Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday - 03.10.15

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

Top Ten Series for Readers
Who Enjoy a Good Murder Mystery

While I don't care for suspense, there's nothing I enjoy more than a good whodunit - where the murder is committed off stage and the narrative unfolds as the professional or amateur detective uses his/her powers of detection to determine where guilt lies. It was probably Agatha Christie's Miss Marple who initially hooked me on this genre, but I didn't list her because I've followed most of her stories on the TV screen.

Rather than go with specific books, I've listed mystery series that are among my very favorites, all consisting of numerous books. You'll find an eclectic mix when it comes to location, era, and style; all highly recommended. Not Christian fiction, but clean reads. And each cover links to its page on a wonderful website for mystery lovers called Stop, You're Killing Me!

If you enjoy murder mysteries, have you read from any of these authors or series? Are there others you would recommend?

My 10 15 all-time favorite mystery series (in alphabetical order by author) . . .

M. C. Beaton writes two series that I love:  1) Hamish Macbeth, a police constable in Scotland, and 2) Agatha Raisin, a London advertising retiree living in the Cotswolds, England. Mysteries set in the British Isles are a huge draw for me.

Rhys Bowen has three highly-rated series:  1) Evan Evans, a village constable in Llanfair, Wales; 2) Molly Murphy, an Irish immigrant in early 20th-century who wants to be a private investigator, in New York City; and 3) Lady Georgiana, minor royalty in 1930s England, in the Royal Spyness series.

I love Bill Crider's series that features Dan Rhodes, a laid-back sheriff with a motley crew of deputies, in Blacklin County, Texas.

Deborah Crombie writes another really good English series that is set in London and features Duncan Kincaid, a Scotland Yard superintendent, and Gemma James, a sergeant.

Most everyone is probably familiar with Erle Stanley Gardner and his Perry Mason mysteries. Many have been made into TV movies, but I've actually read most of his books. Absolutely love good court drama!

The strength of Anne George's Southern Sisters mysteries is their characterization and humor. They feature Patricia Anne “Mouse” Hollowell, a retired English teacher, and Mary Alice “Sister” Crane, who out-lived three husbands, in Alabama. Truly southern in style and had me laughing out loud all the way through.

I can't say enough about Elizabeth George's Inspector Lynley series. They are longer, more literary in style, rich characterization . . . These novels grab me emotionally and don't let go. They feature Thomas Lynley, a Scotland Yard inspector and eighth Earl of Asherton, Sergeant Barbara Havers, forensic pathologist Simon Allcourt-St. James, his wife Deborah, and lab assistant Lady Helen Clyde, in London, England.

Tony Hillerman's Native American series is hauntingly beautiful. Great mix of excellent storytelling, characterization, and sense of place. Features Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee, Navajo tribal police officers in the southwest US.

In this series by Faye Kellerman, the mystery plot is great, but I especially enjoy the relationship and spiritual contrast between brash LA detective, Peter Decker, and the young Jewish girl, Rina Lazarus.

Margaret Maron's series features Deborah Knott, a district judge in North Carolina. Lots of southern charm, kinfolk, and humor. Most enjoyable!

Ed McBain's 87th Precinct series just might be the best police procedural of all time. Great ensemble team of detectives with character development throughout.

Louise Penny writes a wonderful series set in the small village of Three Pines in Quebec. Features Armand Gamache, Chief Inspector of the Sûreté du Québec. Almost every book in this series has won an award and a movie was recently made of this first novel, Still Life.

Anne Perry's series features Thomas and Charlotte Pitt, a police inspector and wife in Victorian London, England. Excellent writing, plot, characterization and sense of place.

This series by Peter Robinson features Alan Banks, an Eastvale detective chief inspector, in Yorkshire, England. There's just something about British small-village settings and this one gets into the mind of the detective. Another excellent series.

This series by Georges Simenon features Maigret, a police inspector in Paris, and Madame Maigret, his wife. It didn't take long to fall in love with Inspector Maigret and his deductive method of solving crimes. No violence, just good detective work, humorous at times. The series comes even more alive after watching the movies produced by BBC.


  1. So glad you included Anne George. I could kick myself for not including her on my list too. One of my favorite series. We seem to be on the same wave length again today!

    1. Beckie, I don't think I've ever laughed so much while reading a book as I did with "Murder on a Girls' Night Out." I'd like to read it again, then continue the series. I'm glad to know you enjoy mysteries also.

  2. Ah, the mystery genre - these are my people. You have several of my favorites here: Louise Penny, Anne Perry, Deborah Crombie, Margaret Maron, Tony Hillerman, Elizabeth George. Yes, yes, yes. And you also mentioned one of my favorite website - Stop You're Killing Me. Don't know what I did without that one.

    My top ten is a little different, but always about mysteries/crime novels. Love your list!

    1. We have so much in common with these authors, Kay! And that website - I could literally spend hours there. Loved your post also and left a comment there.

  3. Nice list of books for this week's TTT post!! Here's a link to my TTT post for this week: http://captivatedreader.blogspot.com/2015/03/top-ten-tuesday-ten-books-for-readers.html

    1. I appreciated your list also and left you a note. Thanks for visiting!

  4. I love a good murder mystery!
    New follower :)
    Missie @ A Flurry of Ponderings

    1. Thanks so much for following, Missie! Good to meet another mystery lover.

  5. wow!! These are all new to me! I need to broaden my horizons I guess :-) Thanks for sharing. I always enjoy seeing what others like to read.

    1. Amy, there's just not enough time to read all that we'd like. As much as I love all of these mystery series, it's been a good while since I've read any because of focusing lately on Christian fiction. But I miss them and need to figure out how to work them in again. Thanks for taking the time to comment, Amy.