Get hooked on a new mystery series with these 10 addicting audiobooks

Get hooked on a new mystery series with these 10 addicting audiobooks

Readers, I’m always on the lookout for my next great audiobook, but choosing how to spend my credits each month can feel a little daunting. I want to download a book I’ll love, one that makes me run an extra block or—dare I say—look forward to doing a load of laundry. I know I’m not alone, so I’m planning to to share more of my favorite listening experiences on the blog to help you find just the right audiobook for you

Today I’m sharing ten mystery series that not only feature fabulous voice performances, but also provide hours upon hours of listening material. For me, police procedural mysteries work well on audio because they tend to be more HSP-friendly. Even when dealing with grisly crimes, the steady pattern of investigation is reassuring.  No thriller-like scares to make me jump in my earbuds, please. 

Compelling characters truly make these series worth listening to. Once you get to know the investigators, you simply must keep listening to find out what happens next. These addicting, well-written procedurals are worth using up a monthly audiobook credit or placing a hold in your library’s audiobook app.

The Likeness

The Likeness

Author:

In the second of Tana French's Dublin Murder Squad series, which can be read in any order, detective Cassie Maddux is pulled off her current beat and sent to investigate a murder. When she arrives at the scene, she finds the victim looks just like her, and—even more creepy—she was using an alias that Cassie used in a previous case. The victim was a student, and her boss talks her into trying to crack the case by impersonating her, explaining to her friends that she survived the attempted murder. The victim lived with four other students in a strangely intimate, isolated setting, and as Cassie gets to know them, liking them almost in spite of herself, her boundaries—and loyalties—begin to blur. A taut psychological thriller that keeps you guessing till the end.

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Still Life (Chief Inspector Gamache Mysteries, No. 1)

Still Life (Chief Inspector Gamache Mysteries, No. 1)

Author:
The first installment in Penny’s Inspector Gamache mysteries, Still Life introduces Chief Inspector Armand Gamache as he investigates a murder in the small town of Three Pines, Quebec. Three Pines is the kind of place where people don’t even lock their doors. Serene small town life is disrupted when a beloved local woman is found in the woods with an arrow shot through her heart. The locals believe it must be a hunting accident, but the police inspector senses something is off. The story is constructed as a classic whodunit but it feels like anything but, with its deliberate pacing, dry wit, and lyrical writing. I love this series in any format, but the audiobooks are especially entertaining. More info →
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie

Author:

Flavia de Luce is a precocious 11 year-old chemist and amateur sleuth. In the summer of 1950, she finds a dead bird on the doorstep of her family's crumbling manor house, a stamp affixed to its beak. Later that day, she comes across a dead man in the garden. For Flavia, these mysterious events are both frightening and exciting. She says, "I wish I could say I was afraid, but I wasn't. Quite the contrary. This was by far the most interesting thing that had ever happened to me in my entire life." Thus follows her investigation, a delightful coming-of-age mystery starring one of the most charming heroines ever written. This series is FABULOUS on audio; narrated by Jayne Entwistle.

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Murder on the Orient Express

Murder on the Orient Express

Author:
It was supposed to be the perfect crime. But an avalanche stops the Orient Express in its tracks just before a passenger is found murdered in his berth, foiling the perpetrator's getaway, and trapping 13 potential suspects—each with an airtight alibi—in the train car with Inspector Hercule Poirot. These crime classics are excellent on audio, especially when narrated by Dan Stevens. This one is a great place to start, but I also recommend And Then There Were None and Death on the Nile. More info →
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Maisie Dobbs (Maisie Dobbs Mysteries Series Book 1)

Maisie Dobbs (Maisie Dobbs Mysteries Series Book 1)

Meet Maisie Dobbs as she trades wartime nursing for her own private investigation practice at the end of WWI. Her first case appears to be run-of-the-mill infidelity, but something tells her to look deeper. When she finds disturbing secrets connected to the Great War, she is forced to confront her own trauma in order to solve the case. Maisie’s strong empathy and nurse’s training make her uniquely suited to detective work, and learning more about her is just as delightful as following the mystery. The narration on this series is stellar, and it’s so bingeable. Each book tackles a new aspect of WWI and includes a compelling character arc. More info →
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The Cuckoo’s Calling (Cormoran Strike Book 1)

