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My Favorite Mystery Series (Part I)

“Man is a mystery. It needs to be unravelled, and if you spend your whole life unravelling it, don't say that you've wasted time. I am studying that mystery because I want to be a human being.” ― Fyodor Dostoyevsky

It's Mystery Week over on Goodreads (though for some intrepid readers it is mystery week every week;-) And since I consider myself of the latter, I thought it would be fun to compile a few of my favorite mystery series. If there is something I enjoy almost as much as a good mystery, it's a good list, so here goes...

1. I reviewed Elly Griffiths latest book, The Chalk Pit recently, but I cannot write a list of the best mystery series without including hers. The first book is The Crossing Places, introducing the archaeologist Ruth Galloway. She is one of my favorite contemporary fiction characters, very real, clever and thoughtful, if a little salty at times.

2. The Charles Lenox Mysteries by Charles Finch were among the first historical mysteries I read, and by now there are ten in the series, so you have plenty of enjoyment ahead of you. Again, this is, for me at least, a really character-driven series with quality writing and cleverly plotted cases.

3. Vish Puri is a character I won't soon forget, though sadly it's been a few years since a new addition to the series was published. Tarquin Hall created a fabulously entertaining character in Vish Puri, the very best detective in Delhi (or all of India?).

4. Robert Galbraith *cough* started the Cormoran Strike series with a read winner in The Cuckoo's Calling. The story is gripping, the characters engaging, and the next and fourth book in the series will be released later this year!

5. Another favorite is the Lady Emily series by Tasha Alexander. They are part historical fiction and part crime fiction, a mix I find difficult to resist! Alexander really crafts a clever story consistently, and you can binge on eleven published novels in this series already, with the next one published autumn 2017!

6. Jacqueline Winspear is another expert at mixing history and mystery, and her Maisie Dobbs series is one of my favorites. Maisie is an unusual character, and a bit of an enigma herself. As the series progresses, she develops considerably, and though this is not a light-hearted series, it is definitely worth the read.

7. By now you have probably all seen the fabulous Miss Fisher Mysteries on PBS, but the books themselves should not be overlooked. Trust me, I've read all twenty of them. Phryne Fisher is such a memorable character and I wish Kerry Greenwood would publish another book soon!

8. Like Miss Fisher's Mysteries, the TV show, The Agatha Raisin Mysteries have also been recently adapted, and well at that! Still, I would recommend joining dear Aggie and her madcap cohorts in M.C. Beaton's books. There are an astounding twenty-seven, some better than others, but all fun, light (as much as a murder mystery can be) and entertaining (ditto).

9. This series first got me started on historical mysteries, and I still look forward to a new book every year. Victoria Thompson's Gaslight Mysteries are historically so well drawn out and atmospheric, with truly memorable characters who evolve with the stories.

10. Another one of my earlier mysteries are the Joe Sandiland's Mysteries. I really like Joe, who like some of the other characters I've mentioned, feels very real to me, even though we are separated by the time and fiction. A number of the earlier books in the series take place in 1920s India, which is a fascinating setting and Barbara Cleverly descries it so well!

Writing this list, I realized there are so many excellent mystery series, I will have to do a second part. Watch this space, and happy reading!