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Literary Detectives

RJ Julia is on the Case!

What truly makes a whodunnit special? It's the PI, the sleuth, the secret agent. From Sherlock to Poirot, everyone loves a good detective including us here at RJ Julia. Check out our booksellers list of favorite literary detectives below.

Whose BodyLord Peter Wimsey

I was immediately delighted by the antics of Lord Peter Wimsey- a 1920s Londoner, and a true gentleman detective. While he seems a bit vapid at first glance, he is deeply observant and intelligent, with lingering trauma from his time in the trenches in WWI. Nothing, however, can get in the way of him making great fun out of a tricky murder case. As his good friend, Detective Charles Parker says at one point, "He's a little ray of sunshine about the old place." -Kelly

Veronica SpeedwellA Curious Beginning

Veronica Speedwell is a renegade at heart. She travels the world chasing rare butterflies (not a metaphor, she is a lepidopterist!). When a secret is revealed that turns her life upside down, she doesn’t lie low and let the authorities find out who is targeting her, but dives right in and saves herself. Smart, witty, headstrong, and fiercely independent, Veronica’s adventures do not disappoint. Excelsior! -Julie G

Still LifeArmand Gamache

Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, of Sûreté du Québec, is the man we need. His intelligence, humanity and patience are on full force as he navigates complicated and sensitive crimes. Luckily for him (and us!) he can repair to Three Pines for comfort and solace. Although, people do have a tendency to be murdered there. And, of course, Ruth lives there with her duck..... -Sharon

Lucas DavenportRules of Prey

Lucas Davenport, police detective and millionaire games designer from Minneapolis, Minnesota, no longer needs to work. But he does not suffer fools and is constantly drawn into detecting. Lucas is just a great character who continues to grow through the series. Each book a page turner, each book a gateway to the next. -Sharon

Thursday Night Murder ClubThursday Murder Club

Elizabeth, Joyce, Ron and Ibrahim - 4 septuagenarians with time on their hands and unique crime solving skills. What starts as a cold-case mystery club turns into real life sleuthing. We love "casting" the characters anticipating the TV series to come! I vote Helen Mirren for Elizabeth. Come see me with your suggestions! -Sharon

The WIndsor KnotQueen Elizabeth II

If I were ever murdered at a castle in England, I would hope Queen Elizabeth would have her Assistant Private Secretary, Rozie Oshadi, look into the case. The combination of Elizabeth's royal wisdom and Rozie's military background is formidable indeed! A cozy British mystery team... -Sharon

No. 1 Ladies' Detective AgencyPrecious Ramotswe

Precious Ramotswe of the Number One Ladies Detective Agency is who we need in the world now. These stories are imbued with wisdom, kindness, and deep compassion. She opened up shop and with her trusty assistant Grace Makutsi to solve people’s problems large and small. I have loved getting to know Precious through all the books and am filled with a sense of hope every time I catch up with her again. Grab yourself a cup of Red Bush Tea, banish all distractions and enter the rhythms of life in Precious’s beloved Botswana. -Julie A

Full Dark HouseBryant & May

Bryant - a genially grumpy and disheveled codger and connoisseur of arcane London history and the occult - and May - silver-haired, dapper, smooth, and logical - head up the Peculiar Crimes Unit, a group of delightfully eccentric police officers who investigate crimes considered too sensitive or odd for the regular PD. If you like your mysteries British, sort of cozy, a little weird, and definitely very funny, you will love this series. -Karen

A Man Lay DeadRoderick Alleyn

Fans of Christie and Sayers should definitely read Ngaio Marsh, a New Zealand author who was also active in the theater. Her detective, Roderick Alleyn is featured in 34 novels spanning from 1934-2018 (finished & released posthumously). My favorites include Alleyn's love interest, Agatha Troy, a painter with a life story of her own. -Laura

Murder in the MaraisAimee Leduc

Cara Black's Aimee LeDuc series is still going strong! Her 20th, Murder at the Porte de Versaille has the twisted threads, high octane and haute couture that we've come to expect as well as Aimee's newer adventures as a mother. Set in 2001 with post 9/11 themes, but completely relevant. Start with Murder in the Marais and work your way through Paris, hopefully with a strong coffee or glass of wine at your side. -Laura

The Word is MurderHawthorne and Horowitz

Imagine a modern-day Sherlock and Watson but Watson is actually a real-life crime fiction writer. Anthony Horowitz employs books within books, real people meeting fake people at real events, brilliant detectives, and all the other tricks and tools of modern mystery. London murderers beware. -Andrew

Devil in a Blue DressEasy Rawlins

A hard-boiled, easy going, persistent, African American PI in post-war Los Angeles drives this incredibly important series. Though reminiscent of classic LA crime fiction from Chandler and Macdonald, Walter Mosley's mysteries have bold social themes intertwined in the finely wrought, turning plots. -Andrew

A Morbid Taste for BonesBrother Cadfael

If you want a cozy mystery series that avoids being cute, come on back to 12th century monastic life in Shrewsbury, England on the Welsh border. First a soldier and world traveler, Brother Cadfael now tends the monastery herb garden and dispenses its ancient remedies. His simple appearance will put you at ease and bely his keen observations that keep the bad guys deep in the castle dungeon. -Andrew

Billy BoyleBilly Boyle

A study of opposites, Billy’s a brash yet thoughtful, hardboiled yet gentle young man sent to England (a country he’s never been to) during WWII. As he travels through the UK, Europe and beyond, solving murders and other crimes, I admire that he’s adapted and grown as a human even after the atrocities he’s witnessed, even when he's learned that not everything is black and white, cut and dry- and remains true to himself. Just an all-around likeable guy. –Susan

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the PieFlavia de Luce

Eleven-year-old Flavia de Luce has two murderous sisters and a precocious interest in chemistry (and poisons?). When she discovers a dying stranger in the garden, she couldn't be more thrilled. Fans of cozy British mysteries will be completely charmed by this delightfully nosy sleuth.