From Miss Marple to Sherlock Holmes, many of the greatest mystery novels act as the playgrounds for brilliant and strong protagonists. This remains true for contemporary mystery books and series, as well. Their intense personalities and sharp intellects augment the intriguing worlds of crime they inhabit. Whether it is a psychological thriller or a classic detective novel, these characters pull you, the reader, into their psyches. This makes mystery novels great for addictive summer reading, akin to ghost stories around the campfire. Luckily, the UGL has a huge collection to choose from, depending on your taste!
Motive: Alex Delaware by Jonathon Kellerman
For a great psychological suspense series, you do not need to look further than Jonathan Kellerman’s Alex Delaware. With a degree in psychology, and numerous published works on psychology and psychopathology, Kellerman understands how to get into the minds of his hero and his villains. Alex Delaware is a forensic psychologist who assists the Los Angeles Police Department in solving crimes. This series is notable for the inclusion of a gay police officer who acts as Delaware’s sidekick. With twenty-eight additions, undertaking this series is a substantial yet fruitful endeavor.
Rizzoli and Isles: The Sinner by Tess Gerritsen
If you have ever flipped through the cable channels – or merely keep up with current television trends – you have probably heard of Rizzoli and Isles, the popular TNT drama about a police detective and a medical examiner who team up to solve crimes. But did you know that the television show is based on a book series by Tess Gerritsen? Gerritsen received a medical degree from Stanford University before starting her writing career. This gives her a unique advantage when tackling the medical side of her thrillers, including accurately portraying medical examiner, Maura Isles. This is a great series to read if you like medical thrillers and if you like books with female protagonists.
Mortal Causes: Inspector Rebus by Ian Rankin
If you enjoy rogue detectives in the vein of Sherlock Holmes, Ian Rankin’s work might work well for you. While studying for his PhD in Scottish literature, Rankin began writing a mystery series that would ultimately turn in the award winning, and very popular, Inspector Rebus series. It chronicles the cynical and deeply flawed Inspector John Rebus. Written in real time, Rebus ages along with the series, growing both in age and wisdom. This is, perhaps, what makes this series so rewarding to return to with each new addition. ITV did a television adaptation of the first thirteen novels in 2000.
The Scent of Death by Andrew Taylor
Interested in historical fiction? In his more recent works, Andrew Taylor expertly interweaves mystery with history. Set in 1778 New York, The Scent of Death chronicles Edward Savill’s adventures as a loyalist in Revolutionary America and the chain of murders that pull him into a dark, secret world that makes him, and the reader, question his preconceptions of loyalty. Taylor does an excellent job of mingling history with crime, emulating an American Gothic style, atmosphere, and plot that culminate in a shocking climax. A must read for anyone who enjoys a historical mystery!
Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear
A historical crime novel? A psychological thriller? A mystery novel with a strong female protagonist? Jacqueline Winspear combines all three when writing her bestselling Maisie Dobbs series. Maisie Dobbs is an orphan who, through a benefactor, receives a degree in psychology before World War One breaks out. Years after the war, she sets up an independent shop as a Psychologist and Investigator. When an ordinary case turns into a multiple murder, Maisie realizes she needs to confront her own troubled past to solve it. This series owes much of its addictive nature to Maisie’s resilient characterization.
You can find these mystery novels and many more at the UGL. So stop in and get lost in a thrilling mystery!