Hello, Dear Readers! Vim here. As you all know, Bustle and I love to read, and to share our recommendations with YOU. And as is so often the case with us, we are very different in some ways, and remarkably of the same mind in others. For instance, I tend to read a lot of fantasy and science fiction. Bustle reads a lot of spirituality and self-help. But the Venn diagram of where we meet is clear: Victorian Lady Detectives.
Umm.... Surely that's a tiny niche, you may be thinking. Victorian lady detectives, that's... so... specific. But no, Dear Reader, if you look, you will find a treasure trove of novels out there about Victorian lady detectives: Victorian lady detectives with super powers, Victorian lady detectives in alternate/steam-punk universes, Victorian lady detectives with secret identities, Victorian lady detectives who are simply not having any of your stuff & nonsense! We love them all. Enough, in fact, for an entire edition.
This is a picture of me in what we shall all agree is my Victorian Lady Detective drag for this post. (It's not. I dressed up as Irene Adler one year for Halloween and my husband was supposed to be Sherlock Holmes. Unfortunately, he got sick and so I ended up just being a random, mysteriously Victorian woman). Still, I think my bustle is excellent. Points for that!
And now on to the recommendations!
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The Lady Sherlock Series by Sherry Thomas
There have been many reinventions of Sherlock Holmes. There have even been many that include women as either Sherlock or Watson. But I think of all the versions I have come across, Sherry Thomas' version is the most delightful, inventive, and satisfying! Many heroines in this genre have a no-nonsense manner, a mind of their own, and a cunning wit. But none are so daring as Charlotte Holmes. I think my favorite thing about this series is the way Thomas finds such ingenious ways to reconceive beloved characters, while staying true to the original spirit of the Sherlock stories. The third in the series comes out this October!
The Parasol Protectorate by Gail Carriger
I've recommended this series before, but it seems I can't recommend it enough! Love stories about intelligent, bossy women set in an alternate-reality, steam-punk Victorian era with supernatural powers? Look no further, for this one tops them all. Bonus werewolves and vampires, plus a really original conceit on the nature of said supernatural powers.
This next Victorian Lady Detective is brought to you on recommendation from Bustle. She suggested the book to me this winter whilst I was in a reading frenzy, and I gobbled it up.
I, in turn, recommended that she check out the extremely cute, tiny, Victorian-esque hats at Michael's Halloween sale, so please enjoy this pic of her looking adorable in one of those. I'll wait.
Isn't she darling?
So on to to our last book...
A Quiet Life In the Country (A Lady Hardcastle Mystery) by T. E. Kinsey
I'm just going to crib from the official blurb on Amazon here: "Lady Emily Hardcastle is an eccentric widow with a secret past. Florence Armstrong, her maid and confidante, is an expert in martial arts. The year is 1908 and they’ve just moved from London to the country, hoping for a quiet life. But it is not long before Lady Hardcastle is forced out of her self-imposed retirement. There’s a dead body in the woods, and the police are on the wrong scent. Lady Hardcastle makes some enquiries of her own, and it seems she knows a surprising amount about crime investigation…"
I think my favorite thing about this book was the witty repartee between the two main characters, Emily and Florence.
What all of these books have in common is strong, resourceful and clever heroines. Hmm... Perhaps it's no mystery at all why we like them so very much.