100 books like Her Royal Spyness

By Rhys Bowen,

Here are 100 books that Her Royal Spyness fans have personally recommended if you like Her Royal Spyness. 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 Crocodile on the Sandbank

Harini Nagendra Author Of The Bangalore Detectives Club

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

Who am I?

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.

Who am I?

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 The Quiche of Death

Dana Mentink Author Of Pint of No Return

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

Who am I?

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?

It takes guts to write a protagonist who’s hard to like. Agatha Raisin, a tough businesswoman who retires to the tiny village of Carsley, is so beautifully flawed she’s impossible to ignore. She’s somewhat of a bully, prone to conniving, and deeply competitive, which is why she buys her quiche at a shop and enters it as her own creation. Of course, someone drops dead after eating it. This crusty woman of a certain age just bulldozes her way through the investigation and her flaws are so funny and refreshing that you wind up rooting for her. She’s a breath of fresh air in the cozy mystery world.

By M.C. Beaton,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Every new Agatha Raisin escapade is a total joy' ASHLEY JENSEN

'No wonder she's been crowned Queen of Cosy Crime' MAIL ON SUNDAY

'A Beaton novel is like The Archers on speed' DAILY MAIL

The first Agatha Raisin mystery from bestselling author M. C. Beaton

__________________________

Revenge is a dish best served warm...

High-flying public relations supremo Agatha Raisin has decided to take early retirement. She's off to make a new life in a picture-perfect Cotswold village. To make friends, she enters the local quiche-making competition - and to make quite sure of first prize she secretly pays a visit…


The Model Spy: Based on the True Story of Toto Koopman’s World War II Ventures

By Maryka Biaggio,

Book cover of The Model Spy: Based on the True Story of Toto Koopman’s World War II Ventures

Maryka Biaggio Author Of The Model Spy: Based on the True Story of Toto Koopman’s World War II Ventures

New book alert!

Who am I?

Author Historical fiction author Lover of hidden stories Research nerd Opera fanatic

Maryka's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

The Model Spy is based on the true story of Toto Koopman, who spied for the Allies and Italian Resistance during World War II.

Largely unknown today, Toto was arguably the first woman to spy for the British Intelligence Service. Operating in the hotbed of Mussolini's Italy, she courted danger every step of the way. As the war entered its final stages, she faced off against the most brutal of forces—Germany's Intelligence Service, the Abwehr.

The Model Spy: Based on the True Story of Toto Koopman’s World War II Ventures

By Maryka Biaggio,

What is this book about?

Celebrated model Toto Koopman had beauty, brains, and fame. Born to a Dutch father and Indonesian mother, she took up the life of a bon vivant in 1920s Paris and modeled for Vogue magazine and Coco Chanel. But modeling didn’t satisfy her. Fluent in six languages, she was adventurous and fascinated by world politics.

In London she attracted the attention of Lord Beaverbrook, the William Randolph Hearst of England. She soon became his confidante, companion, and translator, traversing the Continent and finding herself caught in the winds of impending war. Beaverbrook introduced her to influential people, including a director at…


Book cover of Homicide in Hardcover

Hannah Dennison Author Of Murder at Honeychurch Hall

From my list on murder and humor set in small communities.

Who am I?

My picks reflect my passion for the cozy mystery genre (which I write myself!) One of the reasons I love cozy mysteries is that justice always prevails. There is no violence, bad language, or sex on the page. The murders take place in a small town or community where everyone is known to everyone else. If you like Murder She Wrote and Midsomer Murders, you’ll enjoy this genre. 

Hannah's book list on murder and humor set in small communities

Hannah Dennison Why did Hannah love this book?

I love the adventures of bookbinder Brooklyn Wainwright. There are 15 books in the series and each one features a well-known book as a backdrop that is integral to the plot. The plots are clever with a lot of laugh-out-loud moments. Most of all I enjoy the interaction of the characters – Brooklyn was brought up in a commune and was named after the bridge beneath which she was conceived … which says it all really!

By Kate Carlisle,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Homicide in Hardcover as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Book expert Brooklyn Wainwright discovers that murder is always a bestseller in the first novel in the New York Times bestselling Bibliophile Mystery series.

Brooklyn Wainwright is a skilled surgeon. Sure, her patients might smell like mold and have spines made of leather, but no ailing book is going to die on her watch. The same can’t be said of Abraham Karastovsky, Brooklyn’s friend and former employer. 
 
