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Travels as an Armchair Detective: Mysteries with a Sense of Place

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Summer's almost gone, and I haven’t been able to travel very far out of the city, so I’ve been doing the next best thing, vicariously experiencing far flung locales, and occasionally time periods, in the company of some of my favorite sleuths. Enjoy visiting these detectives' beats from your couch, in the park, on a beach, on the  subway, or anywhere else you like to read.

Bruno, Chief of Police
The Périgord, France

Recently, I made a brief but delightful visit to the Périgord region in the southwest of France in the company of Benoit Corrèges, aka Bruno, Chief of Police of the fictional town of Saint Denis. When we first meet Bruno he is surveying his beloved town and preparing to thwart hygiene inspectors from Paris, come to enforce E.U. regulations that do not allow for the sale of home produced cheeses and other regional delicacies at the town’s centuries-old market. The peace of Bruno's tight-knit rural community is soon shattered by the brutal murder of an Algerian war veteran, which might be a modern hate crime or might be rooted much further back in the town’s history. While reading the novel, I could almost taste the Bergerac wine, truffle omelettes, and other Périgord specialties that Bruno, an accomplished cook, prepares for his friends. Martin Walker, the author of the Bruno novels, is an award-winning journalist who spends part of each year in the Périgord, and both his local and political knowledge inform the Bruno, Chief of Police series. After reading, I felt I had not only a sense of the sights, people, history, and flavors of the region, but also some insight into the concerns of the community and into the local, national, and European-level politics at play there today. I look forward to catching up with the rest of the series and to a future physical trip to the Périgord!

Writing about his favorite fictional detectives for the Huffington Post last summer, Martin Walker observed, "But of all the genres, the detective story seems the most durable, perhaps because the tales are less about crime, more about character." He also noted that “Almost as important as the characters is the place.” Like his own character Bruno,  Chief of Police, most of Walker’s  favorite fictional sleuths operate in very distinctive settings, such as Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe in 1940’s Los Angeles, Donna Leon’s Guido Brunetti in Venice, Philip Kerr’s Bernie Gunther in Nazi Berlin, Georges Simenon’s Inspector Maigret in 1930s Paris and Ian Rankin’s Inspector Rebus in Edinburgh, to name a few. Many of Walker's favorite sleuths are also among mine, and looking at his list reminds me of how important setting and cultural and historical insight are when I'm choosing a mystery to read. A good plot, and interesting, well-developed characters are key, but learning something about the history, society, and culture of a place as I’m trying to unravel a mystery along with the detective greatly enhances the reading experience for me. 

After a trip to the Périgord with Bruno, here are twelve more mystery series that will make you feel like you've visited another place and maybe even learned something while you were there:

 

Faceless Killers
Ystad, Sweden

I once met someone who had planned an entire vacation based on the settings of Henning Mankell’s dark and gripping Wallander series. The official Visit Sweden website even includes a section on "Wallander's Ystad" to help you follow in the dour inspector's footsteps. I have yet to travel in Sweden, but after reading the series, I felt almost as if I really had been to Ystad and its envrirons. Kurt Wallander, the obsessive and talented poiceman who is much more successful at solving crimes than tending to his personal relationships, is certainly a complex and memorable character. But one of the aspects of Mankell’s Wallander series that I found most fascinating was the insight into how newly open borders after the breakup of the Soviet Union and increased immigration have affected Swedish society. The Wallander series begins with Faceless Killers, originally published in Swedish in 1991. 

For a detailed look at Scandinavian crime fiction authors, see Jeremy Megraw’s post A Cold Night’s Death.

