Suggestions for a good series ?

yoyobon_gwFebruary 19, 2014

Jacqueline Winspear's Maisie Dobbs series ( 11 books !) was my absolute favorite series to date. Waiting with eagerness for the 12th book coming out next year.

I tried the "Royal Spyness" books but thought they were a bit too lightweight in terms of the characters and story lines.
Kind of a poor relative to the Winspear series.

I don't care for the Alexander McCall series.

Books with blood and violence, murder and child abduction/abuse are nothing I want to read.

Insipid romances or heart wrenching family situations are off the table too.

So...........*sigh*......anyone have a favorite series that you might suggest for picky reader me?

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I always hesitate to make recommendations but here goes:

David Rosenfelt writes a mystery/thriller series featuring Andy Carpenter, a very wealthy attorney who takes cases only when he feels he must. The series is full of great humor and love of dogs. There usually is a murder somewhere in a mystery/thriller but they aren't of the type where you feel like you are seeing it.

I read or listen to many thriller series books but have never read Maisie Dobbs, which according to Amazon falls in that genre.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2014 at 12:46PM
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I agree with Frances-the David Rosenfelt books are really good and yes they revolve around dogs which I love.

I enjoyed the Elizabeth Peters about Amelia Peabody and archeology in Egypt mostly all taking place before WW1.

The Mother/son team of Charles Todd write two series, one is Bess Crawford which is similar in the time period etc. to Maisie Dobbs. The other series is Insp Ian Rutledge taking place after WW1 both series take place in England.

There are a lot of other series that I follow, but these seem to fit your bill!


    Bookmark   February 19, 2014 at 1:06PM
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I like the Deborah McCrumb books about Kincaid/Gemma. I had read a couple and liked them, so decided I wanted to read them in order. has every book one could ever want, I believe, and there was no shipping fee. They are used but in good shape, and I have the first four. They are not deep, psychological reads, but good mysteries.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2014 at 2:15PM
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...........That last post should have said AbeBooks.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2014 at 2:22PM
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Phyllis, I believe that's Deborah Crombie. I really like those books.

Yoyobon, you might try Charles Finch's series which features "Charles Lenox, a gentleman sleuth, in 1860s London, England."

I like the Cynthia Riggs books. Her heroine is a grandmother on Martha's Vineyard who wears a baseball cap and solves murders.

Others: Susan Wittig Albert's China Bayles books set in the Texas Hill Country; the Billy Boyle books, WWII, by James R. Benn; Simon Brett's Feathering books (England); Laura Childs' teashop series set in Charleston; Jeanne M. Dams' heroine is an older American ex-pat in an English cathedral town; Carola Dunn has a lighthearted between-the-wars series; Hazel Holt; Imogen Robertson; Kate Sedley; I can, of course, go on . . . and on. These books are like eating peanuts for me.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2014 at 7:03PM
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Yoyobon, which McCall Smith series don't you like? He has several. I like the Ladies No 1 best.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2014 at 7:33PM
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I like the Maisie Dobbs' series too, and second Pat's suggestion of the Bess Crawford series.

But my personal favorite is Margaret Frazer's 2 15th century series, Dame Frevisse and Joliffe the Player. Both series turn into extended portraits of the continuing characters, similar to the Maisie Dobbs books. The Frevisse series is longer, and comes to a nice conclusion, and therefore I recommend it be read in order. It begins in the 1430's and ends in 1452, just before the Wars of the Roses (and because of the series, I now know what it was about!) Joliffe shows up in 4 of the Frevisse books, but sadly his story is not complete, because Frazer died last year. Each book includes an author's note where she provides some data from her research to support the book's setting and events. Her characterizations never falter, and the Frevisse books are enhanced by including the viewpoint of a new character for each tale, providing great counterpoint to Frevisse herself.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2014 at 8:16PM
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Thank you all for your insightful recommendations !

    Bookmark   February 20, 2014 at 8:36AM
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yoyo, if you don't dislike historical series set in 'Norman' England/Wales you might enjoy the Cadfael books by Ellis Peters. E P did her homework and the stories are fairly accurate and set mostly in and around the border town of Shrewsbury. I don't think they have to be read in order . .. see list below.
A popular TV series followed. Did it reach the US?

Here is a link that might be useful: Cadfael Series

    Bookmark   February 20, 2014 at 12:07PM
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Yes, that should have been Crombie, Carolyn_Kentucky! Thanks for pointing this out. Guess I was thinking off Sharon McCrumb!

