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The Adventures of Maud West, Lady Detective
The Adventures of Maud West, Lady Detective: Secrets and Lies in the Golden Age of Crime | SUSANNAH. STAPLETON
14 posts | 9 read | 30 to read
Maud West ran her detective agency in London for more than thirty 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 twentieth century.
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review
CaramelLunacy
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Pickpick

Entertaining - parallel stories of Maud West's life and career and the author's sleuthing through archives to discover more about her, interspersed with lurid penny-dreadful style stories written by Maud West about her adventures as a lady detective during the Golden Age of Crime.
The first half hooked me more than later when the author was focused on tracking her family tree rather than Maud's work, but I found it engaging and readable.

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rockpools
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Pickpick

This is a little gem.

Susannah Stapleton stumbles across mention of ‘London‘s Foremost Lady Detective, Maud West‘ and dives in to learn more. But Maud is an elusive character (‘character‘ being the word)…

It‘s a micro-history of the indomitable Maud‘s life and work, the story of lady detectives at the start of the 20th century, a social history of a rapidly changing world, women business owners, respectable

rockpools society (or not), blackmail, scandal. And less-than-straightforward genealogical detective work, that regularly has you going ‘She what?!‘ The joys and frustrations of the whole research process shine through. Stapleton‘s a fab storyteller (and Maud‘s an entertaining writer!)

Audio‘s pretty good too!
(edited) 3mo
julesG Oh! I just heard about Maud West from Stapleton in Stephen Fry's Edwardian Secrets series. 3mo
rockpools @julesG what‘s that? Tv? Podcast? 3mo
See All 8 Comments
julesG Audible Podcast-ish series. I know this link leads to the German audible page, but this might help you find it. Stephen Fry's Edwardian Secrets by Stephen Fry, John Woolf, Nick Baker https://www.audible.de/pd/B09B4C1XC6?source_code=ASSOR150021221000N 3mo
rockpools @julesG Aah! Thank you 😊 3mo
TrishB Great review 👍🏻 3mo
batsy I didn't need more convincing, but I'm totally convinced! 😁 Nice review. 3mo
LeahBergen @batsy I was already so convinced by her previous posts that I bought it. 🤣 3mo
50 likes5 stack adds8 comments
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rockpools
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🎉 It‘s mammogram day! 🎉

I figured Maud would be good company, so I‘m back on the bus learning about blackmail, public toilets and a touch of xenophobia.

Monica5 Prayers for good results on your mammogram. I have mine in September. 3mo
rockpools @Monica5 Thank you. It‘s always a relief to have it over with, isn‘t it? Best wishes for September. 3mo
batsy Best wishes & sending all positive vibes 🌻 3mo
See All 7 Comments
Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks Good luck with your mammogram 💗 3mo
TrishB Best wishes Rachel 🤞🏻❤️ and a lovely pic of Dawlish. 3mo
squirrelbrain Hope it all goes well ❤️ 3mo
Smrloomis Hope it goes well 🤞🏽 3mo
44 likes7 comments
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rockpools
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An update on Maud. She‘s a master of disguise, a very creative writer, in a mysterious marriage, and goodness only knows what she was up to during the war! I think she‘d get on great with Amelia Peabody.

Photo taken from the top deck of the bus (BUSES? Remember them??!), because we‘re in the throws of a rail strike. Got a bit of a shock when I got to the bus station tonight. They‘d shrunk it, turned it sideways and moved it up the road….

TrishB A bit of adventure 😁 3mo
Dragon Beautiful countryside- hope the strike ends soon. 💚🐉 3mo
LeahBergen My copy arrived today and you‘re to blame. 😆 3mo
See All 12 Comments
CarolynM Maud sounds like my sort of woman😆 3mo
Cathythoughts Lovely pic! Yes, we still see the double deckers around 😁 3mo
batsy Lovely views from inside the bus! 😍 3mo
rockpools @LeahBergen Sorry! (ish!) It‘s a fab bit of social history- and it‘s lots of fun. Hope you enjoy it! 3mo
rockpools @CarolynM 🤣 I think you might like this one Carolyn. Today we‘re on blackmail, scams and what kind of family is Maud a part of? 3mo
rockpools @TrishB I don‘t think I‘ve been on a bus in 3 years. All very exciting! 3mo
rockpools @Dragon Thank you - sometimes it‘s nice to go a different way. Reminds you where‘s out there. 3mo
rockpools @Cathythoughts We have lots! But I‘ve been avoiding them a little 😁 3mo
rockpools @batsy You do get a good view from up there! 3mo
43 likes1 stack add12 comments
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rockpools
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I was looking for something to listen to while I was cooking tea last night, and stumbled across this. Non-fiction, investigating the real-life story of Maud West, a detective of the Golden Age. And so far, it‘s fun!

