For many readers, the detective makes or breaks the mystery. As important as the case is, if we’re not invested in the sleuth, it doesn’t matter how innovative the clues or how gruesome the murder. I watched Castle because I loved watching Nathan Fillion’s facial expressions and the awesome chemistry between him and Stana Katic, not because I was particularly worried about the murder of the week.
Great mysteries happen when you have great characters figuring out the inventive solutions to puzzling crimes. Our classic usual suspects, Sherlock Holmes, Miss Marple, Hercule Poirot, Sam Spade, and their ilk, deserve the homage paid to them. But here are some modern sleuths (written about in the past decade, though appearing in various historical settings) who make me race to bookstore for their latest outings.