The best books with soothingly gentleman-like inspectors

Who am I?

I’m the writer of an award-winning, best-selling series called the Lane Winslow Mysteries. They take place in British Columbia right after the Second World War, and feature an intelligent, canny, beautiful, polyglot who has just retired from spying for the British—this character inspired by my own beautiful multilingual mother, who did intelligence work in the war. I love the mystery genre, and while no one loves a burned-out, borderline alcoholic inspector who's divorced and has children who won’t return his calls more than I, I've always really adored what I call the “gentleman inspectors.” Men who are happily married, or will be soon, smart, educated, ethical, emotionally complex people you’d like to meet one day. 


I wrote...

Framed in Fire: A Lane Winslow Mystery

By Iona Whishaw,

Book cover of Framed in Fire: A Lane Winslow Mystery

What is my book about?

It is 1948 and Lane Winslow is visiting an elderly Russian friend in beautiful sleepy New Denver when she meets a veteran of the US 104th, a member of the long-forgotten Indigenous Sinixt Nation returning to his homeland. They stumble on a shallow grave in the friend’s garden…is it the railroad baron missing since 1921? Her husband, Inspector Darling of the Nelson police investigates under a cloud of suspicion and vicious gossip that he is on the take. The action spirals into deadly violence and arson, imperiling everyone connected with the case.

“Whishaw nicely pulls off the dynamics of small-town life while maintaining suspense. Maisie Dobbs and Phryne Fisher fans will be pleased.” - Publisher’s Weekly.  “Excellent.” - Toronto Star

The books I picked & why

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Strong Poison

By Dorothy L. Sayers,

Book cover of Strong Poison

Why this book?

This is not the first book in which Lord Peter appears, but it is the first of the books that include Harriet Vane, with whom he falls hopelessly in seemingly unrequited love when he saves her from the noose. Written in 1930, Lord Peter is an actual gentleman with all the deceptively shallow mannerisms and slang of a young Bertie Wooster about him, but he of course is covering up his blinding intelligence and his very vulnerable heart. Besides collecting rare books, playing faultless Bach on the piano ,and struggling with bouts of shell shock from the trenches in France, his great joy is solving murders. And he has beautiful manners. When asked why she had invented Lord Peter, Dorothy L. Sayers answered, “I wanted to create the perfect man.”

Strong Poison

By Dorothy L. Sayers,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Strong Poison as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The sixth book in Dorothy L Sayers' classic Lord Peter Wimsey series, introduced by actor Edward Petherbridge - a must-read for fans of Agatha Christie's Poirot and Margery Allingham's Campion Mysteries.

'D. L. Sayers is one of the best detective story writers' Daily Telegraph

Can Lord Peter Wimsey prove that Harriet Vane is not guilty of murder - or find the real poisoner in time to save her from the gallows?

Impossible, it seems.

The Crown's case is watertight. The police are adamant that the right person is on trial. The judge's summing-up is also clear. Harriet Vane is guilty…


The Blessing Way: A Leaphorn & Chee Novel

By Tony Hillerman,

Book cover of The Blessing Way: A Leaphorn & Chee Novel

Why this book?

The Blessing Way gives us Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn a long-serving member of the Navajo Tribal Police force. He’s had an early childhood education at boarding school, but he goes on to get a master’s in anthropology at the University of New Mexico, so he has an expanded point of view of both Navajo and white cultures which gives him a broad and educated perspective. By nature he is calm, unhurried and methodical, and courteous in his approach, even with people he knows are guilty. He is married to Emma, and she is the emotional center of his world.

The Blessing Way: A Leaphorn & Chee Novel

By Tony Hillerman,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Blessing Way as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Death of a Russian Priest

By Stuart M. Kaminsky,

Book cover of Death of a Russian Priest

Why this book?

Stuart Kaminski brings us the wonderful detective, Porfiry Rostnikov, a barrel of a man who wanted to be a wrestling champion in his youth, and surely the only honest policeman in the Soviet system. He is kind and generous and will fix the plumbing of anyone in his building for the sheer joy of it. He is entranced by the geometry of pipes and their challenge. He is also a man of a certain age who has seen it all and has no illusions. His relationship with soviet authorities is tricky; they suspect his Jewish wife, and his love of Ed McBain books, but he’s the only man who can catch the crook and save the state embarrassment.

Death of a Russian Priest

By Stuart M. Kaminsky,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Death of a Russian Priest as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Still Life

By Louise Penny,

Book cover of Still Life

Why this book?

Still Life introduces Armand Gamache, of the Surete du Quebec, another man with a happy marriage and a prodigious education, perfectly bilingual because of his time at Cambridge. His belief in kindness is a guiding principle in his work, and he is honest to the core. He famously lives in the Brigadoon-like village of Three Pines, which ‘does not appear on any historical map’. Like his colleagues here, he is a deep and analytical observer of the human condition and believes in thinking before he speaks.  

Still Life

By Louise Penny,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Still Life as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Death at La Fenice

By Donna Leon,

Book cover of Death at La Fenice

Why this book?

Meet Commisario Guido Brunetti, who works for the Venetian Questura. Though born poor himself, he is married to an aristocratic professor of literature whom he adores, and who makes fantastic food.   Brunetti is another honest man in a police force with a largely fluid sense of ethics. He is genuinely curious and admires people who can do things, making him generous in his ability and desire to work collaboratively. He lives in Venice and knows the city intimately, both at the highest levels and at the lowest, and he is especially cognizant of the twists and turns of officialdom, and how one must always calculate with how much must be compromised in an effort to really deliver justice. 

Death at La Fenice

By Donna Leon,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Death at La Fenice as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'A splendid series . . . with a backdrop of the city so vivid you can almost smell it.' The Sunday Telegraph

Winner of the Suntory Mystery Fiction Grand Prize
__________________________________

The twisted maze of Venice's canals has always been shrouded in mystery. Even the celebrated opera house, La Fenice, has seen its share of death ... but none so horrific and violent as that of world-famous conductor, Maestro Helmut Wellauer, who was poisoned during a performance of La Traviata. Even Commissario of Police, Guido Brunetti, used to the labyrinthine corruptions of the city, is shocked at the number of…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in private investigators, the Navajo, and murder?

6,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about private investigators, the Navajo, and murder.

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And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

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