The Adventures of Maud West, Lady Detective: Secrets and Lies in the Golden Age of Crime
Maud West ran her detective agency in London for more than thirty years, having starting sleuthing on behalf of society’s finest in 1905. Her exploits grabbed headlines throughout the world but, beneath the public persona, she was forced to hide vital aspects of her own identity in order to thrive in a class-obsessed and male-dominated world. And – as Susannah Stapleton re...more
If you enjoy historical biographies you will love this.
This is hampered by a severe dearth of actual info, so this is very much a book about the author's search for Maud and how one goes about writing history. Plus we get some of Maud's newspaper accounts of her exploits, most completely implausible, and some intriguing sidelights on crime of the period, gangs, and the struggle for professional ...more
Susannah Stapleton is a historical researcher and life-long fan of Golden Age crime novels. It was while reading one of Gladys Mitchell’s Mrs Bradley novels that she found herself wondering “Were there really lady detectives – proper fleshandblood ones – in the golden age of crime?” A little searching turned up the name of Maud West, who advertised herself as “London’s only Lady detective”. Intrigued, Stapleton turned her research abilities towards finding out more abou ...more
I absolutely adored The Adventures of Maud West and getting to know this remarkable, and at times mystifying woman.
Author Susannah Stapleton takes two weeks off work and snuggles down to indulge her passion for reading mystery novels. Unable to find a book that holds her attention she begins to ponder upon this question, ‘Were there really lady detectives in the golden age of crime?’ Initial research leads to a newspaper cutting advertising the services of ‘Maud West, Lady Detective’. And so beg ...more
What I loved best, apart from actually discovering the life of this extraordinary woman, was the love-hate relationship the researcher/author had with Mau ...more
*Please note: this review is meant as a recommendation only. If you use it in any marketing material, online or anywhere on a published book without asking permission from me first, I will ask you to remove that use immediately. Thank you!*
I was hooked from the first few pages of this book, when the author, Susannah Stapleton, describes how she found herself suddenly ungripped by her favourite Golden Age detective stories and decided instead to find out about real women detectives of the time. Maud West is who she found, and Maud West is who she investigates.
Don’t pick up The Adventures of Maud West expecting thrilli ...more
You've probably never heard of her, but Maud West ran a detective agency in London for more than thirty years, starting in 1905. No, seriously. This isn't fiction, this is biography. In her first book, Susannah Stapleton tries to separate the truth from invention abou ...more
The historian's viewpoint and painstaking research is well described and shows the process to the reader with various avenues followed, some with the inevitable cul-de-sac. This is a most satisfying element in this book.
The biography is hard to chase ...more
The fact that all these cases are real, are part of Maud’s work is just so incredible to read. You hear of course about the fictional women of the era, this is after all set in the golden age of crime fiction with writers like Agatha Chri ...more
She interspersed her chapters with Maud’s own writings on her adventures and Maud proved as elusive as some of her cases, with Susannah admitting to a difficulty at times in telling fact from fiction.
I always took those crime novels featuring fictional lady detectives from the 20‘s and 3 ...more