Did you grow up
reading Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys, Agatha Christie and Sherlock Holmes? Then you’re going to want to check out these captivating mystery series, all of which will pull you in from book one. From stories of amateur sleuths to hard-boiled detective novels, these are the kind of series that demand marathon-reading.
These novels draw readers in with an initial whodunnit, but keep them coming back for the rich character development and compelling storytelling. Sure, each installment in a series is another opportunity to solve a juicy murder or uncover a dark and devious secret, but that’s not what really compels a reader to pick up the next book. The best mystery series create worlds that readers want to spend time in, not only for the action and thrills.
There are few things as exciting as finding a new mystery series to get lost in — crime after crime, story after story. Luckily, there are plenty of great ones out there for you to enjoy. So get out your notebook and magnifying glass, and get ready to track down murderers, catch thieves, and solve cases with these 15 page-turning mystery series.
We only include products that have been independently selected by Bustle's editorial team. However, we may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article. 1 Claire DeWitt Mysteries
Come Closer author Sara Gran comes this series, which CNN has hailed as “David Lynch [meets] Raymond Chandler.” The story here centers on a former teen detective, Claire DeWitt, who has relocated from her native Brooklyn to New Orleans. Claire’s methods are unconventional (and inspired by the work of a certain classic French sleuth). At the opening of Claire’s first adventure, Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead, the detective’s mentor has just been murdered, and it’s up to her to find out why. 2 Detective Elouise Norton
In Rachel Howzell Hall’s four-part mystery series, an experienced Los Angeles homicide detective gets partnered with a rookie from Colorado Springs. Lou Norton and Colin Taggert almost always find themselves following two different lines of inquiry when they work a case, but the work gets personal in
Land of Shadows. A young girl’s body has been dumped at the under-construction condo of a billionaire — a billionaire who might be the reason why Lou hasn’t seen her sister in decades. 3 Gethsemane Brown Mysteries
Alexia Gordon’s award-winning series follows musician Gethsemane Brown across the Atlantic to Ireland, where she’s just accepted a job with a boys’ orchestra. As she settles into her new digs, however, Gethsemane discovers she’s not alone in her little cottage. The ghost of the house’s previous owner — a murdered man, falsely accused of killing both himself and his wife — lingers in halls, and he wants Gethsemane’s help in clearing his name.
4 Ice Cream Parlor Mysteries
After returning to her small hometown in Ohio, business school grad Bronwyn — Win, to her friends — takes on the challenging job of renovating and rebooting her parents’ business, Crewse Creamery. The eatery’s not-so-grand opening turns into a nightmare when Win finds the corpse of her father’s nemesis nearby in the snow. With dear old dad facing conviction, Win must hunt for the killer while trying to keep Crewse Creamery afloat.
5 The Invisible Library
If you’re a fantasy reader looking to give mysteries a try, Genevieve Cogman’s expansive Invisible Library series is a great place to start. Cogman’s novels center on Irene, a magic-wielding spy, whose work for the Library consists of traveling to alternate realities to score one-of-a-kind artifacts. At her side is Kai, the handsome dragon shapeshifter, who’s always willing to lend a helping hand. With seven installments already available, and an
eighth book expected in December 2021, The Invisible Library is a captivating mystery series that just keeps right on giving. 6 Lady Sherlock
In this unputdownable series of Victorian mysteries, Sherry Thomas recasts Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s legendary super-sleuth as Charlotte Holmes, Lady Sherlock. The first installment,
A Study in Scarlet Women, follows Charlotte as she works to clear her family’s name in the aftermath of great tragedy and assumes the mantle of Sherlock Holmes for the first time. 7 Maisie Dobbs
Another long-running mystery series, Jacqueline Winspear’s Maisie Dobbs has had 16 adventures so far, and a 17th book,
, is due out in 2022. Set in interwar England, A Sunlit Weapon Maisie Dobbs follows its eponymous heroine as she finishes her military service in France and returns to London, where she plans to set up her own private office. But when Maisie’s first case takes her to a treatment facility for shell-shocked soldiers, will business get too personal? 8 Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries
Bored with her life in London, the Honorable Phryne Fisher lights out for Australia to become a P.I., and life in Melbourne doesn’t disappoint. Her new digs at the swanky Hotel Windsor provide plenty of mysteries for her to solve, and the lively social scene of the roaring ’20s offers more than enough entertainment.
9 The Murderbot Diaries
It was made to protect humans, but all it really wants to do is watch its favorite soap opera — too bad all the murders always seem to find their way to its doorstep. Everyone’s favorite sentient robot has starred in five novellas and one full-length novel, so there’s plenty of Murderbot for you to enjoy.
10 Nanette Hayes Mysteries
Recently rereleased in an all new edition, Charlotte Carter’s beloved mystery series centers on Nan, a jazz busker who finds herself in a sticky situation when a couch-surfing acquaintance dies in her kitchen. Turns out he was an undercover cop, and now his precinct has some hard questions for the woman who gave him a place to sleep.
11 Perveen Mistry
In 1921 Bombay, one of Mistry Law’s clients dies, leaving behind three widows — all of whom make the inexplicable decision to reject their inheritances. Because they live in total seclusion in accordance with Islamic tradition, the wives cannot speak to the head of Mistry Law directly. Thankfully, his Oxford-educated daughter, Perveen, is a lawyer herself, and she wants nothing more than to meet these women face-to face.
12 Rachel Getty and Esa Khattak
Canadian detectives Rachel Getty and Esa Khattak get called to the scene whenever prejudice may be at play. When a man with potential ties to a 1990s Islamophobic genocide is found dead, Khattak sends Rachel in. But the more she searches for Christopher Drayton’s murderer, the more candidates she finds.
13 Singaporean Mysteries
In her twilight years, wealthy widow Rosie Lee opened her own home-cooking restaurant. Now a successful restaurateur, Rosie finds herself playing amateur sleuth when her dinner party is minus one expected guest... and a body turns up in the city. Working together with a reluctant police detective, Rosie sets out to solve the case.
14 Tay-bodal Mysteries
Cherokee author Mardi Oakley Medawar set her historical mystery series in the 1800s-era Kiowa nation. In
Death at Rainy Mountain, healer and amateur sleuth Tay-bodal attends a meeting regarding the death of his people’s leader and the election of another, only to learn that several contenders’ family members have been attacked, leading to distrust among the once-united tribes. Now, he’s in a race against the clock to solve the murders and save his nation. 15 Wrexford & Sloane
Centering on the Regency-era adventures of the scientifically-minded Earl of Wrexford and the political cartoonist Charlotte Sloane (aka A.J. Quill), Andrea Sloane’s series is not to be missed. In their first outing, Lord Wexford and Charlotte are thrust together when he’s implicated in the death of the clergyman with whom he’d been unfriendly for quite some time.