I’m pretty sure it was the mid-70s when I first read something by Antonia Fraser. In fact, it was her biography of Cromwell that I grabbed off of my Mom’s bookshelf after having recently read a novel based on Charles II and the Restoration.

'Must You Go?' Lady Antonia Fraser

Lady Antonia Fraser

From her wiki intro:

Lady Antonia Margaret Caroline Fraser, DBE (born 27 August 1932), née Pakenham, is a British author of history, novels, biographies and detective fiction. She is the widow of the 2005 Nobel Laureate in Literature, Harold Pinter (1930–2008), and prior to his death was also known as Antonia Pinter.[2][3][4]

Lady Antonia has won awards for some of her non-fiction as well as fiction works. Much of her non-fiction work is on various members of English and other royal families. Kings and Queens of England, Love and Louis XIV: The Women in the Life of the Sun King, The Wives of Henry the VIII, and King James VI of Scotland and I of England for just a sample.

I have read both the bio of Cromwell I mentioned above and the bio of Charles II she wrote a few years later, Royal Charles: Charles II and the Restoration.

I think my favorite from Lady Antonia has to be The Warrior Queens. From the Goodreads.com synopsis:

Antonia Fraser’s Warrior Queens are those women who have both ruled and led in war. They include Catherine the Great, Elizabeth I, Isabella of Spain, the Rani of Jhansi, and the formidable Queen Jinga of Angola. With Boadicea as the definitive example, her female champions from other ages and civilisations make a fascinating and awesome assembly. Yet if Boadicea’s apocryphal chariot has ensured her place in history, what are the myths that surround the others? And how different are the democratically elected if less regal warrior queens of recent times: Indira Ghandi and Golda Meir? This remarkable book is much more than a biographical selection. It examines how Antonia Fraser’s heroines have held and wrested the reins of power from their (consistently male) adversaries.

I guess to counteract the overall seriousness of her non-fiction works, Lady Antonia has also written a series of mystery/detective books and short stories with the lead character being Jemima Shore. Again from Goodreads.com:

Jemima Shore is an investigative reporter and host of a television show. Visit Cinemystery for more information about the movie made from Quiet as a Nun.

As I look through the list of Jemima Shore mysteries, none of the titles look familiar to me but I know I have read stories with her. Then I noticed Women of Mystery, More Women of Mystery, and Women of Mystery III. She is also a contributor to Best of Ellery Queen, Under the Gun, and Murder Most Divine: Ecclesiastical Tales of Unholy Crimes.

Besides her Jemima Shore mysteries, Lady Antonia has also written King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table which I also read in the mid-70s and Robin Hood which is now on my “to read” list.

Lady Antonia Fraser’s IMDB page only shows five writing credits, mostly for television based on Jemima Shore.

Photo from English PEN licensed under Creative Commons