On the eve of a celebration for his latest book restoration, Brooklyn finds her mentor lying in a pool of his own blood. With his final breath Abraham leaves Brooklyn with a cryptic…


Book cover of Murder with Peacocks

Kirsten Weiss Author Of Big Shot

From my list on funny cozy mysteries.

Who am I?

I’ve been addicted to reading and writing mystery novels since I picked up my first Nancy Drew. But in addition to a good puzzle, I also love a good laugh and grew up watching classic screwball comedies. I’ve written a dozen funny cozy mysteries now with more in the works. I hope you enjoy the books on this list as much as I have!

Kirsten's book list on funny cozy mysteries

Kirsten Weiss Why did Kirsten love this book?

Zany family members and weddings gone wrong provide page-turning laughs in the first book in the Meg Lanslow series. The heroine is smart, funny, and… a blacksmith. The small-town shenanigans just keep coming in this laugh-out-loud mystery, but the heart comes from the familial relationships. (No peacocks are harmed in the making of this mystery, but they do provide plenty of laughs.)

By Donna Andrews,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Murder with Peacocks as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Hectic plans for three family weddings in one summer are made even more hectic by murder.


Book cover of Cloche and Dagger

Hannah Dennison Author Of Murder at Honeychurch Hall

From my list on murder and humor set in small communities.

Who am I?

My picks reflect my passion for the cozy mystery genre (which I write myself!) One of the reasons I love cozy mysteries is that justice always prevails. There is no violence, bad language, or sex on the page. The murders take place in a small town or community where everyone is known to everyone else. If you like Murder She Wrote and Midsomer Murders, you’ll enjoy this genre. 

Hannah's book list on murder and humor set in small communities

Hannah Dennison Why did Hannah love this book?

Full disclosure: I love all Jenn McKinlay’s books, but the Hat Shop Mysteries are my favorite – probably because I know the area of London she writes about. I also love the Cupcake Mysteries, the Library Lover’s Mysteries as well as her stand alones. Her sense of humor is laugh-out-loud funny and the plots, twisty and fun. 

By Jenn McKinlay,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An all-new series from New York Times bestselling author Jenn McKinlay

Not only is Scarlett Parker’s love life in the loo—as her British cousin Vivian Tremont would say—it’s also gone viral with an embarrassing video. So when Viv suggests Scarlett leave Florida to lay low in London, she hops on the next plane across the pond. Viv is the proprietor of Mims’s Whims, a ladies’ hat shop on Portobello Road bequeathed to both cousins by their beloved grandmother, and she wants Scarlett to finally join her in the millinery business.

But a few surprises await Scarlett in London. First, she…


Book cover of The Best Laid Plans

Joan Havelange Author Of Wayward Shot

From my list on whodunits where you can never guess the ending.

Who am I?

I write whodunits because I love a good mystery and a good puzzle. I like giving clues out to the reader, sometimes red herrings, sometimes not. Three of my mysteries are set in a fictional little town in the Canadian prairies. I like showing the readers rural life with humour and mystery. Two of my mysteries are set in foreign countries I have visited. One takes place in Egypt. The other takes place on a bus tour of the Nordic countries and ends up in Moscow. I like the challenge of showing the readers the sights and the feel of the country without making the book a travel log. 

Joan's book list on whodunits where you can never guess the ending

Joan Havelange Why did Joan love this book?

Terry Fallis makes politics fun. No really. Okay, this isn’t a whodunit as in murder. But the ending is very surprising. Angus McLintock is a crusty old engineering professor who will do anything to avoid teaching English to engineers. The university will give him leave to let his name stand in the election. So, he does; no need to campaign; he is certain to lose. He wants to lose. This campaign had me in stitches. Sometimes you have to branch out from your chosen genre. I did, and I not only learnt a lot, I laughed a lot.

By Terry Fallis,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

WINNER OF CBC CANADA READS
WINNER OF THE STEPHEN LEACOCK MEDAL FOR HUMOUR

Here’s the set up: A burnt-out politcal aide quits just before an election—but is forced to run a hopeless campaign on the way out. He makes a deal with a crusty old Scot, Angus McLintock—an engineering professor who will do anything, anything, to avoid teaching English to engineers—to let his name stand in the election. No need to campaign, certain to lose, and so on.

Then a great scandal blows away his opponent, and to their horror, Angus is elected. He decides to see what good an…


Book cover of The Face of a Stranger

Jeanne M. Dams Author Of Murder in the Park

From my list on historical mysteries that make the period come alive.

