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Life at the Library

Posted on: October 3, 2018

Our favorite mysteries to celebrate Mystery Series Week

desk with bloody knife and magnifying glass

Mystery Series Week is celebrated annually in the first full week of October. It seems somewhat appropriate to start off the spookiest month of the year recognizing the detectives, sleuths, and sidekicks that we love reading and revisiting in book after book after book. 

In this post, Washington County Library staff recommend five of our favorite mystery series: 

Cormoran Strike mysteries by Robert Galbraith (aka J.K. Rowling)

The new book for this series just came out and I'm so excited! J.K. Rowling is a brilliant writer, whose strength is characterization. This strength plays an integral role in her detective series, giving life to a rough around the edges detective and an assistant who wants to do more than sit at a desk. Personally, I listened to these on audiobook and the reader does a FANTASTIC job. I would start at the beginning with The Cuckoo's Calling, and be warned that the third book, Career of Evil, kept me at the edge of my seat. – Kirsten Redding

Flavia de Luce series by Alan Brady

I'm a huge fan of Flavia de Luce series by Alan Brady. Flavia de Luce starts out as a precocious 11 year old and ages slowly over the series into a precocious young adult. She is a kid chemist that is good at making poisons, which adds humor to the mysteries. The books take place in England during WWII and there are nine novels so far, with one more coming. The first book is Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie. – Bonnie Gilfillan

Ursula Blanchard series by Fiona Buckley

One of my favorite mystery series is the Stephanie Plum series. I discovered another strong female in the Ursula Blanchard series by Fiona Buckley. The books take place during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I when Ursula, a widow, is pulled into court intrigue and asked to spy on behalf of the Queen. The historical descriptions, dialogue, and characters from various walks of life make it an enjoyable read. I have come to love Ursula as much as Stephanie Plum and my other favorite character, Sookie Stackhouse. If you are looking for something different give this series a try. Keep in mind it is not a gentle read, the author knows how to spice it up. – Angie Noyes

Veronica Speedwell series by Deanna Raybourn

Veronica Speedwell is a Victorian-era butterfly collector, scientist, and amateur detective, who gets her start solving mysteries after thwarting her own abduction and attempted murder. In the first book of the series, A Curious Beginning, Veronica connects with a reclusive, bad-tempered (and handsome) natural historian, Stoker Templeton-Vane, trying to understand what in her past might have inspired someone to want to kill her. After solving that mystery, she and Stoker remain close and continue to get commissioned to solve various mysteries. I am a sucker for books about Victorian-era lady detectives, and Veronica is just so, so much fun as a main character and first-person narrator. The narration of these audiobooks by Angele Masters is also stellar. – Kim Ukura

Alfred Hitchcock and The Three Investigators series

I’ve loved supernatural mysteries since my earliest Saturday mornings with Scooby Doo. While Mom was reading Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine I was digging into this series. Jupiter Jones and his friends Bob and Pete solve mysteries including unexplained phenomena. There’s no Daphne or Velma, but I thought I could pretty easily have been named Jupiter myself. The Secret of Terror Castle is the first in this series of books from the 1960s. I haven’t read them since the early ‘80s, so I’m guessing there could be some good lessons on the expectations of gender in the not-so-distant past. – Tracey Van Haaften

Did you know that librarians love to give book recommendations? Browse through our catalog to find a great book, or reach out to a Washington County librarian to get their best suggestion for you. Happy reading!

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