Con Women 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
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.

The Grifters
by Jim Thompson

A male and two female con artist (one is his mother). A gritty look at the downside of conning. Made into a movie in 1990.

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.

Addie Pray
by Len Deighton

A young girl and her presumed father travel the depression-era south, swindling people. Made into a movie and a TV show, both named "Paper Moon."

The Life and Loves of a She Devil
by Fay Weldon

A woman trapped in a loveless marriage decides to take revenge on her husband and his lover. Made into a TV miniseries and 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.

Hollywood Moon
by Joseph Wambaugh

A cop story where one of the main forces of evil is a woman who runs an identity-theft ring, tricking people left and right.

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.

The Elephant Keepers' Children
by Peter Høeg

All four members of this Danish family are con artists, especially the teenage daughter.

The Face Thief
by Eli Gottlieb

She tricks, and can read microexpressions to tell when people are lying.

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.

The Republic of Thieves
by Scott Lynch

In this third book of the "Gentlemen Bastards" fantasy series, Sabatha finally appears and is as tricky as any of them.

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.

Assuming Names
by Tanya Thompson

This is a true story, artfully told by the woman who pretended to be royalty and got away with it.

Illusive and
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

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.

Liars, Inc.
by Paula Stokes

Three high-school kids help classmates cheat by selling information, alabis, and favors. But the three are not what they seem, and one of them is female.

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.

The Good Liar
by Nicholas Searle

He swindles old women and chooses her. She seems to know what is going on, but the true depth of her knowledge is not revealed until the end.

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.

Thieving Weasels
by Billy Taylor

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 Bookshop Girl
by Sylvia Bishop

A children's story about an 11-year-old girl whose family gets cheated, so she tricks the cheaters back.

The Dazzling Heights and
The Towering Sky
by Katharine McGee
2017, 2018

In books two and three of this science-fiction young-adult trilogy, a mother/daughter team of con artists swindles men by making them fall in love.

The Hanging Girl
by Eileen Cook

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

Red Russia
by Tanya Thompson

Trained by circus people to read tarot, she tricks her way through a Russian business deal.

Spellslinger and
Shadowblack and
by Sebastien de Castell
2017, 2017, 2018

In this fantasy series, a wandering woman has learned important lessons which she imparts to the hero. Although not a full con artist, she is definitely a trickster.

The Collector's Apprentice
by B.A. Shapiro

The story of an honest woman whose entire family is tricked by a con artist. But she learns his methods, and plays a very long con.

The Death of Mrs. Westaway
by Ruth Ware

She's a fake psychic who pretends to be an heiress.

In Her Skin
by Kim Savage

A young con artist pretends to be a missing rich girl, only to find herself surrounded by all sorts of trickery.

Little White Lies
by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

A tough high school girl from the city turns out to be related to some truly rich folks, and she has to do some trickery to navigate her new world.

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

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