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98 Best Detective/Mystery Book Series to Read Next

We asked a book club with over a million members what their favorite detective mystery series are and we’re sharing their answers here.

Our TBR (to-be-read) pile just grew longer with these wonderful series that prodigious readers say are their favorites from the mystery / detective / police procedural genre.

We concentrated on series (and not just individual books) because, as book lovers, it’s always a treat for us to discover a good writer who writes a fantastic story with characters we adore…and then realize that there’s more where that one book came from.

We left out some of the “classics” – Sherlock Holmes, Miss Marple, Hercule Poirot, Perry Mason, Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys – because our main objective in putting this list together is to come up with possibilities for what to read next and it’s very likely most readers will have already read the most well-known mysteries.

The series listed below are mostly arranged in alphabetical order by the name(s) of the main character(s) in the series. We generally used the character’s first name when we sorted the list but make exceptions when the detective’s title has practically become part of their name (e.g., Chief Inspector Gamache, Inspector Lynley, Mrs. Murphy) or when the series is widely better known under a name that’s not the detective’s name (e.g. Thursday Murder Club; Secret, Book, and Scone Society). If you’re looking for your favorite series and you’re not sure under which name it’s listed, using your browser’s search function (Ctrl+F for Google Chrome, for example) will do the trick.

The 15 detective and mystery series that we’ve shortlisted for our own TBR pile are highlighted immediately below. The rest of the 98 are then listed in the section that follows.

1. Adam Dalgliesh series by PD James

Adam Dalgliesh is a Detective Chief Inspector at New Scotland Yard. He is described as a very private and cerebral person and he writes poetry. Set mostly in England, the first book in the series is Cover Her Face. There are 14 books in the series.

2. Amos Decker series by David Baldacci

Amos Decker was a football player who got a severe hit in the head on his first professional game. When he recovered, his brain had been rewired: he now had hyperthymesia and synesthesia. He became a police officer but then his wife and daughter were killed. While working as a private detective months later, he is asked to help solve a mass murder at a local high school and it becomes apparent that it is connected to his family’s murder. There are seven books in the series, starting with Memory Man.

3. Andy Carpenter series by David Rosenfelt

A lawyer who would rather not practice law, Andy Carpenter prefers to pour his time and energy into his dog rescue organization. He solves mysteries with Tara, his golden retriever. There are 27 books in this series, the first of which is Open and Shut.

4. Archie Sheridan series by Chelsea Cain

Archie Sheridan is a detective in Portland who spends years tracking down a female serial killer named Gretchen Lowell. At one point he actually catches him but lets him go, which keeps Sheridan visiting Lowell weekly in jail. The series, which has been described as having “the creepiest serial killer you’ve ever encountered,” has six books, starting with Heartsick.

5. Arly Hanks series by Joan Hess

Arly Hanks is the female chief of police in a small town in Arkansas. She is described as quick-witted and clever. There are 16 books in the series, starting with Malice in Maggody.

6. Atlee Pine series by David Baldacci

Atlee Pine is an FBI Special Agent whose twin sister Mercy’s abduction from their bedroom 30 years prior inspired her chosen career. The prime suspect in the kidnapping is serial killer Daniel James Tor. The first book in the series, Long Road to Mercy, begins with a person going missing in the Grand Canyon.

7. Brighton Mysteries series by Elly Griffiths

Detective Inspector Edgar Stephens was an Oxford student when he was recruited by MI5 into the Magic Men, a special operations group that used illusions and “magic” to trick the enemy during World War II. Now that the war is over, DI Stephens has joined the Brighton police and a case comes up – a girl cut into three pieces in a manner evoking one of his colleague’s magic tricks – that leads him to suspect someone is after the Magic Men themselves. The Zig Zag Girl is the first title in this series of six books, with a seventh on the way. – started and recommended!

8. Cadfael Chronicles series by Ellis Peters (Edith Pargeter)

Brother Cadfael is a Welsh Benedictine monk who entered the monastery after having been a soldier and a sailor. He is a herbalist and a keen observer of human nature and among the monks he is often called upon to be a diplomat, doctor, and detective. He investigates murders in this 20-book series of historical mysteries, starting with A Morbid Taste for Bones. – started and recommended!

