10 Most Popular Female Detectives in Literature

When it comes to detectives in famous literatures, some of the most popular names that strike in mind are James Bond, Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Poirot etc. All of these names are of men. But it is just a small part of fiction. There are some of the iconic female detectives who have played a vital role in literatures.

We have listed the top female detectives who are penned by some of the greatest writers.

10. Maud Silver

Penned by Patricia Went worth, a British author, Miss Maud Silver was a detective appeared in Grey Mask novel in 1928 for the first time. As a retired governess, she started to practice being a private detective. She shares a lot of similarities with Jane Marple of Agatha Christie. Being an old woman, she is overlooked by many people. She was appeared in 32 novels published till the year 1961.

Her character has been admired by many as a stand-up woman and a professional investigator, and a real forerunner of all the female private eyes. Her appearance is spontaneous with her sensational attitude and the far-fletched plots of novels she is featured in.

9. Barbara Havers

Penned by Elizabeth George, an American mystery writer, Barbara Havers is among the important characters in Inspector Lynley stories. In Scotland Yard, she is a sergeant and sidekick of Inspector Thomas Lynley. She is also at loggerheads towards her boss due to which she is landed to punishments. She is not a protagonist in novels, but she is also an important character in female detectives’ history.

The relationship between them is multi-layered and complicated. Their investigations bring tensions in high profile and complex murder cases and they also have subtle interpersonal elements. There is often a clash between DI Lynley and DS Havers not just because he is superior, but also due to her short temper.

8. Modesty Blaise

She is a comic strip heroine penned by Peter O’ Donnell, an author, in 1963. Actually, she was an unnamed girl. A refugee adopts her and gives her a name. She had been a crime leader for most of her early years with her assistant Willie Garvin. Later on, she becomes an investigator. She is featured in novels which came out just after a film and the comics. She appeared in few short stories and 11 novels. She is often characterized with various talents and virtually a super hero.

7. Precious Ramotswe

Precious Ramotswe is born from the pen of Alexander McCall Smith, a Scottish author. She is one of the few Black female detectives who are a protagonist of “The No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency” series started with novel in 1998. She is the first lady private investigator in Botswana and she founded a detective agency.  She has appearance in over 15 books about her adventures.

6. Lisbeth Salander

She is the heroine of award-winning series “Millennium” by Steig Larsson, a Swedish author. She was first appeared in “The Girl with Dragon Tattoo”, a 2015 novel published after the death of the author. She is a private investigator and reputable hacker at Milton Security establishment. She is such a complex character far from the pleasing childhood and it leads her to a troubled life. She is an introvert and she has very limited friends and she is a skinny young woman. She also has eidetic memory.

5. Sharon McCone

She is a character which inspired a lot of female detectives who followed and she was written by Marcia Muller. She appeared for the first time with Edwin of the Iron Shoes novel in 1977. She has appearance in 31 novels and a lot of short stories. She works for an agency All Souls as an investigator and later on, she finds herself. She is known to be the first independent lady detective in the modern literature.

4. Mrs. Bradley

Dr. Beatrice Adela Lestrange Bradley is well known as Mrs. Bradley and she was the brainchild of Gladys Mitchell, a famous author.  She is known to be outspoken and unattractive. When she debuted, she was 57 years old. She is accompanied by George, her chauffeur in most of her ventures. She was appeared for the first time in Speedy Death novel in 1929. She has been appeared in total 66 books and she is also described in the books in reptilian terms and she is also nicknamed as “Mrs. Crocodile”.

She is very strong physically as compared to her ‘deceptively stick-like’ arm and she can exert and sustain a lot of pressure. Being a detective, Mrs. Bradley is an exemplar in omniscient school. It is safely predicted that she can lay her cards down and the turn of events is simply the reverse.

3. Miss Marple

The creation of Agatha Christie, an epic crime novelist, Agatha Christie is among the most popular lady detectives in literature. She got her first appearance in “The Tuesday Night Club” a short story in 1927 and she went on to be appeared in 20 short stories and 12 novels. She is definitely not a pro detective. Actually, she is an old spinster who lives at St. Mary Mead who often works as a consultant. As a keen observer, she has great detection skills which are masked by her village. She can collect information from the gossip in support of her investigation. Along with Hercule Poirot, a Belgian detective, she made Agatha Christie one of the prominent crime writers in the world.

2. Bertha Cool

She was the leading private detective who appeared for the first time in the year 1939. Erle Stanley Gardner was the same author who formed the leading names like Della Street and Perry Mason. She was a widow started as a detective agency when her husband died. She got a partner Donald Lam who is an advocate. She was an aggressive and unsentimental lady. She doesn’t give a second thought when it comes to do physical fights. She has been appeared in 29 novels and last novel was published in 1970.

1. Nancy Drew

She is a young amateur detective who is imagined by Edward Stratemeyer, a publisher. She got first appeared in 1930. Many writers have published the stories of Nancy Drew under the collective, Carolyn Keene, and pseudonym. Initially, she was just 16 but she has appearance in several ages in stories. Her character has seen several changes, especially the ones in American culture. She influenced several politicians like Laura Bush and Hilary Clinton.

She is literally a cultural icon who is known as formative influence by several women. Her enduring appeal has been criticized by Feminist literary critics. But she is indeed a mythic hero and embodiment of opposing concepts regarding femininity.