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Lizzie Martin Books In Order

Publication Order of Lizzie Martin Books

A Rare Interest in Corpses (2006) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
A Mortal Curiosity (2008) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
A Better Quality of Murder (2010) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
A Particular Eye for Villainy (2012) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Testimony of the Hanged Man (2014) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Lizzie Martin is the chief protagonist of the Lizzie Martin mystery series of novels by British crime writer Patricia Ann Granger. Granger who started her career with historical romances finally made it big with the Lizzie Martin detective mysteries, the first novel of which was the 2006 published title “A Rare Interest in Corpses”. Since Granger comes from a historical fiction background, she combines historical fiction and crime mystery in the writing of the series to make for a gripping roller coaster of narratives that have gone on to become bestselling titles in the United States and the UK. The series are more of Victorian mysteries following the life of Lizzie Martin, a strong willed protagonist who works alongside her husband Ben Ross, a talented police detective in London. The series of novels is known as the Ben Ross series in the United States where Ben seems to take a more active role in investigating the mysteries as compared to the British edition. The first novel in the series quickly became a number one bestseller in the UK, and it was not long before Ann Granger the second title in the series “A Mortal Curiosity” in 2008, before she went on to write several more in the still to be completed series. Even as the lead character and her companion Ben Ross remain central to all the novels in the series, most of the novels may be read as standalone. Nonetheless, some of the narratives provide character development, while some build on the foundations of previous narratives.

The Lizzie Martin series of novels are Victorian era detective mysteries combined with a little of the romantic. The series is written in the style of the Charlotte and Thomas Pitt mystery series of novels by Anne Perry, which also has a husband and wife team of investigators. The novels can also be compared to the works of Agatha Christie and Dorothy L. Sayers as they pay homage to these great writers’ influence on the genre and their writing style. The narratives come with a central mystery, though they also explore other themes including the flawed class and social systems of Victorian England. The themes of gender and sexism that were prevalent during the period form a significant part of the narratives as portrayed through the lives of the lead characters and those they interact with in their professional lives. The upper, wealthy class is morally bankrupt even as it was supposed to be a light for the lower class and less knowledgeable poor. Many of the characters that are deemed law-abiding and upstanding among the elite are in fact unlikable persons that commit nefarious actions and have sordid secrets. However, despite the indictment of the social and class system of the Victorian era the novels excellently portray the culture and way of life of the era. The decorations, clothes, relationships, and manners as juxtaposed against the slums, coalmines, and dumps make for fascinating and interesting reading of history.

Lizzie Martin the lead character in the novels is a twenty-nine year old unmarried woman who may be considered a spinster by Londoners of her time. She does not seem to care having spent much of her twenties helping manage her father’s estate until it went bankrupt. She is in a similar situation to Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre though she is more intelligent, confident and does not care about people’s opinions. She is the best at detective work having been used to getting information from her father’s servants without them ever knowing that she was doing it. Lizzie Martin is a different type of character, as she cannot stand the hypocrites and always shows empathy and compassion for the lowly in society. Ben Rose her partner and husband is more reserved though he is a very talented police detective. He starts out in the first novel as a lowly detective and over the course of the series makes his way to the high rank of inspector using his high levels of drive, talent, and charm to climb the ladder. Unlike the Elizabeth Bennet like Elizabeth who does and says what she wants, Ben Rose will not bend the conventions even as he portrays empathy. Nonetheless, despite their differences in temperament, they make for quite a great team that resolves some of the most intricate of murder mysteries.

“A Rare Interest in Corpses” otherwise known as “The Companion” is a novel set in 1864 London, where Lizzie Martin has just got employment as the companion to a wealthy high society lady. Her first impression of the big city has her bewildered, as one of the first things she sees in the street is the wagon carrying the dead body of a young woman. She soon learns that Madeleine her predecessor had gone missing without notice, with wild rumors swirling around about her immoral behavior having something to do with her disappearance. Lizzie is convinced that the story has more to it than meets the eye, particularly when she talks to Inspector Benjamin Ross. Lizzie is determined to find just what happened to Miss Hexham. Ben Ross also becomes very interested in the case, as just like Lizzie he does not care that the missing woman was from the lower social classes. However, they soon find that they may have to be more careful in their investigations as they seem to have cornered the malicious killer, who is now coming for them.

“A Mortal Curiosity” the second novel of the Lizzie Martin series sees Lizzie Martin leaving her London job, to head south where she has been offered the job of companion to Lucy Craven. Unlike her previous client, Craven is a teenager that recently lost her infant daughter and now lives in a secluded estate with her aunts. On the way to the south, she meets a slightly distasteful gentleman that goes by Doctor Lefebre, who is also heading for the same town. It turns out that the doctor has been summoned by the wealthy girl’s family to go examine Craven who they believe is insane. The doctor tells Lizzie that his patient believes her daughter was stolen from her and is not dead. She arrives at the family estate in Hampshire to find it even stranger than she expected. She hears furtive whispers outside her window and wakes up the following day to learn that a man had been killed on the property using a knife from the kitchen. While Lucy Craven does appear quite moody, she does not present any signs of madness. Convinced that the girl’s aunts are withholding secrets, she calls up Inspector Benjamin Ross to come help her unravel the mystery in Hampshire, that turns out to be the most bewildering of cases.

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