Mysteries Set During Wartime

Given what’s happening in Ukraine, I thought I’d recommend a few novels set during a time of war.

Top on my list is Jacqueline Winspear’s “The America Agent”. In this story the intrepid Maisie Dobbs investigates the murder of Catherine Saxon, an American correspondent found murdered in her London apartment. As Germans rain death and destruction from the skies, Maisie risks her life to find out what happened to this spirited reporter she’d just met. In another wartime story an intrepid young photographer carries her dead lover’s final, world-shattering message into the heart of Berlin as Hitler ascends to power.

The very talented Winspear has won Agatha, Alex, and Macavity awards and the first book in her Maisie Dobbs series was nominated for an Edgar Best Novel Award. I’d certainly recommend any book in her series.

“Death in Focus” by Anne Perry is set against the rise of Nazi Germany and the beginning of WWII. An intrepid young photographer carries her dead lover’s final, world-shattering message into the heart of Berlin as Hitler ascends to power.The assassination of one of Hitler’s allies, espionage, double agents, and protagonist Elena’s terror of being hunted as a prime suspect make for pretty exciting reading.

Finally, Dorothy Sayers’ beloved Lord Peter Winsey’s series, set in 1930’s England, ended just before the start of WWII. Lucky thing Jill Paton Walsh, the Booker Prize finalist found Sayers’ posthumous work, “The Wimsey Papers”, and expanded it into a complete novel. Walsh begins where Sayers left off  in this spin-off series that explores the Wimseys’ wartime adventures. A Presumption of Death, the second of Walsh’s Wimsey books, follows sleuthing power couple Peter and Harriet as they investigate a young girl’s murder during the Blitz. Some readers can’t stand the extremely rich, eccentric, dilettante who solves mysteries for his own amusement. Wimsey, is an archetype for the British gentleman detective, but I rather like him, along with Bunter, his astoundingly creative and loyal manservant.




About Charlene DAvanzo

I'm a marine ecology/college professor who never, ever thought I'd write fiction. That assumption changed in an instant as I listened to another scientist - a climatologist named Ray Bradley at UMass, Amherst - describe being harassed by climate change deniers. The idea to write mysteries with climate change understories to help readers understand what's happening to our climate in the context of a fast-paced exciting story came to me out of nowhere. That's what I do in my "Maine Oceanographer Mara Tusconi" series.
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4 Responses to Mysteries Set During Wartime

  1. Pingback: Mysteries Set During Wartime | Maine Crime Writers – Maine Reportings

  2. judyalter says:

    Interesting list. I’d add Susan Elisa Macneal’s WWII books.

  3. I’d add Jame Benn’s books, and this year’s Edgars finalist Five Decembers by James Kestrel.


  4. susanvaughan says:

    I love the Maisie Dobbs books, have read most and am working my way through in sequence as best I can. I’ve never read Anne Perry, though. I read all the original Dorothy Sayers Wimsey books(Gaudy Night is one of my very favorite books!), but didn’t know about Walsh carrying them on. I’ll have to look for them. Thanks very much!

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