Amateur sleuths are among literature’s most beloved characters. So much more relatable than a grizzled cop or a genius detective, they are ordinary people who see something wrong and are willing to risk everything to set it right. Nancy Drew, the tenacious teen detective who confronts criminals with nothing but pluck and a flashlight, is the archetype for such characters. But amateur sleuths come in all shapes and sizes.
These five mystery novels feature untrained but keen-eyed investigators from every walk of life. They may be very different, but they all know how to think fast, use the resources available to them, and make the world safer for everyone. So get ready to match wits with a writer, a medical professional, a teen gang member, and more in the great crime books listed below!
by Graham Moore
Harold White loves detective stories, especially those about Sherlock Holmes written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Harold and his fellow Sherlockians are enthusiastic about the prospect of tracking down Doyle's missing diary, which may explain why the author resurrected Holmes after tiring of him and killing him off. None of them counted on contending with a murderer. But now they have to do just that, identifying the person who killed an important scholar while racing to beat the killer to the diary.
As a nurse ethicist, Ladarat Patalung confronts all sorts of interesting problems. But never before has she been called upon to help in a police investigation. Recruited by a detective in search of a potential serial killer, Ladarat will have to use all of her medical training and observational skills to scour her small city of Chiang Mai, Thailand for clues--and to stay one step ahead of the killer. And the adventures don't stop here: this is only the first in David Casarett's Ethical Chiang Mai Detective Agency series.
Chicago, 1915. The Riverview amusement park offers endless opportunities for thrills and excitement--and crime. Pin, the fortune teller's rebellious teen daughter, takes advantage of this by joining a gang. But her fun comes to an abrupt end when she witnesses the prelude and aftermath of a probable murder. With the help of local writer Henry Darger, Pin embarks on a perilous quest to rid Chicago of a deranged killer in this enthralling historical mystery.
After losing two spouses in two different ways, changing careers, and moving from Scotland to France, it is safe to say that Enzo MacLeod's life has not gone the way he expected it to. Now he's just added another complication to the pile: he has accepted a bet to prove the effectiveness of forensic science by solving seven cold cases. But it doesn't take long for Enzo to realize that he is not the only one on the hunt. Even as he tracks down the killer, the killer is tracking him too. This is the first in Peter May's Enzo Files series.
L. V. Hay
Writer and new mom Samantha Brennan is struggling a little with her new responsibilities and her husband's long absences. Still, she loves her family and her career, and she has bright hopes for the future. It all comes crashing down when a mysterious letter, dripping with menace, is delivered to her home. The note not only brings back horrifying childhood memories, but threatens to upend everything Samantha has worked so hard for--and everything she has tried to forget.
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Eileen Gonzalez is a freelance writer from Connecticut. She has a Master’s degree in communications and years of experience writing about pop culture. She contributes to Book Riot and Foreword Reviews, and she occasionally tweets at @eileen2thestars.