Darynda Jones, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of “Seventh Grave and No Body,” shares with us her top five favorite women sleuths.
Women sleuths are my favorite kind of sleuths to read. I think it’s because of their (oftentimes) total lack of confidence that ultimately leads to a brilliance that surprises even themselves. They can be just as tough and hardboiled as their male counterparts, but they’re not afraid to stumble and to learn from their mistakes. We all make bad decisions, and it’s these decisions (and what we do afterward) that define who we are. These series are evidence of that. Here are five of my absolute favorites in no particular order.
Set in the island culture of South Carolina, Liz Talbot is a PI whose charm and tenacity will win over even the staunchest readers. Susan’s mysteries are full of intrigue, hijinks, and that twisted sense of humor that can only come from a Southern-born writer. I absolutely love this series.
Sue Grafton has been a staple for years. I cut my teeth reading her mysteries and have loved them one and all. Kinsey Millhone is a former cop who leaves the force to become a PI. She has issues galore, and that’s what makes her, and her cases, so interesting. So real and down-to-earth. I highly recommend this series to any fan of mystery.
Oh, my gosh. What can I say about Bobbie Faye Sumrall? You know that cousin you have who is clumsy, always in trouble, rarely reverent, and you never quite know where her marbles went? Yeah, that’s Bobbie Faye. These books are so fun and so full of life, razor-sharp wit, and the craziest situations you can imagine, that they are an absolute must read. Just don’t drink anything while reading. They are a choking hazard.
Tara Holloway is actually an IRS agent. She works in the Treasury Department’s Criminal Investigations Unit. In Tara’s first book, Death, Taxes, and a French Manicure (an RWA Golden Heart-winning manuscript) she is chasing down an ice-cream vendor who is selling narcotics out of his ice-cream truck and failing to report his illegal income on his taxes. THAT! I laughed at the premise of this book, at the hijinks and the tenacity of Tara. Diane created a winner with this series, and I hope you will enjoy Tara’s imaginative world, and her romantic quandaries along the way.
Cue the song Nobody Does it Better. That is the magnificent Queen of Mystery: Agatha Christie. Even today, her works have the intrigue and ingenuity to keep an audience glued to the page. She is witty, clever, and sharp-minded, as are her sleuths. Miss Marple is no exception. The Miss Marple series has been my very favorite for decades. I first read her in middle school and I marveled at how she always solved what seemed like the unsolvable, and she did it with such grace and style. If I could have dinner with anyone, Agatha Christie would be at the top of my list.