Northern Comfort

Fall. My favorite season. Sweater weather. One naturally wants to curl up with a good book and a cup of tea, or perhaps something stronger, occasionally gazing out the window at autumnal glory between chapters. I have over 2000 “good” books on my Kindle, hundreds of them unread. It is unlikely I will get to them all before I am buried (in my sweater) in the stacks of the Great Library in the Sky. Nevertheless, I am incapable of passing up a BookBub sale or an Amazon promotion. 99 cents? $1.99? Even better, FREE? How can one say no? My fingers itch to one-click in my sleep.

Despite this embarrassment of literary riches (and significant investment—shh, don’t tell my husband), lately I have been sticking to glomming the Golden Age’s Patricia Wentworth. Cozy. Warm. Safe. Not precisely formulaic, but familiar. I have mentioned her here before, and came across her quite by Amazonian accident. One of her Miss Silver books—I forget which one—was free, and that was the beginning of my love affair.

Thirteen years older than Agatha Christie, Patricia Wentworth (real name Dora Amy Elles Dillon Turnbull) was born in India in 1877, and died in England in 1961. Her 32 Miss Silver Mysteries feature an elderly governess-turned-private-investigator who knits with ferocity, quotes pertinent poetry and scripture, and divines people’s peccadilloes with ease. She has been compared to Miss Marple, but I don’t see it. These charming books were joined by 34 others, including standalones and three additional series. If my math is correct, that adds up to 66 novels, which should keep me occupied right through the winter.

The stories span an enviable writing career of fifty years, from 1910 to 1961. I’ve lost count of how many I’ve finished. So far, I only buy the books when they are on sale. Some of them can be pricey, and it remains to be seen if I’ll fork over big money when I run out of the cheap titles.

By now, I recognize some similarities of plot and character. Wentworth echoes herself on occasion, but I don’t mind a bit. That’s part of the comfort of reading her. I know I’m in for a delicious ride, if someone doesn’t tamper with the brakes, which has happened in at least two books so far.

For more on Patricia Wentworth: Patricia Wentworth: An Introduction and Mystery Series Guide (  Do you have a “tried and true” author you turn to when you want to de-stress? Do you enjoy the classic “between the wars” books, or do you find them too dated…and uncomfortable?

Visit Maggie’s website!

This entry was posted in Maggie's Posts. Bookmark the permalink.

23 Responses to Northern Comfort

  1. jselbo says:

    Looks like great reading next to a holiday tree and fireplace for me!

  2. Katherine Vaughan says:

    Louise Penny for me, but I’m on the last book!

  3. Anonymous says:

    I used to turn to Mary Stewart. Today, somewhat more likely to reread Dick Francis or Tony Hillerman.


  4. kaitlynkathy says:

    I have a whole host of comfort reads/rereads, depending on my mood. I’m just starting #20 of the 20 Marcus Didius Falco mysteries by Lindsey Davis at the moment. I bought those in hardcover as they came out but had only read them once before. In the past I’ve gone back and bought all the e-book editions of books by authors I started reading partway through a series, Donna Andrews for one. Back a dozen years ago or so, before I was buying many e-books and prompted by a liking for Charlaine Harris’s Sookie Stackhouse series and Laura Resnick’s Esther Diamond series, I binge-read paranormal series by Kelley Armstrong, Laurell K. Hamilton, and Kim Harrison, and then dipped back into some older vampire series by Fred Saberhagen and others, but I’ve only hung onto the Harris and Resnick books, probably because they are as much mystery as paranormal and they also have a lot of humor in them.

  5. Judy Alter says:

    I’m interested in this because I tried a Wentworth novel once and wasn’t hooked. Now you’ve made me think I should try again, a different novel. (That one had to be with British children taken from their parents during WWI and sent to institutions in the countryside–the opening attitude toward the children was not sympathetic, or didn’t seem so to me). I do see her novels on sale a lot on Bookbub.

    • maggierobinsonwriter says:

      I do see where she might fall flat–there’s repetition, and some casual politically incorrect stuff typical of its time period. And lots of insta-love between main characters; she did get her start writing romances. But I’m enjoying the cheapness, LOL.

  6. kaitcarson says:

    P.D. James does it for me, so does Elizabeth George. Each gave me a good puzzle, good writing, and an ending I usually remember! I confess to binge reading. I’m slowly collecting all of the Margaret Maron Bootleggers Daughter series on my Kindle for long snowy nights in front of the fire.

  7. Alice says:

    Wentworth was recently introduced to me and I can see where I will want to read all of hers.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I am rereading all of Charlotte MacLeod’s books before I give them to the Library for the book sale..Also Capt. Heimrich by Frances and Richard Lockridge. I reread the Mrs. Pollifax series every so often too..and the Corinna Chapman series by Kerry Greenwood.

  9. Alice says:

    Has anyone else enjoyed Laura Childs and/or Julie Wassmer?

  10. Anonymous says:

    Julie Wassmer writes about
    Whitstable a Seaside Town, in Kent, southeastern England, known for the oysters gathered from the sea; now a TV series
    Laura Childs writes about a tea shop in Charleston SC. Both are fun reads.

    • maggierobinsonwriter says:

      Oh, I love the series Whitstable Pearl! Did not realize it was based on novels. Thanks so much for the suggestions!

  11. Golson Keith says:

    DR. TRUST LOVE SPELL CASTER IS THE SPELL CASTER YOU CAN TRUST; whatsapp number + 23 4816 208 4504

Leave a Reply