Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday: It's Amateur Hour On BBB!


The topic du jour for my favorite bookish meme is Top Ten Auto-Buy Authors.  Since I feel like I talk about the authors I love constantly here at BBB, I'm going to go off-script today and do the freebie topic that's actually scheduled for July 30.  I'll be in Utah attending a genealogy conference that day anyway, so it works.  Last week's character freebie inspired me to list My Favorite Super Sleuths of the Book World, which was fun, but I focused on the pros—real detectives and enforcement officers as well as other professionals who work with them (criminalists, forensic scientists, etc.).  Since the book world is full of amateur sleuths as well and they're just as entertaining to read about (sometimes more so), I'm going to focus on them today. 

Before we get to that, though, I have to give a shout-out to our lovely host Jana.  You can find her over at That Artsy Reader Girl, where you can also get the 4-1-1 on all things Top Ten Tuesday.  Join in by reading some brief instructions, crafting your own TTT list, then clicking around the blogosphere to spread the love among a ton of fabulous book blogs.  It's a great time to revisit old favorites, discover new sites, and, of course, add to your always-growing TBR pile mountain mountain chain.  What's not to love?

Okay, so here we go with my Top Ten Favorite Amateur Sleuths of the Book World.  These are the folks who have no (legitimate) reason to investigate crime, although mysteries just keep falling into their laps!  Their careers range from housekeeper to archaeologist to restaurant server to journalist, but their side gigs are the same—crime solver.  Because of this, their stories are often far less believable than those of their professional counterparts, but, as I said above, no less entertaining.  I'm including the cover to the first book in their respective series so you know where to start.

Who are your favorite amateur sleuths of the book world?  Who do you love reading about, whether their crime-solving is totally, ridiculously far-fetched or not?

Top Ten Favorite Amateur Sleuths of the Book World:


1.  Nancy Drew by Carolyn Keene—Nancy is probably the most well-known sleuth in this category and, as a kid, I inhaled any book that starred her.  I haven't read a Nancy Drew book in years, so I don't know what I'd think of them now, but I used to adore Nancy—and definitely wanted to be her!


2.  Encyclopedia Brown by Donald J. Sobol—Another childhood favorite, Leroy "Encyclopedia" Brown is a boy who helps his police chief father solve crimes in their small town.  He's whip-smart (hence his nickname) and always gets his man.  This is another series I ate up as a kid.


3.  Veronica Speedwell by Deanna Raybourn—Among the amateur sleuths I've encountered as an adult, Veronica is definitely one of my very favorites.  She's a Victorian woman, but an unapologetic one who defies convention and just does what she pleases.  For work, she sells rare butterflies and spends her days cataloging a museum full of treasures for a wealthy friend.  Along with Stoker, her handsome, querulous partner, she stumbles on all kinds of mysteries begging to be solved.  Veronica is smart, funny, and just a delightful character all-around.


4.  Dr. Ruth Galloway by Elly Griffiths—Ruth is an archaeologist in Norfolk, England, who prefers the solitude of her isolated home and her own company to anywhere and anyone else.  When the police ask for her help with a discovery of bones near her property, Ruth becomes a consultant to the department and goes on to have many adventures.  She's an understated character, but one whose intelligence and wit make for enjoyable reading.


5.  Amelia Peabody by Elizabeth Peters—Another unconventional lady, Amelia is a wealthy spinster living in late 19th Century England.  She has a disconcerting, scholarly obsession with Egypt, which leads her to many adventures and mysteries involving the ancient land. 


6.  Kat Halloway by Jennifer Ashley—This new kid on the block is a sought-after cook in a posh mansion in Mayfair.  Her central position in the household means she's a key witness to all kinds of wrongdoing.  Kat's efficiency and no-nonsense ways make her not just a master of the kitchen, but also a pretty darn good detective.


7.  Lady Kiera Darby by Anna Lee Huber—As the wife of a cruel anatomist, Kiera was made an unwitting partner in her husband's unnatural schemes.  Now a widow, she's trying to put her past behind her.  And yet, she keeps finding herself at the center of mysterious happenings.  Using her intelligence, her powers of observation, and her natural curiosity, she and an enigmatic friend are earning themselves a reputation as a detective team that is second to none.


