Did you think we’d be able to stop at one post about female detectives? There are so many great female detective characters in crime fiction and mystery suspense novels. These women are all great at their jobs, determined and hardworking and talented. But they also have complex personal lives as well. It’s impossible to not be drawn into the stories of these eight detectives and the mysteries they solve.
Kendra Michaels — Kendra Michaels is a hired gun for the CIA and FBI. She makes it onto our list of favorite female detectives because of her uncanny abilities to observe and analyze sensory cues around her. Seriously, her powers are almost supernatural, and it’s made her the ultimate secret weapon for the CIA and the FBI. They call her the Modern-Day Sherlock Holmes, and if you read any novel in the Kendra Michaels mystery thriller series, you’ll see why.
Emma Djan — At the start of the Emma Djan Investigation series, Emma Djan is a 26-year-old who dreams of rising up the ranks of Ghana’s police force, much like her father before her. But then the realities of corruption and sexism within the force send those dreams crashing down, and Emma decides to start over as a private investigator, tracking down missing persons, thefts, and marital infidelities. Emma’s cases pull her to some of the darkest corners of Accra, but this PI is tough, and she can handle anything.
Eve Dallas — NYPSD Lieutenant Eve Dallas is an interesting detective and main character in a crime fiction series because she is in and of herself a mystery. Eve was found in an alley in Dallas, Texas when she was only eight years old, and she had no memory of her life before that. As the series develops and Eve solves case after case, she is also slowly unraveling the mysteries of her own past. If you like suspense novels with intense mysteries and a complicated main character, try the In Death series. Most recently, J.D. Robb released the novel Shadows In Death, a book that sees Eve Dallas exploring the dark mysteries of her husband’s dangerous past.
Ilaria Tuti; Ekin Oklap (Translator)
Teresa Battaglia — Women have to work twice as hard as men to make it to the top of their fields. No one understands this more than Superintendent Teresa Battaglia, who has fought for almost four decades to gain her rank and gain the respect of her male coworkers on the Italian police force. In the first Teresa Battaglia novel, Flowers Over the Inferno by Ilaria Tuti, Teresa is called to investigate a murder near a small remote mountainside town, and she’s paired with a young male officer she’s not sure she can trust. But as the killer targets a group of children in the town and superstition takes over the community, Teresa and her partner must learn to trust one another.
Amelia Sachs — Amelia Sachs is the partner of Lincoln Rhyme. And while Lincoln Rhyme may be the star of Jeffrey Deaver’s Lincoln Rhyme series, Amelia Sachs is so much more than just a support system for the forensic consultant. Lincoln is paralyzed from the neck down after an accident at a crime scene investigation. So Amelia acts as Lincoln’s eyes and ears at the scene of crimes. Amelia may just be a rookie NYPD officer at the start of the series, but her intelligence and intuitiveness soon make her an essential ally for Lincoln Rhyme.
Kay Scarpetta — Many of crime fiction's most celebrated detectives were inspired by real-life heroes. Such is the case with Kay Scarpetta, a character author Patricia Cornwell has said was inspired by Virginia Chief Medical Examiner Marcella Farinelli Fierro. Kay Scarpetta is known for using the latest in forensic technologies in her investigations. She’s known for her beauty and her impeccable style, but Kay Scarpetta is so much more than just good looks. She’s a hard worker and a perfectionist, and she’s relentless in her search for answers.
Cindy Thomas — The Women’s Murder Club series features not one but four strong female characters. There’s Cindy Thomas, a reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle; Claire Washburn, the Chief Medical Examiner for San Francisco; Yuki Castellano, a San Francisco district attorney; and last but certainly not least, there’s Lindsay Boxer, a homicide detective for the San Francisco Police Department. In 20th Victim by James Patterson, The Women’s Murder Club face the fight of their lives after three simultaneous serial killings occur, and one of them is in Lindsay Boxers’ jurisdiction. While Lindsay works to track down the killer, reporter Cindy Thomas is contacted by an anonymous source who predicts future killings.
J. A. Jance
Joanna Brady — Sheriff Joanna Brady solves murders in Cochise County, Arizona. In the most recent book in the Joanna Brady series, Missing and Endangered by J.A. Jance, Joanna sees her professional and personal lives collide. Joanna’s college-aged daughter Jennifer asks if she can invite her friend Beth home with her for Christmas, and of course, Joanna says yes. After all, what could go wrong? But then Beth disappears, and Joanna finds herself in the middle of a case that might put her own daughter’s well-being at stake.
What to Read Next