100 books like The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax

By Dorothy Gilman,

Here are 100 books that The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax fans have personally recommended if you like The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax. 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 Travels with My Aunt

Cookie Boyle Author Of Entitled: Life isn't easy when you're a book

From my list on a unique narrator perspective.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a Canadian author who has been fascinated with how others see the world since I was a child. I was captivated by Charlotte’s Web. If pigs and spiders could be having unheard conversations, what else was I missing? I delight in stories that invite me into the distinct world of the narrator, so it’s no surprise that my novel, Entitled, is written from a unique perspective—that of a book. When done well, these stories let us see life through the eyes of someone else. If we all experienced our surroundings, just for a minute, as others did, perhaps there would be more humanity in this world. 

Cookie's book list on a unique narrator perspective

Cookie Boyle Why did Cookie love this book?

Henry Pulling, a reluctantly retired bank manager, meets his 70-ish-year-old Aunt Augusta for the first time in more than 50 years at his mother’s funeral. His Aunt is vibrant, even outrageous, and he is anything but—a man whose only hobby is growing dahlias. An Aunt myself, I love a story about a wild, non-traditional Aunt, and her relationship with her nephew. As the title suggests, the story is told through the eyes of Henry. His views of his life and their travels are filled with humor and insight. The joy of this novel follows the challenges that arise when two generations confront their expectations of each other and themselvesexpectations that are never more alive than when we travel. 

By Graham Greene,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Travels with My Aunt as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Henry Pulling, a retired bank manager, meets his septuagenarian Aunt Augusta for the first time in over fifty years at his mother's funeral. Soon after, she persuades Henry to abandon Southwood, his dahlias and the Major next door to travel her way, through Brighton, Paris, Istanbul, Paraguay... Accompanying his aunt, Henry joins a shiftless, twilight society: mixing with hippies, war criminals, CIA men; smoking pot, breaking all the currency regulations and eventually coming alive after a dull suburban lifetime.


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 Nobody Said Not to Go: The Life, Loves, and Adventures of Emily Hahn

Autumn Cornwell Author Of Carpe Diem

From my list on fish out of water travel books.

Why am I passionate about this?

Squat toilets, profuse sweating, jumbo centipedes, ear nibbling—these are just some of the delights I’ve encountered in my global travels, which inspired my YA comedic adventure novels, Never Sorry Ever Jolly and Carpe Diem, which was published in the U.S., Germany, the Netherlands, and China. Carpe Diem was also nominated for numerous YA awards, chosen as a Book Sense/Indie Bound Pick, received a starred review from the School Library Journal, and according to The Washington Post: “This is self-confessed travel junkie Autumn Cornwell's first novel—and she's hit one out of the park.” Basically, I live my life as an adventure then write about it!

Autumn's book list on fish out of water travel books

Autumn Cornwell Why did Autumn love this book?

If Emily Hahn’s real-life adventures were in a novel, you’d say they were completely implausible. I discovered this unorthodox travel journalist when I was in my twenties, longing for my own travel experiences. Born in 1905 when women’s options were limited, Emily simply saw life as an adventure and didn’t let her gender or youth stop her from traveling the world solo. She voyaged to Africa on a steamer; worked for the Red Cross in the Belgian Congo; became a concubine and got hooked on opium in Shanghai; moved to Hong Kong where she helped with underground relief work — all the while writing books and articles for publications like The New Yorker. She inspired me to live life as an adventure and then write about it. (But obviously, without all the affairs and opium!)

By Ken Cuthbertson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Nobody Said Not to Go as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Known as Mickey to her friends, Emily Hahn was a feminist trailblazer before the word existed. She ran away to the Belgian Congo as a Red Cross Worker during the Great Depression, was the concubine of a Chinese poet in Shanghai in the 1930s, had a child with the head of the British Secret Service in Hong Kong before WWII ...


Book cover of They Came to Baghdad

Autumn Cornwell Author Of Carpe Diem

From my list on fish out of water travel books.

Why am I passionate about this?

Squat toilets, profuse sweating, jumbo centipedes, ear nibbling—these are just some of the delights I’ve encountered in my global travels, which inspired my YA comedic adventure novels, Never Sorry Ever Jolly and Carpe Diem, which was published in the U.S., Germany, the Netherlands, and China. Carpe Diem was also nominated for numerous YA awards, chosen as a Book Sense/Indie Bound Pick, received a starred review from the School Library Journal, and according to The Washington Post: “This is self-confessed travel junkie Autumn Cornwell's first novel—and she's hit one out of the park.” Basically, I live my life as an adventure then write about it!

