The one thing these mysteries have in common: smart, independent, funny and resourceful women. These are today’s detectives — a little younger and a lot hipper than many of the sleuths you’ve met in long-running mystery series (you know, those series that have initials or numbers in their titles). If you’re looking for romantic suspense, look elsewhere. These women have crimes to solve.
Curse of the Spellmans by Lisa Lutz
P.I. Izzy Spellman’s newest obsession is unraveling the secrets of her next door neighbor (a.k.a. Subject) whose landscape business is certainly a cover for darker intrigue. Witty and oh-so-cool in San Francisco. Get to know Izzy in The Spellman Files, the first book in the series.
Christietown by Susan Kandel
Cece Caruso, an L.A. biographer of famous mystery authors, stages a Miss Marple play that brings down the house — and the leading lady. Great authentic tie-ins to Agatha Christie (and her real-life 11-day disappearance), just like Kandel wove Dashiell Hammett and Nancy Drew’s legacy into her earlier mysteries.
Dead Ex by Harley Jane Kozak
Artist Wollie Shellie takes a silly job on a TV talk show called SoapDirt, and soon gets tangled in the real lives of soap opera stars and the murder of a producer.
The Crazy School by Cornelia Read
Soon after Madeline Dare (what a name!) starts teaching at a western Massachusetts school for troubled teens, two teens die and Madeline is a chief suspect. Cult overtones, creepy business and a sassy lead.
Another Thing to Fall by Laura Lippman
A TV film crew’s boat interrupts Tess Monaghan’s early morning rowing workout, landing the former crime reporter in the water and with the worst job of her life — guarding the show’s 20-year-old hard-partying star. Tess Monaghan is one of my favorite sleuths.
Death by Chick Lit by Lynn Harris
Someone is killing the best-selling chick lit authors and Lola Somerville — whose investigative thriller was dubbed chick lit by the media — wonders if she’s next. A delightful, smart satire.
Secondhand Smoke by Karen E. Olson
Tough-talking reporter Annie Seymour investigates the arson of a New Haven restaurant and discovers ties to illegal gambling — a link that may also involve her father.
Sisters on the Case: Celebrating Twenty Years of Sisters in Crime, edited by Sara Paretsky
In 1986, Paretsky launched Sisters in Crime, an organization to help female mystery authors get some of the media attention that traditionally went to male authors. Includes selections by Barbara D’Amato, Nancy Pickard and others, as well as Paretsky’s story about the first case for young Tori Warshawski (star of her long-running V.I. Warshawski series).
You may also want to check out the Library’s list of recommended reading for Janet Evanovich fans.