Lady Detectives and Books Written by and About Lady Detectives

Books about and written by lady detectives
Books about and written by lady detectives | Source

Mystery Novels by Women Authors

I love to read mystery novels. I wanted to be a homicide detective. I didn't go that route, but I still love to read about women in the murder justice league. These three authors were picked because of the leading characters and the locales. The setting of a good mystery read tends to kind of make the book to me.

Two of these authors have a series of mystery novels written with Hawaii as the main locations. I love Hawaii and lived there for a time. I just couldn't resist reading about what may be going on behind the scenes.

Black sand beach in Hana, Maui
Black sand beach in Hana, Maui | Source

Book One in a Series of Six so far..

Maui Widow Waltz (Islands of Aloha Mystery Series Book 1)
Maui Widow Waltz (Islands of Aloha Mystery Series Book 1)

Even ‘death do us part’ couldn’t halt her march down the aisle…

Cash-strapped Maui wedding planner Pali Moon can’t believe her luck when a prospective bride flashing a five-carat dazzler pops into her shop, “Let’s Get Maui’d,” to request a glitzy beachside wedding. But then Pali learns the lavish wedding must take place on Valentine’s Day—only nine days away. Oh, and one other little hitch—the groom’s been missing at sea for more than a week. But no worries, the bride assures Pali, with or without the groom the wedding will take place. She’s struck a deal with the groom’s best friend to be the proxy groom, if necessary. Two days before the nuptials, a male corpse floats ashore on a South Maui beach. Looks like the groom’s finally shown up. So now what’s it gonna be—a wedding…or a funeral?


JoAnn Bassett

  1. Maui Widow Waltz by JoAnn Bassett - The first book I read in the wedding planner detective series about Pali Moon got me hooked in a big way. The dialogue is fresh and exiting and Pali always explains what the 'Pidgeon' English means to those who have never been exposed to the shorthand dialect of the 50th state of the union. JoAnn Bassett has lived in Seattle, Maui and now Arizona. She captures the flavor of the local scene so completely, it's like you are there!
  2. Livin' Lahaina Loca - The second of Bassett's brilliant detective series. She really gets involved with her clients and when a bride's maid goes missing, well, the chase is on! The chase gets personal for Pali and it's Halloween in Lahaina, so what else can go wrong?
  3. Lana'i of the Tiger - Book three of the continuing saga of just how much fun it is to be a wedding planner in Hawaii. This time, Pali Moon, is on the island of Lanai. It's an island so small that one would think it's incredibly boring. But life is never boring for Pali and friends.
  4. Kaua'i Me A River - Book four gets into Pali's personal life which is a big mystery in itself. She was born at a hippie commune on the island of Kauai and now a lawyer is trying to contact her about her 'family'. Pali only knows about the one brother that she grew up with. Who are all these people and why are they trying to kill her?
  5. O'ahu Lonesome Tonight - Book five. Pali decides to take some time off and get to know her new family. They mostly live on the island of Oahu. And of course, Pali and Jeff can't just have a normal family reunion. In this novel, the Hawaiian poop literally hits the fan!
  6. I'm Kona Love You Forever - Book six, and I certainly hope it isn't the last one! These books are great reads, good mysteries and a paid vacation to Hawaii if you are one of those people that get carried away while reading a fascinating book! In this book, can you imagine trying to book a wedding and then finding out your birth certificate isn't real! Pali has to solve that mystery and a couple of others on the Big Island.

Mysteries Set in Hawaii

A markerHawaii -
Hawaii, USA
[get directions]

Book One in a Nitty Gritty Mystery Series

Blood Orchids (Lei Crime, Book 1)
Blood Orchids (Lei Crime, Book 1)

Hawaii is palm trees, black sand and blue water—but for policewoman Lei Texeira, there’s a dark side to paradise.

Lei has overcome a scarred past to make a life for herself as a cop in the sleepy Big Island town of Hilo. On a routine patrol she finds two murdered teenagers—one of whom she’d recently busted. With its echoes of her own past, the murdered girl’s harsh life and tragic death affect Lei deeply. She becomes obsessed—even as the killer is drawn to Lei's intensity, feeding off her vulnerabilities and toying with her sanity.


