Crime fiction by women writers across the globe has in recent years begun to explore the position of women detectives within post-feminist cultural contexts, moving away from the explicit refusal of the heterosexual romance plot in earlier feminist ‘hard-boiled’ fiction. In this article, I analyse Hawa Jande Golakai's The Lazarus Effect (2011) and The Score (2015) as part of the tradition of crime fiction by women writers in South Africa. Joining local crime writers such as Angela Makholwa, Golakai not only questions orthodox conceptions of gender and sexuality in traditional iterations of the crime novel, but also combines elements of chick-lit with the crime plot. Reading the archetypal quest structure of the two genres against the background of Sara Ahmed's cultural critique of happiness, I argue that Golakai inventively recasts the recent sub-genre of the chick-lit mystery from the perspective of an Afropolitan detective. Her detective tenaciously undercuts the future-directed happiness script that structures conventional chick-lit and detective novels with their respective focus on finding a fulfilling heterosexual, monogamous romantic relationship, and the resolution of the crime and restoration of order. In this way, the novels defy the frequently assumed apolitical nature of chick-lit texts and also allow us to reimagine the idea of Afropolitanism, outside of its dominant consumerist form, as a critical Afropolitanism that emerges from an openness to be affected by the unhappiness and suffering of others.