They’re clever, cagey, sneaky, tough—and they always come through at the last minute. They may not smoke a pipe or wear a deerstalker hat, but they certainly owe a lot to the legendary literary detective. From the insufferable yet lovable Belgian detective Hercule Poirot to smoking bounty hunter Stephanie Plum to the glamorous Phryne Fisher, these are five of our favorite literary sleuths since Sherlock Holmes.
Hard-boiled detective Kinsey Millhone is an ex-cop and rebellious loner. Now a private investigator, she solves all the most difficult cases in Santa Theresa, California.
The most famous Hercule Poirot mystery, which has the brilliant detective hunting for a killer aboard one of the world’s most luxurious passenger trains.
Phryne is a zesty woman without guilt and with remarkable self-esteem, not because she’s had an easy life, but because she’s survived months at the sidelines of a battlefield, manning an ambulance and tending the wounded while shells exploded around her, and because she’s survived the death of a close sister, an abusive lover, and much more. So it is with grace (and diplomacy to the skies) that she dresses in the finest silk, eats at the best restaurants, drives a beautiful Hispano-Suiza, adopts spunky children from unfortunate circumstances, and turns down marriage proposals but retains a gorgeous lover (while remaining good friends with his astute communist wife, Camellia)
Born in 1950 in Los Angeles to Marjorie Phillips Lowe, Hieronymus Bosch was named after the 15th century Dutch artist and nicknamed “Harry.” He became an orphan at 11 when his mother, a prostitute, was murdered. He grew up living in a youth hall and foster homes. He joined the army and did two tours in Vietnam. Harry returned to Los Angeles and joined the LAPD in 1972. He became a detective after five years in patrol.
Stephanie Plum is a spunky combination of Nancy Drew and Dirty Harry, and — although a female bounty hunter — is the opposite of Domino Harvey. She is described by the author as "incredibly average and yet heroic if necessary."