 

Death at La Fenice
Venice, Italy

Donna Leon’s Guido Brunetti series takes place in Venice, Italy. Commissario Brunetti loves his native city, his family, his wife’s cooking, reading Tacitus on his balcony while sipping a glass of wine or grappa. He hates crime, corruption, and entrenched privilege. While he’s nearly always able to solve the crime, he may not always be able to bring the culprit to justice. These atmospheric and wryly cynical mysteries make you feel like you’re walking the streets (or calle) of Venice with Brunetti . The series begins with Death at La Fenice, originally published in 1991.  Bonus: the descriptions of Brunetti’s meals are so mouthwatering that they inspired a cookbook, published in 2010.

 

 

The Shape of Water
Sicily

Andrea Camilleri’s Inspector Montalbano series, translated by Stephen Sartarelli, is set in the fictional town of Vigàta in southwestern Sicily, which is based on the author’s hometown, Porto Empedocle. The character of Montalbano is a classic,  the honest detective working within a corrupt system, and who, like Brunetti further north in Venice, is something of an epicure. He's also synesthetic, and he's quite moody, as he suffers from meteoropathy. Within the confines of entertaining crime novels, Camilleri manages to comment meaningfully on contemporary issues affecting Sicily and Italy, such as political corruption and the influence of the Mafia, all while conjuring the atmosphere of a Sicilian town by the sea. The series begins with The Shape of Water ,first published in Italian in 1994.

 

Murder in the Marais
Paris

Perhaps a coffee at a Parisian cafe is more to your taste. Private investigator Aimée Leduc lives in a historic and somewhat decrepit apartment right at the center of Paris on the Île St. Louis, but Cara Black’s mystery series takes the reader through many neighborhoods of Paris not on the typical tourist itinerary, such as Belleville and Clichy, as well as frequently visited areas like the Latin Quarter and Monmartre. Aimée’s cases bring her into contact with all echelons of French society, from clandestine immigrants to influential politicians and business leaders. The series begins with Murder in the Marais (1999) .

 

 

The Chalk Circle Man
Paris

The Commissaire Adamsberg novels by Fred Vargas, translated from the French by Siân Reynolds, offer another look at Paris through the eyes of an eccentric police officer, Jean-Baptiste Adamsberg, who does not rely on deductive reasoning alone to solve cases. Adamsberg works in Paris but hails from a small village in the Pyrénées, and his cases sometimes take him to other regions of France, such as Normandy in This Night's Foul Work and The Ghost Riders of Ordebec. Vargas is an archaeologist and historian by training, so in addition to enjoying quirky characters and vivid settings, you will also find yourself learning a bit of Medieval history along the way. The series begins with The Chalk Circle Manoriginally published in French in 1991 .

 

 
Wife of the Gods
Ghana

Kwei Quartey's Darko Dawson series is set in Accra, Ghana, "a city of noise and chaos." Inspector Dawson is one of crime fiction’s devoted family men, not a loner cop. He’s doesn't kowtow to authority or respect political connections, and his investigations take him to the inner city slums of Accra, to a rural village in the Volta region, and to coastal oil rigs at Cape Three Points. in addition to describing the people and places of Ghana in these mysteries, the author provides a glossary to explain important Ghanaian terms and customs to the reader. The series begins with Wife  of the Gods (2009), which examines Trokosi, a system of ritual servitude in which young teenage girls are sent to live with fetish priests to bring good fortune to their families.

 

 
No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency
Botswana

Alexander McCall Smith’s No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series, featuring the wise and kind-hearted Precious Ramotswe, offers gentler mysteries on the whole, with more corruption,  dishonesty, and communication miscues to be dealt with than actual murder. McCall Smith clearly delights in describing the landscape, history, and customs of Botswana and draws his characters with great warmth. I can almost picture the road from Gaborone to Mochudi although I’ve never been there. Who wouldn’t want to have a soothing cup of rooibos tea with Mma Ramotswe? The Series begins with The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency (1998).

