Are you a faithful fan of PI Kinsey Millhone, Sheriff Dan Rhodes, Judge Deborah Knott or reporter Lucy Stone? August brings the latest installments of these four long-running mystery series, each set in a different region of the United States and each now including twenty or more novels.

Curious about the enduring appeal of these series? Start a “mystery” investigation of your own! Find the first book in each series by clicking on the title in the description below.

X GraftonStarting with “A” (A is for Alibi, 1982) and now up to the letter “X,” Sue Grafton’s much-loved “alphabet” mysteries follow the confident, smart-mouthed private eye Kinsey Millhone as she investigates crimes in and around the fictional town of Santa Teresa, California. In X is For…, a professional assignment and a personal favor set the gears of an intricate plot in motion, entangling Kinsey in the lives of fascinating new characters and placing her in the path of a devious serial killer.

crider livingWe first met Sheriff Dan Rhodes of Clearview, Texas back in 1986 in Bill Crider’s Too Late to Die. The 22nd novel in the series, Between the Living and the Dead, matches the the lonely laconic lawman against the local meth trade, his colorful rural neighbors, some runaway animals, and…the paranormal.




long upon maronMargaret Maron’s 20th Deborah Knott mystery adds yet more intricacy and brilliance to her masterly depiction of small-town North Carolina life. The district court judge first introduced in 1992’s The Bootlegger’s Daughter has by now traveled extensively throughout the state, solving crimes in varying locations with her special access to legal information. With each new novel, Maron further explores the relationships between the members of the Knott clan. In Long Upon the Land, the discovery of a dead body on the family farm revives a longstanding feud between the Knotts and the Earps; Deborah’s father and eleven brothers fall suspect and her sheriff’s deputy husband is accused of favoritism in his handling of the case. Meanwhile, Deborah uncovers some surprising — and possibly relevant to the murder investigation — details about her mother’s life as her parents’ courtship began.


candy cornTraveling from California to Texas and North Carolina, we now land in Tinker’s Cove, Maine, the setting for Leslie Meier’s cozy Lucy Stone mysteries. Our newspaper-reporter heroine can’t help but stumble upon murders connected in some way with holiday celebrations. Halloween is the subject of the 22nd novel as Christmas was for the first: Mistletoe Murder (1991). A wayward entry in the Pumpkin Fest’s Pumpkin Catapult Contest crashes open a car trunk to reveal the body of a family friend. And so Lucy’s amateur sleuthing skills are once again put to the test in Candy Corn Murder.

Mystery writer and four-time Agatha Award winner Louise Penny’s seventh book in the Inspector Armand Gamache series, A Trick of the Light, may just be her best yet.  The book follows the same quirky cast of characters who reside in the sleepy village of Three Pines near Montreal, Canada.  Artist and longtime resident Clara Morrow has just reached the pinnacle of her artistic career, a solo exhibition at the Modern Art Museum in Montreal.  The morning after the opening celebration, as Clara is relishing in her triumph, her closest childhood friend, Lillian Dyson, is found strangled in Clara’s serene garden and Clara quickly becomes the prime suspect.

Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, of the Surete du Quebec, and his team are called in to investigate the murder, which has become even more complicated as the Inspector is surrounded by the residents of Three Pines, many who have become friendly with him and his team over the years.  Gamache soon discovers that Clara and Lillian had become estranged after a falling out decades earlier, which moves the investigation in a new direction.  In addition to the murder of Lillian, the story gives the reader a glimpse into the competitive art world and the story is peppered with artists, art critics and museum curators.  Gamache soon learns the true nature of the art world, a place where the competition between enemies and friends can lead to murder.

New to Louise Penny’s mysteries?  Start with the first book in the series, Still Life, which is also a must read and introduces all the residents of Three Pines!