Women Sleuths in
Historical Mysteries

Victorian England


MRS. JEFFERIES LEARNS THE TRADE contains the first three Mrs. Jefferies mystery stories.

The Inspector and Mrs. Jeffries

by Emily Brightwell

Who would have thought that a housekeeper for a rather bumbling Scotland Yard inspector could, as subtly as possible, be the brains behind the solution to the crimes he is expected to solve? Emily Brightwell’s pleasing heroine is just this person, and, like an army commander, also manages to marshal the rest of the inspector’s staff to help with her task. In this first book of the seventeen, I think, stories about the Mrs. Jeffries solved mysteries, the clever housekeeper encourages her Inspector Witherspoon to question the manner and motive behind the apparent suicide of a local doctor. Naturally, by book’s end, it is Mrs. Jeffries who succeeds in uncovering the relevant clues that lead the Yard to conclude it is murder, not suicide, that did the doctor in!

Other than the story’s fine “upstairs-downstairs” descriptions and actions, there is little other history here, and we find the story a bit bland.



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