8.  Lana Lee by Vivien Chien—After her temper gets the better of her at her lucrative corporate job, Lana's empty pockets force her to return to Ohio.  The last thing she wants is to wait tables at her parents' Chinese restaurant under her mother's shrewd eye, but she has little choice.  Turns out, life in the Asian Village strip mall is a lot more exciting than one would think.  An alarming amount of dead bodies are turning up in the small community, and Lana's keen powers of observation are coming in handy for the handsome detective assigned to investigate the crimes.  Lana's spunky but self-deprecating, making her a fun heroine to follow.


9.  Jazz Ramsey by Kylie Logan—Jazz, a cadaver dog trainer, only has one book under her belt, but I'm excited for more to come.  She's smart, brave, and caring, all traits I love in an amateur sleuth. 


10.  Nichelle Clarke by LynDee Walker—I just "met" Nichelle, an investigative reporter in Richmond, Virginia, in Front Page Fatality, but I'm enjoying the book and its heroine.  Nichelle is skilled, confident, and not afraid to take a risk.  So far, she's making an excellent amateur sleuth.  I can't wait to read more of this series.

There you have it, ten of my favorite fictional amateur sleuths.  Who are yours?  I just realized that all of mine (but one) are females.  Are there any great male amateur sleuths out there?  I'd love to know.  Leave me a comment on this post and I will gladly return the favor on yours.

Happy TTT!     

40 comments:

  1. Genealogy conference?! Sounds delightful! This is a super fun post, Susan! Thanks for sharing your favorites!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes! It's a great conference put on by my alma mater, BYU. If you're into genealogy, you should check it out: https://familyhistory.ce.byu.edu/

      Thanks for coming by!

      Delete
  2. I love this post. I will keep this in mind for my freebie at the end of the month. Several of these are also favorites of mine, especially Encyclopedia Brown. 😁

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was a fun list to put together! I hope you do this topic as well -- it would be fun to compare lists :) I was definitely a big Encyclopedia Brown fan girl back in the day.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
  3. Sometimes, I feel as though I was the only kid whole read Encyclopedia Brown. I am really excited to see him on your list. I loved those books! Nancy Drew too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nope! I adored those books. Nancy Drew as well. There weren't that many books, especially mysteries, being written for kids when I was growing up, so these were big for me. Also, the Boxcar Children. I just remembered them!

      Thanks for coming by, Sam!

      Delete
  4. This is a great post. I love Ruth Galloway too, there's just something so compelling about her mysteries.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Agreed! She's such an understated character, but she's also a really interesting one. The plot lines are intriguing, too.

      Thanks for coming by!

      Delete
  5. I need to read A Curious Beginning. Everyone I know that has read it keeps raving about it. I should grab that soon. Great list

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great book, great series. Veronica Speedwell is hilarious and the books are just so much fun. It's hard not to rave about the series.

      Thanks for stopping in!

      Delete
  6. Mountain Chain is truly the best way to describe it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, "pile" is a vast understatement :)

      Thanks for coming by, Sarah!

      Delete
  7. What a great list! I was a big Nancy Drew fan too. I love a good mystery so I'll definitely have to check some of these out! Thanks for visiting Long and Short Reviews. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. For sure! These are some of my favorites, but I have many more. I love me a good mystery!

      Thanks for coming by :)

      Delete
  8. I love your tweak of the topic! Excellent!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! It was a fun list to put together :)

      Thanks for coming by!

      Delete
  9. I love Ruth Galloway too! Especially because I'm studying forensic archaeology in my Master's right now :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are? That sounds like a fascinating subject. You'll be the next Ruth Galloway!

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
    2. Do you have a blog, Sabrina? I'd love to check it out if I haven't already, but I can't find a link in your profile ...

      Delete
  10. I love your twist to this week's prompt. Mysteries - especially YA mysteries - are so much fun to read.

