7 series openers to read next after you've burned through all the Louise Penny novels
A Duty to the Dead (Bess Crawford Mysteries Book 1)

A Duty to the Dead (Bess Crawford Mysteries Book 1)

Like Maisie Dobbs, this series features an atmospheric, post-WWI England setting and a wartime nurse turned investigator; with the Bess Crawford series, the author's explicitly wanted to show readers the women's side of The Great War. In this first installment, Bess is determined to fulfill a promise she made to a dying officer, even though she's been sent away from the front with a broken arm. But when she meets the man's family, something feels off—and she soon realizes she's plunged straight into the middle of a web of long-buried secrets. Written by the mother-son writing duo of Caroline and Charles Todd. More info →
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In the Woods (Dublin Murder Squad Book 1)

In the Woods (Dublin Murder Squad Book 1)

This is the first of French's popular Dublin Murder Squad, although the series need not be read in order. Tana French writes an amazing psychological thriller, and her story here is tight, twisty, and unpredictable. The story has two primary threads: one revolves around a psychopath, the other around a supernatural disturbance, and you'll be sucked right into both. The murder is seriously grizzly, the book unputdownable—although be warned: the ending is highly controversial. More info →
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Maisie Dobbs (Maisie Dobbs Mysteries Series Book 1)

Maisie Dobbs (Maisie Dobbs Mysteries Series Book 1)

This is the first installment of the instantly beloved British mystery series set between the wars, and the accents on the audiobooks are to die for. At age 13, Maisie became a maid in London, but when her employer notices Maisie keeps sneaking into the library at night to read philosophy, her employer puts her on the path to Cambridge. When WWI begins, she becomes a nurse, and then a private investigator. This first novel is a strong start to a strong series: read them in order. Compared to the other mysteries on this list, the content here is gentler, and recommended reading for high schoolers. More info →
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The Cuckoo’s Calling (Cormoran Strike Book 1)

The Cuckoo’s Calling (Cormoran Strike Book 1)

I loved this. In this first-rate 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. For Harry Potter fans, there's good news and bad news: Rowling (under the pseudonym Galbraith) still has the touch, but there is nothing to remind you of Harry in these stories. First-rate murder mysteries; highly recommended for Louise Penny fans. Take note: the murders in books 2 and 3 of the series are grisly; Rowling says that the worst nightmares of her life came while writing book 3. More info →
A Share in Death (Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James Book 1)

A Share in Death (Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James Book 1)

This might be my most recommended series for Louise Penny fans; I especially love how, as the series progresses, the Scotland Yard police work is only half the content: in addition to their cases, Crombie devotes considerable ink to her detectives' personal dramas and romantic entanglements. (In other words, read these in order.) This first installment reminds me of Dorothy Sayers: detective Duncan Kincaid happens to be vacationing at his posh cousin's time share when a body is found in the resort pool. The local detective rules suicide, but Kincaid is certain there's more to the story. Highly recommended for mystery-loving Anglophiles. Get caught up now so you're ready when the next installment hits shelves in October 2019. More info →
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Death at La Fenice: A Commissario Brunetti Mystery

Death at La Fenice: A Commissario Brunetti Mystery

Some critics call the Commissario Brunetti mysteries "the next best thing to being in Venice." In this first installment, a renowned opera conductor is found dead in his dressing room, a victim of cyanide poisoning. It's significant that this is a particularly painful way to die. As the investigation unfolds, it's clear the man had a dark past and many enemies, and that the perpetrator wanted to make his victim suffer. But why? Death at La Fenice is an excellent place to begin, but no need to read this series in order. More info →
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A Great Deliverance (Inspector Lynley Book 1)

A Great Deliverance (Inspector Lynley Book 1)

You all keep telling me I'll love Elizabeth George, but I'm intimidated by the TWENTY existing titles—to be read in order. This award-winning series features Scotland Yard members Detective Inspector Thomas Lynley and Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers. These mysteries feature well-developed characters, intricate plots, psychological depth, and a strong sense of place, with much of the action unfolding in the gorgeous English countryside. More info →
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