Maud West ran her detective agency in London for more than 30 years, having started 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 reveals - she was a most unreliable witness to her own life.
Who was Maud? And what was the reality of being a female private detective in the Golden Age of Crime?
Interweaving tales from Maud West’s own ‘casebook’ with social history and extensive original research, Stapleton investigates the stories Maud West told about herself in a quest to uncover the truth.
With walk-on parts by Dr Crippen and Dorothy L. Sayers, Parisian gangsters and Continental blackmailers, The Adventures of Maud West, Lady Detective is both a portrait of a woman ahead of her time and a deliciously salacious glimpse into the underbelly of ‘good society’ during the first half of the 20th century.
What members say
Wonderful, a must for Golden-Age detective fans
Thoroughly entertaining, although Maude West turns out to be an ambivalent heroine! Follows a thin seam of newspaper clippings to strike gold in a motherlode of fascinating and entertaining tales, true, truish, and definitley not true, of blackmailers, petty thieves, and scam artists in 20s London. Golden Age mystery fans should love this look at the unglamorous world of actual private detectives, along with real-life society scandals and murders. I loved the shoutouts to Christie, Sayers et al in the chapter titles!
This reminded me of another of my favourite Audibles, "The Ark Before Noah"-- an in-depth history of a subject I wouldn't think I was interested in, made lively by being told in candid and funny first-person by the historian whose discoveries we follow along with. Read mostly by the author in a listenable dead-pan.
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