud Silver, a retired governess and teacher who embarks on a new career in private detection (The Daily Telegraph).
After four years wandering the jungles of India and South America, Charles Moray has come home to England to collect his inheritance. Strangely, he finds his family estate unlocked and sees a light in one of its abandoned rooms. Eavesdropping, he learns of a conspiracy to commit a fearsome crime. His first instinct is to let the police settle it, but then he hears her voice: Margaret, his long lost love, is part of the gang. To unravel their diabolical plot, he contacts Miss Silver.
The Case Is Closed
Marion Grey is growing used to the idea that her husband will never be released from prison, especially after the horrors of the very public trial. But when new evidence suggests her husband may be innocent of murder after all, she hires a professional—the inimitable Miss Silver—to clear his name.
A terrified young woman asks Miss Silver for help unmasking someone who has threatened her life. Rachel Traherne has been receiving menacing letters about her deceased father’s fortune. The first two letters were vague; the third said simply, “Get ready to die.”
These charming traditional British mysteries featuring the unstoppable Miss Silver—whose stout figure, fondness for Tennyson, and passion for knitting disguise a keen intellect and a knack for cracking even the toughest cases—are sure to delight readers of Agatha Christie, Ellis Peters, and Dorothy L. Sayers.
Retired governess Maud Silver has discovered an entirely new calling: private detection. And though she may seem an unlikely sleuth, Scotland Yard needs her more than ever in this charming series from “a first-rate storyteller” (The Daily Telegraph).
The Case of William Smith: William Smith isn’t sure what his name is, but he knows it isn’t William Smith. That was the name the Nazis gave him in 1942, when he was sent to die in one of their nightmarish camps. Now the war is over and he’s back in England, ready to start over. But even a man with no past can’t escape history. And if Miss Silver can figure out his true identity, his enemies are going to finish what they started.
Eternity Ring: Det. Sgt. Frank Abbot thought he’d spend a quiet holiday at his family’s estate. Instead, he hears wild tales of a man dragging a murdered girl into the woods. Naturally, he calls his friend, Miss Maud Silver, to take a look. But when no one can locate the body of the rumored victim and the sole witness suffers a broken neck, the only thing Miss Silver knows for sure is that the pastoral peace of this town masks something far more sinister.
The Catherine Wheel: When a wealthy man named Taverner places a newspaper ad looking for distant relatives to add to his will, several possible relations appear from all over England. But with the scent of money in the air, old feuds reemerge and the extended family squabbles over the cash. It’s not long before there is one less Taverner, and Miss Silver is called in to find out who put the knife in his back.
These charming British mysteries featuring the unstoppable Miss Silver—whose stout figure, fondness for Tennyson, and passion for knitting belie a keen intellect and a knack for cracking even the toughest cases—are sure to delight readers of Agatha Christie, Ellis Peters, and Dorothy L. Sayers.
Charles Moray has come home to England to collect his inheritance. After four years wandering the jungles of India and South America, the hardy young man returns to the manor of his birth, where generations of Morays have lived and died. Strangely, he finds the house unlocked, and sees a light on in one of its abandoned rooms. Eavesdropping, he learns of a conspiracy to commit a fearsome crime.
Never one for the heroic, Charles’s first instinct is to let the police settle it. But then he hears her voice. Margaret, his long lost love, is part of the gang. To unravel their diabolical plot, he contacts Miss Maud Silver, a onetime governess who applies reason to solve crimes and face the dangers of London’s underworld.
Former schoolteacher Miss Maud Silver is on her way back to London when, with a violent shudder of the train, a young woman is thrust into her compartment. She’s beautiful, well dressed, newly married, and wealthy—a lethal combination.
In a state of shock, Lisle Jerningham explains that she fled her home in a hurry after overhearing a sinister conversation. Her new husband’s first wife died in an apparent accident, and the resultant infusion of cash saved his family home. Now, he’s broke again—and attempting to engineer a second convenient mishap. Miss Silver is unsure whether the drama is real or a figment of Lisle’s imagination—but if this frightened young lady is a target for murder, the killer will have to deal with the governess-turned-sleuth first.
