Miss Silver is a fictional detective featured in 32 novels by British novelist Patricia Wentworth.
Miss Maud Silver is a retired governess-turned-private detective. Like Miss Marple, Miss Silver’s age and demeanor make her appear harmless.
The redoubtable Miss Maud Silver is a spinster private investigator in London, England, specializing in thefts and forgeries of fine art works, who is so cozy she actually knits. Definitely a little quirky, and she may knit, but the resemblance to Agatha Christie’s Jane Marple ends there.
Maud’s definitely a professional. And none of that “Oh, I’m just a wooly-headed female” schtick of Miss Marple.
The no-nonsense Miss Silver is a retired schoolteacher, looking forward to nothing more than a quiet retirement on a rather meagre pension. She is finds herself, through a series of incidents, the proud possessor of a home, a housekeeper, and a whole new profession. She becomes a private detective, although she prefers to be called a private enquiry agent (a title much more appropriate to a gentlewoman, she feels). A small woman, prim, polite, with a habit of quoting the Bible or perhaps the poetry of Lord Tennyson. Miss Silver lives by a simple code: “Love God, honour the Queen, keep the law, be kind, be good, think of others before you think of yourself, serve Justice, speak the truth.”
Because she appears so harmless, she’s a whiz at undercover work, and is particularly adept at infiltrating the troubled households of the upper classes. But much to the chagrin of Scotland Yard’s Chief Inspector Lamb, who was often called in at the end to make the arrests. The another detective, Inspector Abbott, actually had great admiration for Miss Silver. They often went to each other for help, and had in fact known each other for years. Another police officer whom she often counted on was Randal Marsh, eventually Chief Constable, whose ties to Miss Silver went even further back – she had once been his governess.
Miss Silver premiered in Grey Mask in 1928 as a minor character and made her full-fledged as the main protagonist in “The Case is Closed” in 1937. Wentworth herself describes her as having “small, neat features and the sort of old-fashioned clothes as characteristic” in her final book, The Girl in the Cellar.
Lighter reading, and populated with mostly female characters, this series became so popular in the United States that this British author’s primary publisher was in Philadelphia.
Wentworth also wrote 34 books outside of that series. She won the Melrose prize in 1910 for her first novel “A Marriage Under The Terror,” set in the French Revolution. Her novels were the topic of Jariel D. O’Neil’s 1988 doctoral dissertation.
We offer you the 15 top books Miss Silver series:
- Miss Silver Deals With Death, aka Miss Silver Intervenes.
- The Clock Strikes Twelve.
- She Came Back, aka The Traveller Returns.
- Dark Threat, aka Pilgrim’s Rest.
- Spotlight, aka Wicked Uncle.
- Eternity Ring.
- The Ivory Dagger.
- Anna, Where Are You, aka Death at Miss Silver.
- The Silent Pool.
- The Vanishing Point.
- The Benevent Treasure.
- The Gazebo, aka The Summerhouse.
- The Listening Eye.
- Poison in the Pen.
- The Girl in the Cellar.