The Cuckoo’s Calling (Cormoran Strike Book 1)

In this murder mystery, British detective Cormoran Strike and his trusty sidekick Robin Ellacott investigate a supermodel's suspicious suicide. I found the plot compellingly twisty, the characters interesting, the rapport between the two investigators my favorite part. Great dialogue translates so well on audio! I was leery about this one at first because of the HSP factor, but aside from a few brief descriptions of the crime scene (and a whole lot of f-bombs) it was fine. The next books in the series are more grisly and descriptive, so sensitive readers take caution. (I did A LOT of skimming over the gory parts in books 2 and 3.) J. K. Rowling just announced that she turned in the fifth installment and I can't wait to read it. More info →
Truly Devious: A Mystery

Truly Devious: A Mystery

Author:
Stevie Bell is ready to attend her first year at Ellingham Academy, an exclusive school in Vermont that’s famous for educating the world’s best and brightest. The founder, Albert Ellingham added riddles and mazes throughout the school to create “a place where learning is a game.” Stevie, a self-proclaimed true crime expert, is more interested in solving the puzzle around Albert Ellingham’s family. After opening the school, his wife and daughter were kidnapped. No one has ever solved the famous crime, but Stevie is determined to crack the case. However, in between studying and making friends, Stevie has noticed strange things happening around the school. This layered mystery is perfect for fans of The Mysterious Benedict Society. More info →
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The Unquiet Dead

The Unquiet Dead

Another character-driven, well-plotted mystery that makes for a propulsive listen. These Canadian procedurals center the investigative team of detective Esa Khattak and his assistant Rachel Getty, who are often called upon to investigate crimes in the Muslim community of Toronto, navigating cultural and political divides to do so. I beg you, do NOT read the spoiler-laden reviews of this book, or even the description! I'll just say that the pair is called in to investigate the seemingly accidental death of a wealthy local man, and it slowly becomes apparent that this crime's roots go deeper than the detectives could have dreamed. The series is now five books strong; I've read two so far and am looking forward to catching up with my Libro.fm credits. More info →
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Bluebird, Bluebird

Bluebird, Bluebird

Author:
This series has been sitting on my TBR list for awhile. As a Black Texas Ranger, Darren Matthews has an intricate understanding of racial tensions in East Texas. He’s proud of his roots and his family, but when his loyalty lands him in trouble, he agrees to get out of town and investigate a crime for a friend. He drives up Highway 59 to the town of Lark, where a recent murder has stirred up hatred and history. Described as atmospheric and timely, this series is highly recommended by booksellers on Libro.fm. I’ve heard it ends on a cliffhanger, so you might want to queue up the second book, Heaven, My Home, right away. More info →
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Two Girls Down

Two Girls Down

Author:
I devoured The Janes even though I knew it was the second in the Alice Vega series, but each book stands just fine on its own. I can’t wait to go back and read Two Girls Down. A distraught mother hires bounty hunter Alice Vega to find her missing daughters. After being pushed aside by an underfunded police department, Alice persistently seeks help from Max Caplan, an ex-cop trying to escape his past. Working with few leads and little information, Alice and Max work together to uncover the truth—and find the girls before it’s too late. More info →

Which genre works best for you on audio? I’d love to hear your thoughtsand audiobook recommendationsin the comments. 

P.S. Modern Mrs. Darcy readers can get 3 audiobooks for the price of 1 with Libro.fm—choose an independent bookstore to support when you sign up. Or give Audible a try, and get two free audiobooks of your choosing.

P.P.S. My favorite audiobooks of 2019, 20 extra-long audiobooks so you can get the most out of those credits, and 15 audiobooks that enhance your reading experience. For your convenience, we’ve also gathered these What Should I Read Next episodes for audiobook lovers in this playlist.

Get hooked on a new mystery series with these 10 addicting audiobooks

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79 comments

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  1. Amy says:

    Another great mystery series is The Shetland Island series by Ann Cleeves (good in print or audio, it’s also been turned into a series on BBC). Very strong sense of place and great characters.

  2. Colleen says:

    I have a read all but 3 of these books! Excellent choices! We are heading out on a road trip from South Eastern B.C. Canada to Oceanside, CA…so one of those 3 I haven’t read will be coming with us as an audiobook! Or a “re-read” might happen!

