The best books about women who rescue themselves

Marsali Taylor Author Of The Shetland Sea Murders
By Marsali Taylor

Who am I?

I love reading crime but oh, it does annoy me when an otherwise competent sensible female detective insists on going into the lonely house to tackle the murderer without backup, and needs to be rescued by her male sidekick. Cass is the cool-in-a-crisis heroine we’d all like to be. Like her, I’m a solo sailor (I’ve lent her my yacht for the series) and I’d love to say I’ve learned to be quick-thinking, self-reliant, and prudent—the sea doesn’t forgive stupidity. I also live in a village where everyone sees the lifeboat going out, and having to be rescued would be the ultimate embarrassment. 


I wrote...

The Shetland Sea Murders

By Marsali Taylor,

Book cover of The Shetland Sea Murders

What is my book about?

Liveaboard yacht sailor Cass Lynch is crewing aboard Swan with a birthday charter when there’s a Mayday: a fishing boat’s stuck on the notorious Ve Skerries. The boat’s insured by the birthday boy, and it’s clear there are other tensions aboard: his nieces are arguing over childhood memories, and his sister is apprehensive about returning to the island of Papa Stour, where she lived as a young woman. Then there’s a death... This adventure matches quick-witted Cass against her most ruthless adversary yet.

The books I picked & why

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Run Away Home

By Elinor Lyon,

Book cover of Run Away Home

Why this book?

Through Covid I revisited childhood favourites, and found I still loved this series. Cathy has grown up in a Birmingham orphanage, and the only clues to her identity are a locket with a portrait of a Highland lady and a torn luggage label. She escapes north, where she meets Ian and Sovra. They spend their time messing about in their boat on the loch or camping in a remote bothy. Their determination to help Cathy gets them all into trouble, but it’s Cathy’s own character that gives her the chance of a happy ending.

Run Away Home

By Elinor Lyon,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Run Away Home as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this, the third Ian and Sovra story, the pair discover that life in Edinburgh can be as thrilling as life in their own Western Highlands. For there they meet Cathie, who's escaped from an orphanage. They smuggle her out to a secret hut on the coast, where, after her rides in lorries and rolls of carpet, she's only too delighted to enjoy the free outdoor life of her new friends, while Ian and Sovra do a spot of detection for her. How they solved the mystery and found that this land of mountains, lochs and white sand really was…


Kick Back

By Val McDermid,

Book cover of Kick Back

Why this book?

Kate Brannigan is my go-to heroine when I want to be cheered up. She’s a wise-cracking, kick-boxing, quick-witted Manchester PI and in this novel she investigates the Case of the Missing Conservatories. Other series characters include her music journo boyfriend, Richard (Kate’s more likely to rescue him), her friends Chris and Alexis who’re having problems with a bent builder, and her firm’s scary secretary who’s suddenly become a lovesick teenager. It’s cleverly plotted, fast-moving, and stars a feisty woman who takes no prisoners. I wish there were more books in this seriesfive isn’t enough!

Kick Back

By Val McDermid,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Manchester-based private investigator Kate Brannigan is back, and this time she's investigating the bizarre case of the missing conservatories. Before long, she's up to her neck in crooked land deals, mortgage scams, financial chicanery - and murder. But then a favour for a friend puts Kate's own life in danger - and bizarre is not the first word she thinks of ...'Kate Brannigan is wonderful' Frances Fyfield


The Grand Sophy

By Georgette Heyer,

Book cover of The Grand Sophy

Why this book?

Back to the Regency for this one. The Ombersley household isn’t prepared for a visitor: grumpy Charles is engaged to a disagreeable girl, Cecilia’s fallen in love with a poet, Hubert has secret worries. Their “little cousin Sophy” turns out to be more than they bargained for: she arrives with a monkey and a parrot for the younger children and it’s soon clear that life following Wellington’s army with her diplomat father has made her used to sorting out other people’s troubles. Very funny, impeccable historical detail, and a wonderfully resourceful heroine who’s never at a loss.

The Grand Sophy

By Georgette Heyer,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Grand Sophy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

If you love Bridgerton, you'll love Georgette Heyer!

'The greatest writer who ever lived' ANTONIA FRASER
'One of my perennial comfort authors. Heyer's books are as incisively witty and quietly subversive as any of Jane Austen's' JOANNE HARRIS
'Absolutely delicious tales of Regency heroes. . . Utter, immersive escapism' SOPHIE KINSELLA
__________________

The charming Sophia Stanton-Lacy is a force to be reckoned with.

When Sophy is sent to stay with her London relatives, she finds her cousins in quite the tangle.

Cecilia is besotted with an attractive but feather-brained poet, Hubert has fallen foul of a money-lender, and the ruthlessly…


All Fun And Games Until Somebody Loses An Eye

By Christopher Brookmyre,

Book cover of All Fun And Games Until Somebody Loses An Eye

Why this book?

This one’s my go-to fantasy world when I feel middle-aged. Bett runs a mysterious team whose skills include hacking, guns, gadgets, and flying helicopters. When scientist Ross Fleming disappears from his arms research job, Bett calls in the person he knows will do anything to save Ross: his mother, bored housewife Jane Fleming who dreams of adventure. Leaving a trail of broken laws behind her, she gets herself illegally into France to join Bett, where her dreams start coming true: a sports car, a transmitter disguised as an earring, a casino, and a gun she now knows how to fire...  and it’s all narrated with Brookmyre’s trademark humour.

All Fun And Games Until Somebody Loses An Eye

By Christopher Brookmyre,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked All Fun And Games Until Somebody Loses An Eye as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

As a teenager Jane Bell had dreamt of playing in the casinos of Monte Carlo in the company of James Bond, but in her punk phase she'd got herself pregnant and by the time she reaches forty-six she's a grandmother, her dreams as dry as the dust her Dyson sucks up from her hall carpet every day. Then her son Ross, a researcher working for an arms manufacturer in Switzerland, is forced to disappear before some characters cut from the same cloth as Blofeld persuade him to part with the secrets of his research. But they are not the only…


The Moon-Spinners

By Mary Stewart,

Book cover of The Moon-Spinners

Why this book?

Nicola’s working in Crete, and has arranged to meet her cousin Frances for a holiday at a little taverna in the White Mountainsexcept that on her way there she becomes involved with Mike. He was on holiday with his younger brother, Colin, until they witnessed a murder; now Mike’s lying injured in a shepherd’s hut, and Colin has disappeared. The plot is fast-moving, the characters and dialogue great, and the description of Crete makes you feel you’re there with Nicola as she takes a hand in bringing the murderers to justice. I’ve loved all Stewart’s books since my teens, but this is my favourite.

The Moon-Spinners

By Mary Stewart,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Impetuous and attractive, Nicola Ferris has just arrived in Crete for a holiday when she sees an egret fly out of a lemon grove. On impulse, she follows the bird’s path into the White Mountains. There she discovers a young Englishman who, hiding out in the hills and less than pleased to have been discovered, sends Nicola packing with the order to keep out of his affairs. This, of course, Nicola is unable to do, and before long events lead to a stunning climax among the fishing boats of Agios Georgios Bay.

            In this bestselling novel, first published in 1963…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in private investigators, Regency, and Greece?

7,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about private investigators, Regency, and Greece.

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And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

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