I freely admit it: I love series. If I enjoy a book by an author, I want to read more! I like the way characters can develop over the course of a series. Of course, there are pitfalls – sometimes books in a series start to feel the same and the writing gets formulaic. However, I think of series reads as comfort food – you don’t have to do a lot of “deep thinking” and can just sit back and be entertained. So, without further ado, my favorites–
Mrs. Pollifax by Dorothy Gilman — This series centers around a widow who volunteers to work for the CIA. This series began in the 60’s and can be a little dated, but the first five or six novels particularly are a lot of fun.
Leaphorn/Chee by Tony Hillerman — This series is set on the Navajo reservation and revolves around the Navajo police. The two main characters are Jim Chee and Joe Leaphorn. The most interesting thing about these mysteries is all the Indian culture that is incorporated into the stories. The middle books in the series are some of the best.
Amelia Peabody by Elizabeth Peters — Set in Egypt (for the most part) this series follows Amelia Peabody and her husband, Emerson, British archeology enthusiasts. There’s an enjoyable dose of romance and humor, though the mysteries are somewhat preposterous.
Bernie Rhodenbarr by Lawrence Block — If you can get past the fact that the main character is a burglar, this series is a fun one. Bernie is always having to solve the mystery to get himself out of undeserved hot water.
Goldy Bear by Diane Mott Davidson — There are some great recipes in this series revolving around a caterer who always seems to be happening upon murders. This one is set in a mountain town along the front range – fun for me, living in Denver.
A Jane Austen Mystery by Stephanie Barron — For readers who can’t get enough of Jane Austen, here’s a mystery series where Jane is the detective. A little silly, but a fun series nonetheless. Set in historical England, which gives the series a nice ambiance.
Mary Russell by Laurie R. King — A new take on the Sherlock Holmes world, Mary Russell is Sherlock’s young apprentice and eventual love interest. Holmes is older in this series, and the writing is really good. Also, each mystery is set in an entirely different place so there’s lots of interesting background information in each book.
Mitford by Jan Karon — This series follows the life experiences of Father Tim, a minister, as his life changes with the advent of love. Nice picture of a smaller town and there is a wonderful element of faithfulness.
Enchanted, Inc by Shannon Swendson — This is a classic “chick-lit” series with a fantastical twist. Katie can detect magic, though she can’t perform it. Set in New York City, there’s the requisite romantic element. This is quick and fun reading.
Shannara by Terry Brooks — Classic fantasy series, inspired by Lord of the Rings but more accessible.
Thursday Next by Jasper Fforde — This is sort of sci-fi, humor, and fantasy all mixed in one. In the world Mr. Fforde creates, literature and literary figures actually exist in an alternate reality. Can’t really describe it well, but for anyone who loves books, this series feels like an extended inside joke.