Who is your favourite female detective?

An exercise is in progress to determine the "world's favourite fictional detective", which has now reached the shortlist stage. Craig Sisterson provides an update at his excellent blog, Crime Watch. The competition is like a tennis tournament, in which one is presented with paired lists of characters and can nominate one from each group. After attempting to undertake this task in the first round, I soon gave up, so am now on the sidelines rather than being one of the 500 crime-fiction readers who are apparently taking part. The shortlist is:

  1. Harry Bosch vs Sam Spade
  2. Sherlock Holmes vs Lincoln Rhyme
  3. Elvis Cole vs Phillip Marlowe
  4. Hercule Poirot vs. Dave Robicheaux

One thing that strikes me immediately about this list is that it contains the same number of X chromosomes as Y. That's it, no women. I'm not surprised about this given the composition of the initial "long list" (created by readers' nominations) but what the heck, I thought I would ask "who is your favourite female detective?" just to see if this person would be a worthy rival to whoever wins the male version. (I define detective loosely – amateur, professional, police, PI, person in other profession who solves mysteries, etc.)

Here are some suggestions (which does kind of make you wonder at the all-male shortlist!):

Miss Marple (Agatha Christie)

Precious Ramotswe (Alexander McCall Smith)

Irene Huss* (Helene Tursten)

Female_officer Hannah Scarlett* (Martin Edwards)

Lisbeth Salander (Stieg Larsson)

Kate Martinelli* or Mary Russell (Laurie R. King)

Sara Linton (Karin Slaughter)

Rebecka Martinsson or Anna-Maria Mella*(Asa Larsson)

Tess Monaghan (Laura Lippman)

Siobhan Clarke* (Ian Rankin)

V I Warshawski (Sarah Paretsky)

Vera Stanhope* (Ann Cleeves)

SmNatalieHaynes_wod1 Ruth Galloway (Elly Griffiths)

Mrs Pargetter (Simon Brett)

Barbara Havers* (Elizabeth George)

Joanne Vik (Anne Holt)

Carol Jordan* (Val McDermid)

Stephanie Plum (Janet Evanovich)

Anna Lee or Eva Wylie (Liza Cody)

Linda Wallander*(Henning Mankell)

Agatha Raisin (M C Beaton)

Cassie Maddox* (Tana French)

Kinsey Millhone (Sue Grafton)

Evan Delaney or Jo Beckett (Meg Gardiner)

Laura Principal (Michelle Spring)

Harriet Vane (Dorothy L Sayers)

Anna Travis* or Jane Tennison* (Lynda la Plante)

Russia Miss Smilla (Peter Hoeg)

"Saxon" or Grace Fitzgerald* (Ingrid Black)

Charlie Fox (Zoe Sharp)

Kat Colorado (Karen Kijweski)

Adelia Aguilar (Ariana Franklin)

Thora Gudmunsdottir (Yrsa Sigurdadottir)

Kay Scarpetta (Patricia Cornwell)

Tempe Brennan (Kathy Reichs)

Ann Lindell* (Kjell Ericksson)

Charlie Zailer* (Sophie Hannah)

Petra Connor* (Jonathan Kellerman)

Rina Lazarus (Faye Kellerman)

Eve Dallas* (J D Robb)

* = in the police force.

There is also a list of female detectives at Wikipedia, by no means comprehensive (and including media other than books).

Feel free to write a comment with your top three women detectives (or if time is short, just one), either from this list or not. If you have time, please write a brief reason for your choice. If I get enough responses I will declare a winner from among them! (in the event of a tie-break, the one with the best "reason", in my judgement, will win).