Note from Michele: I am excited to welcome talented and prolific writer and friend, Edith Maxwell, to Miss Demeanors. Her new series promises to be filled with female characters from the past who are feisty and fun.

Misses and Demeanors from 1926

Thanks to Michele for adding me to your guest roster over here! I’m delighted to bring your readers A Case for the Ladies, which released this week.

Misses and demeanors in 1926 Boston? I’ve got you covered. Let’s start with the misses. My book is mostly written from the point of view of Dorothy Henderson, lady PI, who turned twenty-six on the fourth of July that year. She’s as-yet unmarried, although her suitor Allan is waiting for her back in Indianapolis, where she grew up. Dot is definitely Miss Henderson to anyone who doesn’t know her well. 

Then we have Miss Earhart – Amelia, of course – who is nearing thirty. Sam Chapman is her prospective husband, and at the time waits patiently for her to be ready to marry him. (No spoilers in my book, but anyone can look up the facts about her eventual marriage.) Dot and Amelia’s reporter friend Jeanette Colby is also a Miss and one devoted to rooting out crime with her investigative reporting.

Aunt Etta Rogers, Dot’s aunt in her mid-fifties, is a Miss. Never married, Wellesley College professor Rogers wears her spinsterhood with pride and style. She’s one of the founders of Denison House and has a strong drive for justice. 

Another Miss is kickass nun Sister Mary Patrick. She’s from a violent crime family but chose to separate from that so she could serve God – and the women at the settlement house. 

I wish I could show you pictures of all of them. While Etta Rogers was actually Dot’s aunt, I don’t have any photos of her. Jeannette and Sister Mary Patrick are entirely fictional. Dot, however, is a fictional version of my beloved paternal grandmother, shown here on her wedding day in about 1921.

And we all know gap-toothed, touseled hair Amelia in her flight clothes, although she often cleaned up and put on a dress, as shown in this delightful photo from the thirties when Eleanor Roosevelt invited her to visit the White House.

And that brings us to demeanors. In some ways, the four secular women comport themselves according to the expected norms of their era. On weekends, Dot and Amelia love wearing high-waisted trousers but normally wear dresses. Everybody seems to smoke cigarettes, both outdoors and inside. Etta owns her own car, as does Amelia (the bright yellow Kissell speedster depicted on the book’s cover). Amelia shuns hats and handbags, but others carry them. They all, including the nun, use polite address and other conventional norms of language. 

Otherwise? We have four independent women following their careers and their passions. None is (yet) encumbered by husband or children. Etta has a lover on the side. Amelia is passionate about flying on the weekends. Both Dot and Jeanette don disguises and delve into crimes, albeit for different reasons and in different ways. Yes, all are well-off enough – or making enough – to enable these lifestyles. But because of their independence and forthright approach to life, the younger three particularly are frequent recipients of dismissive attitudes and comments, or worse, from the men they encounter. 

Readers: Share a Miss, historical or current, whom you have admired. I’d love to send one of you a copy of the new book!

Amid Prohibition, Irish gangs, the KKK, and rampant mistreatment of immigrant women, intrepid private investigator Dorothy Henderson and her pal Amelia Earhart seek justice for several murdered young women in 1926 Boston. As tensions mount, the sleuths, along with their reporter friend Jeanette Colby and Dot’s maiden Aunt Etta Rogers, a Wellesley College professor, experience their own mistreatment at the hand of society and wonder who they can really trust.

Maddie Day pens the Dot and Amelia Mysteries, the Country Store Mysteries, the Cozy Capers Book Group Mysteries, and the Cece Barton Mysteries. As author Edith Maxwell, she’s the author of the historical and Agatha Award-winning Quaker Midwife Mysteries and short crime fiction. Day/Maxwell lives with her beau and cat Martin north of Boston, where she writes, gardens, cooks, and wastes time on Facebook. Find the author at EdithMaxwell.com, wickedauthors.com, Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen, and on social media:





  1. Thank you so much for joining us, Edith. I love that picture of Eleanor Roosevelt. In fact, I’m going to print if out. I keep her memoir by my desk. She was a bright presence. In fact, there was a park near where I grew up on Long Island and what I didn’t find out until years later was that she grew up in that park. Happiest time of her life. And no plaque. I just happened to stumble across it.

    1. So much research! For starters, I learned that Amelia – for real – worked at a settlement house in Boston and lived with her mother and sister in West Medford. I’ve walked to her house with my bestie, who lives about a mile away.

      I’d already dreamed up an alternate history for Dot and my other grandmother as lady PIs in the early 1920s in Pasadena, CA. I decided Aunt Etta needed to invite Dot east to work on these crimes with Amelia.

      It’s a new era for me to write in, so I got to look into clothes, hats, language, transportation, Boston of the time, immigration policies, food, and so much more. Which loved doing!

  2. Edith, the new book sounds fantastic! I’ve always been an Amelia fan, and have a poem about her in a book that’s at her home museum.
    I’m currently starting a standalone set in 1926! But in Yorkshire. I’ll be reading yours with great interest~
    Congratulations 🎊

  3. It looks like a great book I am looking forward to reading about Amelia Earheart and the work she does for women.

  4. Edith, I’m in awe. Another series. And it sounds like fun. There are so many historical and current day women I admire. I’m in awe of the women, like Amelia, who fought to fly despite the prejudice and the dangers in the early days of flight. I’m in awe of all the women through time who have gone, and today go, against the norms to do what they wanted to do. I’m in awe of women who chose to fight in wars while at the same time battling the men, colleagues, who stand beside them.

    I look forward to reading A Case for the Ladies.

  5. Love the cover! Just downloaded this.
    I’m exhausted just reading how much work you did researching this!

  6. Congratulations, Edith! This sounds like so much fun. Can’t wait. As to a woman I admired from when I was a kid and first learned about her…a (pen) name (suitably) – Nellie Bly. (really, Elizabeth Seaman) True life intrepid reporter, earlier than your characters, but surely a forerunner. 😄

  7. What a fun way to organize this post on Miss Demeanors, Edith. These four characters in your A CASE FOR THE LADIES sound like “Misses’ living bold and inspiring lives who get up to a few meaningful ‘Demeanors’ along the way.

  8. Congratulations on your new series, which sounds fantastic! And I love that picture of Amelia Earhart with Eleanor Roosevelt, too. Can’t wait to read your newest book.

  9. I’m a big fan of Miss Helen Grant, student at UConn in the 1920s. All around athlete, Captain of the women’s basketball team, and a smoker (!) Who got suspended for her unwomanly act. And, she was my grandmother. I had the higher GPA in college, but boy did my grandmother have more fun!

  10. I was away last week, and catching up now. What a fun post, Edith! Thank you for visiting! I really love the historical period you write about.

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