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Riddle Me This: Our Favourite Fictional Sleuths

By Megan Cradock, Caroline Dowse, Zalak Shah, Konstantopoulou and Ana Cecilia Matute

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the author and creator of the famous detective Sherlock Holmes, was born in May 1859. He’s inspired many authors to create their own detective stories with challenging cases to solve. Read on to discover some super sleuths and the intriguing mysteries they find themselves swept up in! 

Looking for a smart, observant detective? Meet Stevie Bell from Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson.

Stevie Bell is very rarely surprised by anything. But being accepted into Ellingham Academy . . . that was unexpected. Especially when the school’s application process is so vague. Especially when her application was just a ramble about the cold case Stevie’s been obsessed with her entire life. 

Back in 1938, Albert Ellingham, the founder of Ellingham Academy, had received a threatening letter signed by Truly Devious. He returned home to find that his wife and daughter had been kidnapped and that a student was also missing. Weeks later, the kidnapping case became a murder case. 

It’s an infamous mystery and Stevie has always wanted to solve it. She knows she can. And now she’s attending the very school where it all began. But when another student dies and Truly Devious reappears, solving the Ellingham case is no longer just Stevie’s school project, it could very well be the difference between life and death. 

Do you like mysteries with a supernatural twist? You’ll like Harry Dresden from Storm Front by Jim Butcher.

Harry Dresden is not your average Pl. He’s a professional wizard – the only one in the phone book. 

Harry is hired to find Victor Sells, an amateur warlock, who is missing. At the same time, two corpses are discovered, murdered by magical means. As the only wizard in Chicago, Harry is the prime suspect. Victor has created a drug called ThreeEye which grants mortals Wizards’ Sight – but drives them insane. Harry’s investigation soon puts him in the firing line. Can he survive long enough to clear his name?

Storm Front is the first novel in the Dresden Files series. It is a witty introduction to Butcher’s world which blends fantasy and crime. Harry Dresden is a detective you will definitely want to hire. 

Looking for an unlikely group of amateur detectives? Then pick up The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman. 

What happens when an eclectic group of residents of a retirement home come together to solve a murder mystery? Well, you get a delightful, funny, witty and a heartwarming book!

The Thursday Murder Club follows a group of friends who meet every Thursday to solve cases for fun. But when an actual murder happens at the house, the group is drawn into the investigation ridden with secrets and dangers. As Elizabeth, Joyce, Ibrahim and Ron race against time to solve the murder, we are taken on a ride filled with unexpected twists and turns.

The Thursday Murder Club will keep you hooked until the end. A tale of friendship, resilience and the sheer power of curiosity, do pick this book for a dose of light-hearted yet intriguing mystery. 

Ever wondered whether it’s possible for the victim to become the hunter? Find the answer in Shannon Kirk’s Method 15/33. 

In this YA mystery-thriller, a 16-year-old finds herself abducted by a monstrous man. The real drama lies in the battle between a man and his gang against a young girl carrying a little one. 

A standalone detective, the pages of the novel carry the story of many; the two main cops give us explanations for their every move, while flashback scenes come to relate to the present time of writing. In this way, many questions are answered for the readers;  how they ended up in a job of such heavy responsibility, or the reaction of the protagonist’s mother to her unexpected pregnancy. 

Filled with adrenaline and mystery, it keeps you at the edge of your seat, waiting for the ending. And it is only when that ending comes that one can really grasp the title!

Wanting a thriller that uncovers a contemporary planned crime? Then Paradais by Fernanda Melchor (translated by Sophie Hughes) should be on your reading list!

Paradais begins with two young men who are frustrated with their lives. Franco comes from a wealthy background and harbours an obsessive desire for a married woman. Polo constantly confronts misery and desires nothing more than to quit his job at a fancy country club and run away from his home. Their lives will collide and the horror will unfold, offering a critique of privilege. Melchor’s prose is provocative and powerful, precisely capturing the essence of this horror story, which does not rely on supernatural elements as human actions can be really atrocious. 


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