Sunday, June 08, 2008

Looking for a Good Mystery Series?

I've already admitted that I'm addicted to crime fiction, and I have several mystery series I'm hooked on Big Time! If you're looking for a good mystery series to try, take a look at this list. The cover for the first book in the series is shown, and if you click on it you will be taken to a wonderful website called Fantastic Fiction. All the books in the series will be listed in order, you'll find information about the author, and there will be buying options. This page will be updated as I come across more series that I feel are worth recommending.

If you do choose to give any one of these a try, I'd love to hear about it!

Meet Sheriff Walt Longmire in Craig Johnson's series set in the Big Horn Mountains of Wyoming. The mysteries are strong in this series, but the reason you'll want to read every single one is the wonderful cast of characters!

Meet politically-incorrect Gabriel Du Pré, a Montana cattle brand inspector, in Peter Bowen's winning series. You'll not only get the feel of the wide open spaces, you'll learn about the culture of the Métis Indians and you'll fall in love with the characters!

Meet Harper Connelly in a new mystery series by Charlaine Harris. Struck by lightning as a teenager, Harper can now find dead people and share their last moment on earth. She sees herself as bringing closure both to the deceased and their families, but she's gotten used to be treated like a blood-sucking leech. This is another series with strong mysteries and very interesting characters.

Meet Anna Pigeon in Nevada Barr's long-running series. Anna works for the National Park Service, and each book is set in a different national park. This is one series where I pay as much attention to the setting as I do the characters!

Meet Superintendent Gregory Summers of the Newbury police force in this series by UK writer Susan B. Kelly. This series may be a bit more difficult to get your hands on, but the characterization and plotting is worth it!

Meet Paddy Meehan in a wonderful trilogy of books by Scottish writer Denise Mina. Paddy is a young girl trying to forge a career in journalism at a Glaswegian newspaper. It's not easy because her entire family is against it. Mina is one of my favorite authors, and she has the knack of bringing a "throwaway" character front and center and making the reader care deeply what happens to the person. Another wonderful trilogy she's written is the Garnethill series, also set in Glasgow.

Meet Frank Elder, a retired British Detective Inspector, in this short series by John Harvey. Elder may be retired and living away from his native Nottinghamshire, but that doesn't keep him from solving mysteries. Harvey has also written the acclaimed Charley Resnick series, so he is definitely a mystery writer to check out!

Meet Detective Inspector Joe Faraday in Graham Hurley's excellent series. Joe lives in Portsmouth, England, and knows it well. He's a widower raising a profoundly deaf son, and he doesn't make friends easily. I find his attitude towards the city of Portsmouth, its movers and shakers, and the people he investigates very interesting. My husband was in the Royal Navy and stationed in Portsmouth for a while. He used Google Earth to take me on a tour of "Pompey", and I felt as though Joe Faraday was sitting by my side, too.

Meet Detective Superintendent Duncan Kincaid of Scotland Yard and his partner, Detective Sergeant Gemma James in Crombie's award-winning series. The characterization and plotting are brilliant, and if you're wondering how well a Texan can write books set in British husband is hooked on the series and has only found two very small errors (both probably editorial changes)!

Meet Detective Sergeant Wesley Peterson of the Tradmouth Police in Kate Ellis' page-turning series. Peterson thought that a transfer from London to the bucolic southern coast of England would mean less stress, but he seems to have been wrong. Ellis, an author who's also interested in history and archaeology, skillfully blends two plot lines in each book: one in the present day, and one from a long-ago century. These books are quite addictive!

Meet private enquiry agent Clive Barker and his young assistant, Thomas Llewelyn, in Will Thomas' series set in Victorian London. Very loosely based on Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, I have to say that Thomas adds a dash of James Bond to his depiction of Barker. Llewelyn, naive and with quite an eye for the ladies, is a perfect foil to the mysterious Barker as they pursue villains in the East End of London. Characterization, plot and setting are excellent in this series!

Meet Dr. Siri Paiboun, the 72-year-old state coroner of Laos in this engaging series by Colin Cotterill. Set in 1975, a year after the Communist takeover, this series not only gives us a feel for a different time and culture, but also gives us a taste of the supernatural and an absolutely marvelous cast of characters!

Meet Detective Sergeant Logan McRae in Stuart MacBride's brilliant series set in Aberdeen, Scotland. (Why are there so many wonderful mystery writers in Scotland? Does it have something to do with all the rain?) It always seems to be raining in Aberdeen, and McRae always seems to be in some kind of mess. The violence may be a bit graphic from time to time, but the plotting, the humor, and a wonderful cast of characters more than counterbalance it. I swear I've worked with American versions of the people with whom McRae has to deal!

Meet Jack Taylor, a former member of the Garda (Irish Police) in Galway in this atmospheric, poetic series by Ken Bruen. Bruen's lean prose, plotting and characterization will draw you in until the last page is turned. Jack Taylor may have a drug and alcohol problem, but I have a problem, too: I can't stop reading about him!

Meet Thursday Next in Jasper Fforde's mind-twisting and hilarious series set in a world that never was. Dodos are popular pets, Zeppelins still fly, and Fforde never met a bad pun he didn't like. Thursday works in Jurisfiction, a law enforcement branch that makes sure no one messes with book plots. You see, books are King in this world. Maybe that's why I love visiting so much!

Meet Cochise County Sheriff Joanna Brady in J.A. Jance's series set in Bisbee, Arizona. For setting, this series can't be beat. Jance grew up in Bisbee. I've visited several times, and I know that, if you've read this series, you can make your way around town and recognize most of the sights. The mysteries are first-rate, and the characters are real enough to shake hands with and say, "Howdy!"

Meet the Countess Ashby de la Zouche and her maid, Alpiew, in the best blend of Restoration comedy and crime fiction I've ever seen. Written by an expert in Restoration comedy, this series is a wonderful blend of period detail, characterization, comedy, and...murder!

Meet Laura Winslow, a half Hopi computer hacker and former Ritalin abuser who lives off the grid in various locations within the state of Arizona. Even though she's on the run and avoids personal relationships, she can't stand idly by when someone deserves a good old-fashioned dose of Justice. Author David Cole brings current topics into his strong blend of edgy characters, setting and mystery.

Meet Wiki Coffin, the half-Maori son of a New England sea captain. Wiki is a member of the (real life) U.S. Exploring Expedition in 1838, and as the ships of the expedition travel the seas, Wiki finds himself in the midst of one mystery after another. This series, written by one of the best nautical historians in the world, is a marvelous blend of mystery, history, characterization and sailing lore.


  1. Have you checked out Euro Crime? ( It is a superb site with a database of European (including British) authors, with reviews of many books that are translated into English. Excellent series I can recommend are Andrea Camilleri (Inspector Montablano) and Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo (Martin Beck). I am loving these.

  2. Yes, I have checked out Euro Crime, Maxine. I need to update my blogroll!

    I love Camilleri, too. This page is a work in progress. I have several series that I intend to add. I just need to find the time.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog!

  3. Excellent list! I am so excited to check out new authors...and thrilled to see Jasper Fforde up there. What fun books!

  4. Chris-- I'm glad you like the list. I'm in the middle of revamping and expanding it. :)

  5. Great list! I have read all of Nevada Barr's books and those of Harris. I like Jance. You have several on here I haven't heard of and must go check out!

  6. Sharon-- I'm in the middle of totally revamping this list (and adding more series). I hope I've led you to some wonderful reading!


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