A year ago, I wrote about 'Mystery Series Worth Reading' which I have re-posted below, followed by further thoughts on this topic.
'Sometimes a book series starts with a bang, ends in a whimper and
dodders around in the interim, but readers are loyal and will wait out a
few weak entries if they like the characters and setting and mood.
Looking at my reading journal for
2011, I noticed that I read several continuations of mystery series
that have mostly stayed strong from the first book. For "cozy" mystery
fans, I recommend Susan Wittig Albert's China Bayles series, set in
Texas and featuring herb-growing sleuth China Bayles. In Mourning Gloria
(2011), the series is at top form. For fans of the British cozy, try
Alan Bradley's Flavia de Luce series. This series is sometimes
classified for teen readers, but it is suitable for all ages. Flavia is
really a pretty obnoxious pre-teen sleuth, but lovable in her own quirky
way. Speaking of quirky, try Christopher Fowler's Bryant and May
series. Set in London, two old friends in the police "Peculiar Crimes
Unit" solve mysteries with their unconventional methods and treasure
trove of cerebral trivia about London's history. Chris Evan's Good
Thief's Guide to (insert city name here) series never fails to
entertain. His good thief/narrator's adventures remind me of the caper
movies so popular in the 1950's and '60's. Topkapi, Charade etc.
the darker side of mystery series, I can always count on Jacqueline
Winspeare's Maisie Dobbs series and Louise Penny's Inspector Armand
A year later, I still like the series listed above. Here are a few others I've grown to depend on for pure escapism; dependable writing, plots, and characters.
For light humor, try anything by Dorothy Cannell, especially her U.K.-based Ellie Haskell series.
Nancy Bell's Judge Crane mysteries and Donna Andrews' Meg Lanslow series also fall in that wisecracking mode, the U.S. version.
Joan Hess writes several light, regional Southern U.S.-based mysteries. Try her Claire Malloy series or her Maggody series.
Carola Dunn's Daisy Dalrymple series take us back to the flapper era in England and might appeal to the Downton Abbey crowd in search of a light mystery fix.
For more recommendation of light mysteries, so called 'cozies', take a look at a blog devoted to just that genre The Cozy Mystery List