Looking for another Stephanie Plum or Kay Scarpetta to slink into your life? Check out these lesser-known women detectives who reveal the darker underbellies of locales from coastal Florida to the Alaskan wilderness.
Artifacts, by Mary Anna Evans (Faye Longchamp Mysteries)
Aspiring archeologist Faye Longchamp resorts to “pot-hunting” to save her ancestral home, an island plantation off the Florida coast. Her clandestine digging unearths the bones of a 40-year old murder victim, and that’s only the beginning. Faye is gutsy and quick-witted, and her family’s history intertwines with slavery’s brutal past to create a multi-layered and captivating plot.
Louisiana Hotshot, by Julie Smith (Talba Wallis Mysteries)
Poet-turned-private eye Talba Wallis is one of the feistier, more colorful sleuths around. Talba responds to an ad by crotchety, veteran PI Eddy Valentino seeking an ivy-league computer whiz who will work for pennies. The unlikely duo’s first case involves tracking down a sexual predator, and it rapidly deteriorates into a missing persons case leading straight into New Orleans’ elite circles.
A Cold Day for Murder, by Dana Stabenow (Kate Shugak Mysteries)
Former star investigator for the Anchorage D.A. office, Kate is recruited to track down a missing park ranger and the FBI agent who went looking for him in the Park. Reluctantly, she takes the case and heads straight for the authoritative Niniltna village elder to start—her grandmother. This tight, gripping read brings the reader straight into the heart of Alaska’s harsh winter and rugged terrain, as well as contentious local and family politics. (Back in February, Dana shared her Nightstand Reads with us).
A Hopeless Case, by K.K. Beck (Jane Da Silva Mysteries)
Novice sleuth Jane Da Silva brings humor and a taste for the finer things in life to her unconventional PI position. Having spent the better part of her life roving Europe, Jane receives an offer she cannot refuse. Upon his death, her eccentric uncle leaves his Seattle charity to Jane, the Foundation for Righting Wrongs—that is, if Jane can fulfill its mission. She must seek out and rectify “hopeless cases” to land the promised paycheck. Her first case concerns a lost inheritance that lands her smack in the middle of a shady religious cult.