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Book Hunting / Recommendations > Older Protagonists

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message 1: by Linda (new)

Linda Lovely | 18 comments I'm looking for mysteries, thrillers and suspense novels featuring protagonists who are at least 50 years old for a research project that looks at possible changes in how older heroes/heroines are portrayed in popular literature. So I'd like to find both current exampes and ones from decades past (e.g. Miss Marpole). Any and all suggestions appreciated. Thanks.


message 2: by Bill, Co-Moderator (new)

Bill | 5422 comments Mod
You might consider the Lawrence Sanders, Deadly Sins series which features Edward X. Delaney who is a precinct chief close to retirement. They were excellent books/ mysteries and might provide a good example.


message 3: by Jill (last edited Feb 19, 2011 10:24AM) (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) Four that come to mind: Nero Wolfe (Rex Stout), Inspector Morse (Colin Dexter), DCI Tom Barnaby (Carolyn Graham), and Sir John Fielding (Bruce Alexander)


message 4: by Gatorman (new)

Gatorman | 7679 comments You should look into the Reginald Hill mysteries featuring detectives Pascoe and Dalziel.


message 5: by Linda (new)

Linda Lovely | 18 comments Thanks for these suggestions. Will take a look at them all. I'd forgotten about the Lawrence Sanders books.


message 6: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) Ooh, good one Gator....I forgot to list it. Love those stories.


message 7: by Donna, Co-Moderator (new)

Donna | 2178 comments Mod
The later books in the Dalgleish series by PD James might also fit.


message 8: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) Also the later Roderick Alleyn books by Ngaio Marsh


message 9: by Donna, Co-Moderator (new)

Donna | 2178 comments Mod
Joe Leaphorn in the Tony Hillerman books.


message 10: by Donna, Co-Moderator (last edited Feb 19, 2011 04:38PM) (new)

Donna | 2178 comments Mod
I scrolled through my lists an came up with a few more. Some may be in their 40s but they certainly are not young.

Charlie Resnick by John Harvey

Dr. Siri by Colin Cotterill

the later Aurelio Zen by Michael Dibdin

Carole(?) in the Feathering mysteries by Simon Brett

Quirke in the mysteris by Benjamin Black - probably in hi 40s

Armand Gamache - by Louise Penny. maybe in his 40s

Martin Beck - by Maj Sjowall. Hard to tell but I always thought of him as older.

Hazel Micallef - by Inger Ash Wolfe

Kurt Wallander - by Henning Mankell


message 11: by Lobstergirl (new)

Lobstergirl How old was Father Brown (G.K. Chesterton)?


message 12: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) Lobstergirl wrote: "How old was Father Brown (G.K. Chesterton)?"

Old enough to be on this list, I think. Another one is Jules Maigret by Georges Simenon


message 13: by Bill, Co-Moderator (new)

Bill | 5422 comments Mod
Kari wrote: "Linda wrote: "I'm looking for mysteries, thrillers and suspense novels featuring protagonists who are at least 50 years old for a research project that looks at possible changes in how older heroes..."

The Demarkian books are great, aren't they, Kari.


message 14: by Melissa (new)

Melissa (dootloo) Try the Agatha Raisin series by M.C. Beaton. Agatha is in her 50s. Also, the Bryant and May books by Christopher Fowler might interest you. I think those guys are in their 70s.


message 15: by Cathy (new)

Cathy (cathy_perkins) | 56 comments Stella Hardesty in the "bad day" series by Sophie Littlefield is probably in her 40s rather than 50s but definitely a different take on the older heroine


message 16: by Linda (new)

Linda Lovely | 18 comments Again, many thanks. Will start checking out all of these titles. I want to test a thesis that boomers may be impacting the number of titles that feature older protagonists and how they're portrayed. There may not be a significant difference. Will report back as I get more data.


message 17: by Mike (new)

Mike Dennis (mikedennis) | 28 comments Linda, I would recommend the Silver Sisters mysteries by Morgan St James and Phyllice Bradner. The protagonists are, I believe, over 60. One of their novels is titled CORPSE IN THE SOUP.


message 18: by Linda (new)

Linda Lovely | 18 comments This is great. I am compiling a terrific reading list. I was unfamiliar with many of these titles.


message 19: by Kaye (new)

Kaye (momgee) | 136 comments For a real oldie, try Cynthia Riggs - her protagonist Victoria Trumball is in her 90's.


message 20: by Beth (new)

Beth | 408 comments There's also Mike Befeler with his "geezer lit" series, starting with Retirement Homes Are Murder (Five Star Mystery Series).