9. Captain Gabriel Lacey Regency Mysteries series by Ashley Gardner

Gabriel Lacey, a former officer in the cavalry, comes back burnt out to Regency London. This 16-book series starts with The Hanover Square Affair, in which a young girl may have been kidnapped by a Member of Parliament. Lacy is described as having an impeccable pedigree but socially awkward, with sympathy for people and a strong sense of justice.

10. Charmed Pie Shoppe Mysteries series by Ellery Adams

Ella Mae LaFaye goes back home to Georgia when she catches her husband cheating on her in New York. She sets up a pie shop and discovers that her pies are magical…literally. But when her old rival’s fiancé is found dead, killed with her rolling pin, Ella Mae finds herself embarking on an unexpected side hustle: solving mysteries. The series has five books so far, starting with Pies and Prejudice.

11. Her Royal Spyness series by Rhys Bowen

Lady Victoria Georgiana Charlotte Eugenie is 34th in line to the throne but her family is broke. She leaves Scotland and flees to London, where she devises all sorts of ways to make money, does the odd favor for Scotland Yard, and helps out Her Majesty the Queen with tasks that take her all over England, Europe, and even across the Atlantic to America. There are sixteen books in the series, beginning with Her Royal Spyness.

12. Inspector Lynley series by Elizabeth George

Thomas Lynley is a New Scotland Yard homicide detective but he is also the 8th Earl of Asherton. In the first book, A Great Deliverance, Tommy is paired professionally with Barbara Havers, an unconventional sergeant with a working class background and a chip on her shoulder. In subsequent books, they are often joined by Winston Nkata, a former Brixton gang member of African and Carribean descent whose life turned around through the efforts of a kind black police officer. There are 21 books in the series so far. – started and recommended!

13. Ruth Galloway Mysteries by Elly Griffiths

Dr. Ruth Galloway is a forensic archaeologist who is asked to assist DCI Harry Nelson when all sorts of bones turn up in the Norfolk area where she lives. The first title in this series is The Crossing Places; there are fourteen published books so far. – started and recommended!

14. Sebastian St. Cyr Mystery series by CS Harris

Sebastian St. Cyr is Viscount Devlin, whose experiences in the Napoleonic Wars have left him shattered. In the first book, What Angels Fear, a young woman is found murdered and the evidence points to him. Now he needs to catch the killer and prove his own innocence. There are 17 titles in the series, with an eighteenth coming soon.

15. Secret, Book, and Scone Society series by Ellery Adams

Nora Pennington is a bookstore owner whose special talent is listening to a customer’s stories over a fresh-baked scone and recommending the perfect book to ease the person’s pains and burdens. However, a businessman who had been coming to see her for guidance is found dead by the train tracks. Nora then forms the Secret, Book, and Scone Society, a group of “damaged souls” who learn to find purpose and earn redemption by helping others. There are five books in the series so far – with at least one more on the way – beginning with the first title, The Secret, Book & Scone Society.

