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Good Mystery Series for Winter Reading

The Mystery Series I Wandered into Reading

Several mystery series randomly fell into my lap lately, to my great satisfaction. Tired of beginning and rejecting series by other authors, I am delighted to find two that bring me joy. Who doesn’t love Charles Todd’s Inspector Ian Rutledge mysteries? Well, I’ve learned that for some, such is NOT his/her cup of tea, and that I should not assume everyone wants to read what I enjoy. In any case, Inspector Rutledge’s early 20th Century British settings and cases remind me of both Anne Perry’s Thomas Pitt and William Monk series, also set in Great Britain, albeit forty or so years before the Rutledge series. I often listen to books on CD as I cook, clean, walk, drive, or work in the yard, and it just dawned on me that I may like these works because I hear them in the same voice—narrator Simon Prebble’s. I bet that's part of the attraction.

I came by Will Thomas’ Barker and Llewellyn books and Sam Thomas’ The Midwife Mysteries series a few years ago, and somehow those have led me to Alys Clare’s Hawkenlye Mysteries set in England’s King Richard I era, circa the late 12th Century. The 17th Century York and London settings of Sam Thomas’ series is more current than Clare’s, and the 19th Century setting of Will Thomas’ books even more current, closer to that of Todd and Perry. Still, I group the two Thomases with Clare, because of similar writing styles.

It’s the Todd and Clare series that I’m enchanted with lately. I’ve also “read”—listened to on tape—my first Inspector Armand Gamache mystery and am definitely in awe of Louise Penny. Clearly, I come to some authors late—Penny—and revive other authors from the past. Clare’s first Hawkenlye mystery was published in 1999; she’s written sixteen in the series, the last in 2016. That these authors produce multiple mystery series amazes and humbles me.

Ah, my attention and activities rely on happenstance and serendipity—not very methodical, but usually satisfying. I value the freedom and openness that allows or directs such.

One Clare book endorsement quote says, “an author who might just be the next Ellis Peters.” All right readers, what do you know about Ellis Peters? Shall that name go on my informal must read list?

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