Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.
Here’s how it works: Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl assigns a topic for each Tuesday. If you check this link, you’ll find she’s assigned topics for several future weeks so you can plan ahead. She adds, “create your own top ten (or 2, 5, 20, etc.) list . . . Feel free to put a unique spin on the topic to make it work for you!”
Each week Jana posts a Linky on her blog where you can (if you want) share a link to your post and check out other bloggers’ posts.
Kinsey Millhone series by Sue Grafton
Also known as the alphabet series. Sue Grafton began her career writing screenplays. But she had always been fascinated by mysteries. Between 1982 and 2017 she published 25 novels featuring private investigator Kinsey Millhone, one of the first women investigators to appear in a series.
Sue Grafton died on December 28, 2017, after the publication of “Y” is for Yesterday. She had intended “‘Z’ Is for Zero” to be the last book in the series, but she died before she could begin writing it. At the time of her death, her family posted “as far as we in the family are concerned, the alphabet now ends at Y.”
Oh, how I wish she had been able to complete the alphabet.
John Dortmunder series by Donald E. Westlake
Award-winning screenplay writer and novelist Donald E. Westlake (1933-2008) wrote a lot. I especially enjoyed his Dortmunder series, 14 novels and 11 short stories published between 1970 and 2009. In these comic capers, Dortmunder is the mastermind who constructs elaborate plans for heists that he just knows will net lots of money. He carries out these plans with a recurrent cohort of accomplices who never seem to learn anything—because something always goes wrong with Dortmunder’s elaborate scheme, leading to hilarious attempts to get back on track.
The 87th Precinct series by Ed McBain
Salvatore Albert Lombino (born in 1926) legally adopted the name Evan Hunter in 1952. He published several novels under that name, but I discovered him through the 87th precinct novels, 55 books published between 1956 and 2005 under the pseudonym Ed McBain. The novels are set in the fictional city of Isola, a thinly disguised representation of New York City’s Manhattan. I don’t remember much about the police procedures or even the mysteries, but I remember the complexly drawn characters. Evan Hunter/Ed McBain died in 2005.
The Millennium trilogy by Stieg Larsson
The Millennium trilogy comprises three novels by Swedish writer Stieg Larsson:
- The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2005)
- The Girl Who Played with Fire (2006)
- The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest ((2007)
These novels feature two main characters: writer Mikael Blomkvist, who works for the magazine Millennium, and Lisbeth Salander, a computer hacker and social outsider with a photographic memory—and a charged backstory.
Stieg Larsson died suddenly after delivering the manuscripts for these three novels, which were all published after his death in 2004. The Swedish publisher has hired two writers who have continued the series, but I’m content with the three original novels. (I did read the first book after the original three. It wasn’t bad, but it just wasn’t Stieg Larsson.)
Jesse Stone novels by Robert B. Parker
Crime fiction writer Robert B. Parker (1932-2010) is best known for his novels featuring private detective Spenser. But I’m more partial to his character Jesse Stone (probably because Tom Selleck plays him in the CBS television movies), a former Los Angeles police detective who becomes police chief in a small New England town (and brings a lot of emotional baggage along with him). Parker wrote nine Jesse Stone novels between 1997 and 2010.
Ripley series by Patricia Highsmith
Patricia Highsmith (1921-1995) wrote many psychological thrillers. She wrote five novels featuring Tom Ripley:
- The Talented Mr. Ripley (1955)
- Ripley Under Ground (1970)
- Ripley’s Game (1974)
- The Boy Who Followed Ripley (1980)
- Ripley Under Water (1991)
This collection of novels is sometimes referred to as “the Ripliad,” a term that I find pretentious and awkward.
I have not read all of these, but if I ever do finish the list, I’m sure I’ll wish there were more.
Holt, Colorado, novels by Kend Haruf
Until I set out to write this post, I didn’t realize that all six of Kent Haruf’s novels are set in the fictional town of Holt, Colorado. I didn’t discover his novels until Plainsong, which became a bestseller. I’ve read these three:
- Plainsong (1999) (scroll down to 3 on the linked page for my review)
- Eventide (2004)
- Our Souls at Night (2015) (scroll down to the second entry)
Haruf finished writing Our Souls at Night just before his death in 2014. It was published the following year.
I’m glad to discover that I have three more of Kent Haruf’s novels to read.
Alan Gregory series by Stephen White
Stephen White is a clinical psychologist who lives in Colorado. He has written 20 novels, published between 1991 and 2013, featuring Alan Gregory, who is also a clinical psychologist who lives in Colorado. The final novel, Compound Fractures (2013), concludes the series.
I cannot find much more information about Stephen White (well, this Stephen White) on the internet.
I loved this series because it’s intelligent and well written, while also delving deeply into human psychology.
Britt Montero series by Edna Buchanan
Edna Buchanan began her writing career as a journalist in Miami. She won the Pulitzer Prize in General News Reporting in 1986. I first discovered her work back in 1992 when I read her nonfiction book The Corpse Had a Familiar Face, a compilation of cases she’d reported on.
After her success as a reporter, Buchanan turned to writing fiction. The Britt Montero series features a Cuban-American journalist in Miami. The series comprises 10 novels published between 1992 and 2017.
As far as I know, Edna Buchanan is still alive. She’d be in her 80s now. Because the last Britt Montero book was published in 2017, I’m not expecting any new entries in the series, although I’d be delighted to have some more.
Charlie Bradshaw series by Stephen Dobyns
Novelist and poet Stephen Dobyns has written 24 novels in several genres as well as 14 collections of poems and two books about the craft of writing poetry.
The Charlie Bradshaw novels feature private detective Charlie Bradshaw, who used to be a police officer. Bradshaw lives in Saratoga Springs, a horse-racing town in upstate New York. All 11 of these novels, published between 1972 and 2017, have the word Saratoga in the title (e.g., Saratoga Longshot, Saratoga Haunting, Saratoga Payback).
Like Edna Buchanan, Stephen Dobyns is still alive as far as I know and would be in his early 80s. Also like Buchanan, because the last novel in this series was published in 2017, I don’t anticipate new ones.
© 2022 by Mary Daniels Brown