Toby Neal

  1. Blood Orchids by Toby Neal - A grisly group of murders on the Big Island of Hawaii and set mostly in Hilo. The lady cop, Lei Texiera, is also being stalked by some psychopathic bad guys. She has a troubled history, but one that makes her perfect for solving these grisly crimes.
  2. Torch Ginger - Book Two in the Lei Texiera series of eight books so far. Along with a developing love story between Lei and Stevens, Lei must investigate a bizarre series of cult type slayings on the beautiful and mystical island of Kaui. Lei goes undercover and nearly loses it all.
  3. Black Jasmine - Book Three. Set on the island of Maui, Lei investigates the beautiful and rich, as well as the ugly side of life in Hawaii. Maui is an island of great contrasts and hidden valleys. These books are hard to put down as you are swept up in the amazing culture and beauty that is our 50th state.
  4. Broken Ferns - Book Four. Lei joins the FBI as a special agent. She must catch a thief and learn to work with a team instead of doing things mostly on her own. The case attracts national attention as Lei follows up on all leads.
  5. Twisted Vine - Book Five. Lei continues her new career on the island of Oahu and meets a new friend. They get involved with the twisted world of the internet and puzzling suicides. Lei's past is also shadowing her at almost every turn.
  6. Shattered Palms - Book Six. This is one of the saddest books of the series as Lei and Pono investigate a series of rare bird thefts on Maui. The bird poaching leads to murders and Lei is the new Lieutenant in charge of homicide for the Maui police department.
  7. Dark Lava - Book Seven. After finally marrying the love of her life, Lei faces one of the biggest challenges that any new bride might have to face. Her new husband's ex-wife turns up dead. And someone is stealing priceless artifacts from Maui's Heiaus.
  8. Fire Beach - Book Eight - The case of the burial shrouds. Lei, Stevens and others surrounding her family have been receiving gifts of linen burial shrouds. Are they a joke? Or something very sinister. With Lei's luck, she might have to use some of the shrouds for her family.

View from the road to Hana, Maui
View from the road to Hana, Maui | Source

Mysteries in Las Vegas

A markerLas Vegas -
Las Vegas, NV, USA
[get directions]

A.R. Winters

  1. Don't Be A Stranger - Valerie Inkerman is a Private Investigator in Las Vegas. She's new on the job, but rapidly gaining experience as murder and mayhem are a constant in 'sin city'. The best part about this series is that Valerie is really funny and these books are just so much fun to read!

Other books in the series are just as easily read in any order, so I have just provided a list here:

  • Green Eyes in Las Vegas - book two
  • Red Roses in Las Vegas - book three
  • Innocent in Las Vegas
  • Fake it till You Make it

© 2015 Austinstar

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Comments - Do you like reading book reviews before you buy the books? 22 comments

PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 2 years ago from Dallas, Texas

What about Cagney and Lacey?

Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 2 years ago from Somewhere in the universe Author

Oh, I loved Cagney and Lacey! But those are TV shows and this hub was about book authors and their books about Lady Detectives :-)

PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 2 years ago from Dallas, Texas

I know...(sigh), I loved them too.

Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

Glimmer Twin Fan 2 years ago

Thanks for these names. I love mysteries/detectives and love female characters so this is right up my alley and I'm not familiar with these.

Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 2 years ago from Somewhere in the universe Author

You will enjoy all three authors I'll bet! I know I did.

Kristen Howe profile image

Kristen Howe 22 months ago from Northeast Ohio

Great book list, Leia. I've read Toby Neal's first book last winter and have brought Joanne Bassett's book. They might be on next year's TBR list to read in my Kindle. Voted up!

LillyGrillzit profile image

LillyGrillzit 22 months ago from The River Valley, Arkansas

Excellent and informative article! I am always on the look for strong female protagonists, written by strong, smart and sassy women authors! You have just given me a gift of information. I haven't heard of any of these, but will check them out!

Question: Why not put e-bay or amazon capsules for one or two of the books? [earnings?]

Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 22 months ago from Somewhere in the universe Author

Hey Lilly - Well, I have used a few Amazon links, but I have never made any money from any of my eBay links ever, so I quit using them.

I'm about to do another big review of my newest favorite author, Jinx Schwartz. She's amazing! She has a YACHT! and gets into all sorts of mysterious adventures. She's funny too.

