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7 Mystery Books With Savvy Senior Sleuths

These grannies aren't clueless.


While Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple may not have been the first elderly sleuth, she may be the first that comes to mind. There’s nothing quite like the joy of watching Miss Marple knitting quietly as people talk around her, ignoring her presence, and then she solves the case seemingly effortlessly. 

In the past few years, we have had several new series featuring detectives in their seventies through nineties who would make Miss Marple proud. Some detectives are finding retirement less than ideal while others don’t want to act their age. And what else can you do when a murder just happens on your doorstep?


Killers of a Certain Age

By Deanna Raybourn

After forty years of working for the Museum, assassins Billie, Mary Alice, Helen, and Natalie have finally retired. As a thank you for their service, they are on an all-expenses-paid cruise. But when an assassination attempt on them goes awry, they realize that someone wants them all dead, someone at their prior place of employment. Now they must use their special set of skills to stay alive while also figuring out who is behind the attempt—and why.


Vera Wong's Unsolicited Advice for Murderers

By Jesse Q. Sutanto

Vera Wong is a widower running a dilapidated teahouse who doesn’t understand why her son just can’t settle down and why he doesn’t see his mother more often. One morning her daily routine gets interrupted when she finds a man lying dead in the middle of her tea shop. Even more curious, four different people show up at the shop, trying to hide their connection to the man. While some business owners would leave the whole affair to the police, Wong decides she’s going to solve his murder, interrogating the four individuals who claim they didn’t even know the deceased. But Wong will get the truth out…and maybe they’ll listen to her advice.

the thursday murder club

The Thursday Murder Club

By Richard Osman

The first in four books, The Thursday Murder Club is a weekly gathering of four friends, Elizabeth, Joyce, Ibrahim, and Ron, to solve cold cases at a retirement home. But when a murder takes place in front of them, they’ve turned their efforts to solve this one with or without the police’s help. But soon Joyce, Ibrahim, and Ron realize that Elizabeth might have had a more interesting past than she had led on, seeming to have a lot of friends in government spy agencies. Book 4 The Last Devil to Die will come out in September 2023.


Secret Lives

By Mark de Castrique

Ethel Fiona Crestwater may be a retired former spy but she still has a foot in the game, running a boarding house for government agents. When one of her boarders dies right outside her building with a bag filled with money next to him, she decides that she needs to find the culprit. Jesse, her distant relative staying at the house for college, is astonished to see his elderly relative hiding clues including absconding with the bag of money. He has no idea about her past. But he finds himself drawn into Crestwater’s investigation to find out what happened to her boarding house. It’s a madcap adventure involving cryptocurrency, several government agencies, and one really bewildered college student.


Armed and Outrageous

By Madison Johns

Senior citizen Agnes Barton truly believes that age is just a number. She enjoys driving a red Mustang, getting into trouble with the local police in Tadium, MI, and now solving a murder. She decides to team up with her BFF Eleanor Mason, a vivacious flirt with a Pink Lady handgun, to investigate the cold case of Jennifer Martin, a tourist who disappeared 43 years ago. Needless to say, the police are not amused. Add in Mason's rival, Dorothy Alton, and Barton’s secret crush, these senior sleuths have their work cut out for them. It’s the first of twelve in the Agnes Barton Senior Sleuths Mystery series.


Getting Old Is Murder

By Rita Lakin

There’s a killer loose, targeting senior citizens at a retirement home but the cops won’t take 75-year-old Gladdy Gold seriously. So the only reasonable thing is for Gold and her friends to investigate themselves, figuring out how the murderer is killing their victims and who is behind them all. It’s a fun ride as Gold and her friends get into some real hijinks in Fort Lauderdale. It’s the first in the award-winning nine-book Gladdy Gold series.


Granny's Got a Gun

By Harper Lin

Retirement can be hard on people. Best to have a plan. Barbara Gold, a retired CIA agent, is not loving retirement. But when a man is poisoned in her book club, Gold sees an opportunity to keep her skill set fresh and go under the radar, since who would suspect her investigating? It’s the first of ten books in the Secret Agent Granny series.