  3. Julie R says:

    Another great mystery series that is the Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes series by Laurie R King – both print and audio are good.

  4. Cindy says:

    We love the Louise Penny series and the Jacqueline Spears and my husband likes the “Robert Galbraith” books. We listen via Audible. Two other series that we REALLY enjoy are Martin Walker’s Bruno, Chief of Police and Charles Todd’s Inspector Rutledge books. There are a lot of Rutledge books (20 maybe?), but we are about to finish the last one. Bluebird Bluebird is in our library, so we might start it next. We lived in Houston for most of our lives, so that should be a fun listen.
    The Bruno series is an absolute delight!!! Takes place in the Perigord / Dordogne area of France. Besides the mysteries, there is always good cooking. There are actually Martin Walker tours in France that go to the various places and villages in his books. Characters develop throughout the series, so best to read in order.

  5. MELISSA says:

    For no-nonsense police/detective procedural books, Michael Connelly’s Harry Bosch series. I have read and/or listened to every one. Then there is the ever wonderful J.D. Robb “In Death” series. The characters and dialogue are a hoot!

    • Tracie says:

      I love Michael Connelly and Harry! I was late to the game but have been slowly working my way through them. I think I’m still on books published in about 2006. I haven’t listened to any of them though. I’ll add JD Robb to my list of audiobooks to check out.

    • I too, love the Harry Bosch series by Michael Connelly. Other great series that I have enjoyed include the cork O’Connor mystery series by William Kent Krueger and the Joe Pickett series by CJ Box. Both of these series were so compelling that I had to binge read both of them.

  6. Kam Hitchcock says:

    I really like the solidity of a book in my hand. But I have been an audio fan for years and even joined Audible recently. I love old fashioned British mysteries, police procedurals or private investigators. I have found many of Catherine Aird’s Calshire Police mysteries on Audible. They have had several readers but my all time favorite is Robin Bailey who is a Shakespearean actor and makes a wonderful Inspector C. D. Sloan who has a very dry wit.

  7. Tracie says:

    Back when books on actual cassette tapes were a thing, my mother and I would listen to Rumpole of the Bailey books. I love a good mystery, especially with some humor thrown in. I was in a lull in my reading life, especially with audio but I dove into the Robert Galbraith books after reading your post about quintessentially British audiobooks. I love a good British accent 🙂 I listened to Cuckoo’s Calling in December and I’m now on the 4th one, I have about 6 hours left on Lethal White and I wish I didn’t have to be at work today! Luckily I haven’t had to wait too long on hold from the library for any of them.

    Truly Devious jumps out from this list as one I’d like to listen to next. Bluebird, Bluebird is also right up there. Too many books, not enough time!

  8. Cecilia says:

    I love the Rebus series by Ian Rankin… it always makes me want to go to Scotland!
    Another great book is White Heat by M.J. McGrath. It is the 1st of a series and it is about an female Inuit hunter named Edie Kiglatuk. I can’t say enough good things about it. And the main victims are not women! I plan on reading the rest of the series this year.

  9. Amanda says:

    Haha… I just started the Unquiet Dead last evening and was lucky that the stars aligned for me to get it in both print and audio from my library. I’m excited to dive in!
    I’m also a big Michael Connolly, Louise Penny and Lee Child fan. Thanks for the list!

  10. Kay Lyn Beauchamp says:

    I read “Still Life” and then quickly started reading the rest of Louise Penny’s Inspector Gamache’s series. All caught up now, I am anxiously awaiting the next one. For a fun, light mystery series, I have tried Rhys Bowen’s Royal Spyness series and Ashley Weaver’s Amory Ames audibles. Love the British accents. I tried to switch up my audibles and these books are great to listen to after listening to a long “heavier” toned book. I drive a lot of work and have found audibles so enjoyable. I feel like I often remember these books better. Thanks for the recommendations.

  11. Frances Maggs says:

    I love the Elly Griffiths books – 2 series, one featuring archaeologist and amateur detective Dr Ruth Galloway, and the Stephens and Mephisto series set in the 50s. ‘The Stranger Diaries’ is a stand-alone story with gothic overtones. The cover information actually put me off, but I decided to read it as I’d read all the other Elly Griffiths books available at the time and was desperate – and I loved it. I’m happy to say there are now another couple out that I haven’t yet read.