Autumn's book list on fish out of water travel books

Autumn Cornwell Why did Autumn love this book?

I read and reread this suspense novel as a teen, wanting to live vicariously through Victoria Jones — a bored twenty-something working as a temp in 1950’s London, yearning for adventure. After being fired for the umpteenth time, Victoria impulsively takes a job as a travel companion for an invalid heading to Baghdad, where political intrigue bubbles beneath the surface of the city. When a spy unexpectedly dies in her bedroom, Victoria finds herself on the run, and must hide out in an archaeological dig in the middle of the desert. Plot twists and unlikely romance culminate in a rather clever ending. Agatha Christie’s own experiences on digs in the Middle East lend this book the distinct flavor of that time period. If only the role of “travel companion” still existed today — sign me up!

By Agatha Christie,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked They Came to Baghdad as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Agatha Christie's international mystery thriller, reissued with a striking new cover designed to appeal to the latest generation of Agatha Christie fans and book lovers.

Baghdad is the chosen location for a secret summit of superpowers, concerned but not convinced, about the development of an, as yet, unidentified and undescribed secret weapon.

Only one man has the proof that can confirm the nature of this fantastic secret weapon - a British agent named Carmichael. Unfortunately the criminal organisation responsible for the weapon's development will stop at nothing to prevent him entering Baghdad and presenting his proof to the assembled delegates.…


Book cover of Flight 714 (The Adventures of Tintin)

Autumn Cornwell Author Of Carpe Diem

From my list on fish out of water travel books.

Why am I passionate about this?

Squat toilets, profuse sweating, jumbo centipedes, ear nibbling—these are just some of the delights I’ve encountered in my global travels, which inspired my YA comedic adventure novels, Never Sorry Ever Jolly and Carpe Diem, which was published in the U.S., Germany, the Netherlands, and China. Carpe Diem was also nominated for numerous YA awards, chosen as a Book Sense/Indie Bound Pick, received a starred review from the School Library Journal, and according to The Washington Post: “This is self-confessed travel junkie Autumn Cornwell's first novel—and she's hit one out of the park.” Basically, I live my life as an adventure then write about it!

Autumn's book list on fish out of water travel books

Autumn Cornwell Why did Autumn love this book?

I couldn’t resist adding a Tintin graphic novel to my list since Herge’s adventure series is widely beloved — and this one is a particular favorite. The story opens when the miserly millionaire, Laszlo Carreidas, "the millionaire who never laughs," invites Tintin, Captain Haddock, and Professor Calculus to accompany him on his private jet to Sydney instead of taking commercial Flight 714. It all seems rather jolly — until the millionaire’s jet is hijacked and diverted to a volcanic island in Java. As always, Herge nails the geographical details, plot twists, cheeky humor — and the idiosyncrasies of human nature, like grizzled Captain Haddock’s constant frustration with absentminded Professor Calculus. As a kid, these books opened entire worlds to me — I couldn’t wait to grow up and embark on my own adventures!

By Hergé,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Flight 714 (The Adventures of Tintin) as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The classic graphic novel. On their way to Sydney, Tintin and Captain Haddock run into an old friend, a pilot who offers them a ride on a private jet. But when the plane gets hijacked, Tintin and the Captain find themselves prisoners on a deserted volcanic island!


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 The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie

Yvonne Kjorlien Author Of Memoirs of a Reluctant Archaeologist

From my list on kick-ass women come from screwed up families.

Why am I passionate about this?

On the surface, my childhood was characterized by 1980s unsupervised country freedom in rural Alberta. Deeper in, my history involved emotional abuse and neglect. I wanted nothing more than to be seen and loved for my true self. The library was a refuge, but the fiction section allowed me to find the community I so greatly desired. I was seen and loved by the characters I read. They showed me it was possible to be myself–loudly and audaciously–and still be accepted. I read and now write books that delve into themes of identity, autonomy, and acceptance because I still struggle with these themes today. 

Yvonne's book list on kick-ass women come from screwed up families

Yvonne Kjorlien Why did Yvonne love this book?

I admit it: I underestimated Flavia de Luce.

She is 11 years old, self-schooled, and lives outside a small English town in the 1950s. She is overlooked and underestimated by everyone. Deep inside, I’m still 11 years old, underestimated, and overlooked. I had an insatiable desire to learn about my environment, and I often saw things others didn’t. Flavia also reminds me of my childhood living in the country in the 1980s. I ran unchecked, safe, and constantly delighted in discovering new things about my corner of the world. I wince at the de Luce family politics. I cheer Flavia’s investigations and her fearlessness. I want nothing more than to stay in Flavia’s 11-year-old world forever. She is the kick-ass kid I wanted to be. 