 

 

The Silence of the  Rain
Rio De Janeiro

Inspector Espinosa, the philosophizing (his name is no accident), book loving detective created by Luiz Alfredo Garcia-Roza, lives and works in the Copacabana section of Rio. The first book in the series, The Silence of the Rain, introduces the reader to the quirky detective, a divorced cop who lives in an apartment that has been taken over by his books, seems to exist mainly on microwaved meals, and has a tendency to ruminate over his cases and to become romantically interested in some of his female witnesses. The local color, however, is not strongly in evidence until the second book, December Heat, where the the city of Rio de Janeiro is more vividly described, becoming an important presence in the novels. The Silence of the Rain was first published in 1997 in Portuguese, English translation by Benjamin Moser.

 

Death of a  Red Heroine
Shanghai, 1990s

Shanghai born writer and translator Qiu  Xiaolong, who has lived in the United States since 1988, writes the Inspector Chen series set in Shanghai in the 1990s. Chief Inspector Chen Cao, police officer, poet and translator, must navigate the rapidly changing political and economic landscape in China as he works at solving murder cases with the help of Sergeant Yu, a survivor of the Cultural Revolution. The mysteries themselves are almost secondary in these books, which offer a vivid portrait of an entrenched party bureaucracy and a  society in flux, with some prospering and others left behind by new capitalist initiatives. The reader can also savor a taste of China’s literary heritage when Inspector Chen quotes from great classical poets. The series begins with Death of a Red Heroine (2000).

 

 

The Coroner's Lunch
Laos, mid 1970s

Colin Cotterill’s Dr. Siri Paiboun series takes the reader to Laos after the communist takeover in 1975. Retired septuagenarian physician Siri Paiboun is forced to become the nation’s coroner as he is the only qualified person who has not fled or been killed. This eccentric sleuth brings a sense of humor to his work and uses both his forensic and shamanic skills to solve murder cases with the help of his two faithful assistants, Nurse Dtui (Fatty) and developmentally challenged Geung. In addition to evocative descriptions of the people and locales in Laos, Cotteril interweaves political and folk history into these mysteries featuring a charming and unique detective. The series begins with The Coroner’s Lunch (2004).

 

 

Berlin Noir
Berlin, 1930s -  1940s

When we first meet Philip Kerr’s cynical, wisecracking detective Bernie Gunther in March Violets, it’s 1936 in Berlin, and the former police inspector is  trying to make a living as a private investigator without running afoul of the Nazis or completely compromising his humanity, an impossible task. As the series continues in The Pale Criminal, Bernie is forced to join the S.S. although he continues to refuse to register as a member the Nazi party. In A German Requiem, Bernie travels to Vienna in 1947 to conduct an investigation while coping with the personal and national aftermath of war. These three novels comprise Kerr’s original Berlin Noir trilogy, completed in 1991. He returned to the  character in 2006, adding six more novels to the series so far, filling in more of Bernie Gunther's experiences before and after the war.  Bernie’s (or Kerr's) gift for colorful description brings the Berlin of this era darkly yet vividly to life.

 

The Janissary Tree
Istanbul, 19th c

Jason Goodwin’s investigator Yashim solves mysteries for the Ottoman court in mid-19th century Istanbul. Because Yashim is a eunuch, he is allowed access to some forbidden parts of the city, such as the harem, where he discusses cases and borrows French books from the valide sultan, the sultan’s mother. Before creating investigator Yashim, Goodwin wrote a history of the Ottoman Empire, The Lords of the Horizon, and some of this historical knowledge is imparted as Yashim goes about his investigations. The sights and sounds of 19th century Istanbul are lovingly recreated in these engaging mysteries, and the descriptions of Yashim’s cooking will make you want to race to nearest Turkish restaurant. The series begins with The Janissary Tree (2006).

 

Who are your favorite fictonal sleuths and where do they do their detecting? Please share your suggestions for further armchair detective travels below.

