Recommended Murder Mystery Novel Series Best Murder Mystery Series

Recommended Murder Mystery Novel Series
Best Murder Mystery Series
List by Patti Wood

Agatha Christies – The best of the best murder mystery novelist and if you have not read her you must start now. She has several “Crime Solvers “in her various mysteries including Hercule Poriot. She wrote over 33 novels with this single character and 82 works all together. I read my first of her novels “Halloween” in sixth grade and since then I have read all over her novels short stories and plays many times. Why Didn’t They Ask Evans and They Mysterious Affair at Styles are among her best. By the way she is the most read author in the world. Another, fun fact, is her second husband (in real life) was an archaeologist and she went with him on his expeditions and wrote many of her later novels from her tent in a dessert!

Ann Perry - Victorian mysteries featuring Inspector Monk- Monk is a London policemen who has lost his memory and is trying to hide that fact. I love his love interest the very intelligent and strong character in her own right, Hester who is a nurse who served with Florence Nightingale and his best friend, the lawyer Charles. The books wrestle with moral issues and enlighten you on the realities of poverty, prostitution, inequality, justice, war, health care for the poor, the class system, parliament and more. She has a few other mystery series as well. The best of the Monk series is The Twisted Root. The Twisted Root, “The young man stood in the doorway, his face pale, his fingers clenched on his hat, twisting it around and around."  Her work is amazingly thought provoking and informative so don’t be surprised if you read all of her over 55 books. Here is line from Paragon Walk,   "Inspector Pitt stared down at the girl’s body, and an overwhelming sense of loss soaked through him. He had never known her in life, but he knew and treasured all the things that now she had lost."

Robert Parker’s Spenser series- a private detective in modern day Boston with a girlfriend he loves and honors, and a best friend who is bad ass. The prose is sparse, sharp and often funny. I love the scenes where he cooks dinner for his love and they cuddle with each other and the dog.  I have read all the Spenser books well over 30 and most of his other books.

Donna Leon - The books are set in modern day Venice. The “Commissario” Guide Brunetti has to work around the corrupt and quite broken police and justice system to solve murders. He goes home for lunch and his professor wife fixes dinner for the family and loves to curl up with a book. Prepare yourself, as you will want to cook or find good Italian food after reading any of the descriptions of his meals. I have read over 20 books in this series.

Andrea Camilleri - In this often funny, always delicious series set in Sicily, Inspector Montalbano. He struggles with sleep, his romantic relationships and getting his team to do their work, but, goodness, he eats very well.
Charles Todd -This is actually a s mother-and-son writing team lives in the eastern United States, in North Carolina and Delaware respectively. The best series is set in post-World England and  deal with the cases of Inspector Ian Rutledge, a veteran of the European campaigns who is attempting to pick up the pieces of his Scotland Yard career. However, he must keep his greatest burden a secret: suffering from shell shock, he lives with the constant, cynical, taunting voice of the ghost of Hamish MacLeod, a young Scots soldier he was forced to execute on the battlefield for refusing an order. (Yes, a ghost talks to him throughout the series. They are also the authors of a series about Bess Crawford, a nurse serving in France during World War I. I have read over 30 of this teams novels. The best is the Red Door, but it will only make sense if you have read the other novels.
Ann George - All her books are light and amusing. The main characters are two over sixty sisters from Birmingham who keep running into murders. I met the lovely author at a writer’s conference in Birmingham. Strange that a murder Mystery can make you laugh, but this book does. Series Murder Carries a Torch.  New York: Harper Collins Publishers, 2000.
Diane Mott Davis -The main character in Mott Davidson's novels is Goldy Schulz, a small town caterer who also solves murder mysteries in her spare time. At the start of the series, Goldy is a recently divorced mother with a young son trying to make a living as a caterer in the fictional town of Aspen Meadow, CO. I really like that Goldy has a son, she truly take care of and eventually a happy healthy marriage. A happy family life is unusual for a crime solver in the murder mystery genre. As the series progresses, new characters are introduced that change Goldy's professional and personal life. I have read all 17 of Goldy books. I love that she has tons of coffee and chocolate to get through her "murderous" days.
Alexander McCall Smith - The Number One Ladies Detective Agency features Mama Precious Ramotswe and set in Botswana. Her main character also has a happy family life. I especially love that Precious adopts her children and she loves and respects her husband. The first novel was published in 1998. They are described as a “staggering success” and have sold more than 20 million copies in English editions alone and been translated into 40 languages.” I have read 17 books in this series.
Janice Frost - Loved all of her books. They are like candy bars. The one you will read and then want to talk to someone about it immediately is “Her Husband’s Secret.” Oh my gosh! just order it right now if you like light murder mysteries.
Mary Kay Andrews - is the pen name of American writer Kathy Hogan Trocheck, based in Atlanta, She writes light breezy murder mysteries.
Stuart Woods - His Stone Barrington books are addictive. Stone is a misogynist. He dates strong seemly intelligent women, and beds them with the speed and ease of ordering a cocktail. Stone and his best friend, New York’s Chief of Police eat out at the same restaurant for years but go through women like paper towels.  I am embarrassed to admit I have read all 42 of Wood’s novels, I believe with a desire to understand bad boy men. 
Jasper Fforde - "The Eyre Affair". It is a detective science fantasy novel. Hard to describe as it is more like science fiction that a mystery, but very fun to read.

Patti Wood, MA - The Body Language Expert. For more body language insights go to her website at Check out Patti's website for her new book "SNAP, Making the Most of First Impressions, Body Language and Charisma" at