message 21: by Jan C (new)

Jan C (woeisme) | 35449 comments For an "empty nester" there is Patricia Sprinkle and her Family Tree Mystery Series. I think there may be three books in this series. They take place in Georgia, probably Atlanta, not sure. But what I liked is they had a mountain place in Cashiers, NC - just up the hill from where my mother lives.


message 22: by Linda (new)

Linda Lovely | 18 comments I've read some of Patricia Sprinkle's books, but not this series. Will check it out. Cashiers is a neat place.


message 23: by Jan C (new)

Jan C (woeisme) | 35449 comments Linda wrote: "I've read some of Patricia Sprinkle's books, but not this series. Will check it out. Cashiers is a neat place."

Yes, it's great. Every time we go there though it seems to take longer and longer. We keep stopping at this craft place and that craft place. And spending a small fortune.


message 24: by Hayes, Co-Moderator (new)

Hayes (hayes13) | 2060 comments Mod
Beth wrote: "There's also Mike Befeler with his "geezer lit" series, starting with Retirement Homes Are Murder (Five Star Mystery Series)."

That looks like fun, Beth. Thanks for the recommendation.


message 25: by Katherine (new)

Katherine | 187 comments Sorry, but I have to put a comment in these unused topics as far as I can figure out to remove them from my unread topics listing on my app. Have managed to delete them on the website but they are still unread from the app point of view. Sorry for being such a pain but no other help forthcoming in terms of getting rid of them. Katherine


message 26: by K.A. (new)


message 27: by Cathy (new)

Cathy (cathy_perkins) | 56 comments Linda wrote: "I'm looking for mysteries, thrillers and suspense novels featuring protagonists who are at least 50 years old for a research project that looks at possible changes in how older heroes/heroines are ..."

I try to stay away from self-promo but the detective in Honor Code meets your criteria


message 28: by K.A. (new)

K.A. Krisko (kakrisko) | 144 comments Oh - there's an Indie called "Willowtree":

Willowtree A Bruce DelReno Mystery

I read it a year or so ago & enjoyed it, and the protagonist is retired and likes to golf. Which comes in handy...


message 29: by [deleted user] (new)

Donna wrote: "I scrolled through my lists an came up with a few more. Some may be in their 40s but they certainly are not young.

Charlie Resnick by John Harvey

Dr. Siri by Colin Cotterill

the later Aurelio Ze..."


Wait a minute . . . I'm 40 and I still consider myself young, though my husband may disagree.


message 30: by [deleted user] (new)

Dr. Bill Brockton in the Jefferson Bass Body Farm series is in his 50s. It's a very good series.


message 31: by Melanie (new)

Melanie | 1 comments The Harry Hole books by Jo Nesbo, especially if you want to include foreign authors.


message 32: by Marja (new)

Marja McGraw (marja1) | 107 comments Linda wrote: "Again, many thanks. Will start checking out all of these titles. I want to test a thesis that boomers may be impacting the number of titles that feature older protagonists and how they're portrayed..."

Something a bit on the light side would be the Getting Old series by Rita Lakin. Good series.


message 33: by Leslie (new)

Leslie Kinn | 1 comments We are writing for older readers, but trying to find publishers and agents to read them is difficult. It will eventually catch on.


message 34: by Louise (new)

Louise (louizalass) | 6 comments Melissa wrote: ".... Also, the Bryant and May books by Christopher Fowler might interest you. I think those guys are in their 70s."

Just popped over to Amazon and read a sample of the first Bryant and May .... first few lines had me laughing out loud so have added it to my Kindle. Haven't heard of this author/series before - thank you!


message 35: by Carrie (new)

Carrie Rubin (carrierubin) Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King features an older detective protagonist. He's retired and not adjusting well to it. I think there are a couple follow-up books planned as well.


message 36: by Audiothing (new)

Audiothing Louise wrote: "Melissa wrote: ".... Also, the Bryant and May books by Christopher Fowler might interest you. I think those guys are in their 70s."

Just popped over to Amazon and read a sample of the first Bryant..."


They get better, I've just finished my third Bryant And May


message 37: by Nancy, Co-Moderator (new)

Nancy Oakes (quinnsmom) | 8617 comments Mod
Cathy wrote: "Linda wrote: "I'm looking for mysteries, thrillers and suspense novels featuring protagonists who are at least 50 years old for a research project that looks at possible changes in how older heroes..."

