Cunningly attuned to the tiniest details, this 167-year-old London detective is still hard at work, using logic to expose the truth.
Creator: Arthur Conan Doyle
Get to know the character: “The Hound of the Baskervilles”
This chess-playing, Camel-puffing California loner is as adept at wisecracks as at solving cases, never letting a dame distract him from the task at hand.
Creator: Raymond Chandler
Get to know the character: “The Big Sleep”
A teen prodigy, Nancy employs her amateur sleuthing prowess to unmask jewel thieves, reunite families and assist her lawyer father.
Creator: Carolyn Keene (a pseudonym for many writers, including Mildred Wirt Benson and Leslie McFarlane)
Get to know the character: “The Mystery at Lilac Inn”
Lord Peter Wimsey
This wealthy British aristocrat, afflicted with Great War flashbacks, takes up detective work as an entertaining hobby before becoming an invaluable asset to Scotland Yard.
Creator: Dorothy L. Sayers
Get to know the character: “Gaudy Night”
The persnickety, mustachioed Belgian detective strategically uses his “little grey cells” — and the occasional fabrication during interviews — to ferret out the killer(s).
Creator: Agatha Christie
Get to know the character: “Murder on the Orient Express”
Underestimated as an old biddy with a love for knitting, the most famous resident of St. Mary Mead uses her unassuming identity to her advantage.
Creator: Agatha Christie
Get to know the character: “The Body in the Library”
Coffin Ed Johnson and Grave Digger Jones
The only Black police detectives in their NYPD precinct are infamous on the streets of Harlem for going easy on petty criminals and roughing up violent offenders, adhering to their own brand of justice.
Creator: Chester Himes
Get to know the character: “A Rage in Harlem”
This Scotland Yard inspector is married to the job, spending even his medical leave unraveling mysteries about long-dead royals, all without ever leaving his bed.
Creator: Josephine Tey
Get to know the character: “The Daughter of Time”
Hieronymus “Harry” Bosch
He may not respect authority, but this detective has an unwavering moral code and a dogged desire to solve murder cases, stemming from his own tragic history.
Creator: Michael Connelly
Get to know the character: “The Concrete Blond”
This Boston-based former boxer turned in his state trooper badge for a private-eye license, but don’t be fooled by his tough-guy exterior; he’s as thoughtful as he is funny.
Creator: Robert B. Parker
Get to know the character: “The Godwulf Manuscript”
Ezekiel “Easy” Rawlins
Easy may have stumbled into sleuthing because he needed the money, but he’s a quick study, especially when it comes to resolving complex cases involving Los Angeles corruption and social injustice.
Creator: Walter Mosley
Get to know the character: “Devil in a Blue Dress”
Quirky but pragmatic, this Southern California private eye has a knack for taking on seemingly easy-money cases only to have an alphabet soup of complications arise.
Creator: Sue Grafton
Get to know the character: “A Is for Alibi”
A kinder, gentler brand of detective, the chief inspector of Quebec’s provincial police force has seen some terrible crimes but never lets cynicism cloud his humanity.
Creator: Louise Penny
Get to know the character: “The Beautiful Mystery”
Cross, a D.C.-based former FBI agent and psychologist, spends most of his days tracking down serial killers but still finds time to volunteer at the local soup kitchen.
Creator: James Patterson
Get to know the character: “Kiss the Girls”
Victoria Iphigenia “V.I.” Warshawski
This former public defender turned private detective pays the bills thanks to well-heeled clients, leaving her free to solve more pressing cases for the kinds of victims who can’t possibly afford her rates.
Creator: Sara Paretsky
Get to know the character: “Hard Time”
This pragmatic lieutenant for the Navajo Tribal Police, often working with the more spiritually minded officer Jim Chee, has a gift for seeing links between seemingly unrelated cases.
Creator: Tony Hillerman
Get to know the character: “Dance Hall of the Dead”
A former nurse during World War I, this London P.I. learned from the best and always maintains her cool, especially during a climactic race against the clock.
Creator: Jacqueline Winspear
Get to know the character: “Maisie Dobbs”
This Northumberland detective inspector isn’t fashionable or fit — and she always speaks her mind, especially when she’s in pursuit of a killer.
Creator: Ann Cleeves
Get to know the character: “The Darkest Evening”
The founder of Botswana’s No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency employs unorthodox methods and keen intuition but also realizes there’s more to life than mysteries.
Creator: Alexander McCall Smith
Get to know the character: “The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon”
The cerebral poet laureate of Scotland Yard has investigated the murders of nursing students and lawyers and even the grisly homicide of a mystery writer.
Creator: P.D. James
Get to know the character: “The Murder Room”
This commissario, who lives in Venice with his wife and kids, manages to do what few detectives can: balance a thrilling career with a fulfilling personal life.
Creator: Donna Leon
Get to know the character: “Death at La Fenice”
This Shanghai Police Department inspector would rather be writing poetry; lucky for the victims, he applies his ample brainpower to locking up murderers instead — even when it’s inconvenient to those in power.
Creator: Qiu Xiaolong
Get to know the character: “A Case of Two Cities”
A Renaissance woman who married Sherlock Holmes, Mary employs her talents for martial arts and hypnotism, not to mention her knowledge of theology and languages, on an array of cases.
Creator: Laurie R. King
Get to know the character: “The Beekeeper’s Apprentice”
His personal life is a shambles and he struggles with drinking, but can you blame him? This opera-loving Swedish police inspector is haunted by all the time he spends pondering the dark underbelly of society.
Creator: Henning Mankell
Get to know the character: “One Step Behind”
East Long Beach private eye “IQ” doesn’t have fancy technology or scientific know-how, but he does have a Holmesian eye for critical details, solving cases even when his clients can’t pay (which is most of the time).
Creator: Joe Ide
Get to know the character: “IQ”
An outsider who harbors no illusions about the justice system, this gay Latino defense attorney knows he’ll have to conduct his own investigations if he wants to help victims on the margins.
Creator: Michael Nava
Get to know the character: “Carved in Bone”
When he’s not tracking down lost cats and tailing unfaithful spouses, this perpetually down-on-his-luck former cop is driven by his own tragic past to connect missing people with their loved ones.
Creator: Kate Atkinson
Get to know the character: “Started Early, Took My Dog”
As a domestic worker, this trailblazing crime solver flies under the radar, but her keen observational skills and understanding of human nature make her a natural detective.
Creator: Barbara Neely
Get to know the character: “Blanche on the Lam”
Wyndham & Banerjee
Working in Calcutta around 1920, former Scotland Yard Capt. Sam Wyndham and Sgt. Surendranath Banerjee navigate the tricky politics of independence-seeking India while investigating high-profile murders.
Creator: Abir Mukherjee
Get to know the character: “A Rising Man”
This FBI agent lives up to the name she gave herself — Guerrera means warrior in Spanish — by fighting a battle of wits with the serial killer who haunts her past.
Creator: Isabella Maldonado
Get to know the character: “The Cipher”
This bounty hunter with a sterling reputation for tracking down missing people keeps her focus with a daily predawn 15-minute handstand (and no, she doesn’t use a wall).
Creator: Louisa Luna
Get to know the character: “Two Girls Down”
This conflicted Texas Ranger planned to become a lawyer before a gruesome hate crime inspired him to take a more active role in protecting Black lives, pitting him against formidable villains with ties to the Aryan Brotherhood.