There are so many sleuths out there: professional, amateur, female, and the list goes on and on. Do you have a preference? I've grouped some of my favorites by type, but they're in no particular order. What other authors and sleuths would you add to the list?
Hard-boiled Detectives - This character type is usually male and tough. He can survive in the gritty world, and he often works in a big city. This type solves mysteries by stick-to-itiveness and street smarts. He usually is a private detective or some sort of fringe law enforcement who solves crimes because the police are ineffective. This subgenre came from the pulp fiction magazines in the early 1900s.
- Dashiell Hammett's Sam Spade
- Raymond Chandler's Philip Marlow
- Robert B. Parker's Spenser
Cozy Amateur Detectives - The Cozy subgenre derived from the British mystery traditions. Originally, they were set in pastoral or smaller settings. There was an amateur sleuth who solved the crime because law enforcement was bumbling. There was a small circle of suspects, and violence and sex happened outside of the plot and not in full view of the reader. This subgenre was often called soft-boiled, and it has evolved into all kinds of themed mysteries. Many of the sleuths have interesting jobs or hobbies.
- Agatha Christie's Miss Marple
- Diane Mott Davidson's Goldy Bear
- Ellery Adams' Molly Appleby
- Donna Andrews' Meg Langslow
- Sherry Harris' Sarah Winston
- Maya Corrigan's Val Deniston
- Rhys Bowen's Lady Georgiana
Private Eyes/Bail Bondspersons - This subgenre has a sleuth who has some training in law enforcement, but he or she is not with the police. The stories can be hard-boiled or softer.
- Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum
- Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes
- Michael Crais' Elvis Cole/Joe Pike
- P. D. James' Cordelia Gray
- Rhys Bowen's Molly Murphy
- Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot
- Carolyn D. Hart's Max Darling
- Edgar Allan Poe's C. Auguste Dupin
- Spencer Quinn's Chet the Dog
- My Delanie Fitzgerald
Police/Military/Federal Law Enforcement - There are mysteries or thrillers with law enforcement and/or retired officers as the sleuth. Some have a military or federal investigative jobs.
- John J. Lamb's Brad Lyon
- Bill Crider's Dan Rhodes
- Michael Connelly's Harry Bosch
- P. D. James' Adam Dalgleish
- Craig Johnson's Walt Longmire
- David Baldacci's John Puller, Michelle Maxwell, and Sean King
- Lee Child's Jack Reacher
Lawyers - I like legal mysteries and thrillers. These sleuths are either lawyers or investigators in law offices.
- Michael Connelly's Mickey Haller
- Lisa Scottoline's Roato and Associates
- John Grisham's Many Stand-alone Thrillers
What other types of sleuths would you add to my list?