The Quest for the Hard-Boiled Female Gumshoe

The long trail of alphabet titled books for writer Sue Grafton’s private investigator Kinsey Millhone had come to its final chapter last year.  Y is for Yesterday was released last summer but writer Grafton died in December during the year, ending the detective series.  It was announced the novels would not continue by another writer.  As such, the run is over for one of the most prominent female private detectives in hard-boiled mysteries, and was one of the first in an all-male field according to the digital reader’s advisory resource NoveList Plus.  Moreover, it writes of the character and the series, “Millhone, who narrators the stories in first person, is a tough, stubborn, but self-assured loner. Kinsey is known for her smart-mouth dialog; there is, however, a dark underlying tone without the explicitly described violence found in traditional hardboiled novels. Plots in this series are puzzles and are filled with the details, sometimes forensic, that Kinsey's inquiries uncover.”    

With Grafton no longer writing, are there any women private detectives to fill this void?  Again, NoveList Plus helps with “read-alikes.”  It offers writer Sara Paretsky’s V.I. Warshawski, who is another independent, resourceful female private eye.  The first Warshawski novel was released the same year as Grafton’s A is for Alibi in 1982.  Another is author Marica Muller’s Sharon McCone series beginning in 1977 and writer Linda Barnes’s Carlotta Carlyle starting in 1987. 

Two more read-alikes for Grafton are newer series in the private detective field from writers Karen Keskinen and Ingrid Thoft creators of Jaymie Zarlin and Fina Ludlow respectively.  Those two series debuted in 2013.

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