Twig (plantgirl) wrote in stackofbooks,

what are your favorite mystery series?

Like most of you, I'm a voracious reader. I have certain authors who are favorites. Over time they become what I refer to as "comfort authors." You know, for when you aren't feeling well, or you're stressed. You want to read something, but you don't want to have to think to hard, and you want to know the author will take care of you. You want comfort.

A year or two ago, I purged much of my library. Got rid of many of my books. I'll spare you the full discussion about what criteria I used. Let's just say that my comfort authors were kept. You don't want to be having a shitty day, go browse your shelves for something to take your mind off of it, and realize that you don't have it, do you? Here's my list of the mystery authors who made the cut:

Author Series Own them all? Notes?
Nevada Barr ranger Anna Pigeon most I love the settings and the skills described in these books
Janet Evanovich bounty hunter Stephanie Plum all Silly? Sure, but they make me laugh.
Dick Francis mostly stand-alones all Francis is very formulaic, so I don't bother to recommend him to most people. I like the internal struggle his characters usually face, their sense of honor, and the ways they come up with to deal with life.
Elizabeth George Sgt Barbara Havers & Inspector Thomas Lynley all I love these books! So does everyone I've ever convinced to try them. Go read them!
Tony Hillerman Leaphorn & Chee some I used to own more of these. It recently occurred to me that perhaps I got rid of them too hastily. Hillerman does a lovely job of creating a sense of place.
Laurie R. King Kate Martinelli all Lots of people love her Mary Russell series. I really like the first title in that series, and possibly the second. The rest irritate me.
Laurie R. King stand-alones all These are generally darker than either of her series. I think they're wonderful.
John D. MacDonald Travis McGee all Fifteen years ago I made the mistake of getting rid of my complete collection. I'd read them so often I thought I couldn't possibly ever want to read them again. That was silly of me. Earlier this year I finally found a copy of the last title I was missing.
Kathy Reichs forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan most These are a little too graphic to make good comfort books, but I enjoy the technical & geographical knowledge she imparts in them.

I have read many, many more series than this, and stay current with a much longer list of authors. These are just the series I currently consider worth owning. I could stock up on Robert B. Parker, for example. He generally amuses me. However, there are over 30 titles in his Spenser series alone, and the library always has them. There are also other genres that work as comfort books for me. Ursula LeGuin's Earthsea trilogy is high on the list. I also have Jennifer Crusie's romance novels, and some of Suzanne Brockmann's military/romance "Troubleshooter" series.

What authors do you make sure to keep on your shelves?
Tags: favorites, mysteries
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