100 books like Grey Mask

By Patricia Wentworth,

Here are 100 books that Grey Mask fans have personally recommended if you like Grey Mask. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Blanche on the Lam

Joan L. Kelly Author Of Notions of Murder

From my list on cozy mysteries to snuggle up with now and then.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a person who likes to nibble on poetry and taste history and non-fiction. But I love to devour fiction, especially mysteries. Reading a feel-good adventure with an excellent plot and engaging characters is my way of relaxing. My philosophy is that life can often be difficult, and fiction stories, such as cozy mysteries, are good therapy. When I’m not reading, quilting, or spending time with my grandkids, I’m writing stories. As a former teacher, I try to live up to the saying: Writing is painting pictures with words.

Joan's book list on cozy mysteries to snuggle up with now and then

Joan L. Kelly Why did Joan love this book?

I get a kick out of a story that presents a main character who doesn’t fit the expected norms of a hero or heroine. A feisty, middle-aged African-American housekeeper/cook is not your typical amateur sleuth. When her checks bounce because her rich employer fails to pay her, Blanche goes on the lam. Hiding as a maid for a wealthy family, things look bleak when a murder occurs in the home.  Blanche calls on her savvy and wit to discover the truth. As the story unfolds, the author uses humor and biting sentences to present a glimpse into the foibles of southern society toward domestic help. This is the first of this cozy mystery series featuring a very memorable character, Balance White. An enjoyable read!  

Once you read Blanche on the Lam, I believe you won’t hesitate to search out book two of the series to see what further adventures…

By Barbara Neely,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Blanche on the Lam as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Award-winning author Barbara Neely presents the first in a series of novels featuring Blanche White, bla ck domestic worker extraordinaire and accidental sleuth. '


Book cover of Crocodile on the Sandbank

Harini Nagendra Author Of The Bangalore Detectives Club

From my list on historical crime books with spunky women protagonists.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an ecologist who loves history. I love incorporating elements from the past in my non-fiction and fiction writing. I’ve learnt so much about parts of the world I have never visited from historical mysteries, especially those with strong female characters. My grandmother, born in 1907 during the British Raj, fought just to go to school. I love books that offer an insight into the lives and thoughts of fierce, feisty women like her, everyday women who did extraordinary things. Each of the books I’ve selected is the first in a series, and I hope they give you endless hours of reading pleasure, just as they did for me.

Harini's book list on historical crime books with spunky women protagonists

Harini Nagendra Why did Harini love this book?

Amelia Peabody, the heroine of this series, is that rarity, a female archeologist elbowing her way into digs and expeditions, the domain of men in 1890s Egypt. Amelia fearlessly deals with master criminals and tomb robbers, using a stout belt and large umbrella, solving crimes with panache.

In this book, the first of the series, she rescues a damsel in distress, falls in love, and uncovers the secret of a walking mummy.

It’s a rollicking romp of a read but doesn’t shy away from showing the divisions of the times between Europeans and ‘natives,’ men and women, rich and poor. The author is an Egyptologist herself, and her expertise shows through; as an academic myself, I’m very inspired by her work! This is one of my absolute favourites.

By Elizabeth Peters,

Why should I read it?

10 authors picked Crocodile on the Sandbank as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Amelia Peabody is Elizabeth Peters' most brilliant and best-loved creation, a thoroughly Victorian feminist who takes the stuffy world of archaeology by storm with her shocking men's pants and no-nonsense attitude!

In this first adventure, our headstrong heroine decides to use her substantial inheritance to see the world. On her travels, she rescues a gentlewoman in distress - Evelyn Barton-Forbes - and the two become friends. The two companions continue to Egypt where they face mysteries, mummies and the redoubtable Radcliffe Emerson, an outspoken archaeologist, who doesn't need women to help him solve mysteries -- at least that's what he…


Book cover of The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax

Harini Nagendra Author Of The Bangalore Detectives Club

From my list on historical crime books with spunky women protagonists.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an ecologist who loves history. I love incorporating elements from the past in my non-fiction and fiction writing. I’ve learnt so much about parts of the world I have never visited from historical mysteries, especially those with strong female characters. My grandmother, born in 1907 during the British Raj, fought just to go to school. I love books that offer an insight into the lives and thoughts of fierce, feisty women like her, everyday women who did extraordinary things. Each of the books I’ve selected is the first in a series, and I hope they give you endless hours of reading pleasure, just as they did for me.

