Brought to you thanks to the girls at The Broke and The Bookish
This week on Top Ten Tuesday it’s a ‘Choose-Your-Own-Top-Ten’—that is, there’s no set topic. I may very well have spent the entire week trying to decide between the many glorious Top Ten lists I could come up with, but after recently reading Another Day, Another Dali from the Serena Jones Mystery series by Sandra Orchard (you can read my review here), I got to thinking about my lifelong love of mysteries and thought, “Why not blog about my love affair with bookish crime solvers?”
So today, I’ve gone right back to where my love of crime-solving books started as an ambitious young reader, and traced it through to some of my favourite crime solvers today. In most cases I have only included an image of the first book in the series, so it doesn’t take me a whole week to put this post together! The images link to AmazonAlso, please note these are affiliate links.
~ The Early Years ~
The Famous Five – Enid Blyton
This series really needs no introduction. If you haven’t at least heard of The Famous Five you must have been living under a rock! I not only loved the books; I also loved the TV series produced in the 70s. The best thing is, my kids are now discovering both the books and the TV series and loving them. There also happens to be five of them… 😊
The Three Investigators – Robert Arthur
I loved this series! I lost count of the number of times I read these books; and the number of times I tried to get my younger sisters to sit still so I could read the book aloud to them! 😄 Generally, they lost interest somewhere in the first or second chapter, and I would go on to finish the book myself! I was always very impressed with Jupiter’s ability to nut things out.
Trixie Belden – Julie Campbell
Who remembers Trixie and Honey? I didn’t get to read nearly as many Trixie Belden books as I would have liked. Our library didn’t have many, nor did the local bookstore, and there was no internet to scour—let alone Amazon! Nevertheless, I read the ones I could get my hands on many times.
~ The Middle Years ~
Nancy Drew – Carolyn Keene
Would you believe Nancy Drew first appeared in the 1930s? She’s evolved a bit over the years, including gaining a boyfriend, but all I can remember is how she could do EVERYTHING! Pick a lock with a credit card? No worries. Fly a plane? No worries. Cross country skiing? No worries. Seriously, I started lists of all the skills I would have to acquire if I was going to follow in her footsteps. I may have taken Nancy Drew a little too seriously… 😄
The Hardy Boys – Franklin W. Dixon
If you read Nancy Drew, chances are you knew Frank and Joe Hardy as well. And their friend Chet. And who could forget the housekeeper, Gertrude? I can still remember the book where they got out of a fix because they had taught her Morse code and were able to tap out a message over the phone-line while being held captive. Actually, now I think about it, maybe it was the boys who could fly a plane; not Nancy Drew. Somewhere along the way my lists probably got combined!
I suppose it was inevitable that I would progress to the Queen of Crime. Poirot, (thank you to my mother who eventually corrected my pronunciation!) Miss Marple, Tommy & Tuppence—it didn’t really matter who was solving the mystery, I was hooked. And here’s a true story: One of the first things I did when I registered for eBay was to hunt down hardcover volumes of her novels to build a nearly-complete collection of her novels that looks great on my shelf!
Lord Peter Wimsey – Dorothy L. Sayers
Lord Peter Wimsey is the classic English gentleman detective who solves crimes (usually murders) for his own amusement. He’s a very affable chap and the second son of a Duke, so he has time and money to spare to indulge his… er, whimsy 😊 for solving crime. Strong Poison is one of my favourites because it introduces the woman who eventually becomes his wife (although she’s a tough nut to crack).
~ Now ~
Of course, I’m still a Christie and Sayers fan, but I’ve pretty much outgrown the other books that appear on my list so far. So what are some of my current favourites when I feel the need for crime and mystery? I tend to go for lead characters who are a little out of the ordinary for some reason, either for their character or their skill set or area of expertise:
Drew Farthering – Julianna Deering
Considering my love of Lord Peter Wimsey, it’s little surprise that I’ve taken to the latest English gentleman detective to hit the shelves. I love Drew Farthering and his understated British wit, and this is the book that started it all. Incidentally, the fifth book in this series, Murder on the Moor, releases a week today, on 31 January 2017. I’m excited! You can read my review for the previous release in this series here.
Serena Jones – Sandra Orchard
Serena Jones is an FBI officer who investigates art crimes (fraud, stolen paintings, etc), and if you haven’t read my review for the latest book in this series, you can read it here. This is a lighter series when it comes to crime fiction, and Serena is a fun character to spend time with, colouring the novels with her wry observations.
Gwen Marcey – Carrie Stuart Parks
Gwen Marcey is another character with a rather wry outlook on life, although in her case I think it is part personality, and part necessity. Life has dealt her a few blows, and her history might be a little unbelievable if it wasn’t so close to the author’s own story! Speaking of the author’s own story, Gwen Marcey is a forensic anthropologist and an expert on deception, just like the author. And I love the way this is on display in this series. You can read my review for the most recent release in the series here.
Raleigh Harmon – Sibella Giorello
Raleigh Harmon is a rookie FBI agent, and a forensic geologist. I didn’t even know that was a thing until I read the first book in this series! She’s a complicated character, and I need to read more of the series so I can get more of her story (I’m a bit behind…). But really, I just love that she has such a niche skill. 🙂 And that the stories are great!
Patrick Bowers – Steven James
Speaking of niche skills… how about a geographical profiler? This whole series absolutely enthralled me, but fair warning: it gets gritty at times. The crimes Patrick deals with are not pretty, in particular the serial killer who dogs his steps throughout the series. But Patrick is a fascinating character, and some of the philosophical questions that arise really got me thinking. I also think his step-daughter, Tessa, should have her own series. Hint, hint. 😉
So, how about you? Are you a crime and mystery reader? What are your favourite series?