My 7 Favorite Female Detectives

The creator of the Mary Handley Mystery series chimes in on unique, no-nonsense protagonists who paved the way.

female detectives

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Okay, let me get this out of the way first: “favorite” might have a clear meaning when parents are referring to one of their children, but as far as novels are concerned, it can be an ambiguous word. To some, it designates best-written, to others it’s most original, and still others think of it as most popular. I’ll leave that kind of judgment to critics and to the public. (God knows authors have to deal enough with opinions and sales data.)

In the case of my favorite literary female detectives, I’ve named an eclectic group, partially for their differences and also because of their influence on the genre. For what used to be mainly a men’s club, the female detective novel has been slowly gaining steam over the years, and I applaud its progress. Let’s face it—it doesn’t matter to the criminals who capture them. Busted is busted. I hope never to join the incarcerated class, but in my dreams, I see the female detective arresting me with a bit more panache.

Featured image: Elsa Jenna; Author Photo: © Fran Levy

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LAWRENCE H. LEVY is a highly regarded film and TV writer who is a Writers Guild Award winner and a two-time Emmy nominee. He has written for various hit TV shows such as Family Ties, Saved by the Bell, Roseanne, and SeinfeldLast Stop in Brooklyn is his third novel in the Mary Handley Mystery series.