Female Con Artists in non-Romance Novels

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
I’m always on the lookout, so if you’ve read other novels, let me know.

A Scandal In Bohemia
by Arthur Conan Doyle

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

Only When I Larf
by Len Deighton

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

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

by Sarah Waters

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

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

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.

by Celia Rees

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

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
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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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.

by Lesley Choyce

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.

The Hanging Girl
by Eileen Cook

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.