Harini's book list on historical crime books with spunky women protagonists

Harini Nagendra Why did Harini love this book?

While this wasn’t written as a historical, it was published in the 1960s, so it qualifies as one.

Mrs. Pollifax is another unlikely spunky heroine who’s one of my favorites. A suburban housewife and widow with grown children and an empty nest, Pollifax is so bored with gardening and yoga that she volunteers to help the CIA! What was supposed to be a short and safe trip to Mexico City turns into something far more sinister, and she ends up in an Albanian prison.

It could be a wild and unbelievable read, but in this author’s skillful hands, the plot comes together perfectly. Gillman’s sense of society and cultural context is nuanced, and I love how her books bring out her belief in the strength of innate human kindness.

By Dorothy Gilman,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Mrs Emily Pollifax is a 60-ish widow wanting more from life than teas and garden club meetings. In search of adventure, she decides to offer her services to the CIA - who, after all, would spot a suburban grandmother as a cold war secret agent? - and adventure she finds. Her first assignment, in Mexico City, doesn't sound dangerous until something goes wrong. She suddenly finds herself abducted across the world, embroiled in quite a hot Cold War... and her abductors find themselves entangled with one unbelievably feisty lady. Armed with only an open mind and a little karate, Mrs…


Book cover of Her Royal Spyness

Harini Nagendra Author Of The Bangalore Detectives Club

From my list on historical crime books with spunky women protagonists.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an ecologist who loves history. I love incorporating elements from the past in my non-fiction and fiction writing. I’ve learnt so much about parts of the world I have never visited from historical mysteries, especially those with strong female characters. My grandmother, born in 1907 during the British Raj, fought just to go to school. I love books that offer an insight into the lives and thoughts of fierce, feisty women like her, everyday women who did extraordinary things. Each of the books I’ve selected is the first in a series, and I hope they give you endless hours of reading pleasure, just as they did for me.

Harini's book list on historical crime books with spunky women protagonists

Harini Nagendra Why did Harini love this book?

Who wouldn’t love a fun book about royals and murder?

Lady Victoria Georgiana Charlotte Eugenie, Georgie for short, is waaay down the line of people to inherit, 34th in the queue, to be precise. And she’s flat broke. Thrown out of the Scotland castle that is her childhood home by her greedy sister-in-law, Georgie cleans homes in secret to earn a bit of money.

Things are just beginning to look up when she finds a dead Frenchman in her bathtub! If being suspected of murder is not enough, she’s also been given a job by the Queen to spy on the playboy Prince of Wales.

Georgie is irrepressible and full of spunk. She’s clumsy, makes mistakes, and fails often, but never gives up. A most relatable heroine.

By Rhys Bowen,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Her Royal Spyness as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE FIRST ROYAL SPYNESS MYSTERY!

The New York Times bestselling author of the Molly Murphy and Constable Evan Evans mysteries turns her attentions to "a feisty new heroine to delight a legion of Anglophile readers."*

London, 1932. Lady Victoria Georgiana Charlotte Eugenie, 34th in line for the English throne, is flat broke. She's bolted Scotland, her greedy brother, and her fish-faced betrothed. London is a place where she'll experience freedom, learn life lessons aplenty, do a bit of spying for HRH-oh, and find a dead Frenchman in her tub. Now her new job is to clear her long family name...


Book cover of Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder

Dana Mentink Author Of Pint of No Return

From my list on hungry armchair sleuths who love their snackies.

Why am I passionate about this?