Comments

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Favorite Armchair Detecting

Charles Finch's Charles Lenox Victorian mysteries--very like Dorothy Sayers & Agatha Christie; Finch's sleuth is very aristocratic & very genial; no sex; if you like Downton Abbey, you might like this series Tarquin Hall's Vish Puri mysteries--set in modern-day India; full of very funny Indian English & lots of mentions of yummy Indian food; if you liked the non-fiction Beyond the Beautiful Forevers (but this series is more of a cozy-type mystery), you might like this series

Thank you for the suggestions!

I appreciate your sharing some of your favorite detectives with us! Since some of the series I selected for my list can be on the graphic side, the cozier mysteries you suggest offer a nice balance. I love the Charles Lennox Victorian mystery series, too! I see shades of Anthony Trollope's political novels in them as well as the influence of Sayers and Christie that you mentioned, and Victorian London is very much a presence in the Lennox novels. I've been meaning to read Tarquin Hall's Vish Puri mysteries for some time, but hadn't gotten around to them. Thanks to your recommendation, I just downloaded the first book - The Case of the Missing Servant - from the 3M Cloud Library and am looking forward to spending some time in India this weekend.

You already mentioned have

You already mentioned have one of my favorites...Mma Ramotswe. I recently read one of M.C. Beaton's Hamish Macbeth mysteries set in the Scottish Highlands.

Scottish mysteries

Thanks for the suggestion, Melissa! I haven't read any Hamish Macbeth mysteries yet. (What a fun name for a character!) Have you read Alexander McCall Smith's Isabel Dalhousie novels? Labeling them mysteries might be a bit of a stretch, but they offer the same warmth and exploration of culture and ethics that are found in the Mma Ramotswe novels . I'm a big fan of Ian Rankin's Inspector Rebus novels, also set in Edinburgh, which are much darker than either McCall Smith's or M.C. Beaton's books. And Denise Mina is another Scottish noir writer who's on my TBR list... So many great books to read. Does anyone else have any must read Scottish mysteries to recommend?

Scottish writer

Denise Mina is one of my sister's and my favorite writers in this genre. I love this column you've written, by the way, and will work my way through your list this fall.

I love both the Cara Black &

I love both the Cara Black & Martin Walker series & always await their new books with great anticipation. Actually, I think it would be great if Aimme & Bruno could meet -they would make a great couple although Bruno may be too much of a "good guy" for Aimee.

Bruno & Aimée

Sorry, can't see that relationship working. As you say, Bruno is probably too much of a nice guy for Aimée plus there's the where would they live dilemma. Aimée couldn't survive outside of Paris and Bruno would be miserable away from St. Denis. Maybe a summer fling... What are some of your other favorite mystery series?

Aimée and Bruno

Cara Black told us via Twitter that since Bruno cooks and Aimée doesn't, it would be a match made in heaven, but she also noted that there are fewer cafes in the Dordogne than in Paris :-) https://twitter.com/carablack/status/505384443440140288

Mysteries with a sense of place

Good starter list, but there is much, much more. Where to begin? Sara Paretsky's Chicago...Jo Nesbo's Oslo. Louise Penny's Three Pines and Quebec. John Burdett's Bangkok. Asey Mayo's Cape Cod of the 1930s. Charles Willeford, john MacDonald and Carl hiasson do Florida fabulously. Dennis Lehane and Robert Parker's Boston. The Minneapolis of Lucas Davenport, the midtwon Manhattan of Matt Scudder.

Great additions to the list!

Yes, there is much, much more! Thank you for suggesting more great detective series, many set in the U.S. Maybe a domestic armchair travel list would be a good idea.

Mysteries with a sense of place

Good starter list, but there is much, much more. Where to begin? Sara Paretsky's Chicago...Jo Nesbo's Oslo. Louise Penny's Three Pines and Quebec. John Burdett's Bangkok. Asey Mayo's Cape Cod of the 1930s. Charles Willeford, john MacDonald and Carl hiasson do Florida fabulously. Dennis Lehane and Robert Parker's Boston. The Minneapolis of Lucas Davenport, the midtwon Manhattan of Matt Scudder.

