A plucky 1950s homemaker, Margaret Spencer leaves boredom behind to create a new life as a private investigator. Over the course of six novels, Maggie becomes the self-sufficient woman most women of her generation could only dream of being. These cozy mysteries are set on the west coast and interior of BC Canada.
DEATH PLAYS WITH FIRE (The Margaret Spencer Mystery Series Book 6) ISBN-9-781988-925523 c2019 A church on fire, a dead body, a mysterious cloaked figure seen running away, and the finger points to the obviously guilty person—the church organist. It’s September 1962, and Maggie Spencer is taking a few weeks holiday in the beautiful Okanagan Valley after a difficult year of sleuthing and family entanglements when she is called on to help exonerate the hapless organist. But when murder and kidnapping follow, Maggie is forced to call in Nat, her partner in Southby and Spencer Investigations. So begins a case that will take them up and down the valley and off into the hills, involving them with orchardists, migrant apple pickers, tent makers, church members, drug runners, and weird recluses. This sixth book in the popular Margaret Spencer Mysteries brings the series to an exciting but very satisfying close.
DEATH AS A FINE ART (The Margaret Spencer Mystery Series Book 5) (Touchwood Editions) ISBN-978-1-927129-42-5 2012 Journey into the fashionable art world of 1960s Vancouver as Margaret Spencer and Nat Southby return in Death as a Fine Art, the fifth book in the Margaret Spencer mystery series. The owner of the Silver Unicorn Art Gallery is dead, and Southby and Spencer, Private Investigators, are back at work in search of the killer. With plenty of suspects, and twists and turns along the way, Maggie and Nat have their work cut out for them.
The cast of memorable characters is no match for the investigators. Maggie trusts her instincts as they take her from the streets of Vancouver to Victoria, Galiano Island, and Mission. Meanwhile, her estranged husband continues his efforts to win her back, but even with plans for her daughter's wedding taking up all her spare time, Maggie knows there is no returning to her old life.
DEATH AS A LAST RESORT (The Margaret Spencer Mystery Series Book 4) (Touchwood Editions) ISBN 978-1-926741-02-4 2010 Journey into the fashionable art world of 1960s Vancouver as Margaret Spencer and Nat Southby return in Death as a Fine Art, the fifth book in the Margaret Spencer mystery series. The owner of the Silver Unicorn Art Gallery is dead, and Southby and Spencer, Private Investigators are back at work in search of the killer. With plenty of suspects and twists and turns along the way, Maggie and Nat have their work cut out for them.
The cast of memorable characters are no match for the investigators. Maggie trusts her instincts as they take her from the streets of Vancouver to Victoria, Galiano Island, and Mission. Meanwhile, her estranged husband continues his efforts to win her back, but even with plans for her daughter's wedding taking up all her spare time, Maggie knows there is no returning to her old life. Author Gwendolyn Southin uniquely blends the charm of gumshoe techniques with the fresh perspective of a developing female detective.
DEATH ON A SHORT LEASH (The Margaret Spencer Mystery Series Book 3) (Touchwood Editions) ISBN 978-1-894898-70-6 2008 The third book of the series is set in 1960 in Vancouver and the Fraser Valley. Margaret Spencer and her boss, Nat Southby, have agreed to look into the disappearance of a veterinarian's assistant when her body turns up in a cranberry bog in Richmond. They soon discover that the victim led a double life, and Margaret begins compiling a seemingly endless list of possible suspects that leads her to investigate a corrupt nursing home, a phony religious sect and the puppy mill that links them together. With this case, she proves to herself and her boss that she has the ability, the daring and the determination of a true sleuth
IN THE SHADOW OF DEATH - The Margaret Spencer Mystery Series Book 2 (Touchwood Editions) ISBN 1552070336 and 13: 9781552070338 2002 This second book of the series set in 1959 has Margaret Spencer, now separated from her husband Harry, living alone in Kitsilano and happy in her job as assistant to detective Nat Southby, who she has also taken as her lover. With her husband, Harry, harassing her to return to her upper middle-class Kerrisdale life, Maggie decides to head north for a week on a dude ranch. As she travels to Williams Lake through Squamish, Whistler and Lillooet, Maggie ventures ever deeper into a new mystery. Peopled with intriguing characters, filled with sharp dialogue and a healthy dose of betrayal, arrogance, violence and suspense, this appealing mystery is set against the bucolic but ultimately frightening splendor of the Cariboo district.
Globe and Mail: "What would you do if you wanted to write an old-fashioned British cozy, but you didn't want to re-create Miss Marple? If you were Gwendolyn Southin you'd invent Margaret Spencer. Southin has a real love for British Columbia, and it shows in her loving descriptions of Vancouver and Maggie's train trip into the Cariboo country. This is a great getaway book"
:Victoria Times Colonist: "The appeal of Southin's novel is in its emphasis on the natural - the techniques of science to uncover crime are in their infancy, so Maggie and Nat have to rely solely on brain power, much like Agatha Christie's detectives. In the Shadow Of Death will appeal to lovers of mysteries who need a break from the gadget-driven DNA scouting, high-tech approach of some contemporary mystery writers.
DEATH IN A FAMILY WAY(The Margaret Spencer Mystery Series Book 1) (Touchwood Editions) ISBN 1894898729 (ISBN13: 9781894898720 2000 is the first in Gwen Southin's series of mystery novels set in the 1950s in Vancouver and other parts of British Columbia. It stars Margaret Spencer, who at fifty years of age abandons home and hearth for a secretarial job in Nat Southby's detective agency. Before she's been on the job a week, she discovers a dead man and then acquires his cat, Emily. After that, there's no turning back, and as her boss takes on the case of a missing teenaged girl, Margaret herself falls into the clutches of a murderer and becomes involved in a wild boat chase on the high seas.
Quill and Quire Magazine: "The flow of the book is smooth, the action well paced, and the plot well thought out."
Alma Lee, Vancouver Int's Writers Festival: "Gwen Southin has created a winner with character of Maggie Spencer....Sure to appeal to crime fiction fans."
National Post: "...An engaging sleuth reminiscent of more laid-back times."
Ottawa Citizen: "Gwen Southin's cast of characters and Agatha Christie-ish penchant for detail should guarantee her a solid fan base."
Times Colonist: "There is something engaging about a middle-aged middle-class wife and mother living out the super sleuth fantasy. You somehow know, as she runs barefoot across the cliff tops and plunges into the ocean to elude evil pursuers, that Maggie has got her feet wet and will survive to sleuth again."