Lady Dicks: Six Great Crime Novels with Female Detectives
Detective novels, and the crime genre as a whole, tend to follow some very specific rules and structures. While this kind of framework is beloved by crime readers around the world, too often, the typical structures see any women in the story exempted from the role of female detective. They are instead relegated to the role of the damsel-in-distress, the femme-fatale, or the victim, and so crime novels with female leads can seem hard to come by.
It’s all too easy to live in a world in which the “classic” detectives are Sherlock Holmes, Auguste Dupin, Father Brown, and Sam Spade, but to do so ignores the rich history of excellent female detectives in literature. Doubtless many of you are already thinking of classic mystery series that feature female detectives, like Miss Marple, Kay Scarpetta, and Nancy Drew, but there’s a world of female crime-fighters out there to choose from.
With that in mind we’ve put together this list of six amazing crime novels with the best female detectives. Before we get into it, we’re considering “private investigators” and “meddling casual crime-solvers” as types in the broader category of “detectives.” The female detective books in this list are all series, as is typical of crime writing, but if you know of any stand-alone books be sure to comment them below, or of course any other female-led crime recommendations you might have.
So if you’re interested in reading more books about women unravelling criminal plots, read on... because we’ve got our best girls on the case.
Obviously, this is nothing like a comprehensive list, but they are a few favourites. Suffice it to say that anyone who's invested in their detective stories could probably recommend another couple of great female investigators.
If you feel there’s a clue we’ve overlooked, please drop us a line in the comments. We’ll follow up with another investigation and (hopefully) add them to our list of suspects.