    Bookmark   February 21, 2014 at 10:59AM
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Cheryl thanks for the reminder about Margaret Frazer series. I started to collect the books years ago on your recommendation, but could never find the earlier books in the series and our library didn't carry them.
After checking the books once again, I have found that the early 10 or 12 books are available for the kindle and the library has the rest, so I can finally read the entire series-once again thank you!


    Bookmark   February 21, 2014 at 1:41PM
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I second (or third?) the Deborah Crombie series. I would also recommend very highly Louise Penny's Insp. Gamache series. It is best to start with the first in the series, Still Life, in order to really appreciate the development of the characters and their relationships with one another. If you are looking for a "cozy" type of mystery, try M.C. Beaton's Hamish MacBeth series.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2014 at 4:21PM
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Well the ultimate series, if you are at all interested in British history, is the Morland Series by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles. There are currently 32 books (I think) following one family from the late 1500s to the 1920s, and they are well written and very interesting.
Some other RPers have read these too as I take every opportunity to rave about them.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2014 at 9:27PM
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I have ordered two books to sample and perhaps discover a new series that I will enjoy.....thank you all !

    Bookmark   February 22, 2014 at 4:16PM
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Anyone else a fan of Lyndsey Davis' "Falco the Informer" series? Marcus Didius Falco is a detective (aka informer) working in Rome at the time Vespasian was Emperor. He's a great character, and the background is well researched. Falco, originally a working class person, has a somewhat irreverent attitude to the upper classes and a shrewd mind. The other regular characters really round out the books and you get to feel as if you know them all personally.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2014 at 3:02PM
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Yes Colleen! Good mention. I've read 2 of them and enjoyed Falco. What scrapes he finds himself a part of.

Most of my top 10 favorite series have been mentioned. Copied several new ones. Yipee.

These are from my 2nd top 10. I haven't found it necessary to read them in order.

John Burdett - Sonchai Jitpleecheep books (Bangkok 8) (a little more irreverence)

Tarquin Hall - Vish Puri (portly Indian detective who seeks ways to thwart the diet his wife insists upon) (cozy)

Deryn Lake - apothecary John Rawlings (Georgian murder mysteries with Sir John Fielding) (cozy) (preferred Bruce Alexander's series with Sir John Fielding - blinded London magistrate in the 1700's)

H.R.F. Keating - Inspector Ganesh Ghote

One of my most loved: Tony Hillerman's books.

Veer, we did get the Cadfael series. The books had a quality that wasn't captured by that series. IMO. I watched 2 or 3 episodes and found them claustrophobic.

For a change of pace after some heavy reading I just finished a "good romp" with Lady Georgiana Rannoch in 'Heirs and Graces' by Rhys Bowen. (very cozy). Quite different from Maisie Dobbs but pleasant bedtime stuff.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 4:44AM
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I hated the televised Cadfael series. I love the books, and I really like Derek Jacobi, but I thought he was terribly miscast as Cadfael. As he was supposed to have been a former Crusader, my envisioning of Cadfael was more like John Thaw, for instance.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2014 at 10:30AM
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I just finished the new Leaphorn/Chee mystery by Tony Hillerman's daughter Anne and I loved it. Jim Chee is now married to Bernie Manuelito, although it's been a while since I read the last one by Tony but I don't remember them getting married, and I really like her character. Good mystery.
My all time favorite series is the No. 1 Ladies Detective Series followed closely by Ruth Rendell's Inspector Wexford of which I am anxiously awaiting the latest installment from the library.
I have been casting about for new series and like Deb Chrombie, Kathy Reichs, and Sue Grafton but not obsessively so. So the search goes on for something to be obsessed with!


    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 11:45AM
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Reading the latest Ian Rankin "Rebus" book and really enjoying it. Have all the other Rebus books as well :-) In the TV series made of the books, thought Robbie Coltrane well cast as Rebus, John Hannah less so.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 1:05PM
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I just finished Dead Water in the Shetland series by Ann Cleeves, I find it interesting reading about the differences in their legal system which is different even from the English version.
I thought I heard that there is a TV series based on her books, but we don't get it here, although I have seen her VERA series.


    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 4:33PM
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Colleen, I just finished the Rebus book, too, and enjoyed it more than some of the others. He really is a good guy.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 6:10PM
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You might like Alan Bradley's Flavia De Luce mysteries. Flavia is a 'tween amateur detective and chemistry buff who solves crimes in the English countryside. Flavia's neither precocious nor insipid; think the younger sister in I Capture the Castle.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 9:33PM
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Another good series is the Benjamin January books by Barbara Hambly. They take place in New Orleans, prior to the Civil War. January has lived in Paris and received medical training. Upon the death of his wife, he returns to New Orleans, but life there, for a black person, is very different than it was in Paris.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 11:00AM
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