Mysteries with sense of place

Don't leave Louise Penny off the list. Armand Gamache, educated at Cambridge, former head of the famed Fr Canadian homicide team, now lives in Three Pines, a hamlet near the Vermont border. Fabulous characters and settings full of the flavor of the setting and culture. Addictive books. JQ

Inspector Gamache

Louise Penny is now at the top of my TBR list. I've been wanting to get to her novels for some time. Thanks!

Lindsey Davis

The Marcus Didius Falco series set in Ancient Rome is a lot of fun, and beautifully written.

Marcus Didius Falco

Thank you for suggesting another series with a great sense of time and place!

Louise Penny's Inspector Gamache series

A wonderful series best read in order. Book 10 was just published and will land as #1 on the NYT list on Sept 14. The stories mostly take place in and around the fictional town of Three Pines located somewhere near Montreal in Quebec. The history, food, and French/English cultural differences are part of the fun.

Another vote for Inspector Gamache!

Thanks for your comment. Can't wait to start series!

Glad to see you post this

Glad to see you post this list of "travel" detectives. I love Camelleri and De Leon, can take or leave Cara Black, Simenon is great, love the M.C. Beaton stuff, of course Dorothy Sayers, Agatha Christie, Ngaio Marsh, Margerie Allingham...too bad more of these aren't available as books from the library, especially the older ones - oh, who can forget Erle Stanley Gardner...now we're not talking travel detectives particularly, just good reads.

Golden Age mysteries

Thanks for your comment! You can't beat the classic mystery writers.

Love the suggestions!

Love the suggestions!

Two additional series

Thank you for these great suggestions. I have read many of them, in particular the Guido Brunetti series by Donna Leon and the Aime Leduc series by Cara Black. I would like to recommend two additional series that I have been reading regularly. One is the Susan Wittig Albert herbal mysteries with China Bayles as the protagonist. They take place in Pecan Springs, Texas. The character development of China Bayles and her surrounding family and friends is absolutely first rate. The first title of the series is Thyme of Death. A second series which takes place in San Francisco is the Sharon McCone series written by Marcia Muller. The first book is I believe Edwin of the Iron Shoes. Well worth reading.

Thank you for the suggestions!

We've starting to build a nice U.S. armchair detective list. Thanks for recommending these series!

Mysteries, noir, detectives, literary (detective) fiction

I would be grossly remiss if I didn't mention my old University of Texas (El Paso) colleague, the detective (hard-boiled, literary) writer, James Crumley ... The Last Good Kiss, Dancing Bear, The Wrong Case, Final Country, The Right Madness. Crumley died too young, a few years ago, but put out an abbreviated oeuvre that is simply top-notch! His PIs - Milo Milodragovitch & C.W. Sughrue - are finely etched characters, tough & flawed, and (mostly) honest & fair (not unlike Philip Marlowe), with all kinds of interests, quirks, blind spots, and odd talents (namely, "specializing" in finding lost people of all backgrounds, descriptions & persuasions who just might not want to be found). Crumley’s fiction is based in Montana, Idaho, Texas & the Rocky Mountain west. Yes, indeed, the novels reflect a regional context & that western context is probed in depth. One reviewer hailed Crumley one of the most influential crime writers of the post-Chandler era." I can't help but to agree. More readers of (detective) fiction should read him; he deserves a significantly wider audience!

James Crumley

Thank you for mentioning James Crumley's so that more of us can discover his work! Your description has made me want to read him.

Mysteries with a sense of place

Louise Penny wins my vote. She's created a place called Three Pines in Canada, near the NY border, where her Inspector Gamache goes to relax, or solves crimes. Her mysteries are beautifully written, carefully crafted and soothing to follow.