    • Lori Quinn says:

      I love the Dr. Ruth Galloway books! Superfast reads, I haven’t listened to them on audio. I haven’t read any of her other books or series.

    • Melyssa says:

      I love the Ruth Galloway series. It is probably my favorite mystery series. I have only read one of the magician series but I’d like to try those on audio.

  12. Cheryl Andre says:

    I have been gobbling up Sheila Connolly’s County Cork mysteries, A Body in the Bog is the first of series. Just finished Just st published #8. Protagonist is poor, South Boston girl going to Ireland to say her Gran’s goodbyes who discovers she has inherited a pub in a tiny village and a stone cottage in nearby hills, where a body is found in the bog near her ancient, new home. I like her writing style and definitely Will go looking for her other series.

    Completely different are the mysteries of Ariana Franklin, beginning with Mistress of the Art of Death in 1171, when Simon of Naples a multilingual Jew, Mansur, a Moor posing as a doctor, and Adelia, a woman and gifted forensicist trained at the Salerno School of Medicine are sent by the King of Sicily to Henry II of England to discovering who is murdering small children in Cambridge. Sequels: the Serpent’s Tale, Grace Goods, and A Murderous Procession.

    Third old series I adore are Ellis Peter’s Brother Cadfael mysteries(23!) set on the Welsh borderlands near Shrewsbury, England when King Stephen and the Empress Matilda are warring to determine who will reign over England. Ex-crusader now herbalist monk, but with an insatiable curiousity and barely controlled wanderlust.

    • Carol Quan says:

      Me too! I like to have an audiobook for driving in the car, exercising at the gym and knitting. I never know what to pick so now I have 10 options after I finish Ready Player One.

  13. Lori Quinn says:

    I have listened to ALL the Inspector Gamache books. It’s the only way to read them! I also love the Cormoron Strike books on audio. I started listening to the Maisy Dobbs book and really didn’t like it at all. I thought she was a bit of a twit. But may have to give it another try. I haven’t read any of the others on the list, but they sound intriguing. I will definitely check them out.

  14. Rebecca Strom says:

    I grew up on Agatha mysteries. Love Jane Marple. Then I met Louise Penny and fell in love again. I enjoy cozy mysteries too. An old short series was “Fax me A Bagel” by Sharon Kahn. A mystery that wasn’t a series but so engaged me and was a fast read was “Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore” by Matthew Sullivan. He did a good job weaving the unexpected. Can’t wait to try some of these out. Thank you.

  15. I love Chief Inspector Gamache on audio, though it was a wrench when the original narrator died. I adore Robert Bathurst, but he just “isn’t” Gamache to me, though I now am used to him. The Unquiet Dead series is going on my TBR.

      • Ruthie says:

        Agreed. I just finished the last (so far) in the Gamache series. Looking for my next book addiction. Glad for all the suggestions in today’s post and comments!

    • Sophie says:

      Not really. The lead in this one was a secondary character in the first one. There are a few details that matter, but I’m fairly certain she incorporates into the story in The Likeness. I have read most of Tana French’s books and the first of the series is probably my least favorite one.

      • Shanna says:

        Based on recommendations here on MMD that it didn’t matter which order you read them in, I started with the 3rd Tana French book (Faithful Place), then went back to the first- In the Woods, of which I read about half then put down. Determined not to give up on the author, as I like Faithful Place, I read The Likeness and loved it, and there were just enough references back to In the Woods, that I went back and finished it to get the whole story. Definitely liked Faithful Place and The Likeness much more than In the Woods!

    • Beth Roth says:

      I think you should because it’ll give you some insight into Cassie’s character. I loved the first book too I have to say!

  16. Liz Wright says:

    Anthony Horowitz’ books are all fabulous as audiobooks. Magpie Murders, along with The Word is Murder and The Sentence is Death. I even enjoyed The House of Silk and I’m not a Sherlock Holmes fan.
    Michael Connelly and John Sandford both have excellent series. Sandford is perfect for when you want something humorous along with a good mystery.

