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The Phryne Fisher Series - Kerry Greenwood

'Independent, wealthy, spirited and possessed of an uninhibited style that makes everyone move out of her way and stand gawking for a full five minutes after she walks by -- Phryne Fisher is a woman who gets what she wants and has the good sense to enjoy every minute of it!' -- Geelong Times

I love these books for the glamour, the outfits, the cocktails and of course, Phryne herself. She is everything a heroine should be and best of all, even in the 1920s, she doesn't need a man to rescue her or for her to feel complete. Her relationships are all on her own terms and she solves the crimes primarily by herself. However, she is not isolated. The books are a true ensemble piece and the supporting characters are all wonderful in their own right. Phryne even made the grade to go on the wall in my study.

My full blog about this series can be found here.

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The Amelia Peabody Series - Elizabeth Peters

There is no question that Mertz lavished special attention on the series she started under the name Elizabeth Peters in 1975, when the first Amelia Peabody novel, Crocodile on the Sandbank, appeared.  Featuring the team of Amelia Peabody and Radcliffe Emerson, two Victorian-era Egyptologists, this beloved series lasted until the time of the author’s death in 2013, at which time she was in the middle of writing the 20th book in the series, titled The Painted Queen...Some who knew Barbara well have hinted that she had much in common with Amelia – in all her complexity.   In any case, their shared love of Egyptian archaeology is on full display throughout the Amelia series. - official Elizabeth Peters website

This is one of several series that I always give to people as a gift. Amelia and her family feel like real people - friends if you like. This is another series that made it onto the wall of my study - it's adventure, it's history, it's feminism, it's exciting, it's humorous. It's just fantastic.

My full blog about this series can be found here.

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The Vicky Bliss Series - Elizabeth Peters

For those unfamiliar with Vicky Bliss, she is the hero of an Elizabeth Peters mystery series, an art historian with a specialty in medieval Europe who works at the National Museum in Munich. Her work brings her into the realm of brilliant artists and cold-blooded killers, forgers and art thieves, embroiling her in danger–and with one art thief, in particular–romance. - official Elizabeth Peters website

I think what makes these books so unusual is that they are all set at the time they were written. In the first book (1973) Vicky has no mobile phone. By the last one (2008) she does, but she has only aged a few years. This should make the series feel discordant but it doesn't. The stories work so well that it doesn't matter that they are all set at different times. Like Amelia, there's a full cast of supporting characters but Vicky is independent. She is a statuesque blonde and she hates it - Peters really turns this stereotype on its head with this heroine.

My full blog about this series can be found here.

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Agatha Christie

“There was a moment when I changed from an amateur to a professional. I assumed the burden of a profession, which is to write even when you don't want to, don't much like what you're writing, and aren't writing particularly well.” -Agatha Christie

Well it may have been a burden to her, but I'm fairly sure the millions of people who have read her books wouldn't have agreed that she hadn't written particularly well. Obviously, everyone has their favourite or least favourite of her books, but no one can argue with her title of the Queen of Crime. My personal favourite is probably either 'Death on The Nile' or 'Sleeping Murder' but there are very few of her books I haven't read more than once.

My blog about 'Death on the Nile' can be found here.

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The Daisy Dalrymple Series - Carola Dunn

'Daisy is definitely a woman ahead of her time. The mystery is very well done, with a ‘golden age’ atmosphere to it. A house full of possible suspects, the process of elimination, and then the big surprise reveal- which turned out to be a total surprise. It’s a formula that’s been used countless times, but, if it is done right, it always seems to work.' - Julie, via Goodreads

This is another series set in the 1920s that I absolutely adore. It very definitely falls into the 'cosy crime' bracket and is perfect for lovers of Poirot, Agatha Raisin, Midsomer Murders etc. Daisy is the best possible kind of interfering and even though it infuriates the police that she always seems to be on the scene of a crime, she always manages to help them, even when they don't realise it! The series is now complete as Carola Dunn has retired and whilst that makes me sad in some ways, it also means I have the perfect excuse to re-read them all!

My full blog about Daisy can be found here.

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The Maisie Dobbs Series - Jacqueline Winspear

'Don't go into reading Maisie Dobbs with any preconceived ideas about what you'll find there. Yes, it's a mystery -- somewhat. Yes, it's a historical novel -- somewhat. Yes, it's a exploration of psychological healing -- somewhat. In fact, Maisie Dobbs is one of those books that can't really be pegged and shelved in it's own confined area.' - Hannah, Goodreads

Maisie is definitely NOT cosy crime. These books deal with much deeper issues - the far reaching consequences of World War One, spiritualism, suicide, child mortality and homosexuality at a time when it was illegal, to name but a few. There are occasions when you have to suspend your disbelief a little if you don't share Maisie's approach to solving crimes - there's a lot of feeling the vibrations of the dead spirit and intuitive detecting - but even if this aspect of the book is not for you, the stories are so good it doesn't matter. 

I've only discovered Maisie relatively recently so I've only read the first few in the series, but they are seriously good books that will often surprise you with the depth of understanding shown of society at the time.