By Alan Bradley,

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Meet Flavia: Mystery Solver. Master Poisoner. 11 Years Old.

England 1950. At Buckshaw, the crumbling country seat of the de Luce family, very-nearly-eleven-year-old Flavia is plotting revenge on her older sisters.

Then a dead bird is left on the doorstep, which has an extraordinary effect on Flavia's eccentric father, and a body is found in the garden. As the police descend on Buckshaw, Flavia decides to do some investigating of her own.

Praise for the historical Flavia de Luce mysteries:
'The Flavia de Luce novels are now a cult favourite' Mail on Sunday

'A cross between Dodie Smith's I Capture…


Book cover of The Beekeeper's Apprentice

Bruce Stachenfeld Author Of Faythe of North Hinkapee: The Saga of a Young Woman’s Quest for Justice and Love in Colonial America

From my list on irrepressible, exciting and heroic female lead characters that you will never forget.

Why am I passionate about this?

I made up Faythe of North Hinkapee by being a jerk! I was ranting about how bad a "best seller" book I had read was. My wife looked at me and said, "So, could you write a bestseller?" I was challenged, and then, somehow, this book just tumbled out. It was about a girl in Colonial Timesher family burned as witchesvowing vengeance and how she gets it. My wife looked at me and said: “My God, that could be a bestseller!’ My kids also loved the story. For about twenty years, I planned to write it, and after a ton of work, I finally finished.

Bruce's book list on irrepressible, exciting and heroic female lead characters that you will never forget

Bruce Stachenfeld Why did Bruce love this book?

I was hooked in the first chapter when the protagonist, Mary Russell, meets Sherlock Holmes, who is retired. There – do I have to say more?

She is a young woman and Sherlock is, well, Sherlock, and yet she matches wits with him while they end up in the middle of a creative and a bit scary Sherlock Holmes-ish tale. I couldn’t wait to get and read the sequels.

By Laurie R. King,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked The Beekeeper's Apprentice as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In 1915, Sherlock Holmes is retired and quietly engaged in the study of honeybees when a young woman literally stumbles into him on the Sussex Downs. Fifteen years old, gawky, egotistical, and recently orphaned, the young Mary Russell displays an intellect to impress even Sherlock Holmes--and match him wit for wit. Under his reluctant tutelage, this very modern twentieth-century woman proves a deft protegee and a fitting partner for the Victorian detective. But even in their first case together, the pair face a truly cunning adversary who will stop at nothing to put an end to their partnership.


Book cover of Grey Mask

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?

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…


Book cover of Getting Old Is Criminal

Terrie Farley Moran Author Of Murder, She Wrote: Killer on the Court

From my list on cozy mysteries featuring sleuths of a certain age.

Why am I passionate about this?

My parents were avid readers and mysteries were a perennial favorite for all of us. By my early teens I moved from Judy Bolton and Nancy Drew to the Golden Age of mystery writers such as Agatha Christie and Mary Roberts Rinehart. Clearly addicted to mysteries without undue violence or gore, I discovered some wonderful television series as well. It won’t surprise you to learn that my favorite is Murder, She Wrote. 

Terrie's book list on cozy mysteries featuring sleuths of a certain age

Terrie Farley Moran Why did Terrie love this book?

Getting Old is Criminal by Rita Lakin is the third of seven books in the Gladdy Gold series and my personal favorite. How can I not love an amateur detective whose motto is “Never trust anyone under seventy-five”? One minute Gladdy is soaking in a hot tub on a romantic getaway with her new boyfriend, the next she is called to the bedside of a sick friend, who is not so sick after all and in a flash someone hires her to investigate the man he believes may have killed his mother. During the investigation, Gladdy’s sister Evvie begins to fall for the suspected killer. Now, aren’t you dying to know more?

By Rita Lakin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Getting Old Is Criminal as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Gladdy Gold Mystery #3

"The Golden Girls play Nancy Drew in their own funny and creative ways...colorful and Meshugeneh.”—Mystery Scene

Gladdy Gold’s exotic vacation has reached a pinnacle: a romantic soak in a hot tub with the man she adores, far from Florida and her nosy neighbors…until an urgent message concerning the safety of her best friends sends her running home. Now, her idyll is ony a memory, her would-be-beau, Jack, is furious, and not only are the girls of the Gladdy Gold Detective Agency alive and well—they’re onto a hot new murder case.

Is a suave senior Romeo to…


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