83 More Favorite Detective Series

  1. Agatha Raisin series by MC Beaton – a retired advertising executive living in the Cotswolds
  2. Alex Delaware series by Jonathan Kellerman – a forensic psychologist in Los Angeles
  3. Amelia Peabody series by Elizabeth Peters – historical mysteries set mostly in Egypt
  4. Archer series by David Baldacci – World War II veteran who becomes a private investigator
  5. Arkady Renko series by Martin Cruz Smith – Russian detective
  6. Ava Lee series by Ian Hamilton – a martial artist
  7. Bree Taggert series by Melinda Leigh – a homicide detective with a tragic family history
  8. Bruno, Chief of Police series by Martin Walker – a former soldier turned policeman in the village of St. Denis in the South of France
  9. Bryant and May series by Christopher Fowler – a specialist police team, the Peculiar Crimes Unit, investigate cases that could cause major scandal or unrest; detectives Arthur Bryant and John May head a team of “misfits who are just as likely to commit crimes as solve them”
  10. Capital Crimes series by Margaret Truman and Donald Bain – no single main character but has several recurring characters, with all books dealing with murder in the US capital
  11. Cat Who series by Lillian Jackson Braun – beloved series of 29 mystery novels featuring reporter Jim Qwilleran and his two Siamese cats – started and recommended 
  12. Charlie Moon series by James D. Doss – a rancher and police investigator solves mysteries in a series rich in Native American culture
  13. Charlie Parker series by John Connolly – a former NYPD detective tortured by the deaths of his wife and young daughter
  14. Chief Inspector Gamache series by Louise Penny – the beloved chief inspector of the Sûreté du Québec, intelligent and honorable, solves crimes in and out of his hometown of Three Pines – started and recommended
  15. Commissario Guido Brunetti series by Donna Leon – a commissario (detective superintendent) in the Italian state police in Venice – started and recommended
  16. Cormoran Strike series by Robert Galbraith – a private detective who was formerly a Special Investigation Branch investigator solves cases with partner Robin Ellacott
  17. Dave Gurney series by John Verdon – a recently retired NYPD homicide investigator turned private detective
  18. Dave Robicheaux series by James Lee Burke – a deputy sheriff in Louisiana
  19. Detective Jackson series by LJ Sellers – a homicide detective in Oregon
  20. Detective Murdoch series by Maureen Jennings – a detective in late 19th century Toronto
  21. Devlin & Falco series by Debra Webb – partner detectives in Birmingham
  22. DI Callanach books by Helen Fields – a former Interpol investigator with a Scottish father and a French mother joins the Major Investigations Team in Edinburgh
  23. DI Kim Stone series by Angela Marsons
  24. Domestic Diva series by Krista Davis
  25. Dublin Murder Squad Series by Tana French
  26. Elvis Cole and Joe Pike series by Robert Crais – private detectives in Los Angeles
  27. Ericka Foster series by Robert Bryndza – a London detective whose last investigation resulted in the death of her husband
  28. Evan Delaney series by Meg Gardiner
  29. Eve Ronin series by Lee Goldberg – the youngest female homicide detective in the history of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department
  30. Gaius Petreius Ruso series by Ruth Downie – a Roman army medic turned reluctant sleuth solves cases in the days of the Roman empire
  31. Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series by Stieg Larsson
  32. Grant County series by Karin Slaughter – a pediatrician and part-time coroner, her police chief ex-husband, and a young female detective investigate gruesome deaths
  33. Hamish Macbeth series by MC Beaton – a laconic, unambitious, quietly clever constable in the fictional Scottish Highland town of Lochdubh – started and recommended
  34. Hannah Swensen series by Joanne Fluke – a cookie baker turned amateur sleuth
  35. Harbinder Kaur books by Elly Griffiths – a compelling series about a lesbian Sikh police detective – read and recommended
  36. Harry Bosch series by Michael Connelly – an LAPD homicide detective who is a Vietnam war veteran
  37. Harry Hole series by Jo Nesbø – a Norwegian police detective who is brilliant but struggles with alcoholism and depression
  38. Imogen Grey series by Katerina Diamond – a female detective and her partner DS Adrian Miles solve murders in Exeter
  39. In Death series by JD Robb – set slightly in the future, mid-21st century New York City, featuring police lieutenant Eve Dallas and her eventual husband Roarke
