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Janaki. Janaki was created by Indian author Kamala Sathianadhan and appeared in Detective Janaki (1944).

Janaki is a beautiful, spunky young Indian woman whose spirit is too strong to be shackled by an arranged marriage (though her husband does care for her, and she for him) or by family (her step-mother is quite horrid). She wants what she wants, and some of what she wants is to solve crimes and help people.

* I'm including Janaki in the Best of the Encyclopedia category because it was historically important. Detective Janaki was the first Indian novel with a young Indian woman featured as a detective, but it was also the most popular detective novel of its time to grapple with the Bengal famine of 1943, the corruption of the wealthy, and in general the domestic politics (and to a hidden extent the national and nationalistic politics) of India in the early 1940s. It's a deceptively simply novel with subtle depths, in other words, and some distance from the great majority of other Indian detective novels of the time. 

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