The best mysteries that feature two detectives

Who am I?

I write the NYPD Detective Chiara Corelli Mystery series featuring Corelli and her partner Detective P.J. Parker. Most mysteries have a single main character so I’m passionate about finding other authors who write mysteries with two professional investigators as main characters. It’s fascinating to see how authors writing the same type of characters handle them and what they do about character growth over the course of the series. To me, watching two characters react to each other, seeing their relationship change over the course of a book or a series is much more interesting than reading about a single detective.

I wrote...

A Matter of Blood

By Catherine Maiorisi,

Book cover of A Matter of Blood

What is my book about?

Just back from her second tour in Afghanistan, NYPD Detective Chiara Corelli goes undercover to expose a ring of dirty cops. Ordered to kill to prove her loyalty, she aborts the operation. Now, she’s the one exposed. And being ostracized. Can she trust Detective P.J. Parker to watch her back?

Parker, the daughter of a vehement critic of the NYPD, wants to work homicides. And learn from the best. Unfortunately, Chiara Corelli is the best…and the most hated detective in the department. Without Parker, Corelli will be condemned to desk duty. Without Corelli, Parker loses her entre to homicide. Can they put aside their fears and join forces to solve a brutal murder and stop the dirty cops from threatening Corelli’s family?

The books I picked & why

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A Great Deliverance

By Elizabeth George,

Book cover of A Great Deliverance

Why this book?

This is the first book in George’s twenty-one book series featuring Scotland Yard Inspector Thomas Lynley, the eighth earl of Asherton, and Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers, a commoner.

When I read A Great Deliverance, I fell in love with George’s beautiful writing, found her two characters fascinating, and adored the cast of characters supporting the detectives. Plus, the book is unusual because the reader knows from the start who the killer is and the investigation focuses on why she killed him.

When I sat down to write my first ever fiction, Linley and Havers were the inspiration for my two detectives, NYPD Detectives Chiara Corelli and P.J. Parker. And I learned from George that the characters are as important, if not more important, than the plot. She inspired my writing.

A Share in Death

By Deborah Crombie,

Book cover of A Share in Death

Why this book?

As a writer I look to Crombie’s Constable Duncan Kincaid/Sergeant Gemma James series for guidance on how to have your characters grow professionally and personally, to age and experience the kind of changes people go through in real life. I recommend book one of the nineteen in the series, A Share in Death, because it sets up the relationship between the two detectives.

A Clubbable Woman

By Reginald Hill,

Book cover of A Clubbable Woman

Why this book?

I seem to be addicted to long-running series with British detectives, though not all written by British authors, and A Clubbable Woman is the first book in this twenty-one-book series by Reginald Hill.

When I began to write fiction and worked on creating Corelli and Parker, Hill was one of the authors I looked to for inspiration. Although his Yorkshire detectives, the abrupt and rude Detective Superintendent Andrew "Andy" Dalziel and the educated, calm, and well-mannered Detective Sergeant Peter Pascoe, did not fit my vision for my own characters, I enjoyed their antics and read the entire series. The books are fun and challenging and this is a great beginning.

Naked in Death

By J.D. Robb,

Book cover of Naked in Death

Why this book?

This is the first of fifty-six books in Robb’s In Death series with Lieutenant Eve Dallas as the lead. Dallas’s partner Detective Delia Peabody doesn’t appear until the second book, but I recommend starting with this one. For me, this book/series was a lesson in the evolving friendship/working relationship of two women detectives where one of them has more experience than the other as with Corelli and Parker.

It's also a lesson in keeping a series alive and fresh over so many books.

Write Away: One Novelist's Approach to Fiction and the Writing Life

By Elizabeth George,

Book cover of Write Away: One Novelist's Approach to Fiction and the Writing Life

Why this book?

When I sat down to write my first novel I knew I wanted to model my characters on George’s Lynley and Havers but I couldn’t even start writing because I had no idea how to structure a novel, particularly a mystery. As fate would have it, George released her book on writing, Write Away, around that time. In it, she described her process with examples from her own books and it was exactly what I needed. This book provided the essential tools I needed to write. 

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