11 epic crime series
We do love a good, long crime series. There is no better feeling than when you’ve just discovered a new one and know there are plenty more for you to dive into already. We can’t help but feel there’s something satisfying about getting to know a character, following them from book to book and seeing how they develop.
With that in mind, we’ve picked out eleven of our favourite long crime series. Which will you be diving into?
11 epic crime series
Georges Simenon’s Inspector Maigret series
Georges Simenon wrote a staggering seventy-five novels and twenty-eight short stories featuring Inspector Jules Maigret – the gruff, honest, compassionate commissaire of the Paris “Brigade Criminelle”.
The good folks at Penguin Press are currently reissuing these wonderful classic crime novels, and with Rowan Atkinson taking on the character of Maigret for ITV’s new adaptations this year, now is the perfect time to discover the series.
Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot series
Agatha Christie’s first ever murder mystery featured a small, impeccably turned out Belgian detective called Hercule Poirot. A great crime institution was born and luckily for readers he had a long life.
‘He was hardly more than five feet four inches but carried himself with great dignity. His head was exactly the shape of an egg, and he always perched it a little on one side. His moustache was very stiff and military. Even if everything on his face was covered, the tips of moustache and the pink-tipped nose would be visible.’
Donna Leon’s Brunetti series
The first novel in Donna Leon’s brilliant crime series featuring the sharp, intelligent Commissario Guido Brunetti first hit the shelves in 1992, and we’ve loved being transported to the streets of Venice in novel after novel ever since.
The Waters of Eternal Youth came out this year – the twenty-fifth book in the series and Donna Leon will show us just how complex, intriguing and dark Venetian society can be once again.
Ruth Rendell’s Inspector Wexford series
Known for her searing insight into the human condition, Ruth Rendell wrote over sixty novels under many different guises. Her most famous creation is Chief Inspector Reginald Wexford.
Wexford is an intelligent, sensitive, reliable police officer who doesn’t suffer fools gladly. He made his first appearance in Rendell’s debut novel From Doon with Death and then investigated a further twenty-three cases, mainly around his constabulary of Kingsmarkham.
Blonde, Italian, an incredibly hard worker and a complete perfectionist, Scarpetta was inspired by former Virginia Chief Medical Examiner Marcella Farinelli Fierro, MD. Cornwell’s novels have been hugely influential and are thought to be responsible for an increased appreciation of forensics in fiction – both in books and on TV, in shows such as CSI.
James Patterson’s Alex Cross series
It’s possible to populate an entire feature dedicated to the series characters penned by James Patterson but in this instance we’re focusing on the longest running and arguably best-loved of his characters – Alex Cross.
Lee Child’s Jack Reacher series
Last month we revealed the cover for Lee Child’s twenty-first Jack Reacher novel, Night School. Reacher is something of a drifter – an ex-military policeman who roams the country settings wrongs right after his fragmented lifestyle in the military left him unable to settle into civilian society.
They say a Jack Reacher thriller is bought somewhere in the world every twenty seconds. Once you’ve read one, you’ll understand why.
Ian Rankin’s John Rebus series
Ian Rankin is something of a Scottish crime legend, often dubbed the ‘King of Tartan Noir’.
Detective Inspector John Rebus joined the Lothian and Borders Police after resigning from the SAS and suffering a nervous breakdown. Set in Edinburgh, the books show us a darker side of Scottish society. Throughout the series, Rebus battles with crime and corruption as well as internal politics within the force and his own personal problems. It’s compelling stuff.
Michael Connelly’s Harry Bosch series
Detective Hieronymus ‘Harry’ Bosch of the LAPD first appeared in The Black Echo, published in 1992. Bosch is a hard, troubled detective with a difficult background – a quintessential anti-hero who is relentless in his pursuit for the truth.
Bosch is an amalgamation of several real police officers Connelly knew as a police reporter, as well as aspects of fictional detectives that he has loved – including Philip Marlowe, Lew Archer, Dirty Harry Callahan and Frank Bullit.
Margery Allingham’s Albert Campion series
There’s no doubt about it – Albert Campion is a Dead Good favourite. Allegedly first created as a parody of Dorothy L. Sayers’s Lord Peter Wimsey, he features in nineteen novels and six short story collections by classic crime author Margery Allingham.
Campion is an amusing, peculiar and strangely endearing character. He is a resourceful, clever man of authority and action who hides behind a screen of idiocy and unintelligence. Leading to many a regretful criminal underestimating him.
Kathy Reichs’s Temperance Brennan series
Forensic anthropologist Dr Temperance Brennan features in eighteen novels and four short stories, and is the main character in Bones, the TV show inspired by Kathy Reichs’s books.
As a forensic anthropologist herself, you can guarantee Reichs has got the science dead right. In fact she has previously stated that she has undertaken many of Tempe’s experiments herself. They make for fascinating reading.
Found a crime series here to love? Or have one you prefer? Let us know in the comments below!