List of female detective characters

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This is a list of fictional female investigators from novels, short stories, radio, television, films and video games.


A[edit]

B[edit]

C[edit]

  • Christine Cagney (Sharon Gless) is a New York City police detective on CBS series Cagney & Lacey 1982-1988.
  • Jenny Cain is the director of a philanthropic foundation in a series by Nancy Pickard begun 1984-1995.
  • Miranda Callendar is a detective on the BBC One Jekyll 2007.
  • Anna Cameron is a Glasgow police sergeant in a series by Scottish Karen Campbell begun 2008.
  • Letitia 'Tish' Carberry was embroiled in comic adventures in short stories in the Saturday Evening Post, and from 1911 in books, by Mary Roberts Rinehart.
  • Carlotta Carlyle is a 6'1" former Boston city cop turned private detective in a series by Linda Barnes (writer) begun 1987.
  • Caroline Carmichael is a CIA intelligence analyst in a series of books by Francine Mathews who held such a job herself for some years.
  • Mary Carner is a store detective in five books by Zelda Popkin 1938-1942.
  • Sandra Carpenter (Lucille Ball) is an American dancer in London who helps police investigate the death of a friend in film Lured 1947.
  • CeCe Caruso is an LA based biographer of crime writers and film makers who becomes involved in mysteries in the course of her work, in a series by Susan Kandel.
  • Jordan Cavanaugh is a forensic pathologist played by Jill Hennessy in the NBC series Crossing Jordan 2001-2007.
  • Lady Grace Cavendish is a 13 year old girl at Queen Elizabeth I's court, in a series for children by Patricia Finney, but with author credit given to 'Lady Grace'.
  • Laura Caxton is a Pennsylvania State Trooper turned vampire hunter in a fantasy series by David Wellington (debuted 2006).
  • Lois Cayley is an adventurous young woman in an early mystery novel by Grant Allen (1899).
  • Corinna Chapman runs a bakery in Melbourne and solves neighbourhood puzzles in a series commenced 2004 by Australian Kerry Greenwood.
  • Nora Charles is a Nob Hill heiress married to Nick Charles, a retired Pinkerton detective. The pair solves a crime in The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett and in the successful movie of the book, starring William Powell and Myrna Loy. Five movie sequels to "The Thin Man" were made, followed by radio and television series. A remake of "The Thin Man" will be released in 2013. Witty banter between husband and wife was a hallmark of the book and films.
  • Annabeth Chase is a criminal prosecutor, played by Jennifer Finnigan, in the television series Close to Home, broadcast on CBS 2005-2007.
  • Lydia Chin is a private detective in New York City with partner Bill Smith in a series of books by American novelist S. J. Rozan (debuted 1994).[4]
  • Denise Cleever is an undercover agent in a series of books by Australian crime novelist Claire McNab (debuted 2000).
  • Nancy Clue is an amateur detective and lesbian parody of Nancy Drew in a series of books by American crime novelist Mabel Maney (debuted 1992).
  • Phyl Coe was a 'beautiful lady detective' in Philco’s Mysteries of the Air, a radio program sponsored by Philco Radio Tubes in 1936. The next season the detective was changed to a man, Phil Coe.[1]
  • Nikki Collins is a debutante and detective story enthusiast, played by Deanna Durbin, who sees a murder from a train in the comedic mystery film Lady on a Train (1945).
  • Kat Colorado is a private investigator in Sacramento, California in a series of books by American crime novelist Karen Kijewski (debuted 1989).
  • Harper Connelly is an investigator in a series of books by American crime novelist Charlaine Harris (debuted 2005).
  • Natalie Cook (Cameron Diaz) is a private detective in Charlie's Angels (film) 2000 and sequel Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle 2003.
  • Bertha Cool is a private investigator in the Cool and Lam series by American A. A. Fair 1939-1970; Jane Darwell in a lost 1955 TV show based on 1939 debut The Bigger They Come; Benay Venuta in pilot based loosely on Turn On The Heat 1958, perhaps never aired.
  • Alexandra Cooper is a Manhattan prosecutor in a series by American Linda Fairstein begun 1996.
  • Beka (Rebekah) Cooper 16 is a King's Provost Guard who can talk to spirits, polices the fantasy kingdom Tortall in the Provost's Dog trilogy by Tamora Pierce 2006-2011.
  • Iris Cooper is a flapper-era college student in Oregon who solves crimes with journalist Jack Clancy in three books 1984-1989 by K. K. Beck (also writes Jane Da Silva series).
  • Miranda Corbie is a private investigator in San Francisco, California in the 1940s in a series by American Kelli Stanley begun 2010.
  • Meg Corey is an amateur sleuth whose adventures start after she inherits a colonial house and apple orchard in a series by Sheila Connolly begun 2008.
  • Bess Crawford is the daughter of military man and a battlefield nurse in World War I in a series by Charles Todd begun 2009.
  • Lady Lara Croft is an English archaeologist explorer who finds missing artifacts and fights danger in Tomb Raider games begun 1996 and Tomb Raider (film) films begun 2001.
  • Florence Cusack is a young lady detective in stories by L. T. Meade and Robert Eustace 1899-1900; played by Elizabeth Conboy in the BBC Radio 4 adaptation of the story "Mr. Bovey's Unexpected Will".

