I love nearly every iteration of Sherlock Holmes, and I probably always will. But I’m getting a bit bored with always seeing the British detective everywhere. I decided to put the spotlight on some other detectives that are just as interesting as the ever-so-classic Sherlock. And while some of these characters have become more popular recently, some are still looked over because they just haven’t been given the opportunity to shine.
There aren’t many books or short stories about Sam Spade, but he’s a compelling character. Dashiell Hammett only wrote one novel and four stories about Spade, but two other authors (Joe Gores and Martin Grams, Jr.) have taken control of the character’s adventures.
So far, Spade has made appearances in five movies and several radio shows. Honestly, it’s about time someone made a show following Spade on new mysteries.
I didn’t realize how much I needed a detective in 1920s Harlem, but now I couldn’t think of a world without Louise Lloyd. This is author Nekesa Afia’s debut series, and she has already confirmed three different characters in the first book alone are part of the LGBTQ+ community.
The first book, Dead Dead Girls, follows Louise taking on the mystery of who is killing the black girls in her neighborhood. The second follows closely behind in the story, with yet another murder coming up that she solves on her own.
Lady Georgiana Rannoch
If you like Bridgerton and Nancy Drew, I’ve got a series for you! Her Royal Spyness starts the series of the same name as Lady Georgiana Rannoch takes on mysteries to get by in society. And while there is a “first” novel, there’s also a prequel following the very first mystery she solves.
There are fifteen books so far, and a sixteenth is coming this November. The series is set in England during the 1930s. Her Royal Spyness was written by Rhys Bowen (a pseudonym for Janet Quin-Harkin), and you might recognize some of their other fictional detectives: Molly Murphy and Constable Evan Evans.
The covers are stunning, just like the mysteries in each book of the Veronica Speedwell series. So far, there are seven books set in the late 1880s in London. Throughout the books, we also watch Veronica grow up; she’s just 24 in A Curious Beginning.
Veronica Speedwell starts her sleuthing adventures by outsmarting someone trying to abduct her. And to think, she just wanted to catch butterflies for her scientific journey! The most recent release was An Impossible Impostor from earlier this year.
I first came across Maisie Dobbs when I won a giveaway for one of the recent novels, The Consequences of Fear. I was a little on the fence about it at first, but over time, the story grew on me.
The series starts during World War I and continues to World War II. Hopefully, author Jacqueline Winspear will continue the series for as long as she can. Mostly because if this keeps going, maybe we’ll finally get a TV show following Maisie Dobbs.
Goldie Vance is the youngest sleuth on this list, being 16 when she first shows up in her first graphic novel. She is a resort manager’s daughter who longs to be a detective one day. But first, she has to prove herself.
So far, there have been five graphic novels and two illustrated prose novels, but I’m hoping we get more soon. In addition, a movie is in pre-production with Rashida Jones attached to write and direct. Kerry Washington and 20th Century Fox will produce.
Contrary to what I thought when I first picked up the series, this has nothing to do with Sabrina Spellman from The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. Lisa Lutz decided to adapt her own (rejected) screenplay as The Spellman Files, and let’s just say that Hollywood made a HUGE mistake by passing on this story.
There are now six books, and Izzy has been described as “Nancy Drew meets Dirty Harry” because of how she handles her cases. She works with her family as a private investigator who just wants out but keeps getting pulled back in.
What really made me love this character is her way of getting down to business while still having a sense of humor. Charlie Mack reminds me of Olivia Benson from Law and Order: SVU in many ways, and that’s what kept me hooked to the books.
So far, there are six books, but I’m hoping for more since the last novel came out in 2021. Charlie runs a PI firm with Don, Gil, and Judy. The series takes the investigators around the country, starting in Alabama in Bury Me When I’m Dead.
Somehow, Inspector Morse went unnoticed by me until a few years ago. But I couldn’t be happier about finding the character because the books and shows have been excellent. There are 13 novels in the series, starting with Last Bus to Woodstock and ending with The Remorseful Day.
There have been two shows following Inspector Morse. The first, Inspector Morse, starred John Thaw and saw the end of the detective’s sleuthing days. The other show, Endeavour, is a prequel series that follows Morse’s early detective days and stars Shaun Evans.
Yes, I am talking about that animated pink cat. But I’m also talking about the actual character, Inspector Jacques Clouseau. The detective has been portrayed by several actors since his creation in 1963, including the most recent films starring Steve Martin.
If you need some help visualizing Martin as Clouseau, think of “hambooger;” that line is stuck in my head. There is currently another reboot film in the works with no actors attached yet. I just hope we get a better take than the last reboot.
Philip Marlowe recently came back into popularity when it was announced Liam Neeson would portray the detective. But he isn’t the first – and hopefully not the last – to take on this role. Before Neeson, the character appeared in several films and shows.
Marlowe first came about in several short stories before Raymond Chandler started writing novels. Chandler then wrote nine Marlowe novels, with the tenth unfinished at the time of his death. Thankfully, Robert B. Parker finished the story and published it in 1989. Since Chandler’s death, other authors have written Marlowe mysteries.
The famous Miss Marple came about after Michael Morton changed the character of Caroline Sheppard, an older woman, in The Murder of Roger Ackroyd‘s stage adaptation into a young girl. Agatha Christie based her on her family member, Margaret Miller.
While there have been several adaptations of the Miss Marple books, it’s not enough. I want more! Miss Marple is a fun character that deserves all the attention Sherlock Holmes gets. Some actresses who have portrayed the woman include Angela Lansbury, Gracie Fields, and Geraldine McEwan.
While we’re talking about Agatha Christie’s genius, let’s talk about Hercule Poirot. Two of the more popular Poirot novels are Murder on the Orient Express and Death on the Nile, but the first published was The Mysterious Affair. However, if you want to start with Poirot’s first sleuthing adventure, you’re going to want to grab “The Chocolate Box” from Poirot’s Early Cases.
And for all you gamers, there’s now a video game for PC, Switch, and PlayStation 4. Agatha Christie – Hercule Poirot: The First Cases is a mystery-solving game where you play as the detective. I’m holding out hope a second game comes out following some more of his cases.
Nancy Drew will always be my favorite detective. Maybe that’s because the first time I ever read a mystery was The Secret of the Old Clock. Since then, I’ve kept tabs on the various series following the character through the years.
Nancy Drew Mystery Stories was the original series that started with The Secret of the Old Clock. In addition, there are two separate young adult series, three children’s series, and two more grown-up series.
There have also been several adaptations from television to movies. The most recent film starred Sophia Lillis and was based on The Hidden Staircase.