I appreciate your comment, and the fact that you didn't link to Amazon. We try to stay away from self promotion as well!


message 38: by Mahrie (new)

Mahrie Reid | 1 comments Cathy - I am late to the discussion but have you checked the Ivy Malone Mystery series by Lorena McCourtney. The one I read first was Invisible... referring to older women being unnoticed by those around them. (Also someone mentioned the Mrs. Pollifax Books - all great, fun reads.)


message 39: by Audiothing (new)

Audiothing Louise wrote: "Melissa wrote: ".... Also, the Bryant and May books by Christopher Fowler might interest you. I think those guys are in their 70s."

Just popped over to Amazon and read a sample of the first Bryant..."


I discovered The Peculiar Crimes Unit of Scotland Yard a while back, on my third Bryant and May, I love them, such a refreshing change. Surprising what I've learned about London as a bonus!


message 40: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) Bec wrote: "Louise wrote: "Melissa wrote: ".... Also, the Bryant and May books by Christopher Fowler might interest you. I think those guys are in their 70s."

Just popped over to Amazon and read a sample of t..."


The Bryant and May books are absolutely endearing and whimsical (which are strange words for a mystery but so true.) I love them but if you are looking for a straight police procedural type of book, these are not in that category. They are a category unto themselves!


message 41: by Portia (new)

Portia Louise Penny's Armand Gamache is another "older" detective and one of my very favorites.


message 42: by Helena (new)

Helena Greenfield | 81 comments Well the first 3 I am gonna mention don't technically count since they were younger than 50 when the series started, but anyways...

John Rebus was in his 40s when the series started but by now he's past 60

Same goes for Harry Bosch - in his 40s when it started but now he's already past 60 as well.

Harry Hole in the series by Jo Nesbo was also younger when the series started but by now he'd be past 50.


As for novels of old featuring older protagonists:
pretty sure Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple both fit that age :P


message 43: by Jan C (new)

Jan C (woeisme) | 35449 comments Helena wrote: "Well the first 3 I am gonna mention don't technically count since they were younger than 50 when the series started, but anyways...

John Rebus was in his 40s when the series started but by now he'..."


Are the authors aging their characters? Sue Grafton didn't really age her character the way real people age. She treated it as a casebook. Each book is a case so she might well have only aged 10 years even though we've been reading them since the '80s.


message 44: by Helena (new)

Helena Greenfield | 81 comments Jan C wrote: "Helena wrote: "Well the first 3 I am gonna mention don't technically count since they were younger than 50 when the series started, but anyways...

John Rebus was in his 40s when the series started..."


Yeah they age in real time.


message 45: by Lance (new)

Lance Charnes (lcharnes) | 412 comments Jan C wrote: " Sue Grafton didn't really age her character the way real people age. She treated it as a casebook. Each book is a case so she might well have only aged 10 years even though we've been reading them since the '80s."

She probably hasn't aged even that much -- Grafton has said that Kinsey and her world are still stuck in the 1980s.


message 46: by Chrisl (last edited Nov 19, 2014 09:27PM) (new)


message 47: by David (new)

David Freas (quillracer) | 2275 comments I'm currently reading Daniel Silva's The Confessor, the third book in his Gabriel Allon series. In it, Allon says he is 51. I'll be interested to see how much he ages as the series progresses.


message 48: by Sharon (new)

Sharon Michael | 674 comments Several series I've followed have protagonists that have aged through the series. John Sandford's Lucas Davenport is one (and I actually like him better as an older man), Faye Kellerman's series follows her protagonists through many years with the last book, Murder 101 with grown children and 'retirement' to a small eastern police department.

Peter Bowen's Gabriel DuPre series, set in the modern west, starts with the protagonist in his 50s and Craig Johnson's Sheriff Longmier series, also set in the modern west also starts with the main character in his 50s.

Another very "English" and fun series beginning with the main protagonist retiring andmoving to a small town in England is the "Miss Seeton" series by Heron Carvic. The first in that series is one of my all time favorite 'cozy' reads, the humor very English and the characterization wonderful.


message 49: by Nancy, Co-Moderator (new)

Nancy Oakes (quinnsmom) | 8617 comments Mod
I'm going to mention Patricia Wentworth's Miss Silver here. She's like a Miss Marple sort of person, but nearly as fun. But the books are pretty good.


message 50: by Nancy, Co-Moderator (new)

Nancy Oakes (quinnsmom) | 8617 comments Mod
Nancy wrote: "I'm going to mention Patricia Wentworth's Miss Silver here. She's like a Miss Marple sort of person, but nearly as fun. But the books are pretty good."

I meant "not" nearly as fun.


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