batsy Was gonna say "This looks good!" then realised I already have it stacked ? 3mo
LeahBergen I think I might need this! 3mo
Tamra Sounds fun! Stacked! 3mo
See All 7 Comments
rockpools @batsy I do that so often! What is this book I‘ve never heard of, that I‘ve stacked and commented on?! 😂 3mo
rockpools @LeahBergen I am now on chapter four, and can confirm that indeed, you might need this. Maud West is very mysterious. And quite funny. Who IS she?! 3mo
rockpools @Tamra It‘s a LOT of fun! Plus a random history of women business owners and store detectives and all sorts! 3mo
LeahBergen I‘ve ordered it! 😆😆 3mo
50 likes3 stack adds7 comments
review
Magslhalliday
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Pickpick

Great historical detection about women detectives during the golden era of crime. Makes you think the Queens were perhaps not as melodramatic as they sometimes seem.

8 likes1 stack add
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Mitch
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First we have the story of Maud West - recounts of drug busts, blackmail, society parties, butlers and blackmail. With reliably unreliable narration from ' Maud“ herself we have a view of the darker, seedier side of life - particularly of mens control of women. Equally fascinating are of detection that Stapleton has undertaken to find out about Maud's life. Making visible her methods as a research historian was really inspiring. Loved it!

78 likes3 stack adds
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Mitch
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New book today - non fiction, about a historian researching deep into libraries, archives and book collections to find out about the real life gilded age sleuth Maud West. This bookmark seemed very appropriate! 😍

AmyG Love the bookmark!!! 2y
TrishB Cool bookmark 👍🏻 2y
wanderinglynn Awesome bookmark! 2y
See All 6 Comments
Tera66 Your bookmark is adorable! 2y
LeahBergen The bookmark IS very appropriate. 😆 2y
Gissy Beautiful bookmark!😱❤️❤️❤️ 2y
73 likes2 stack adds6 comments
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Mitch
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My book subscription book is perfect. The bookseller assigned to me always picks out the most brilliantly perfect books for me. And she even manages to match books to my decor! 🤣

MargaretPinardAuthor Ha! And which bookstore, pray tell, is this? 2y
TheKidUpstairs Gorgeous cover, and more importantly sounds like a great book! 2y
Mitch @MargaretPinardAuthor Mr Bs in Bath, U.K. 2y
Librariana How awesome! And how lovely that it matches your decor 😍 Added bonus! 😊 2y
95 likes5 stack adds4 comments
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Mitch
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Unwrapping my personalised book subscription from Mr Bs is a definite of highlight of every month. 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼

emilyhaldi So pretty 😍😍 2y
Librariana I love the attention to detail! Did you have to fill out a questionnaire so that they'd know about your reading tastes? 2y
Mitch @Librariana it was a super super in-depth questionnaire that asked lots of bookish questions but also lots of non bookish questions. They seemed to have really got to know me! 2y
Oryx I got my first one today (some major hinting before Christmas paid off!). It's so lovely, with the wrappings. And they picked a book that I think sounds really good. 2y
Mitch @Oryx yeah - we‘ll done you! 2y
85 likes5 comments
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jenniferw88
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Eggs Great choices👏🏻👏🏻 3y
74 likes1 comment
review
jfount
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Pickpick

This is an absolute must-read if the title appeals to you even a little! Written almost like a detective story, the author takes you along as she researches the elusive Maud West, real-life “lady detective” in the early 20th century. I couldn‘t put it down. Aside from the fascinating life uncovered along the way, I enjoyed the vicarious research process immensely.

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Verity
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Just awesome. So good. Stapleton walks you through how she tracked down the details of Maud‘s life as well as telling you about the life of a real life lady detective in golden age London. Just brilliant. More books like this please.

23 likes2 stack adds
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Verity
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An actual lady detective from the 1930s? This new non fiction book ticks so many of my reading boxes!

19 likes2 stack adds