search-icon

Meet Sherlock’s Competition: 6 Lovable Detectives to Rival Mr. Holmes

by  | September 24
Detective supplies on a table

The best mystery novels are only as good as their lead detectives, and that’s a fact. Case in point: I read several of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s short stories in college, but I couldn’t tell you a thing about the plot of any of ’em. No, what I remember is how much I enjoyed spending time with the idiosyncratic Sherlock Holmes and his more down-to-earth companion, Dr. Watson. Given how they have become one of the most popular duos in pop culture, deconstructed and then reassembled for an endless string of TV shows and movies and books, I think it’s fair to say I’m in good company.

via GIPHY

Luckily, there’s no shortage of memorable, lovable detectives in the mystery genre. In fact, the next time you’re missing Sherlock and Watson, I encourage you to call on one of these exceptional crime-fighters:

Fortune and Glory

Fortune and Glory

by Janet Evanovich

Stephanie Plum

Okay, technically, Stephanie is a bounty hunter, but she sure manages to solve a lot of mysteries! Clever, sassy, dogged, and generally bursting at the seams with personality, Stephanie Plum is as compelling a heroine in her latest adventure as she was in her very first, One for the Money. No wonder she’s still being chased by not one but two romance novel-worthy heroes, Morelli and Ranger, both of whom would do anything for her. Whether you’ve known Stephanie for years or are only being introduced to her now, Fortune and Glory will dish you up a gripping case (involving a treasure hunt!) with generous helpings of side-splitting humor and love-triangle drama on the side.

Amazon logoBarnes & Noble logoBooks a Million logoIndiebound logoBookshop logo
Things in Jars

Things in Jars

by Jess Kidd

Bridie Devine

A gothic mystery about a female detective? If you’re anything like me, Things in Jars will immediately grab your attention with that concept alone. Praised by author Erika Swyler as “a perfect mix of hilarity, the macabre, and a touch of romance,” Jess Kidd’s novel follows sleuth Bridie Devine in Victorian London as she investigates the kidnapping of a girl rumored to have paranormal abilities. Anyone who found their appetite for mysteries sharpened by the brain-twisting plots and quirky characters of the movie Knives Out simply must meet Bridie and the unique cast of characters who populate her world.

Amazon logoBarnes & Noble logoBooks a Million logoIndiebound logoBookshop logo
Devil in a Blue Dress (30th Anniversary Edition)

Devil in a Blue Dress (30th Anniversary Edition)

by Walter Mosley

Easy Rawlins

Not only is Black detective Easy Rawlins one of the most popular figures in the crime-fiction genre, but his first outing, Devil in a Blue Dress, has been recognized as one of the top 100 mystery novels of all time. Mystery author Walter Mosley’s debut novel, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, immediately draws you into the life of Easy, a Black war vet who’s just trying to get by in 1948 Los Angeles. Working as a P.I. is the furthest thing from his mind until he’s offered a much-needed paycheck to find a missing woman named Daphne Monet. Of course, the rest is history, and you shouldn’t miss a minute of it.

Amazon logoBarnes & Noble logoBooks a Million logoIndiebound logoBookshop logo
A Study In Scarlet Women

A Study In Scarlet Women

by Sherry Thomas

Charlotte Holmes

Sherry Thomas’s A Study in Scarlet Women is a Sherlock Holmes retelling in which the famous detective is in fact a woman, Charlotte Holmes. This first book in the ongoing Victorian-era Lady Sherlock mystery series sets the stage for a fresh take on Doyle’s enduring stories with a radical change in perspective. As a white man of comfortable means, Sherlock can go wherever he pleases and talk to whomever he wants in his investigations, but when your name is Charlotte? Well, that’s a whole other story, one that begins when members of Charlotte’s family are suspected of murders they definitely did not commit—and she tasks herself with identifying the real killer.

This is also a perfect read for any Enola Holmes fans out there!

Amazon logoBarnes & Noble logoBooks a Million logoIndiebound logo
The Mysterious Affair at Styles

The Mysterious Affair at Styles

by Agatha Christie

Hercule Poirot

You’ve likely met Hercule Poirot in Murder on the Orient Express and in Death on the Nile (or their movie adaptations), but have you read the Belgian detective’s first case in The Mysterious Affair at Styles? This beloved Agatha Christie novel challenges readers to figure out—right alongside Poirot—who poisoned heiress Emily Inglethorp (in her locked bedroom, no less). With suspects ranging from the lady’s husband to her nurse, Poirot has his work cut out for him in the little English village Styles St. Mary, where everyone knows everyone. Inspired in part by Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Poirot is just as easy to like.

Amazon logoBarnes & Noble logoBooks a Million logoIndiebound logo
The Infinite Blacktop

The Infinite Blacktop

by Sara Gran

Claire DeWitt

Tough-as-nails may be the best way to describe private investigator Claire DeWitt, the heroine of a series hailed as “cryptic, dreamy, funny and gritty as hell,” but isn’t that exactly what you’d expect in a detective solving a case for you? In The Infinite Blacktop, Claire is desperate to solve the disappearance of her best friend, which may remind you a bit of the show Veronica Mars. Except whereas Veronica discovers what happened to her best friend, Lilly, by the end of the first season, Claire has been haunted by her failure to solve the case of her missing friend for years. It’s hard not to empathize with this hard-living detective, so don’t be surprised when you want to follow her from book to book.

Amazon logoBarnes & Noble logoBooks a Million logoIndiebound logoBookshop logo
Love to get lit... erary? Sign up to get the latest delivered to your inbox!
Heather Waters is an Associate Director of Marketing at Simon & Schuster, where she runs the Get Literary and Tips on Life & Love blogs. She enjoys reading everything from romance to true crime to political memoirs, and in her free time you can often find her binge-watching Netflix, refreshing Twitter every 10 seconds, and listening to the latest episode of the podcast My Favorite Murder.