D[edit]

E[edit]

F[edit]

G[edit]

H[edit]

I[edit]

J[edit]

  • Jill Jackson is a Sydney cop in series by Leah Giarratano begun 2007.
  • Gemma James is a Scotland Yard detective in a series by American Deborah Crombie begun 1993.
  • Smilla Qaaviqaaq Jaspersen is an isolated woman who doesn't accept the police conclusion that a neighbour boy's death is accidental and investigates it herself, in Danish author Peter Hoeg's Miss Smilla’s Feeling for Snow (1992).
  • Mrs Jeffries is a housekeeper to Scotland Yard Inspector Witherspoon in Victorian England who leads the staff to solve his cases in a series by Emily Brightwell begun 1993.
  • Jane Jeffry is a Chicago widow with three children who solves murders in a series by Jill Churchill begun 1989.
  • Brenda Leigh Johnson (Kyra Sedgwick) is the Deputy Chief in the Major Crimes Division at Los Angeles TNT series The Closer 2005-now.
  • Vivian Johnson (Marianne Jean-Baptiste) is an FBI agent on the CBS series Without a Trace 2002-2009.
  • Casey Jones is an unlicensed PI and ex-con, tough and brash, in a series by Katy Munger (co-creator of sexual Tart Noir) begun 1997.
  • Jessica Jones is a New York private detective and journalist and former superhero, the main protagonist of the Marvel comic series Alias (2001-4) and The Pulse (2004-6), and has subsequently appeared in The Avengers and other titles. She is married to Luke Cage. It's notable that most of her back-story is retconned into the history of other characters such as Spider-Man.
  • Lena Jones is a private investigator and former policewoman in western U.S. in a series by Betty Webb begun 2001.
  • Jimm Juree is a Thai crime reporter forced to return to a rural area to look after her mother and the rest of her family, in a series by Colin Cotterill begun 2011.
  • Charlotte Justice is an African-American Los Angeles Police Department Detective in a series by African-American Paula L. Woods begun 1999.

K[edit]

  • Sarah Kelling is a Beacon Hill, Boston amateur in The Family Vault (Sarah Kelling and Max Bittersohn Mystery #1) by Charlotte MacLeod begun 1979.
  • Irene Kelly is a reporter in Goodnight Irene by Jan Burke, begun 1992.
  • Kitty Keene is a former chorus girl in Kitty Keene, Inc. a radio show first broadcast 1937 in Chicago. Played successively by: Beverly Younger, Gail Henshaw and Fran Carlon.[1]
  • Kylie Kendall lesbian, former Australian bartender, inherits a private LA detective agency in The Wombat Strategy 2004 by Claire McNab,[9] also known for Claire Ashton and Denise Cleever series.
  • Joanne Kilbourn is a Saskatchewan political advisor, later political science prof and commentator by Gail Bowen begun 1990. Six of the books were made into movies for television, by Shaftesbury Films and CTV.
  • Samantha Kinsey is young owner of a mystery bookshop, and amateur sleuth, played by Kellie Martin, in Mystery Woman, a US series of made for TV movies debuted 2003.
  • Jacqueline Kirby is a librarian, then romance novelist, in four books by Barbara Mertz published 1971, 1974, 1984 and 1989.
  • Jill Kirkendall is a New York City detective played by Andrea Thompson on the ABC series NYPD Blue from 1996 to 2000.
  • Abby Knight runs a flower shop in Indiana in a cozy series by Kate Collins, commenced 2004.
  • Micky Knight is a New Orleans lesbian private investigator in a series by Jean M. Redmann, commenced 1990 with Death by The Riverside.
  • Wendy Knight is a female detective in the Knight & Culverhouse series of books by Adam Croft, commenced 2011 with Too Close For Comfort.
  • Deborah Knott is a judge and daughter of a North Carolina bootlegger in a series of books by American crime novelist Margaret Maron (debuted 1992).

