So it’s no secret I love a good detective story. I read them a lot. And favourite amongst them are probably ones with strong female leads. I can’t resist a feisty woman with plenty to say who isn’t afraid to say it or stand by her words.
Not that I would want the histories a lot of these women have but I do admire their guts and, occasionally, wouldn’t mind being them. Then I remember I am a big old scaredy cat who doesn’t like guns, violence, blood or guts unless it’s on the page.
Anyways, in honor of the fictional females that are a lot braver than me, I thought I would share a few of my favourites today…
First up is Tracy Crosswhite, a Seattle detective who became a policewoman to try and solve the mystery of her missing sister and who stayed on because she loves what she does and wants to make sure other people don’t feel the pain she did when her sister disappeared. The way she behaves seems perfectly natural to me. She wants to be strong, feels she has to be, but then she lets people in and so you get to see her vulnerable side. I feel like I am on a journey with her and that, if I met her, I would want to be best friends.
I’m not sure I would want to be friends with Helen Grace. She’s a complicated character and not a particularly nice one. Knowing her background, it’s not surprising but I do wish she wouldn’t push people away so quickly. As the series has progressed, she has started to let people in a little but not much. Saying that, and despite all her baggage, she is loyal to her team and dogged in finding killers so I can’t helping liking her a little but admiring her a lot.
Nikki Galena is another detective who is loyal to her team in the Joy Ellis series set in the Lincolnshire Fens. And she is another detective with a painful background (her daughter died in an early book) that seems to spur her on when cases get difficult. This series has become much more about all the characters as the books have progressed, which I have really enjoyed. One of the things I like about her is that she is very rooted in the area. She grew up there, knows the people there, and – unlike a lot of other detectives – has friends who she hangs out with and family that she gets on with. It makes her just that bit more real.
I’m not sure how real Erika Foster is but I like her anyway. Her determination to get to the truth, her ability to rub up the powers that be the wrong way, and her frankness with those around her all make her someone I shouldn’t like but do because at her core she is a good person who wants to do the right thing. It helps that Robert Bryndza has given her intriguing cases to solve and puts her in some hairy situations that her inner strength can’t help but shine through.
And then, finally, a list of female detectives wouldn’t be a list without Kinsey Millhone. I know technically she is a private investigator but that just feels like splitting hairs. Reading the first Sue Grafton books back in the mid-80’s and right through to today, I always thought Kinsey was so cool and one of the original “characters with a dysfunctional past”. I wanted to be her, living above a garage, jogging along the beach on a morning and drinking chardonnay on an evening. Apart from the jogging, it still sounds pretty cool!
What about you – do you have any favourite characters?