Okay, okay, most of these characters ARE NOT private eyes. But they do take their clothes off.
I admit it — I have a definite weakness for stripper/detectives, ever since I read “Angel Face” by Cornell Woolrich, which featured Jerry Wheeler as a stripper who turns gumshoe to save her kid brother from a frame-up. The short story, also known as “Face Work,” appeared in the October 1937 issue of Black Mask, and was soon filmed as Convicted, starring Rita Hayworth.
And of course, the most famous stripper detective of all has to be Gypsy Rose Lee. Yep, “America’s most famous take-it-off artist” wrote a few mystery novels in which she played detective. Or, at least, she claimed to have written them. It was pretty widely suspected for years (falsely, it turns out) that Craig Rice, the creator of sleuthin’, drinkin’ attorney John J. Malone, actually wrote the books.
- Jerry Wheeler by Cornell Woolrich
- Gypsy Rose Lee by Gypsy Rose Lee
- Velda Bellinghausen by Ron Miller
- Simone Kirsch by Leigh Redhead
- Sierra Lavotini by Nancy Barhtholemew
- Aubrey Lyle by Jenny Scholten
- Tammy Starr by Johnny Gonzales and Floyd Choat
- Kathy O’Connor by Harold Joyce (Sally Rand, ladies and gentlemen, Sally Rand!)
And although the protagonists may not be be strippers, fans of the fine art of ecdysiastry may also enjoy these stripper-adjacent crime novels:
- Strip Tease by Carl Hiaasen
- The Moses McGuire books by Josh Stallings
- The Mak Vanderwall series by Tara Moss
List respectfully compiled by Kevin Burton Smith. The stripper was an illustration from the frontispiece of an Avon reprint of The G-String Murders. And God bless Lili St. Cyr…