Female Detectives Older Than Usual

These authors all have female detectives who are senior citizens.  It just goes to show you’re never too old to have a good time.

Margot Arnold – Her 60-something female detective, Penny Spring, is an anthropologist and she teams up with Sir Toby Glendower, also in his 60’s, who is an archaeologist. Penny is 5′ 1″ and slightly rounded. Sir Toby is quite loveable.  The pair gets around; the stories take place in quite varied locales, from Cape Cod to Scotland, France, Rome and other interesting places. The first is Exit Actors, Dying. The series gets better and better as it progresses.

Deb Baker –Michigan is home to Gertie Johnson who is 66 years old. The first book is Murder Passes the Buck. Gertie is a “one-of-a-kind” character that you will love from the start.  In Murder Passes The Buck, the story begins, “If my grandson Little Donny hadn’t taken so long getting out of bed this morning, I would have been at Chester’s hunting blind in time to see them haul Chester out.” The sheriff thinks it’s a hunting accident, but Gertie thinks differently.

M. C. Beaton – Agatha Raisin is retired and has left London for the Cotswolds.  As we all know, those quiet English villages are dangerous places.  Agatha, at 53, is the youngest of our senior citizen detectives and she is having a hard time adjusting to her new life.  That could be, partly, because she’s bossy, grouchy, prickly and just not very likeable.  But she’s human and she’ll grow on you.  Start with The Quiche of Death.

Nancy Bell – “Biggie” Weatherford is a Texas grandmother. The stories are told through the eyes of her grandson, “J.R.” And shades of Joe Pickett (C.J. Box) and Stephanie Plum (Janet Evanovich), the first book of the series, Biggie and the Poisoned Politician starts off when her boarder’s car explodes.  It’s a fun series.

Eleanor Boylan – Clara Gamadge is the 70 year-old widow of a forgery expert in NYC. The name Gamadge might be familiar to long-time mystery readers.  Clara’s husband, Henry, was the creation of Eleanor Boylan’s aunt, Elizabeth Daly, in the 1940’s. The series is intelligent and written in a classic style. The first of Clara’s adventures is Working Murder.

Emily Brightwell – Mrs. Jeffries is the housekeeper to Inspector Witherspoon, in the Victorian era. She’s also a policeman’s widow and pretty smart on her own. The Inspector isn’t very capable, but Mrs. Jeffries and the household staff manage to help him catch his man.  The Inspector and Mrs. Jeffries is the first in this light, delightful series.

Cynthia Riggs – Victoria Trumbell is a 92 year-old lady on Martha’s Vineyard. She’s fiercely independent and has a firm hold on life. I would recommend that you begin the series with the second book, The Cranefly Orchid Murders, as it is much better than the first book.  After you have fallen in love with Victoria and the series go back and read the first one, Deadly Nightshade.

Corinne Holt Sawyer – Her two senior sleuths are Angela Bengow and Caledonia Wingate who live in the retirement village in Camden-sur-Mer, California.  They are both in their 70’s and widows of naval admirals.  Angela and Caledonia, along with two of their friends, get involved in a murder investigation in The J. Alfred Prufrock Murders. The collective wisdom of their ages becomes a powerful sleuthing aid.

Patricia Wentworth – Wentworth was a prolific mystery writer from 1923 to her death in 1961 and she is considered as a ‘mistress’ of classical mysteries.  The Miss Silver mysteries began in 1928, before Christie’s Miss Marple. Retired governess and teacher, Miss Maud Silver is a professional private eye in London, England. The series are very typical of the time in which they were written.

The female senior citizen sleuths that blazed the way for these older gals and their feisty new careers are, along with Miss Silver, those classic senior ladies: Miss Marple (Agatha Christie), Jessica Fletcher (Donald Bain) and Mrs. Pollifax (Dorothy Gilman).

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I’m working on a list now!

  2. Sounds like an interesting selection. Are there elderly male detectives?

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