L[edit]

  • Magdalene La Batarde is a whoremistress in 12th century London in books by Roberta Gellis also writer of historical romances.
  • Mary Beth Lacey (Tyne Daly) is a New York City police detective on CBS series Cagney & Lacey 1982-1988.
  • Skip Langdon is a former debutante turned New Orleans police officer in a series by Julie Smith (novelist), begun New Orleans Mourning 1990.
  • Meg Langslow is a Yorktown Virginia blacksmith in a comic murder series of books by Donna Andrews (author) begun 1999.
  • Charlotte La Rue 59, is a New Orleans house cleaner in a series by Barbara Colley begun 2002.
  • Lauren Laurano is a lesbian New York PI in Everything You Have is Mine #1[10] by Sandra Scoppettone 1991-1999.
  • Jane Lawless is a restaurateur and amateur investigator in a series of books by American crime novelist Ellen Hart begun 1989.
  • Loretta Lawson is an amateur investigator in a series of books by English journalist and crime novelist Joan Smith begun 1987.
  • Aimee Leduc is a French-American private investigator in contemporary Paris in a series by Cara Black begun 1998.
  • Anna Lee is a private investigator in a series of books by English crime novelist Liza Cody (debuted 1980); Imogen Stubbs in LWT Anna Lee (TV series) 1993-4.
  • Gypsy Rose Lee, the famous stripper, is also an amateur sleuth, in two books 1941 and 1942 by Craig Rice, nom de plume of Georgianna Ann Randolph.
  • Judith Lee was a teacher of the deaf who used lip reading skills and jujitsu to help her investigations by Richard Marsh begun 1916.
  • Madison Lee (Demi Moore) is a former private detective in the film Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle 2003.
  • Adrienne Lesniak is a New York City detective played by Justine Miceli on the ABC series NYPD Blue 1994-1996.
  • Catherine LeVendeur is a novice in a convent in 12th Century France who appears in a series of historical mystery novels by Sharan Newman.
  • Ingrid Levin-Hill is 13 year-old who is mixed up in mysteries in her home town of Echo Falls, in a book series for children aged 10+ debuted 2006 by Peter Abrahams.
  • Janice Licalsi (Amy Brenneman) is a New York City detective on the ABC series NYPD Blue 1993-1994.
  • Marie Lightfoot is a Florida true-crime author in three books by Nancy Pickard 2000-2002.
  • Gemma Lincoln runs a Sydney Australia security firm in a series by Gabrielle Lord begun 1999.
  • Sarah Linden see Sarah Lund.
  • Ann Lindell is a Swedish police inspector in series by Kjell Eriksson begun 1993.
  • Carol Lipton (Diane Keaton) is a middle-aged Manhattan resident who drags her husband Larry and friends into investigating the supposed death of a neighbour in Woody Allen's Manhattan Murder Mystery 1993.
  • Teresa Lisbon (Robin Tunney) is a senior agent detective that works for California Bureau of Investigation in TV series The Mentalist 2008-now.
  • Dr Eve Lockhart is a forensic pathologist assigned to a cold case squad in the British TV series Waking the Dead, subsequently the lead character in The Body Farm, a spin off series.
  • Kate Lockley was a Los Angeles police detective played by Elizabeth Rohm on the WB television network series Angel from 2000 to 2001.
  • Sarah Lund is a police Detective Inspector, played by Sofie Gråbøl, in a 2007 Danish television series The Killing (Forbrydelsen) in which each episode covers a day in the investigation of a murder. A second Danish series was broadcast in 2009. The series was re-made in English for AMC and broadcast in 2011 with Mireille Enos playing the lead detective, renamed Sarah Linden, with the story transposed to Seattle.
  • Josefina "Jo" Lupo is a former US Army Ranger and Eureka town deputy played by Erica Cerra on the 2006-2012 Syfy series Eureka.

