Books With Women Sleuths To Read If You Love The New Nancy Drew TV Show

women sleuths, books

Check out these great series featuring female sleuths.

Women Sleuths and Detectives You'll Love

The CW's new Nancy Drew TV show is based on Carolyn Keene's Nancy Drew Mystery Stories. First published in 1930, Nancy Drew has been an enduring character and paved the way to many future novels featuring women detectives.

While Nancy Drew was a Christian white cis straight woman, things have changed and today, there are mystery books and series featuring diverse female characters. White straight women still make up the majority of the books, but there are a growing number of diverse characters to enjoy, all up to their ears in mystery. Fingers crossed that this trend continues to grow.

This article features seven different women sleuths and detectives for you to read if you enjoy the Nancy Drew book series or TV show. I should preface that they aren't similar but for the fact that they're all mysteries featuring women protagonists, but they are all enjoyable series!

1. Tess Monaghan series by Laura Lippman


Laura Lippman's Tess Monaghan was a damned good reporter for the Baltimore Sun until it went under. Now she's twenty-nine and unemployed, needing rent money ASAP. Willing to take about any job for money, her buddy Rock hires her to do a bit of snooping for him. Someone is murdered in Baltimore almost everyday, but the death of a notorious attorney who just so happened to be sleeping with Rock's fiancee raises some eyebrows. Rock is the obvious suspect and now it's up to Tess to prove her friend's innocence before she winds up the next victim.

Find the Tess Monaghan series here.

2. Juniper Song Mysteries by Steph Cha


Steph Cha's Juniper Song series features a woman who grew up on noir and Philip Marlowe. Juniper (her friends call her Song), busts out her PI moves to help her friend Luke, who believes his dad is cheating on his mom with someone in his office. Song's romanticized vision of being a detective is put to an end when gets knocked unconscious and locked in the trunk of her car during her investigation. Still, Song goes on to become an apprentice for a PI firm and crack cases in a little more of an official capacity.

Find the Juniper Song Mysteries here.

3. Kate Delafield series by Katherine Forrest


The first book in Katherine Forrest's mystery series was originally published in 1984. At the time, no one knew just how beloved detective Kate Delafield would become, essentially launching the lesbian mystery book. The series takes LAPD Detective Kate Delafield around the city as she works to uncover the deaths of a famous Hollywood director, a recluse, a young lesbian with no one to stick up for her, and more. Between a few different partners and a new female lieutenant, Kate has a lot on her plate.

Find the Kate Delafield series here.

4. Perveen Mistry series by Sujata Massey


If you're looking for a case-cracking leading lady who is either white nor from the U.S. or England, Sujata Massey's titular heroine of the Perveen Mistry series is more than a safe bet! Oxford-trained Perveen Mistry is Bombay's only female lawyer and has recently joined her father's law firm and quickly settles into work. She gets caught up in case that should have been simple but, upon closer inspection, appears to be someone trying to swindle three Muslim widows out of their inheritance. Perveen can go where male lawyers can't, to talk to women living in purdah. With her quick wit and detective skills, Perveen is a treat to read about.

Find the Perveen Mistry series here.

5. Mrs. Murphy series by Rita Mae Brown


Rita Mae Brown's Mrs. Murphy series is a little different from other books on the list. There is a fun female sleuth by the name of Mary Minor "Harry" Haristeen, but the real star of the show is her cat, Mrs. Murphy. Harry is post mistress with a pending divorce and jumps on the case when the citizens of her hometown Crozet begin dying. Mrs. Murphy and her loyal Corgi Tucker begin doing their own research and are pretty much always two steps ahead of Harry. If only they could find an easier way of getting info to Harry so she could catch the bad guys for them.

Find the Mrs. Murphy series here.

6. A Detective by Day series by Kellye Garrett


In Kellye Garrett's A Detective by Day series, Dayna Anderson is a broke actress who needs money to help her parents save their house. When she witnesses a hit-and-run, she decides to put her detective skills to use to get the fifteen grand reward. The deeper she gets into the mystery, the more she wants justice for the poor victim who lost their life. Before long, Dayna too has someone after her, someone that wants to stop her.

Find A Detective by Day series here.

7. Miss Marple series by Agatha Christie


What kind of list would this be if we left out Agatha Christie's sleuth extraordinaire Miss Marple? The shrewd "elderly spinster" is one of mystery queen Agatha Christie's most iconic characters and has appeared in more than a dozen novels and numerous short stories. The cases Miss Marple finds herself embroiled in with keep you guessing until the last pages as she relies on her excessive wit to crack each and every case that she manages to find herself caught up in. Basically all modern women sleuths owe at least a little something to this dame.

Find the Miss Marple series here.

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