What if you could take a famous author and make them the star of their own series? The writers featured below have done just that with mixed results which means this is a genre you will either hate or love.
The authors featured as characters in these books can also be unexpected – Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters solving mysteries while writing their famous novels? And we have Charles Dickens, with his lifelong fascination for crime, featuring in two separate and very different series of books.
Although the one writer who seems to be cast as a detective more than any author is Jane Austen who has a number of novels dedicated to her alleged sleuthing skills.
JANE AUSTEN Investigates
JANE AUSTEN MYSTERIES
The Jane Austen Mysteries is a series of books featuring the author solving a series of mysteries over the span of fifteen books. The series is written in the first person narrative with the notion Austen actually wrote these books herself.
Jane and the Unpleasantness at Scargrave Manor, the first book, published in 1996, is set in 1802 just after Jane breaks off her engagement to Harris Bigg-Wither. The last book, Jane and the Final Mystery, published in October 2023, is set in March 1817 when Jane’s health is falling into decline.
JANE AUSTEN INVESTIGATES
The Jane Austen Investigates series is aimed at younger readers (aged 9-12 years) and begins with The Abbey Mystery which was first published in 2021.
The series features a teenaged Jane Austen looking to escape from her tedious life at the vicarage by solving mysteries and is already showing her famous wit.
There are currently two more books in the series: The Burglar’s Ball (2021) and The Convict’s Canal (2023).
MISS AUSTEN INVESTIGATES
The Miss Austen Investigates books are a new series by Jessica Bull which feature a young Jane Austen caught up in mysteries while living in the family vicarage in 1795. The book is light in tone and seems to have gone down well with Jane fans.
The first book in the series is subtitled as The Hapless Milliner and was released in February 2024 and the second one entitled The Foreign Princess is expected to be released in November 2024.
CHARLES DICKENS Investigates
THE CHARLES DICKENS INVESTIGATIONS
J C BRIGGS
Intrigued by crime and the investigations of Scotland Yard, author Charles Dickens often accompanied the police on their investigations. In this series of books, Dickens solves crimes alongside his friend Superintendent Sam Jones of Bow Street.
The first book, The Murder of Patience Brooke, was published in 2012 and is set in 1849 when Dickens is at the height of his fame. After having established a home for fallen women, Dickens has to fight to save his reputation when a young woman is murdered there.
There are currently eleven book in the series with the latest, The Waxwork Man, having been released in September 2023.
THE DICKENS OF A CRIME SERIES
Charles Dickens gets to solve crimes in another series of books by Heather Redmond. This time he is a young journalist at the Evening Chronicle who is drawn into a series of crimes and is helped by Kate Hogarth, the daughter of his boss and Dickens’ future wife. The titles of the novels are a play on the titles of Charles Dickens novels.
The first novel, A Tale of Two Murders, was first published in 2018 and so far there are four more in the series with the latest, A Twist of Murder, having been released in 2022.
OTHER AUTHORS Investigate
THE BRONTE MYSTERIES
The Bronte Mysteries features the famous Bronte sisters solving mysteries in their native Yorkshire. The series was written by best-selling novelist Rowan Coleman under the name Bella Ellis.
The first book is set in 1845 when all three sisters were still alive and hadn’t yet become published authors. The final book is set in 1847 as Emily and Anne finally get their books published much to the chagrin of Charlotte who is yet to have the same success.
The first novel, The Vanished Bride, was published in 2019, and the fourth and final novel, A Gift of Poison, was released in 2023.
THE OSCAR WILDE MYSTERIES
Why have one famous author when you can have two? Gyles Brandreth has written a series of mystery novels featuring Oscar Wilde and his fellow writer Arthur Conan Doyle. Please note the American editions may have different titles.
The first book, Oscar Wilde and the Candlelight Murders, first published in 2007, sees Wilde and Conan Doyle embroiled in the murder of an artist’s model. Oscar Wilde and the Murders at Reading Gaol, published in 2012, was the last in the original series, however the duo featured in one more novel.
It seems Brandreth couldn’t resist pitting Wilde and Conan Doyle against one of Victorian England’s most famous serial killers in Jack the Ripper: Case Closed which was published in 2017.
THE JOSEPHINE TEY SERIES
Scottish crime writer and playwright Josephine Tey features in this series of stories by Nicola Upton. The books are set in the 1930s and also feature Detective Inspector Archie Penrose. The series sparked controversy for portraying Tey as a lesbian but Upton maintains she is certain Tey was gay.
The first book in the series, An Expert in Murder, published in 2008, sees Tey travelling to London to see a famous play when she becomes embroiled in the murder of a young woman she befriended on the train. As a second person is murdered, Tey’s reputation and her life are increasingly at risk.
The most recent book in the series, Shot with Crimson, is set in 1939 with war once again dividing Europe. Tey travels to Hollywood where Hitchcock is filming Rebecca and soon finds herself following a trail of obsessive love to Cornwall.
THE DAPHNE DU MAURIER MYSTERIES
The Daphne du Maurier Mysteries is a three book series which shows the famed author solving mysteries in her beloved Cornwall. Challis incorporates parts of du Maurier’s real life into her fictional world and even some of her famous characters get a mention.
Murder on the Cliffs, published in 2009, has du Maurier stumbling across the body of a young woman at the foot of the cliffs in Cornwall. Peril at Somner House, published in 2010, sees du Maurier travelling to the estate of Lord and Lady Trevalyan where she ends up investigating the murder of Lord Trevalyan.
The final book, The Villa of Death, released in 2011, follows du Maurier to Thornleigh Manor for a wedding where the groom is later found dead and the bride accused of his murder.
THE AGATHA CHRISTIE SERIES
The Agatha Christie series of books shows the Queen of Crime starring as a detective in her own series. The first book deals with Agatha Christie’s famous disappearance and puts a whole new twist on the truth.
A Talent of Murder, published in 2016, explores Christie’s famous disappearance and puts a whole new twist on the truth. A Different Kind of Evil, published in 2018, sends Christie to investigate the murder of a British agen in the Canary Islands.
Death in a Desert Land, published in 2019, features Christie solving the murder of a prominent archaeologist. I Saw Him Die, published in 2020, is set in Scotland and Christie investigates the death of a hotel owner who was once a secret agent.
Margaret Harkness/Arthur Conan Doyle
Retired US Army Colonel and pathologist Bradley Harper is lifelong fan of Sherlock Holmes so he is well qualified to delve into the world of Arthur Conan Doyle.
A Knife in the Fog, published in 2018, teams Conan Doyle with his mentor Professor Joseph Bell, who was the inspiration for Sherlock Holmes, and Margaret Harkness, a journalist and writer. Together they are drawn into a series of killing in Whitechapel committed by the mysterious Jack the Ripper.
The second book, Queen’s Gambit, published in 2019, continues the story of Harkness who is caught between Queen Victoria and a would-be assassin.