Another vote for Inspector Gamache

Thanks for your comment! Louise Penny is a great addition to the list (and a writer I must read immediately!)

detective mysteries with travel

So many good ones! Thanks for the new list. I just finished reading the new Louise Penny Inspector Gamache set in the beautiful province of Quebec. I also recommend Deborah Crombie's Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James novels set in England and Elly Griffiths' Ruth Galloway, who is Head of Forensic Archaeology at the University of North Norfolk in England. I am currently reading a series set in the U.S. south, which can seem foreign to a northerner! The series is written by Margaret Maron with Judge Deborah Knott as sleuth.

Thank you for a nice list of travel mysteries!

Looking forward to checking out your recommendations. Thanks!

Other British Detectives

Banks is located in the beautiful Yorkshire Dales and since Robinson has been writing since the 1980s, a reader gets to live through lots of changes. And what about Elizabeth George's Thomas Lynley books set predominantly in London?

British mysteries

Thanks for the suggestions! i didn't include any mysteries set in England because there are just so many excellent ones to choose from. We need a separate list.

foreign settings of mystery novels

Montreal, Canada is perhaps too close to 42nd and Fifth to be considered as exotic, but Louise Penny's marvelous characters involve us in their lives as few genre characters manage to do. The plots are ingenious to add to the reader's pleasure. But most important, Penny takes us to places in the beautiful province of Quebec that are as interesting and fascinating as any in France itself.

Quebec is the winner!

Thanks for your recommendation! Three Pines seems to be a favorite setting and Louise Penny a favorite author of mystery readers in New York judging by the comments here.

C.J. Sansom's Matthew Shardlake mysteries

This series, which begins with "Dissolution," takes the reader to Tudor England. Sansom blends fact (e.g., the dissolution of the monasteries, Henry VIII's marriages) with well-plotted and well-paced detective fiction. There's a strong sense of time and place at a time when England was in no way "Cool Britannia."

Tudor England

Thanks for your suggestion! Sounds like a great series.

Mystries With a Sense of Place

John Harvey's Charlie Resnik series set in historic Nottingham are enhanced by the protagonist in addition to being an excellent police official is a jazz fan. Another English author, Frank Tallis has had me hooked with his Max Liebermann series set in fin de siecle Vienna.

Favorite Sleuths for Armchair adventures

John Harvey's Charlie Resnik series with the Nottingham police inspector who in addition to being a jazz fan is proud of his Polish heritage are among my favorites - Mr. Harvey's use of language is a delight. Another British author of mystery novels is Frank Tallis - I have been hooked on his Max Liebermann series set in fin de siecle Vienna. Dr. Liebermann is a psychiatrist and student of Dr. Freud. The novels have a rich historic background with characters like Sigmund Freud and Gustave Mahler making appearances.

Nottingham and Vienna

Thank you for adding to the list! I've enjoyed Frank Tallis's Max Lieberman novels and also like Sydney J. Jones's Viennese Mysteries set in the same period. (Who can resist fin de siècle Vienna?) The Charlie Resnik series is new to me. I look forward to checking it out.

armchair mysteries

My favorite is the series by Laura Joh Rowland of the samarai investigator Sano and his wife. My favorite is the Pillow Book of Lady Wisteria. The books also have a mystical element.

Samurai mysteries

Thank you for your recommendation! This is another series I've meant to embark on for a while. One of my colleagues highly recommends Rowland's books for their depiction of late 17th century Japan.

Wonderful list!

Makes me want to start reading them all right now! I dont know where to start first. Ive read the McCall books and they do so take you to a far away place, even if just for a few days.

Enjoy your travels!

Thank you for the kind comment! I hope you'll enjoy whatever you choose to read next.

A Canadian series

Another wonderful series is the Armand Gamache one written by Louise Penny which takes place in Three Pines, Québec. The first in the series is Still Life.

Another vote for Inspector Gamache

Thanks for your recommendation! I can see from the readers' comments that Louise Penny really needs to be on this list. Can't wait to start Still Life.

