JACKSON BRODIE from Kate Atkinson’s books starting with CASE HISTORIES. I like Jackson because he is good at heart but sometimes hopeless in what he does. He helps people and solves crime but he almost gets killed in the process. In the last book STARTED EARLY TOOK THE DOG he ends up in a giant rubbish bin as it’s being hauled up onto the lorry. He’s waiting to be crushed to death in its claws. He also has amazing luck. In the first book he inherits a fortune!
REBUS from Ian Rankin’s novels set in Edinburgh. (First in the series KNOTS AND CROSSES) Rebus is a grumpy policeman who is always at odds with his superiors. He never has any luck with women and he has a daughter who has a love/hate relationship with him. He drinks too much but he never lets go of a case and always finds the killer. Ian Rankin was going to kill Rebus off at the end of the first novel but his publishers talked him out of it! Thank goodness.
KINSEY MILLHONE from the Sue Grafton ‘alphabet’ novels that start with A IS FOR ALIBI and go right through the alphabet (up to U IS FOR UNDERTOW at the moment). Kinsey is a female private eye in California. She drives a Beetle and lives in the annex of a friend’s house. She owns a black dress that doesn’t wrinkle and she takes it out in a small bag in case she needs to look feminine. It’s before the days of computers or mobile phones so she writes down every thing she finds out about a crime on to small white cards and shuffles them up to see if a new lead will come to her. The only food she really loves is sandwiches. She makes each one as though it is a tiny work of art.
PATSY KELLY from THE EAST END MURDERS. I wrote this series of books in the 1990s. Patsy is seventeen and works in her uncle’s detective agency. He tells her to answer the phones and make the tea but she always gets involved in solving the crimes. She loves hats and has a collection of them. Her side kick is Billy, a very old friend who she falls in and out of love with. You might find these books in the dusty corners of your local library (if the government doesn’t shut them all down!). I loved Patsy. She always worked out who the murderer was.
Are there any detectives you like? On TV? From film?