Starring a mature sleuth who “has her place in detective fiction as surely as Lord Peter Wimsey or Hercule Poirot”, In the Balance is a classic British mystery (Manchester Evening News).
The citizens of Melling are perfectly ordinary. Some might even consider them boring, but not Miss Maud Silver. It’s been some years since she gave up work as a governess to become a detective, and her fascination with people has served her well during that time. Now, she’s come to Melling to pay a long-postponed visit to an old school chum—but Miss Silver’s vacations never last long.
The town’s prodigal son has returned, wealthy and not exactly nostalgic for his hometown. He intends to sell his manor house and be done with Melling forever. But this cozy English hamlet hasn’t finished with him yet . . .
She awakes in a dark place. A young woman with a shattered memory, she knows neither who she is nor how she came to be in this abandoned house. All she possesses is a faint sense that someone is lying dead at the foot of the stairs. Horrifyingly, she is correct. In the cellar lies a young woman, her body broken, her head split, her life undone by a revolver’s shell. The amnesiac flees and finally has a stroke of luck: She meets Maud Silver. A dowdy governess turned daring detective, Miss Silver sees immediately that something is wrong. She comforts the confused young woman, and coaxes out of her what little story she can tell. The memory of the body sets Miss Silver on a fantastic adventure—the last written by Patricia Wentworth, and one of the most thrilling of them all.
Frank Abbott’s vacations never last very long, and his trip to Field End is no exception. He has hardly enjoyed a moment of Jonathan Field’s hospitality before tragedy strikes. A niece ventures into old Jonathan’s study at night to ask him a question, and finds him stone cold with a revolver by his hand. An obvious suicide, it seems, but Inspector Abbott is not so sure. He asks his friend Maud Silver, the brilliant detective, for assistance. She agrees it must be murder. But who is the killer? Assisting their investigation is the dead man’s strange habit of fingerprinting all who come to visit. But there are fingerprints all over the house, and solving this murder will require Miss Silver’s particularly delicate touch.
Rachel Treherne has always had a steady head on her shoulders; it’s why her late father named her the sole trustee of his considerable fortune. But the decision galled a number of Rachel’s relatives, including her married older sister, her socialist nephew, and her father’s ambitious young cousin.
Rachel fears she may be overreacting to the anonymous letters she’s received threatening her life, but then someone tampers with the chocolates she bought herself. If her cousin hadn’t partaken first and noticed an unwholesome taste, who knows what may have happened? Miss Silver suspects someone in Rachel’s inner circle has grown tired of being a poor relation, and she travels incognito to the Treherne country home to unmask the culprit—before it’s too late—in this intriguing entry in the beloved series featuring a contemporary of Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple.
Lonesome Road is the 3rd book in the Miss Silver Mysteries, but you may enjoy reading the series in any order.
Retired governess and teacher Maud Silver has found a new calling: private detection. With her knitting needles and fondness for Tennyson, she may seem an unlikely sleuth, but Scotland Yard would be lost without her. “Patricia Wentworth has created a great detective in Miss Silver, the little old lady who nobody notices, but who in turn notices everything” (Paula Gosling, author of the Jack Stryker Mysteries).
In the Balance: On a train back to London, Miss Silver meets a frightened new bride. Lisle Jerningham has fled her home after overhearing a seemingly sinister conversation. Her husband’s first wife died in an apparent accident, and the resultant infusion of cash saved his family home. Now he’s broke again. Will he attempt a second convenient mishap?
The Chinese Shawl: Actress Tanis Lyle may lack professional training, but her natural charisma seems to hypnotize all who meet her. The rising star has just finished filming her first motion picture. Unfortunately, it will turn out to be her last. Who did Tanis fail to charm? The answer could lie with a distant cousin and a long-standing family feud.
Miss Silver Deals with Death: In wartime London, the once grand Vandeleur House has been divided into flats, its glorious façade now concealing a nest of intrigue. When one inhabitant reports she’s being blackmailed by another, Miss Silver is brought in to sort out the suspects from the residents, which include a woman who lost her fiancé after their ship was struck by a Nazi torpedo and a sleepwalking maid with a curious past.