Female Mystery Authors Who Lived Interesting Lives Themselves

Posted by Sandra Woolf

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“It was murder!” she wrote. The famous mystery writers on this list have two things in common: they were all successful women writers and they each led very intriguing lives.


Dorothy L. Sayers

Sayers was a key figure in the Golden Age of Detective Fiction. Her most famous character was the aristocrat turned sleuth, Lord Wimsey. However, Sayers’ own life could have easily been turned into work of fiction. Such as her illegitimate son, that she hid from public scandal, pretending that he was her nephew. Her affair with a famous Russian poet could also be turned into a sensational novel. Did we mention that she was close friends with C.S. Lewis and J.R.R Tolkien? She truly was a fascinating woman!


Patricia Highsmith

Speaking of fascinating women, mystery writer Patricia Highsmith lived a turbulent life. Depression and alcohol tormented her daily life while writing the successful Talented Mr. Ripley series. An outspoken and open lesbian, Highsmith had countless famous lovers and relationships. Her longtime friend Truman Capote encouraged her to write her famous novel, Strangers on a Train. Highsmith famously played by her own rules and didn’t care what others thought of her. She was a woman of her own time.


P.D. James

When you hear the name P.D. James, your mind goes to famous mystery writer and beloved British author, but you might not be familiar with the struggles that Phyllis Dorothy James had to endure to gain her success. Such as a husband that suffered from a mental illness that left him hospitalized. Now the sole breadwinner, James took a job at the Home Office (UK govt) and the Forensic Science Service. This job inspired countless stories and led to her successful career as a writer. Even though her life was tough, James looked on the bright side and persevered.


Agatha Christie

Last, but not least is the Dame of Mystery herself, Agatha Christie. Christie was born in an eccentric family. Her mother believed she was psychic and had a carefree childhood. Years later when her adulterous husband requested a divorce, Christie disappeared for ten days. News spread around the world, looking for the missing writer. Christie was found in a hospital with no explanation to her disappearance. Later she married an archeologist (13 years her junior!) and traveled the globe exploring ancient sites. All this she did while writing over 60 books and becoming one of the bestselling authors of all time!

Sandra Woolf

Sandra Woolf

Sandra Woolf lives in the PNW where she haunts bookshops and library sales. Freelancer by day, horror movie lover by night. Writing inquires can go to what lovely books at gmail or just to ask her how her hairy is so bouncy.

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