Female Con Artists In Non-Romance Fiction

I am fascinated by stories with female con artists and have gathered quite a collection. Here is my list of non-romance novels. I also have lists of con women in:
   Romance Novels
   Movies
   Television
I’m always on the lookout, so if you’ve read other novels, let me know.


A Scandal In Bohemia
by Arthur Conan Doyle
1891

Sherlock Holmes meets his match in Irene Adler, who tricks him with disguises and with careful planning.

Only When I Larf
by Len Deighton
1968

Three con artists (2 male, 1 female) swindle over and over, but when trouble arises, they cheat each other. Made into a movie.

The Thief’s Gamble
by Juliet E. McKenna
1999

Two young women steal and cheat at gambling games. One of them has a grand adventure.

Affinity
by Sarah Waters
2002

A con woman pretends to be a psychic. But when she lands in prison, the upper-class lady who visits her wonders if she might be real.

Void Moon
by Michael Con­nelly
2004

She’s a thief and con artist just out of prison. Family issues force her back in the game, and soon a crazed enforcer is killing everyone she ever knew.

The Collec­tors and
Stone Cold and
Divine Justice and
Hell’s Corner
by David Baldacci
2006, 2007, 2008, 2010



The Camel Club is a group of Washington “specialists” who solve the nation’s biggest problems. One of them is a female con artist.

A Nest of Vipers
by Catherine Johnson Gresham
2008

A band of con artists in the 1700s includes a matriarch leader as well as two young girls. They cheat all across London and even manage to get their pickpocket son out of prison.

Sovay
by Celia Rees
2008

Sovay dresses as a man and robs people in old England. She also engages in subterfuge to spy on people and defend her home.

Night­mare Alley
by William Lindsay Gresham
2010

In this dark tale of carnival trickery and fake psychics, a number of female con artists teach the hero his trade.

The Pain of Others and
Sunset Key and
Grab
by Blake Crouch
2011, 13


Letty is a thief and recovering addict who loves to steal. In these novellas, she gets involved in murder, deadly games, and casino heists.

As Red as Blood and
As White As Snow and
As Black As Ebony
by Salla Simukka
2013, 2014


Not strictly a con artist, Lumikki is a Finnish teenager with a nasty past who is uniquely skilled to solve crimes. Along the way, she must trick people.

The Diamond Thief
by Sharon Gosling
2013

She’s a trapeze performer in the circus and a thief, but she does some trickery, too, as she avoids the Scotland Yard man who is tied to her in various ways.

The Heist and
The Chase and
The Job and
The Scam and
The Pursuit
by Janet Evano­vich and Lee Goldberg
2013-2016




She’s an FBI agent, assigned to work undercover with a notorious con artist. He teaches her to con. The chemistry between them is strong, but not enough for her to accept his dishonest side.

The Night Guest
by Fiona McFarlane
2013

An older woman is visited by a government-assigned helper, who moves right in. But all is not as it seems, both because of shady activities by the helper and also because of the older woman’s advanced age.

City of Brick and Shadow
by Tim Wirkus

2014

Although minor characters in this Mormon missionary tale, a woman learns to con from her husband and they work Brazilian tourist towns.

Illusive and
Deceptive
by Emily Lloyd-Jones
2014, 2015

She’s mostly a thief, with mystical powers, but also tricks people along the way. Young Adult fantasy.

Trust Me, I’m Lying and
Down to the Liar and
Trust Me, I’m Trouble
by Mary Elizabeth Summer
2014, 2015, 2015


She’s a teenage con artist living with her father, who cons her way into a fancy academy where she starts selling her skills to other students.

Con Academy
by Joe Schrei­ber
2015

Two teenagers, a boy and a girl, are both con artists who have tricked their way into a private school. Recognizing each other, they make a bet on who can scam money first, tricking each other along the way. A young adult story.

Daughter of Deep Silence
by Carrie Ryan
2015

A teenager lost at sea after her cruise ship is attacked spends years preparing to take down the responsible family.

Six of Crows and
Crooked Kingdom
by Leigh Bardugo
2015, 2016

A band of six teenagers rule the city in these fantasy books. Their leader (a boy) is certainly a con artist, but so is one of his crew, Nina, who also possesses magical powers.

Escape Velo­city
by Susan Wolfe
2016

She’s a con artist trying to make an honest living as a paralegal. But the Silicon Valley company is so corrupt that she has to do what she knows best.

Scam
by Lesley Choyce
2016

He just lost his mother and lands in a foster home. She’s a rich kid who scams for fun because her parents ignore her. They’re good therapy for each other. Short story.

Thieving Weasels
by Billy Taylor
2016

A young-adult story about a family of con artists. Although the main story is about a boy, there are plenty of women in the family and there’s no shortage of conning.

The Hanging Girl
by Eileen Cook
2017

She and her mother are fake psychics who get caught up in a real mystery. Young adult.


Full disclosure: I have written two romance novels that feature female con artists: Executive Sweet and Rock Con Roll.

See also:Con Women in Movies,
Con Women on TV, Con Women in Romance Novels.