M[edit]

N[edit]

  • Grace Nakimura is an assistant and eventually investigator for titular protagonist Gabriel Knight in adventure game series created by Jane Jensen from 1993.
  • Victoria "Vicki" Nelson is a medically retired police officer turned private investigator in Tanya Huff's Blood Ties series 2007-2008.
  • Elizabeth "Lizzie" Netwon is the title character of the Korean manhwa Lizzie Newton: Victorian Mysteries. In the 1864 London universe of Sherlock Holmes, she is a mystery writer under the male pseudonym of Logica Docens. She solves actual mysteries aided by Edwin White, her steward, fiancé and former barrister.
  • Thursday Next is a Literatec, literary detective in an alternate England by Jasper Fforde in series begun 2001.
  • Pam North is wife of publisher Jerry and solves murders with him, in: newspaper vignettes and short stories written in the 1930s; a Broadway play and a film in the early 1940s; novels 1940–1963; and TV dramas 1946 and 1952-1954. Richard Lockridge created newspaper pieces and short stories, and co-wrote novels with wife Frances. The Mr. and Mrs. North series had solvable puzzles, a humorous domestic environment, New York locale, and socio-political commentary.

O[edit]

P[edit]

Q[edit]

  • Faye Quick is a 1943 Manhattan secretary who takes a detective agency when her boss is drafted, in This Dame for Hire by Sandra Scoppettone begun 2005,[17] also famous for .
  • Sarah and Meg Quilliam are sisters, owner and chef of an Inn in Hemlock Falls in a cozy series by Claudia Bishop begun 1993.
  • Nina Quinn is a landscaper in a series by Heather Webber (author) begun 2004.

R[edit]

S[edit]

T[edit]

V[edit]

W[edit]

Y[edit]

  • Bubbles Yablonsky is a high-energy beautician and rookie journalist who supplies beauty product recipes in screwball mysteries by Sarah Strohmeyer begun 2001.
  • Nero Yuzurizaki (譲崎 ネロ Yuzurizaki Nero?) is a girl detective with the gift of controlling machines through use of a piece of metal – and is an operative of the Milky Holmes Detective Agency in various products by the Tantei Opera Milky Holmes media franchise.

Z[edit]

  • Charlie Zailer is a policewoman in psychological crime novels by Sophie Hannah, debuted 2006 with Little Face. Charlie was played by Olivia Williams in a 2011 two part television drama, Case Sensitive, based on Hannah's 2008 novel The Point of Rescue.

Type of detective[edit]

Characters can appear in more than one category.

Amateur sleuth[edit]

Irene Adler, "Cat" Fortunati Austen, Sarah Brandt, Trixie Belden, Amelia Butterworth, Phoebe Daring, Nancy Drew, Kate Fansler, Jessica Fletcher, Didi Hoare, Sonya Iverson, Bonnie Indermill, Sarah Kelling, Virginia Kelly, Meg Langslow, Loretta Lawson, Jane Marple, Veronica Mars, Ruby Murphy, Jemima Shore, Kate Shugak, Miss Maud Silver, Lizzie Thomas, Kay Tracey, Melanie Travis, Amelia Watson

Bounty hunter[edit]

Stephanie Plum, Ineke Valence

Criminologist[edit]

Helena G. Wells

Forensic scientists[edit]

Abby Sciuto, Stella Bonasera, Temperance Brennan, Rhona MacLeod, Kay Scarpetta, Lanie Parish, Maura Isles

Intelligence agent[edit]

Carmen Isabella Sandiego, Ineke Valence

Lawyers, DAs etc[edit]

Alexandra Cooper, Sister Fidelma, Deborah Knott

Mysteries keep happening around them[edit]

Angela Amalfi, "Cat" Fortunati Austen, China Bayles, Rosemary Boxer, Corinna Chapman, Faith Fairchild, Doran Fairweather, Sophie Greenway, Emily 'Em' Hanson, Ellie Heskell, Didi Hoare, Meg Langslow, Sunny McCoskey, Amelia Peabody, Anna Pigeon, Emily Pollifax, Eugenia Potter, Goldie Schultz, Kate Shugak, Lady Rose Summer, Laura Thyme, Melanie Travis, Sophie Winston, Eva Wylie

Police[edit]

Pepper Anderson, Angela Anderson, Carol Ashton, Kate Beckett, Olivia Benson, Christine Cagney, Anna Cameron, Denise Cleever, Beka Cooper, Barbara Havers, Grace Hanardarko, Sigrid Harald, Gemma James, Brenda Leigh Johnson, Charlotte Justice, Kate Martinelli, Christie Opara, Lady Molly Robertson-Kirk, Jane Tennison, Casey Shraeger

