Lynn and Cindy: We mystery fans love series. For many of us, it started with Nancy Drew or the Hardy Boys and we’ve happily gone on from there. Series are personal, too: those detectives, amateur or professional, become like friends and we really want to know what they’ll be up to next.
Mystery series for kids have come a long way since Nancy Drew sat behind the wheel of her little blue roadster. Now there is a wealth of choices for young mystery fans and that means that we youth librarians get double the pleasure! So who are your favorite detectives? Give us at least one youth series and one adult series favorite, please. (You can list more if you’re like Lynn and can’t ever choose just one.) It can be old or new, a finished series or one that is ongoing. So whether it’s Miss Moses LoBeau, or Lizbeth Salander, we hope you will play along.
Lynn: I’m a lifelong mystery fan so of course I can’t narrow down my favorites to just two!
For youth, it’s the Enola Holmes series by Nancy Springer (The Case of the Missing Marquess, 2006), the P. K. Pinkerton series by Caroline Lawrence (The Case of the Deadly Desperados, 2012), and the Young Sherlock Holmes series by Andrew Lane (Death Cloud, 2011).
Now for adult reading. I’m currently working my way through the Daisy Dalrymple series by Carola Dunn and love those but I have a real soft spot for Dunn’s wonderful character Eleanor Trewynn from the Cornish series that sadly had only three books (starting with Manna from Hades, 2009). I’d love to see more of the key-losing but sharp-as-a-tack Eleanor (hint hint).
I think my all-time favorite series is from Rex Stout who gave us the quarter-ton, orchid growing, gourmand genius detective Nero Wolf. I discovered Nero and his jack-of-all-trades Archie Goodwin as a kid and still love the books. Every few years I start at the beginning and read them all over again.
I, too, grew up on Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden, and graduated to Lois Duncan when I hit junior high. My favorite youth mystery series detectives are Jonathan Stroud’s ghost-busting Lockwood & Co. team. The teen trio of cocky Anthony Lockwood, curmudgeon researcher George Cubbins, and sardonic Lucy Carlyle make the series so much fun to follow. The Screaming Staircase (2013) is a great launch to this series (three books so far) offering a mystery with supernatural elements, horror, and snarky humor. What’s not to love?
As a teen I devoured the Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine (celebrating its seventy-fifth anniversary this year!) and I should probably return to that for short adult mystery fixes. I don’t have much time to binge on adult books, but for a while I was a devoted fan of Patricia Cornwell’s Kay Scarpetta series that debuted in 1990 with Postmortem. I’m not sure whether it was Scarpetta’s medical examiner role (Quincy, M.E. with Jack Klugman was a favorite TV show of mine) or her Italian cooking, but I followed Kay for years.