By November 6, 2018 0 Comments Read More →

18 Detectives Who Fill in the Blanks

Jonathan Lethem’s The Feral Detective publishes today—and, given that it is set in the days following Donald Trump’s 2016 election, can it be any coincidence the book comes out during the midterms? As the Booklist reviewer (ahem, me) writes in his starred review:

Set in the days surrounding Donald Trump’s inauguration, this echoes with Phoebe’s explicitly voiced outrage and sadness about the country’s political right turn, yet it also feels allegorical, what with lost tribes wandering in the desert and all. Lethem, apparently, began writing feverishly the day after Trump was elected, and it’s fascinating to read a book set at such a specific and recent moment.

But that’s not why we’re here today! After all, you’ll get more than enough about the midterm elections every minute and every second of today, on every channel. So instead, here is a short list of books sharing a similar title construction: The __________ Detective.

As for myself, I’m beginning a first draft of The Detective Detective.


The Automatic Detective, by A. Lee Martinez

The Bedlam Detective, by Stephen Gallagher

The Blood Detective, by Dan Waddell

The Dead Detective, by William Heffernan

The Devil’s Detective, by Simon Kurt Unsworth

The Drowned Detective, by Neil Jordan

The Dying Detective, by Leif G. W. Persson

The Female Detective, by Andrew Forrester

The Feng Shui Detective, by Nury Vittachi

The Hard Detective, by H. R. F. Keating*

The Highly Effective Detective, by Richard Yancey

The Last Detective, by Robert Crais

The Last Detective, by Peter Lovesey

The Metatemporal Detective, by Michael Moorcock

The Naked Detective, by Laurence Shames

The Sea Detective, by Mark Douglas-Home

The Vinyl Detective, by Andrew Cartmel


*Please note that H. R. F. Keating is also responsible for The Bad DetectiveThe Good DetectiveThe Soft Detective, and The Rich Detective, not listed here. And you’ll notice that not one but two (and possibly more) authors have used the ultimate title The Last Detective.

About the Author:

Keir Graff is Executive Editor of Booklist Publications and the author of six books. His most recent is the middle-grade novel, The Phantom Tower (2018). Follow him on Twitter at @Booklist_Keir.

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