Looking for a great new detective series? One of the most satisfying parts of reading crime fiction is getting to know all the detectives. Authors of mysteries, police procedurals, and other crime books have created all sorts of detectives, from by-the-book investigators to wily private eyes. So whether you’re looking to read about classic amateur sleuths like Miss Marple, or the best detectives in contemporary crime fiction, such as Alex Cross and Harry Hole, you’re sure to find a series to fall in love with on this list.
Sherlock Holmes is undoubtedly one of the most famous fictional detectives of all time. A Study in Scarlet is the first Sherlock Holmes story that Doyle published in 1887. This is where Dr. Watson first meets Holmes, moving into the iconic flat at 221 Baker Street. A must-read for fans of detective books, this clever murder mystery, and Holmes's remarkable deductive ability, set the stage for many classic crime books to come.
Related: The Appeal of Sherlock Holmes
Dr. Alex Cross is a forensic psychology specialist, working for the DC police, and later as an FBI agent. Every novel in the Alex Cross series features a standalone mystery. In Deadly Cross, Alex investigates a double homicide: Georgetown socialite Kay Willingham and the head of a DC private school are shot point-blank in a car parked behind the school. When Alex and his colleague did into Kay's past, they find corruption, deceit, and a whole lot of danger. If you can't get enough of Alex's wily detective skills, you'll also want to look out for Fear No Evil, the latest in the series, coming out this fall.
Few mystery writers are as beloved as Agatha Christie. Though many were published nearly a century ago, her stories still delight readers today. Murder on the Orient Express features Hercule Poirot, one of Christie's most well-known and well-loved detectives. When an American businessman is murdered in the dead of night on a snowbound train, it's up to Poirot to unravel the mystery before someone else winds up dead.
The Bat is the first novel in Norweigan novelist Jo Nesbo's popular Harry Hole series. Harry Hole is a detective with the Oslo crime squad. He's sent to Sydney to observe a murder case and offer suggestions, though he's told not to get involved. But that's not Harry's style, and he ends up befriending one of the detectives, as well as one of the witnesses. One thing leads to another and soon Harry finds himself chasing a serial killer across the country. This fast-paced crime romp is a great introduction to the ever-cunning Harry Hole.
Walter Mosley is one of the best crime writers working today, and Easy Rawlins is a detective for the ages. He's a Black private investigator who's finally set up his own office; his quick wit, professional acumen, and love for his family come through in every installment. Set in Southern California in 1969, Blood Grove finds Rawlins working a complicated case. A white Vietnam war vet comes to him for help after he and his lover were attacked in a citrus grove. Rawlins senses trouble, and he has enough of that on his hands with the sudden appearance of his adopted daughter's uncle. But as is often the case, his personal and professional life collide—with surprising consequences.
Agatha Christie's famous detective Miss Marple is a household name, and for good reason. She's resourceful and cunning and always manages to solve a mystery while the police are still scratching their heads. The Murder at the Vicarage is the first of thirteen Miss Marple books. When a Colonel is murdered in a small English village, it seems that everyone has a motive. But that doesn't stop Miss Marple from getting to work and deftly solving the case.
Special Agent Pendergast is the star of Preston Child's Pendergast novels. Known for being a polyglot who's teeming in Southern charm and an aura of aloofness, Pendergast travels to investigate some of the most bizarre and intrigue cases the FBI has to offer. In the latest Pendergast novel, Bloodless, Agent Pendergast faces his most unexpected challenge when bloodless bodies begin to appear in Savannah, GA.
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Eileen Gonzalez is a freelance writer from Connecticut. She has a Master’s degree in communications and years of experience writing about pop culture. She contributes to Book Riot and Foreword Reviews, and she occasionally tweets at @eileen2thestars.