This probably should have gone up at the beginning of January because that’s when people post their resolutions for the year, but I had covid… and then the flu…and then pneumonia. So my reading resolutions are going up now. I’ll update blog readers monthly with my progress on what books I read and my thoughts about them in a new series called “Reading Round-Up.” Don’t expect stellar progress in January because of the afformented barrage of illnesses. Enough boring backstory; let’s get to the series!
I attempted to pick several genres within the confines of the Golden Age Detective Fiction. There’s the amateur detective, the lawyer, the little little old lady as well as the police procedural, and the gentleman detective represented in the five series.
The Kiyoshi Mitarai Detective Series by Soji Shimada- Amateur sleuth Kiyoshi Mitarai solves fiendish locked room puzzles that have baffled the Japanese police for decades. With magic, dark intrigue, and truly grisly killers, it’s a nice break from the genteel country houses of England. I can’t wait to travel the sloping snow-covered hills and tip-toe up the spiral staircases of rural Japan to unravel bizarre mysteries. As a massive fan of 193’s Japanese locked room mysteries, I think this series will be right up my alley. With only two books, The Tokyo Zodiac Killers, and Murder in the Crooked House, currently translated into English, this is a short time commitment with a high payoff.
The Perry Mason Series by Erle Stanley Gardner- Does this series take up an entire bookcase in my office? Yes. Have I read any of the Perry Mason books? No. As my husband’s favorite mystery series, whenever I crack open these stories, my husband swoops in from where ever he’s lurking in the house to excitedly recount every detail of the book and then make sure we watch the corresponding episode. Hence, while I’ve never read any of these books- I feel like I have. However, when I was ill with Covid at the beginning of 2023, I read the first mystery, The Case of the Velvet Claws, while he was at work, and I loved it. I am embracing my husband’s love of Perry Mason; it gives us something new to share. I’m not planning to finish all 57 books this year, but when I don’t know what to read, Perry Mason is there like a faithful friend.
The Miss Silver Series by Patricia Wentworth. I read Grey Mask and am obsessed with governess turned amateur detective. Having read all the Miss Marple mysteries in 2020, I wanted to find a new cozy English mystery series to scratch that itch. Miss Silver is clever, professional, and able to order even the most complex problems without turning a hair. She reminds me of Miss Marple’s cooler sister. Since my library and local bookstores don’t stock her books, it gives me an excuse to haunt all of my favorite used bookstores to hunt for her books. Miss Silver’s books will be a nice treat to savor when I find them. With 32 books in this long-running series, there will be lots to read.
The Inspector French Series by Freeman Wills Crofts is on my list to feverish devour because they are devilishly hard to solve. I like the feeling of solving the case along with Inspector French since we, the readers, are only privy to the same information he is. The slow, dogged work of solving one of his books is immensely satisfying. While this series is not the most inventive or written with a lyrical style, it reminds me of how hard it is to solve real-life crimes; there are dead ends and missed clues, and sometimes you have to travel all over the place for the tiniest crumb of information. When I read these books, my brain fully engages in solving the puzzle. Without the frills of fast cars, beautiful women, or an atmosphere of intrigue, I can see why these might not be universally popular-some might even find them boring, but I like the mental workout. With the re-release of several of the Inspector French books in 2023 will cool new covers, I am excited to keep up with the series.
The Toff Series by John Creasey. This is my wildcard series for the year. I have never read any of John Creasey’s books, but when my husband came home from the used bookstore near our house with 15 titles from the series, it felt like the universe threw a gauntlet at my feet, and I (possibly stupidly) picked it up. With many of John Creasey’s books hard to find in the United States, it seems like a trove of undiscovered gems. I love diving head-first into a series blind, so if you’re a John Creasey superfan, comment on your favorite titles below.
What are you series are you diving into in 2023? Have you finished any of the series I’m starting this year? Tell me about your reading goals this year, and let’s support each other’s goals in the comments!
2 thoughts on “Reading Round-Up: 5 Series I am Starting in 2023!”
Wishing you luck and looking forward to your reviews of the books in the various series.