A girl detective obsessed with science. A teen who solves crime using science, special powers and a pack of friends. A lady detective who, when she’s not landing her latest conquest, is catching the bad guy.
We all need someone to look up to, and thanks to three book series, readers of all ages can have a strong, smart female role model.
Flavia de Luce Novels by Alan Bradley
Flavia de Luce is obsessed with chemistry and has a passion for poison. In her constant quest to find out what’s happening in the adult world around her, Flavia frequently stumbles across murder scenes. Not one to make a discovery like a dead body and leave it alone, Flavia of course investigates to solve the crime, usually helped along with some scientific know-how.
As the Flavia de Luce series progresses, there is a larger plot afoot, making it clear that Flavia is destined for great things. Along the way, readers get to accompany her on many adventures and learn some along the way.
These are 8.5 books in this series so far, beginning with The Sweetness in the Bottom of the Pie and ending with Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew’d. These are written for adults, but can be enjoyed by children ages 11-12 and up.
Virals Series by Brendan Reichs and Cathy Reichs
Readers of the Bones series will be familiar with Cathy Reichs’ quick, entertaining way of writing. The Virals series is a collaboration between Reichs and her son. In it, a group of teens catches parvo, a disease typically only contagious to dogs. The four teens who catch disease, and the wolf dog from whom they contracted it, become a pack with special powers. Tory, the leader of this otherwise male pack, leads the group to tackle crimes through the Charleston, South Carolina, area.
I’ve read each of the Bones books and a recurring complaint throughout the series is how the main character breaks off to explain scientific details. It reads as hokey and stops the flow of the story. Because the Virals books focus on a group of people, scientific facts can be shared in a more natural way, without interrupting the overall flow. It’s a welcome improvement.
There are five books in this series and one collection of short stories called Trace Evidence. These young adult novels can be enjoyed by adults, but are geared towards teens 13 and older.
Miss Phryne Fisher Books by Kerry Greenwood
When Phryne Fisher decorated her boudoir, she did it in a specific shade of green that would look good against her naked skin. She’s also more than willing to tie herself to the back of a car, unbeknownst to the driver, so she can catch a criminal in the act. Those two sentences tell you all you really need to know about what makes Phyrne such an entertaining character.
Set in Australia, the Miss Phryne Fisher Books, of which you might be familiar with from the Miss Fisher Murder Mysteries television series, are delightful novels. They are short enough to consume in an afternoon or two and contain a perfect mixture of adventure, mystery and sex. With 20 books in the series, it’s a wonderful find.
I describe the television series as being “PBS with sex.” The description applies for the books as well. They are definitely geared for adults but could be enjoyed by teens as well.