Maybe it’s due to my Cuban heritage, but I was raised to appreciate a delicious meal. Beans and rice, roasted pork, plantains, my mouth waters at the thought. When I launched into the writing business twenty five years and fifty books ago, I managed to sprinkle my novels with plenty of tasty treats. Diving into the culinary mystery world allowed me to combine my fancy for food and fiction into one glorious place. The best kind of mystery novels are the ones that tickle your taste buds while they tweak your little grey cells, don’t you think?

Dana's book list on hungry armchair sleuths who love their snackies

Dana Mentink Why did Dana love this book?

Similar to Goldy in the prior recommendation, Hannah Swenson knows her way around a cookie. She runs her own bakery with offerings that make the reader’s mouth water (mine sure does!) She’s got plenty of sass and a mom who is constantly trying to find her a man. I love her determination to solve the murder of the milkman but most of all I love the cookie recipes which are easy for the average baker. I am a massive cookie lover so I am always looking for new types to try and Hannah Swenson delivers. She keeps the recipes easy and accessible but always with a fun twist.

By Joanne Fluke,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

First in the New York Times-bestselling mystery series: “A cleverly plotted cozy full of appealing characters and delicious cookie recipes.”—Publishers Weekly

Take one amateur sleuth. Mix in some eccentric Minnesota locals. Add a generous dollop of crackling suspense, and you've got the recipe for this mystery series featuring Hannah Swensen, the red-haired, cookie-baking heroine whose gingersnaps are almost as tart as her comments and whose penchant for solving crime is definitely stirring things up.

While dodging her mother’s attempts to marry her off, Hannah runs The Cookie Jar, Lake Eden’s most popular bakery. But after Ron LaSalle, the beloved deliveryman…


Book cover of The Cat Who Played Post Office

Joan L. Kelly Author Of Notions of Murder

From my list on cozy mysteries to snuggle up with now and then.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a person who likes to nibble on poetry and taste history and non-fiction. But I love to devour fiction, especially mysteries. Reading a feel-good adventure with an excellent plot and engaging characters is my way of relaxing. My philosophy is that life can often be difficult, and fiction stories, such as cozy mysteries, are good therapy. When I’m not reading, quilting, or spending time with my grandkids, I’m writing stories. As a former teacher, I try to live up to the saying: Writing is painting pictures with words.

Joan's book list on cozy mysteries to snuggle up with now and then

Joan L. Kelly Why did Joan love this book?

The best way I can recommend this book is by informing you that, over the years, I have purchased every book in the series and read them more than once. Between 1967 and 2007, Lillian Jackson Braun wrote twenty-nine Cat Who books. This prolific writer passed away in 2011, but her novels are still popular. Her cozy mysteries do not feature the usual female sleuth. Instead, the main character is a reporter named Jim Qwilleran and his two Siamese cats, Ko Ko and Yum Yum. The story I picked to feature is The Cat Who Played Post Office. After millions were bequeathed to Qwilleran from Francesca Klingerschoen, known to Qwilleran as Aunt Fanny, he moves himself and the cats to the enormous mansion he’d inherited. After hiring a staff of local servants, a shocking murder takes place. Qwill’s ability to listen to others and his desire to investigate, combined…

By Lilian Jackson Braun,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Cat Who Played Post Office as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Inheriting unexpected millions has left reporter Jim Qwilleran looking like the cat who swallowed the canary. While his two Siamese cats, Koko and Yum Yum, adjust to being fat cats in an enormous mansion, Qwilleran samples the life-styles of the rich and famous by hiring a staff of eccentric servants. A missing housemaid and a shocking murder soon show him the unsavoury side of the upper crust. But it's Koko's purr-fect propensity for clues amid the caviar and champagne that gives Qwilleran pause to evaluate the most unlikely suspects...before his taste for the good life turns into his last meal.


