Saturday, October 10th, 2015

Top 10 Female Detective Novels


Detectives and crime novels have been around for a long long time. The tale of ‘One Thousand and One Nights’, better known as the ‘Arabian Nights’ featured a protagonist who took up the case of solving a murder and had many of the plot twists and suspense that modern detective novels feature today. In the 1800’s, Edgar Allan Poe was the main character seeking to solve The Murders in the Rue Morgue, but of course the most famous detective of them all has to be Sherlock Holmes. But this is about female protagonists, so when did females finally break into crime fiction?

Jane Marple

Jane Marple

It wasn’t really until Agatha Christie’s legendary Miss Marple that the mind of the female detective came to light and even then it wasn’t really in a hard boiled or sassy bundle. Depending on your age, of course, I’m sure Maple wet many a genteel’’s appetite with her keen wit and lack of lipgloss. In this article, we are racing forward in time to find some of the best female detectives the past few years have to offer. Some maybe unknown to you which is fantastic and you can indulge your passion anew, whilst others you will undoubtedly have already heard of.

1. Fundraising the Dead

Protagonist – Eleanor ‘Nell’ Pratt

Writer – Sheila Connolly

Sheila Connolly

Year – 2010

fundraising the dead

Our hero in this book is a lady called Eleanor or Nell Pratt. She isn’t a professional detective, but rather an amateur sleuth. Her first stumblings into solving crime are whilst fundraising for the The Society for the Preservation of Pennsylvania Antiques. Nell goes hunting for clues, when on the same day a collection of George Washington’s letters goes missing and an archivist is found dead. “Is it murder”? Nell begins to uncover many truths about a long crime history attached to the society.  Fundraising the Dead is lots of fun.

2. City of Dragons

Protagonist – Miranda Corbie

Writer – Kelli Stanley

Kelli Stanley

Year – 2010

City of Dragons

Our next lady, Miranda Corbie, is rather maliciously described by some as the cross between a former whore and a gumshoe. As the books are set in 1940’s San Francisco, one wonders if the books critics are also from the same era? The character has her offices on the outskirts of Chinatown, a place where the Chinese & Asian outcasts congregate to escape the racism of the city’s white majority. Miranda finds herself solving murders amid the political and racial tensions of two communities on the verge of war.  City of Dragons is a great read.

3. A Night of Long Knives

Protagonist – Hannah Vogel

Writer – Rebecca Cantrell

Rebecca Cantrell

Year – 2009

A Night of Long Knives

Journalist Hannah Vogel is a character with a difficult past. After kidnapping her son from the head of the Nazi’s Ernst Rohm in 1931, she can never set foot again in Germany. But in this book finds herself on a zeppelin bound for Munich leading to a desperate battle to save her son and escape the Nazi’s. A Night of Long Knives is a gripping story.

4. Heat Wave

Protagonist – Nikki Heat

Writer – Ghost (aka certainly not Nathan Fillion)

Heat Wave 1

Year – 2009

Heat Wave

Nikki Heat is a detective that is based on a character in the ABC series Castle. The book was a clever publicity stunt by ABC which saw the actor Nathan Fillion attending the book signings whilst  in character. The books are, however, written by a ghost writer although speculation has it that the author is James Patterson. However, most people think that the books, starting with Heat Wave, are written by ABC’s staff.

5. The Memory Collector

Protagonist – Jo Beckett

Writer – Meg Gardiner

Meg Gardiner

Year – 2008

The Memory Collector

Jo is called a deadshrinker which means she has worked with the psychology of the dead, looking into whether their death was an accident, suicide or murder. She gets an unusual case dealing with a living person with anterograde amnesia (meaning that they cannot create new memories) and that they might have the answer as to why a biological agent has been released in San Francisco.

6. The Twilight Time

Protagonist – Anna Cameron

Writer – Karen Campbell

Karen Campbell

Year – 2008

The Twilight Time

New Sergeant Anna Cameron is plunged into Glasgow’s underworld of prostitutes, drug dealers and pimps. Prostitutes are getting their faces carved up and an old man has been brutally butchered on the street. Cameron must battle tensions and back stabbing in her department as well as trying to solve the crimes of Glasgow’s notorious Drag.

7. The Build Up

Protagonist – Dusty Buchanan

Writer – Phillip Gwynne

Phillip Gwynne

Year – 2008

The Build Up

For detective Dusty Buchanon, being a female cop in the testosterone-soaked northern territories is killing her career as well as her self respect. When a body is found in a billabong near a Vietnam vet’s camp site, Dusty is certain that this is the spark needed to ignite her career.

8. Life’s a Bitch. So Am I.

Protagonist – Rachel Cord

Writer – R. E. Conary

RE  Conary

Year – 2008

Lifes a Bitch

Detective Rachel Cord is not only pursuing leads on a number of runaway teens but she is also looking into why gay performers are being beaten up at a cabaret called Miss Kitty’s Kathouse. As the story develops into child pornography, rape and insanity, Rachel is left questioning right from wrong.

9. The Bone Chamber

Protagonist – Sydney Fitzpatrick

Writer – Robin Burcell

Robin Burcell

Year – 2008

The Bone Chamber

FBI agent Sydney Fitzpatrick is suddenly removed from a murder case after her colleague is killed in a hit and run. But Sydney believes that it is all connected and starts a quest to find the answer that leads her from Quantico to the streets of Rome and Naples.

10. Wine of Violence

Protagonist – Abbess of Meaux

Writer – Priscilla Royal

Priscilla Royal

Year – 2008

Wine of Violence

Set in 1270 in England ruled by an aging King Henry III, our protagonist Eleanor is appointed as a new prioress, against the will of the monks and nuns of Order of Fontevraud. As if the hatred of her peers is not bad enough, soon after a monk is found brutally murdered in the cloister gardens. Eleanor soon finds herself battling the respect of her flock, the threat of violence and the black cloud of death and lust hanging over what is meant to be a place of love and peace.

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