by Marvin Lachman


    In 1961 Patricia Wentworth had her own fan club in the United States, testimony to the fact that devotees of the “little old lady” detective were out there. Apparently they still are, based on the frequency with which Wentworth’s books are reprinted.

    Her Maud Silver was perhaps the archetypal elderly female sleuth, from her white hair to her knitting needles. However, there was nothing soft about her. She became a consulting detective to supplement the meager income she received as a retired governess. She had a nimble brain and an inner toughness belying her mild exterior.

    Warner Paperbacks has recently sandwiched World War II and reprinted two of Silver’s best, Lonesome Road (1939) and Pilgrim’s Rest (1946). I recommend both, though I’d like to see some enterprising publisher give us an even better Wentworth, the long out-of-print nonseries book, also from her best period, Weekend with Death (1941).

– Reprinted from The MYSTERY FANcier, Vol. 10, No. 4, Fall 1988 (very slightly revised).


Bibliographic Data:

    ●   Lonesome Road. Hodder & Stoughton, UK, hardcover, 1939. J. B. Lippincott, US, hc, 1939. Reprinted many times.

    ●   Pilgrim’s Rest. Hodder & Stoughton, UK, hardcover, 1948. J. B. Lippincott, US, hc, 1946. Reprinted many times.

    ●   Unlawful Occasions. Hodder & Stoughton, UK, hardcover, 1941. US title: Weekend with Death. J. B. Lippincott, hc, 1941. US paperback reprint: Popular Library 29, early 1940s. Very scarce.