  40. Inspector Maigret series by Georges Simenon – a French police detective of the Paris Brigade Criminelle
  41. Invisible Library series by Genevieve Cogman
  42. Jack Reacher series by Lee Child
  43. Jo Beckett series by Meg Gardiner – a forensic psychiatrist in San Francisco
  44. JP Beaumont and Joanna Brady series by JA Jance
  45. Kate Shugak series by Dana Stabenow – a private investigator with Aleut roots formerly with the Anchorage DA solves mysteries in the Alaskan far north
  46. Kinsey Millhone series by Sue Grafton – a former cop sets up her own private detective agency in California
  47. Kurt Wallander series by Henning Mankell – a Swedish police inspector who is also a great opera fan
  48. Leaphorn and Chee series by Tony Hillerman – Navajo tribal police officers
  49. Lincoln Rhyme series by Jeffery Deaver – a quadriplegic forensic criminalist
  50. Lucas Davenport (Prey) series by John Sandford – a detective with the Minneapolis Police Department
  51. Maeve Kerrigan series by Jane Casey – an ambitious detective constable whose empathy her male colleagues believe makes her weak
  52. Manny Tanno series by CM Wendelboe – a Native American (Lakota) FBI Special Agent
  53. Marcus Didius Falco series by Lindsey Davis – historical crime stories set in first century CE Rome
  54. Matilda Darke series by Michael Wood – set in Sheffield, South Yorkshire
  55. Megan Carpenter series by Gregg Olsen – set in Jefferson County
  56. Miss Fortune series by Jana DeLeon – a CIA assassin goes undercover in Sinful, Louisiana and solves mysteries with the help of elderly ladies dubbed locally as The Geritol Mafia
  57. Mrs Murphy series by Rita Mae Brown – a tiger cat (yes, a cat) who solves mysteries with her human, Mary Minor “Harry” Haristeen
  58. Needlecraft Mystery series by Monica Ferris – a needlecraft shop owner in Excelsior, Minnesota who starts solving mysteries when her sister is killed
  59. Nero Wolfe books by Rex Stout – an obese, eccentric, but brilliant armchair detective living in New York City
  60. Odelia Grey series by Sue Ann Jaffarian – a middle-aged, plus-sized amateur sleuth
  61. Peter Ash series by Nick Petrie – an Iraq war veteran
  62. Phryne Fisher series by Kerry Greenwood – an aristocrat and private detective in Melbourne, Australia
  63. Pineapple Port Mysteries series by Amy Vansant – a young female sleuth who grew up in a Florida retirement community
  64. Rebus series by Ian Rankin – a detective in the Lothian and Borders Police force based in Edinburgh
  65. Richard Jury series by Martha Grimes – a chief inspector assisted in solving his cases officially by a hypochondriacal sergeant and unofficially by an earl who “gave up” his title
  66. Rizzoli and Isles series by Tess Gerritsen – a detective and a medical examiner with the Boston Police Department
  67. Rockton/Casey Duncan series by Kelley Armstrong – a homicide detective lying low and living off the grid in the “hidden” city of Rockton in Canada
  68. Roy Grace series by Peter James – a Detective Superintendent in Brighton
  69. Scottish Bookshop series by Paige Shelton – an amateur sleuth (and her dog Hector) who investigates crimes involving the antique bookshop she works in, The Cracked Spine
  70. Sean Duffy series by Adrian McKinty – a detective sergeant in 1980s Northern Ireland
  71. Shetland Island Mysteries series by Ann Cleeves – a detective inspector who grew up in Fair Isle solving cases in the Shetland Islands
  72. Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich – a female bounty hunter in New Jersey
  73. Temperance Brennan series by Kathy Reichs – a forensic anthropologist
  74. Thursday Murder Club series by Richard Osman – a ragtag group of four seniors living in a retirement village investigate unsolved murders – read and recommended
  75. Tony Hill and other series by Val McDermid
  76. Tracy Crosswhite series by Robert Dugoni – a homicide detective trying to solve what really happened to her sister
  77. UNSUB series by Meg Gardiner – a Narcotics detective determined to catch the serial killer who ended her father’s police career 20 years earlier
  78. Vampire Files series by PN Elrod
  79. VI Warshawski series by Sara Paretsky – a private investigator in Chicago
  80. Walt Longmire series by Craig Johnson – a sheriff in Absaroka County, Wyoming
  81. Will Trent series by Karin Slaughter
  82. Winter Black series by Mary Stone – a rookie FBI agent haunted by the murder of her parents and little brother by a serial killer
  83. Wishcraft Mystery series by Heather Blake – a witch in Salem, Massachusetts who can grant others’ wishes finds herself solving murders and other mysteries

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