Private investigators[edit]

Tuppence Beresford, Helen Black, Dol Bonner, Beatrice Adela Lestrange Bradley (Mrs), Loveday Brooke, Anita Burgess, Cat Caliban, Carlotta Carlyle, Kat Colorado, Bertha Cool, Miranda Corbie, Amber Eckart, Phryne Fisher, Nea Fox, Cordelia Gray, Kate Jasper, Lena Jones, Anna Lee, Kinsey Millhone, Tess Monaghan, Precious Ramotswe, Mary Russell, Claudia Valentine, Ronnie Ventana, Hetty Wainthropp, V.I. Warshawski, Honey West, Hannah Wolfe, Sharon McCone<Where Echoes Live>

Psychologist/psychiatrist[edit]

Jo Beckett, Beatrice Adela Lestrange Bradley (Mrs), Maisie Dobbs (is something like a psychologist), Jane Halifax, Daphne Matthews, Millicent Newberry, Miss Lucy Pym

Real people[edit]

Abigail Adams, Jane Austen, Aphra Behn, Charlotte Brontë, Daphne du Maurier, Dorothy Parker, Beatrix Potter, Mary Wollstonecraft

Religious[edit]

Sister Agatha, Callie Anson, Sister Cecile Buddenbrooks, Sister Mary Teresa Dempsey, Prioress Eleanor, Sister Fidelma, Dame Frevisse, Rev. Clare Fergusson, Abbess Helewise of Hawkeneye, Abbess of Meaux

Reporters[edit]

Laura Ackroyd, Sarah Calloway, Rebecca Cantrell, Molly Cates, Shandra Covington, Daisy Dalrymple, Evan Delaney, Sally Harrington, Robin Hudson, Irene Kelly, Cat Marsala, Annie Seymour, Margot Simon

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f French, Jack. "Lady Crimefighters". Thrilling Detective website. Retrieved 12 July 2012. 
  2. ^ "Author Francine Mathews". Retrieved 9 August 2012. 
  3. ^ Thrilling Detective website
  4. ^ a b Linda, Murdock (2007). Mystery Lover's Puzzle Book. Denver, CO: Bellwether Books. ISBN 978-0-9704285-3-0. 
  5. ^ http://www.philsp.com/mags/mystery_magazine.html
  6. ^ Murdock, Linda (2007). Mystery Lover's Puzzle Book. Denver CO: Bellwether Books. p. 128. ISBN 978-0-9704285-3-0. 
  7. ^ a b Mondor, Colleen. "'The Current Crop of Girl Detective Fiction'". Eclectica magazine v9n3. Retrieved 20 September 2012. 
  8. ^ a b c Murdock, Linda (2007). Mystery Lover's Puzzle Book. Denver, CO: Bellwether Books. p. 128. ISBN 978-0-9704285-3-0. 
  9. ^ McNab, Claire (2004). The Wombat Strategy (Kylie Kendall #1). Alyson. ISBN 9781555838362. 
  10. ^ Scoppettone, Sandra (20 July 1992). Everything You Have is Mine (Lauren Laurano #1) (paperback). Fawcett. ISBN 9780345376824. 
  11. ^ Smith, Kevin Burton. "TV eyes: the series". Thrilling Detective website. 
  12. ^ Peters, Elizabeth (May 2013). Crocodile on the Sandbank (Amelia Peabody #1). Grand Central Publishing. ISBN 9781455572359. 
  13. ^ Gilman, Dorothy (1994). The Unexpected Mrs Pollifax (Emily Pollifax #1) (Large Print edition ed.). Doubleday. ISBN 9780739411612. 
  14. ^ "The Unexpected Mrs Pollifax (Angela Lansbury) 1999". Retrieved 24 May 2013. 
  15. ^ Susanna Galton (30 July 2013). "UK Mirror interviews New Tricks star Amanda Redman". UKMirror. Retrieved 14 October 2013. 
  16. ^ Tey, Josephine (18 May 2011). Miss Pym Disposes. Benediction Classics. ISBN 9781849024341. 
  17. ^ Scoppettone, Sandra (27 June 2006). This Dame for Hire (Faye Quick #1). Ballantine. ISBN 9780345478115. 
  18. ^ 'Trial by Fire (1999)' IMDb
  19. ^ The Helen West Casebook