C.J. Sansom's Matthew Shardlake mysteries

Beginning with "Dissolution," C.J. Sansom's Matthew Shardlake mysteries set in Tudor England masterfully combine fact (e.g., the dissolution of the monasteries, Henry VIII's marital vagaries) and well-plotted and -written fiction. From court spender to London streets' mud-and-muck, Sansom porrtays a time and place that's centuries away from "cool Britannia."

C.J. Sansom's Matthew Shardlake mysteries

Beginning with "Dissolution," C.J. Sansom's Matthew Shardlake mysteries set in Tudor England masterfully combine fact (e.g., the dissolution of the monasteries, Henry VIII's marital vagaries) and well-plotted and -written fiction. From court spender to London streets' mud-and-muck, Sansom porrtays a time and place that's centuries away from "cool Britannia."

more mystery places

I admire the Aaron Elkins series with Gideon Oliver, forensic anthropologist. The books are set in many places where Gideon goes to speak -- offhand I remember Northwest (US) temperate rain forest, Mont-St-Michel on the coast of France, Scottish castle serving as a conference center. In each case the setting is actively involved in the mystery and the solution. Dana Stabenow brings Alaska alive for me in the various settings of the Kate Shugak series. Of the authors you mentioned, I enjoyed the one Colin Cotterell/Dr. Siri Paiboun book that I've read much more than the Taquin Hall/Vish Puri one, although both were terrific in their portrayal of the geography/culture/customs where they were set. I'm an Anglophile of long standing, and agree with the recommendation of the Charles Finch/Charles Lenox. I'd qualify the recommendation for M.C. Beaton/Hamish Macbeth to say there are some weak ones in recent years (and a couple of strong ones, too), with a higher percentage of good ones early. And last, Alexander McCall Smith -- the library gets an Isabel Dalhousie, and I read it as soon as I can get it. I think of them more as novels with continuing characters than mysteries, though.

Dana Stabenow

Thank you for your sharing your recommendations and reviews! A sleuth who travels is a great addition to the list, and I see that we have quite a few Gideon Oliver novels in our eBook collection, so after I've read some Inspector Gamache, I'll give one a try. The Kate Shugak series is another great suggestion. Thanks!

So many wonderful suggestions!

Thanks to all for sharing these great reading recommendations and comments on the books mentioned! Can't wait to start working on Travels as an Armchair Detective, Part 2. Clearly, I need to move Louise Penny's Inspector Gamache up to the very top of my TBR list. And it's great to see some other mysteries in North American settings suggested as well. There are so many terrific mysteries set in England both past and present that that might need to be its own list. Please continue posting suggestions! Thanks and happy reading!

Travels as an Armchair Detective

This was a great article. Thank you for introducing some new writers and locales all with a mystery twist. Have you considered doing a similar article just reviewing Britain and U.S. detective mysteries. For example, the Stephanie Pintoff and Victoria Thompson series that take place in New York City, the Maggie Hope series that take place in England, the Grantchester mysteries and the Oscar Wilde murder mysteries by Gyles Brandreth. I look forward to reading many of the authors you cited.

UK & US lists

Thanks very much for your comment! I'm glad you enjoyed the post, and I think that with the series you've suggested as well as the many others posted in the comments, we've made a good start on a US list and a UK list as well. We could also do a separate list of favorite historical mysteries with a strong sense of time and place since so many have been mentioned. I really enjoy Gyles Brandreth's Oscar Wilde mysteries; love how Wilde and Conan Doyle are cast as Holmes and Watson and his dialogue evokes Wilde so well. Susan Elia MacNeal's Maggie Hope series is wonderful, too, and really conjures the atmosphere of London during WWII, although I was a bit disappointed in the the last. I've been meaning to read Victoria Thompson's Gaslight mysteries forever and will add James Runcie's Grantchester mysteries to my TBR list. Many thanks for the recommendations!

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