Retired Gentlemen Sleuths

Here are writers with male detectives who are senior citizens.  Once again, it just goes to show you’re never too old to have a good time.

Robert E. Bailey – Meet Art Harkin.  Art is as real a person as you could wish for; a family man, likeable and a classic almost-hard-boiled detective.  He keeps getting in jams, gets arrested and in the end, gets his man (or woman).  This series is suspenseful and often times funny.  The first in the series is Private Heat, followed by Dying Ember which is even better than the first.

Max Allen Collins – Collins has received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Private Eye Writers of America.  His protagonist is Nolan, an aging thief and an old man at only 48.  Well, some days 48 can feel like 100.  First in the series is Bait Money.

Brian Cooper – This series featuring retired WWII DCI John Lubbock and the current CI, Mike Tench, begins with The Cross of San Vincente.  It was written in 1988 and may be hard to find.  A more recent mystery with Lubbock is The Murder Column (2003).  These are excellent mysteries, well written and entertaining.

Colin Cotterill – I’ve mentioned Dr. Siri Paiboun many times because he is one of my favorite characters.  The series takes place in North Laos during the 1970’s.  Dr. Paiboun, in his 70’s, is appointed National Coroner.  With his odd collection of assistants he manages to ignore the bureaucratic red tape and solve his cases. First was The Coroner’s Lunch.

David A. Crossman – Penobscot Island, Maine, is home to retired National Security Agency code-breaker and intelligence officer Winston Crisp.  Now in his 80’s but he just can’t help getting involved in the odd mystery now and then.  The first book is A Show of Hands, followed by Dead of Winter.

Christopher Fowler – There are some duo’s you just love.  Batman and Robin, Nero and Archie.  And there’s Arthur Bryant and John May.  Their 60 year friendship and partnership, in the Peculiar Crimes Unit of London, is the basis of an enjoyable, character-driven series.  Begin with Full Dark House.

Tony Hillerman– The legendary Lt. Joe Leaphorn, of the Navajo Tribal Police, retires during Hillerman’s series but his contacts and reputation ensure that he is continually getting drawn into cases.  There are 18 books in the Navajo Tribal Police series and Leaphorn, and the younger officer, Chee, will make you an addict.  The Blessing Way is the place to begin.

Anthony Oliver – There are only four books featuring retired DI John Webber and his friend, Mrs. Williams.  It’s a shame because they are very enjoyable. At times they are hysterically funny.  The characters are so charming the mystery is just an excuse to have them around. Their fans are very dedicated.  The first book is The Pew Group.

Barnaby Ross (Ellery Queen) – Four books appeared featuring a NYC Shakespearian actor, Drury Lane, who is retired due to progressive deafness. The Tragedy of X, The Tragedy of Y, The Tragedy of Z, and Drury Lane’s Last Case. Many consider The Tragedy of X to be one of the best mysteries ever written, and certainly Queen’s best.  However, many other people feel that The Tragedy of Y is even better.  One might compare Drury to that other famous detective, Holmes.

Richard F. West – How much trouble can two retired gents get into, anyway? Peter Benington is a retired jewel thief and Benny Ashe is a retired Mob boss.  They are quietly (?) tucked away in a retirement village in Coral Sands, Florida, but their pasts might just be catching up with them. Start this delightful series with Old Gang of Mine.

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