Who am I?

I used to hate history, until I made the startling discovery that history wasn’t about dates and wars—the stuff we had to memorize in high school—but about people. And what can be more absorbing than people? When I started my first historical series, set in the very early 20th century in my hometown of South Bend, Indiana, I delved into the local newspaper and learned that the people of the time and their problems were very much like today’s. That pulled me in, and never let go. Now, researching the 1920s, I’m meeting people who might live next door. It’s so much fun!

Jeanne's book list on historical mysteries that make the period come alive

Jeanne M. Dams Why did Jeanne love this book?

Anne Perry is too well known for me to add anything about her or her many books.

This particular one, though, the first in the William Monk series, intrigues me particularly because of the startling idea of a detective who doesn’t know who he is, knows nothing about his past. What a challenge to the writer!

Monk is understandably ill-tempered and extremely touchy, but this, oddly enough, makes him, for me, a sympathetic character.

As always, the brooding descriptions of Victorian London set the scene perfectly, and I was desperately hoping for Monk to resolve not only the crime but his personal problems. And, as with all books that I love, it’s beautifully written. 

By Anne Perry,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

He is not going to die, after all, in this Victorian pesthouse called a hospital. But the accident that felled him on a London street has left him with only half a life, because his memory and his entire past have vanished. His name, they tell him, is William Monk, and he is a London police detective; the mirror reflects a face that women woud like, but he senses he has been more feared than loved.
Monk is given a particularly sensational case: the brutal murder of Major the Honourable Joscelin Grey, Crimean war hero and a popular man about…


Book cover of Dog On It

Peggy Rothschild Author Of Playing Dead

From my list on mysteries for dog lovers.

Who am I?

I’m a lifelong mystery fan and animal lover. I’m drawn to mysteries that provide a window to a new world. And, since I love animals, I enjoy the added fun of having a realistic animal sidekick in the mix. All the books I’ve recommended here pulled me into their worlds, letting me spend time with fascinating characters as they untangled various mysteries—as well as with their wonderful, if fictional, canine companions. 

Peggy's book list on mysteries for dog lovers

Peggy Rothschild Why did Peggy love this book?

Much lighter in tone than the preceding, this book is narrated by Chet the dog.

Utterly charming, Chet is the quintessential unreliable narrator. Not because he wants to be, but life is just so full of distractions.

Though there are many books in the series, Dog On It is book one and does a great job introducing both Chet and his human, Bernie Little, a small-time private investigator with money problems.

The mystery is fun and the rapport between these two characters delightful. This is a perfect read when you want to escape a difficult day or time.

By Spencer Quinn,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Dog On It as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The first book of the New York Times bestselling Chet and Bernie mystery series, an “enchanting one-of-a-kind novel” (Stephen King) that is “nothing short of masterful” (Los Angeles Times).

Chet, the wise and lovable canine narrator of Dog on It, and Bernie, a down-on-his-luck private investigator, are quick to take a new case involving a frantic mother searching for her teenage daughter. This well-behaved and gifted student may or may not have been kidnapped, but she has definitely gotten mixed up with some very unsavory characters. With Chet’s highly trained nose leading the way, their hunt for clues takes them…


Book cover of Grey Mask

Harini Nagendra Author Of The Bangalore Detectives Club

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

Who am I?

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?

Patricia Wentworth is one of the most atmospheric writers I’ve read.

This is the first in her Miss Silver series, featuring an elderly lady who looks a lot like Miss Marple but pre-dates her. While still within the cozy genre, parts of this book, especially the opening section, where the mysterious man in the gray mask makes his first appearance, can make your spine tingle with that delicious feeling of tension that only a good mystery book brings.

Like Miss Marple, Miss Silver is adept at deducing what the various protagonists might do based on her reading of their psychology, but the characters are much better fleshed out in these books, as is the period in which it is set. And the romance is a definite bonus.

By Patricia Wentworth,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Grey Mask as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Governess-turned-detective Miss Silver investigates a deadly conspiratorial ring

Charles Moray has come home to England to collect his inheritance. After four years wandering the jungles of India and South America, the hardy young man returns to the manor of his birth, where generations of Morays have lived and died. Strangely, he finds the house unlocked, and sees a light on in one of its abandoned rooms. Eavesdropping, he learns of a conspiracy to commit a fearsome crime.

Never one for the heroic, Charles’s first instinct is to let the police settle it. But then he hears her voice. Margaret, his…


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