Book cover of The Body in the Library

H L Marsay Author Of A Long Shadow

From my list on classic English murder mysteries.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up binge-reading murder mysteries and promised myself that some day, I would write one too. A Long Shadow is the first book in my Chief Inspector Shadow series set in York. Luckily, living in a city so full of history, dark corners, and hidden snickelways, I am never short of inspiration. When I’m not coming up with new ways to bump people off, I enjoy red wine, dark chocolate, and blue cheese—not necessarily together! 

H L's book list on classic English murder mysteries

H L Marsay Why did H L love this book?

It was so difficult to pick just one book by the ‘Queen of Crime’, but for me, The Body in the Library is the perfect murder mystery set in an English village. When Dolly Bantry finds the body of a beautiful young woman in her library one morning, she immediately calls her best friend, Jane Marple. Miss Marple arrives at the hotel where the dead girl worked and finds herself in a world of glamorous dancers and wealthy invalids. She sets out to uncover the murderer and restore her friends’ reputations.

By Agatha Christie,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Body in the Library as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

હોટેલમાં અડધેથી પોતાનું પર્ફોર્મન્સ છોડીને ભાગેલી યુવાન ડાન્સરની લાશ બેન્ટ્રી કપલના ઘરની લાઇબ્રેરીમાંથી મળી આવે છે.  બીજી તરફ ગામથી દૂર એક સૂમસામ ખીણમાં બળીને કોલસો થઇ ગયેલી બીજી એક યુવાન છોકરીની લાશ પણ મળી આવે છે. શું આ બંને ઘટનાઓને જોડતી કોઈ લિન્ક હતી?રિટાયર્ડ આર્મી કર્નલ, એનો તોછડો પડોશી, અતિ શ્રીમંત પણ દુઃખી અને અપંગ બિઝનેસમેન, ભૂતકાળમાંથી છટકીને નવું જીવન શરૂ કરવા માટે તલસી રહેલા થોડાં યુવાન સ્ત્રીપુરુષો -- આ બધાં જ શંકાના દાયરામાં છે. આ દરેક લોકો કંઇક તો છુપાવે જ છે, પરંતુ સૌની પાસે ખુદની નિર્દોષતા સાબિત કરવા માટેના સજ્જડ પુરાવાઓ પણ છે. માત્ર એક જ વ્યક્તિ જાણે…


Book cover of The Frangipani Tree Mystery

Harini Nagendra Author Of The Bangalore Detectives Club

From my list on historical crime books with spunky women protagonists.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an ecologist who loves history. I love incorporating elements from the past in my non-fiction and fiction writing. I’ve learnt so much about parts of the world I have never visited from historical mysteries, especially those with strong female characters. My grandmother, born in 1907 during the British Raj, fought just to go to school. I love books that offer an insight into the lives and thoughts of fierce, feisty women like her, everyday women who did extraordinary things. Each of the books I’ve selected is the first in a series, and I hope they give you endless hours of reading pleasure, just as they did for me.

Harini's book list on historical crime books with spunky women protagonists

Harini Nagendra Why did Harini love this book?

Set in 1930s Singapore, written by one of the island country’s finest writers, this book features a most unlikely protagonist, SuLin, a young local girl hired as a nanny in the British Governor’s household.

Dealing with childhood polio, labeled a ‘bad-luck’ child, SuLin yearns for a life where she can become a journalist of her own standing, not just someone’s wife or mistress. Just like the other feisty women in these other series, she’s beset by challenges, including those of her own making, but she never gives up!

I’ve been a huge fan of Yu’s contemporary Aunty Lee series, set in contemporary Singapore, and I loved this one too. The descriptions of Singapore’s lush tropical landscape, the trees, and the food–especially the food–are too good to pass up.

By Ovidia Yu,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Frangipani Tree Mystery as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

First in a delightfully charming crime series set in 1930s Singapore, introducing amateur sleuth Su Lin, a local girl stepping in as governess for the Acting Governor of Singapore.