  17. Jennifer Postma says:

    I enjoy listening to non-fiction on audio. I pay more attention than if it’s fiction. For some reason, I can’t focus on fiction on audio as well, especially when I’m driving. Although I did do well with The Dutch House on audio, perhaps because Mr. Tom Hanks was the narrator? 😉

  18. Stefanie Nordstrom says:

    I adore the Flavia de Luce series – especially on audio. The narrator Jayne Entwistle IS Flavia to me. Just the perfect voice. She also narrates Charlie Lovett’s First Impressions and I see she did Lovely War which is on my audio TBR!

  19. Kate B says:

    I absolutely adore Julia Keller’s Bell Elkins series. They are brilliantly written and are a searing portrait of the devastation the opioid epidemic is wreaking in rural West Virginia. Although they are quite different in theme, they remind me of Margaret Maron’s Deborah Knott series because setting is a such a crucial part of the story. The characters are real and flawed and Keller isn’t afraid to take risks with them. Read them in order!!

  20. Lori says:

    I’ve really enjoyed Ellery Adams’s Secret, Book, and Scone Society series (the third book came out a week or so ago). It’s definitely a cozy mystery series which isn’t always my jam, but I’ve really enjoyed the relationships between the women whose friendship circle ends up helping to solve murders in their tiny town. They have their own secrets and challenges, but they learn and grow in believable ways. The audiobook narrator isn’t the best that I’ve heard, but there is something comforting about her voice and she does a pretty good job of differentiating the characters. I think the first book was an Audible daily deal and since then, I’ve only listened to the books. They’re the audio equivalent of page turners; I often don’t want to stop listening!

  21. Molly Pisula says:

    My favorite mystery series on audio is Elizabeth Peters’ Amelia Peabody mysteries. The narrator for most of them is just fantastic, and the books are so enjoyable. Also really love Her Royal Spyness on audio.

  22. Melyssa says:

    I’ve read almost all of these, and I’m especially happy to see The Unquiet Dead on the list. I like that all her books include a human rights angle, so I feel like I learn something at the same time as I follow the mystery. The most recent one, A Deadly Divide, was excellent.

    • Anne says:

      Melyssa, I’m so glad to hear you’ve continued to enjoy the series. (My husband just picked up The Unquiet Dead at the library yesterday for himself!)

  23. Lisa says:

    I am working my way through the Wesley Peterson murder mystery series by Kate Ellis. The first book is The Merchant’s House. The books are set it Devon and involve recent murders alongside a older murder discovered by Wesley’s friend who is a archeologist. I discovered these books while on a trip to Scotland.

  24. Bryn says:

    I have enjoyed both reading and listening to the V.I. Warshawski series by Sara Paretsky. The detective – V.I. Warshawski is a strong female character. The books are based in Chicago and I have found them all fun to read

  25. Darcy says:

    Try Virginia Lanier’s bloodhound mysteries. A search and rescue dog trainer has to solve mysteries. Her personal life adds to the storyline. I loved them. Wish there were more! I believe there were 4 or 5 in series.

  26. Alyssa Holiday says:

    Sara Rosett’s High Society Lady Detective series are very good on audio. “Lighter” detective/mystery stories with a female protagonist, english accented narrator, early 1900’s setting. Very enjoyable!

  27. Maren Breazeale says:

    I was delighted to see Louise Penny’s Inspector Gamache series. I’ve read all the books thus far and cannot wait to read the nextbook, which comes out in June. To those who haven’t entered the world of Three Pines, be prepared to fall in love with all the finely-drawn characters. The plots of the books are wonderfully twisty and the writing is superb. How I wish Three Pines and the Gamaches and all their friends were real – I’d be thrilled to be a part of it all.

    • Debi Morton says:

      I’m pretty sure the next Gamache book actually comes out in September. At least, that’s what Louise Penny said in this month’s newsletter.

  28. Layne says:

    I have been recommending Attica Locke everywhere and am so excited to see her featured here! Pick Bluebird, Bluebird and Heaven, My Home up asap, they are so good. I also listened to a standalone mystery of hers, The Cutting Season, on audio and really enjoyed it. The Unquiet Dead looks right up my alley, can’t wait to check it out.

    • Beth says:

      Loved The Cutting Season! One of my favorite mysteries last year. I’m saving her latest to enjoy on a long road trip or sometime when I need something really good.