Thanks for stopping by! I know you will enjoy these girls if you like police procedurals and mysterys.

LillyGrillzit profile image

LillyGrillzit 22 months ago from The River Valley, Arkansas

I look forward to learning of the new authors, and work! Thank you I love finding new material to read!

Besarien profile image

Besarien 22 months ago

Great hub! Thanks for the recommendations I will check one out- literally since I get 99% of my books at the library. You might like Tana French's mysteries. I thought The Likeness was the best of the ones I have read. A female police detective goes undercover posing as the murder victim whom she happens to look like in order to catch her killer. It was very different from a lot of the detective stories I've read. French makes you feel how isolated and vulnerable this detective is cut off from her back up and her real life.

Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 21 months ago from Somewhere in the universe Author

Hi Besarien - Thanks for the recommendation! I shall look this one up.

cam8510 profile image

cam8510 21 months ago from Colorado Springs, CO until the end of March

Lela, you did an amazing job review so many books in such brief fashion. I've read a number of female, mystery writers. Right now I can think of Nevada Barr, Sandra Brown and Diane Mott Davidson. Thanks for the great information. Women writers bring a whole different dimension to their stories that I find very entertaining.

Babbyii profile image

Babbyii 20 months ago from Alaska's Kenai Peninsula

Wow Lela! Nice job and thanks for giving me more stuff to read.

limpet profile image

limpet 5 months ago from London England

I became aware of the Phryne Fisher (pronounced Frynee) mysteries some two or more decades ago became quite absorbed in the genre. Written by Kerry Greenwood and approached from a feminine view of crime solving, that is analytical and intuitively.In Phryne's case she has to investigate a crime committed against a close friend and when the perpetrator is exposed she finds that she is good at sleuthing and decides to pursue it full time. Her next foray into the underworld is to track down and bring a dangerous child molestr to justice.

limpet profile image

limpet 5 months ago from London England

Have just noticed several articles on hub pages concerning Phryne Fisher so i think she has made quite an impact. There is also a T.V. series 'The Phryne Fisher mysteries now in it's third season.

Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 5 months ago from Somewhere in the universe Author

Yes, I watched the Phryne Fisher series on Netflix. I truly enjoyed it. I will look to see if I missed the 3rd season! Thanks for letting me know.

limpet profile image

limpet 5 months ago from London England

I'd like to introduce V.I.Warshawski to this article on female detectives.

Full name Victoria Iphigenia Warshawski or known as 'Vic' to her friends, some 17 novelettes plus assorted short story collections are attribute to her by writer Sara Paretsky. V.I. Warshawski private detective in high heels first appeared in the early 80's and within a decade became a movie starring Kathleen Turner and Eleanor Bron. The scenario is after having a tough upbringing in Chicago, she honed her skills into crime fighting. Good for her!

limpet profile image

limpet 5 months ago from London England

The female private detectives in fiction are more authentic than those who are in police forces throughout the world as they happen to be constsrained by a lot of paperwork, regulations and bureaurocracy where as the freelance investigators can move about more easily. To illustrate my point i checked out private detective agencies in my locale that were predominately women run and was mildly surprised.

Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 5 months ago from Somewhere in the universe Author

Hi limpet! I once wanted to be a homicide detective myself. I once enrolled in a course for private detectives. But I found that real world is not as fascinating as novels.

One thing I learned is that women do make good detectives because no one expects a 'housewife' to be carrying a gun, have knowledge of criminal endeavors, or of following some cheating husband!

limpet profile image

limpet 5 months ago from London England

Thank you for acknowledging my comments. I'm sure there will be much more input on this topic.

limpet profile image

limpet 6 weeks ago from London England

I was wondering if any real life detectives have writtern their autobiography when retiring from crime fighting. Given most countries have prisoners numbering in the thousands and more. It is fair to say that a good proportion of those 'locked up' have been put there by women.

Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 6 weeks ago from Somewhere in the universe Author

There are some women detective authors. Sometimes they use their initials instead of their full names since women authors still undersell male authors. But you can find them if you look.

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    Austinstar1,076 Followers
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    Lela earned a B.A. degree in Journalism from Sam Houston University in Huntsville, TX. She has been writing for the online world for years.

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