1936 in the Crown Colony of Singapore, and the British abdication crisis and rising Japanese threat seem very far away. When the Irish nanny looking after Acting Governor Palin's daughter dies suddenly - and in mysterious circumstances - mission school-educated local girl Su Lin - an aspiring journalist trying to escape an arranged marriage - is invited to take her place.

But then another murder at the residence occurs and it…


Book cover of Maisie Dobbs

Ellen Barker Author Of East of Troost

From my list on magical books for realists.

Why am I passionate about this?

I write and read realistic fiction. I’m not a fan of fantasy, sci-fi, ghost stories, or magical (other than, you know, Tolkien). I don’t want to have to suspend a lot of belief and buy into an alternate reality. And yet, and yet. . . . All these books have a little element of something going on, and they each grabbed me and kept my attention, and I didn’t roll my eyes once. The supernatural is just a little extra kick and, in every case, as believable as it can possibly be. 

Ellen's book list on magical books for realists

Ellen Barker Why did Ellen love this book?

This book is about a private investigator in London in the early 1900s. It is the first of a long series about Maisie’s cases and the people who are dear to her.

This first book gives us an introduction to Maisie and her working-class background, the people who influenced her, and the way she uses her own version of second sight to understand both clients and criminals. Her description of Maisie mimicking someone’s body movements to figure out their motives actually made me try it out.

I also got a strong sense of London during the difficult years of wars and depression and a bedraggled peace. If you enjoy this one, you’ll have a nice backlog to return to whenever you need more.

By Jacqueline Winspear,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Maisie Dobbs as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A favorite mystery series of Hillary Clinton (as mentioned in What Happened, The New York Times Book Review, and New York Magazine)
A New York Times Notable Book of the Year
Agatha Award Winner for Best First Novel
Macavity Award Winner for Best First Novel
Alex Award Winner

Fiercely independent Maisie Dobbs has recently set herself up as a private detective. Such a move may not seem especially startling. But this is 1929, and Maisie is exceptional in many ways.

Having started as a maid to the London aristocracy, studied her way to Cambridge and served as a nurse in…


Book cover of What Meets The Eye

Ashley Clifton Author Of Twice The Trouble

From my list on literary novels masquerading as crime novels.

Why am I passionate about this?

Flannery O’Connor once said that all fiction is ultimately about the “mystery of personality.” I agree. In fact, I have always suspected that all good novels, genre-based or otherwise, are secretly mystery novels, if only in the psychological sense. Conversely, many so-called genre novels have just as much depth, insight, and realism as any literary work. I have read a lot of genre and literary fiction in my time, and I have long been fascinated by works that blur the line between the two. My favorite kind of book is one that feels like a genre novel (that is, it has a great plot) but also has the depth and vividness of a literary novel.

Ashley's book list on literary novels masquerading as crime novels

Ashley Clifton Why did Ashley love this book?

One thing I really like about this mystery novel is the way it is told from multiple points of view, which is a very unusual technique in mystery fiction. That’s one reason that it felt, to me, so much like a literary novel.

The first character is a brilliant, tortured artist named Margot, who is already dead at the start of the novel. The second character is Kate, an ex-cop turned P.I. who is hired to find Margot’s killer. 

Both women are compelling, interesting characters, but I especially liked the way Kenna renders the hero, Kate. She’s a single mom in recovery from a drug addiction. Her ex is a creep, and most of her old (male) cop colleagues are, too. Her struggle in solving the case felt completely real and human to me. And that’s the signature quality of literary fiction.

By Alex Kenna,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked What Meets The Eye as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From debut author Alex Kenna comes a pulse-pounding tapestry of secrets, retribution, and greed for fans of Jeffrey Archer.

Kate Myles was a promising Los Angeles police detective, until an accident and opioid addiction blew up her family and destroyed her career. Struggling to rebuild her life, Kate decides to try her hand at private detective work—but she gets much more than she bargained for when she takes on the case of a celebrated painter found dead in a downtown loft.

When Margot Starling’s body was found, the cause of death was assumed to be suicide. Despite her beauty, talent,…


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