    My TTT.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree! My favorite genre for sure.

      Thanks for coming by!

      Delete
  11. Everyone else is so much more creative than me when it comes to freebie topics! I really like this one, I might have to steal it in future ;)

    My husband bought me the exact copy of Nancy Drew and The Secret of the Old Clock for Christmas this past year and I love him to death for it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Go for it! I'd love to compare lists of our favorite amateur sleuths. That's my idea of a good time right there :)

      And how cool to have a vintage Nancy Drew! My family had the whole set growing up. I wonder what happened to it? Probably dropped it off at Goodwill at some point, sadly.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
  12. I used to LOVE Encylcopedia Brown! Such a great sleuth choice!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He was so great. I don't think I'd want to live with a know-it-all like that, but he's pretty amazing at solving mysteries!

      Thanks for coming by!

      Delete
  13. Nancy Drew and Lady Kiera are two of my favorites, too. And I just checked The Scent of Murder out of the library. It looks like a good one! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm pretty sure you're the one who recommended the Lady Darby mysteries to me. They're great. I love that they're clean, but also exciting and interesting. And, of course, everybody loves Nancy Drew!

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Lark!

      Delete
  14. Great topic choice! I remember having so much fun reading Nancy Drew books when I was a kid! I was also a huge fan of The New Adventures Of Mary-Kate & Ashley. I still have the full collection on a shelf to this day :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm not sure when the Mary Kate and Ashley books came out, but Full House aired when I was 12, so I was a little old for it (although I definitely remember watching the show as a kid). I don't think I ever read the books. How fun that you still have your collection! I definitely should have kept my Nancy Drews. It would be fun to have them now.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
  15. You have a ton of books here I want to try! The Raybourn books have been on my wishlist for a while, and same with Jennifer Ashley- I love a country house mystery.

    The Elizabeth Peters books have long appealed to me too, probably largely due to the Egypt setting. And death by Dumpling I think I want just for the Chinese food angle haha!

    Nancy Drew is of course awesome. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They're all fun mysteries featuring strong, quirky women :) I hope you do try some of these and enjoy them.

      Thanks for coming by!

      Delete
  16. I totally forgot about Encyclopedia Brown until some people mentioned him among their childhood favorites earlier this month. He was so much fun to read in elementary school.

    The Lady Darby books look very interesting -- mystery + historical fiction? Superb. I haven't read too much of that, but I did really enjoy the Gilded Age setting of "What The Dead Leave Behind," and this era looks equally fascinating.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Encyclopedia Brown for the win! I ate those books up as a kid.

      The Lady Darby series is great. They're historical mysteries, more literary fiction than thrillers. I hope you give the books a try!

      Thanks for coming by :)

      Delete
    2. Do you have a blog? I'd love to visit it if I haven't already, but I couldn't find a link in your profile ...

      Delete
  17. I haven't read very many of these but this is a great list! I love your spin on the topic!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! It was fun to put together.

      Thanks for coming by!

      Delete
  18. I must admit that mysteries/thrillers/crime type novels aren't really my thing but at the same time I inhale UF which more often than not IS some kind of mystery just in a fantasy setting so maybe I need to reevaluate my statement! lol

    I love the cover for A Curious Beginning.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And UF isn't my thing, but if there's a mystery involved, I'd definitely consider it! Funny how genres cross like that.

      Thanks for coming by!

      Delete
  19. You are the detective novel queen! I haven't heard of most of these, but am now intrigued.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I always loved Nancy Drew and Encyclopedia Brown, too. Have you met Flavia de Luce? She's another brilliant young sleuth, living in the manor house of a small village, with lots of family and local secrets to discover. Start with The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie.

    ReplyDelete

Comments make me feel special, so go crazy! Just keep it clean and civil. Feel free to speak your mind (I always do), but be aware that I will delete any offensive comments.

P.S.: Don't panic if your comment doesn't show up right away. I have to approve each one before it posts to prevent spam. It's annoying, but it works!

Blog Widget by LinkWithin