  29. Beth says:

    I’ve read and loved most of these but I should try Maisie Dobbs again. The two I haven’t read I have been hesitant to pick up. The Unquiet Dead and The Janes. Are they really not gruesome to listen to? I can handle references to hard things, but listening to them as they happen (I’ve started calling it “open door”) is too much for me sometimes and the descriptions made me worry they might fall into this category.

  30. Michelle says:

    Longmire series by Craig Johnson, The Murder List by Hank Ryan Phillippi, Just One Look by Harlan Coben, Redemption Road by John Hart, and The Poet by Michael Connelly.

  31. Georgia says:

    I’ve been enjoying the Ruth Galloway series by Ely Griffiths, about an archaeologist who gets pulled into investigations. Tim Johnston’s The Current was also amazing.

  32. Kathleen says:

    Agreed! I have very much enjoyed the Inspector Ganache and Maisie Dobbs series, all audiobooks which I have borrowed for free from the library.

  33. Verity says:

    The D.C. Smith investigations by Peter Grainger are fantastic! They are only available on audiobook right now – come on publishers! Intelligent, well written, fantastic characters, interesting plots and no gratuitous nastiness. I’m on book 6 and highly, highly recommend.

  34. Deepa says:

    The Cork O’Connor series by William Kent Krueger is great on audio. David Chandler reads all the books, and other than a little mangling of Ojibwe/Anishinabe words, he does a nice job. As a Minnesotan, I guarantee that you will be transported to Minnesota when listening. Krueger does such a fine job of evoking the small town, the boundary waters, the lakes and the woods. I am only on book 4 and there are 17 or 18? I am enjoying seeing the evolution of the characters, so I highly recommend listening in order even though each book can stand alone.

    • Angela says:

      The Royal Spyness series by Rhys Bowen is addicting. Nice and light. I blew through them all lickety split!! Her Constable Evans series is cute too. I adore cozy mysteries in between hefty literary fiction. Good palate cleansers! 😉

  35. Laura DiIonno says:

    My top 3 automatic-buy authors: Louise Penny, Craig Johnson, Peter Grainger. I’m looking forward to trying some of the authors on your list. Thanks for posting it.

  36. Sara Tajeldin says:

    I read through most of your comments and had to cross off many authors. It seems we read the same books. How about Cara Black and her Aimee LeDuc series set in the various aggrandizement s of Paris;Deanna Rayburn books( which I found on MMD) Veronica Speedwell. LauraChild tea shop mysteries set in Charleston, South Carolina and of course Donna Leon. Happy reading!

  37. Kaitlin says:

    Jane Harper’s Aaron Falk Series is only two books so far, but if you like the recommendations here you’ll really enjoy it. She has a third standalone in the same universe that’s also a great listen.

  38. Karen Frazier says:

    I love Craig Johnson’s series with Walt Longmire as the sheriff of Absaroka County, Wyoming. Alex Grecian’s Scotland Yard’s Murder Squad Series is great, too.

  39. Susan Craig says:

    Great List! I love the Louise Penny series. I am also enjoying Peter Grainger’s DC Smith series (and the continuation, called The Kings Lake series.) The series starts with An Accidental Death. It is better read in order, as the detective and his cohorts develop their relationships over time.

  40. emmaclaire says:

    I have a couple of favorites that I didn’t see mentioned here. Karin Fossum, a Norwegian author, writes the Inspector Sejer series, which starts with In the Darkness. Sejer reminds me a bit of Inspector Gamache – quiet and thoughtful and more than a match for the bad guys. I’ve read the first eight of them and really enjoy the characters and the setting. Jussi Adler-Olsen’s Department Q series takes place in Denmark and has a great cast of misfit characters. Carl Morck heads up the department after he to exiled there, and he and his gang get stuck with the cold cases nobody else wants to bother with.

  41. Denise says:

    Wondering if you’ve read or listened to Stephen L. Carter’s mysteries.
    The Emperor of Ocean Park is the first.
    A HSP can really enjoy these. =)

  42. Kaylene Swenson says:

    Crimson Lake by Candice Fox is excellent. Characters are full and quirky. Story is compelling and tight. The audio is superb! Great narrator. 3 so far!

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