So you’d like to read an amazing female-authored mystery suspense book series. Where to start? Look no further! We’ve done the hard work for you.
In a genre brimming with talent, ranking the top five mystery book series written by women is no easy task. To make our job easier, we’ve automatically excluded writers that haven’t been active in recent years (move over, Agatha Christie). We also set aside crossover authors, such as paranormal thriller scribe Charlene Harris, in order to focus on the traditional murder mystery genre.
So if you’re new to the genre, look no further. You could do far worse than to start with these five.
Tana French – The Dublin Murder Squad Series
Irish mystery novelist Tana French’s Dublin Murder Squad series is unique to the mystery series genre in that each installment focuses on a single detective in the unit known as the Murder Squad. In addition, her writing is highly evocative and literary in comparison to most police procedurals.
We’re huge French fans, and we’re sure you will be too. You don’t have to start with her debut, In the Woods, but it’s highly recommended that you do.
J.K. Rowling – Writing as Robert Galbraith – The Cormoran Strike Series
Although Rolwing, writing as Robert Galbraith, is only two novels into the series, fans are understandably hoping she has many more planned. Her hero, PI Cormoran Strike, begins the series as a down-on-his-luck private investigator with few clients, a large debt, and as a result of his time in the Afghan war, just one leg.
Things pick up measurably in the second book, when Strike is coming off of his recent success.
Sue Grafton – The Kinsey Millhone Series
Perfect for a beach read, Grafton’s Private Investigator Kinsey Millhone was created by Sue Grafton for her prolific “alphabet mysteries” series of novels. Millhone also appears in a number of short stories written by Grafton.
Grafton’s mystery novels featuring Millhone are set in 1980s Santa Teresa, a fictionalized town based on Santa Barbara, California.
Janet Evanovich – The Stephanie Plum Series
Industry titan Janet Evanovich is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Stephanie Plum series. This female bounty hunter is described by the author as “incredibly average and yet heroic if necessary.”
According to Wikipedia, Evanovich claims the inspiration for Stephanie’s character came after watching Midnight Run starring Charles Grodin and Robert De Niro, adding, “If Mickey Spillane wrote Archie and Veronica, Stephanie would be Betty.”
Patricia Cornwell -The Kay Scarpetta Series
Dr. Kay Scarpetta is best known as the beautiful blonde Chief Medical Examiner for the Commonwealth of Virginia at Richmond. She is also known as one of the top forensic pathologist in the country. Along the way, the series also features FBI Profiler Benton Wesley, Kay’s genius niece Lucy Farinelli, and homicide detective Pete Marino.
Cornwell’s stories are far from groundbreaking, but neither are they predictable. Best of all, they’re incredibly reliable and consistent.