Carlotta Carlyle series by Linda Barnes – Insubordination got Carlotta kicked off the Boston Police Force and now she is a cab-driving private eye. She’s six feet tall and a red-head. Her ex-boyfriend has Mafia connections. Her mother and her maternal grandmother are Jewish (her father isn’t) and they have passed on a lot of “yiddishisms” during Carlotta’s lifetime. A Trouble of Fools is the first book in the series and they all get better from there.
Benjamin Weaver novels by David Liss – Benjamin Weaver is an 18th century bare-knuckles fighter who has become a “thief-taker” or, in modern-day English, a bounty-hunter/private detective. A Conspiracy of Paper is the first in the series and was the winner of three awards for “best first novel.” The writing is exceptional and ranks high as a historical fiction novel.
Avram Cohen novels by Robert Rosenberg – There are only four novels in this excellent series. Avram Cohen is a police commander in Jerusalem. In later books although he is retired, he still manages to get involved in some high-powered cases. Rosenberg died in 2006 of cancer. Crimes of the City is the first, followed by The Cutting Room, House of Guilt and then An Accidental Murder.
Isaac of Girona series by Caroline Roe – Caroline Roe is the writing name of medieval scholar Medora Sale. This series takes place in 14th century Spain and features the blind physician, Isaac. The plots are well-crafted and thoughtful – full of political and religious intrigue. The characters alone make the books worth reading. Begin with Remedy for Treason.
Benny Cooperman books by Howard Engel – Howard Engel has been called “the Grand Old Man of Canadian Crime”. His sleuth, Benny Cooperman, has a quiet unassuming nature but when it comes to investigating a crime he is relentless. The Suicide Murders is the first.
Detective Abe Lieberman series by Stuart M. Kaminsky – Abe is a sixty-year-old detective in Chicago in this dialogue-driven series. Lieberman’s Folly is the first. If you enjoy it there are nine more.
Rabbi Small novels by Harry Kemelman – Rabbi Small is young, personable and a scholar trained in logical thinking. The books, beginning with Friday the Rabbi Slept Late, are real gems. Kemelman’s characters are as real as your next door neighbors. It is a very enjoyable series.
The Mobile Library series by Ian Sansom – The mystery takes second place in this series. The most important features are the characters, especially Israel Armstrong, a young, vegetarian, bookmobile librarian from London working in Northern Ireland.
Peter Decker & Rina Lazarus novels by Faye Kellerman – Decker is a detective in the LAPD and Rina Lazarus is an orthodox Jewish widow with two sons whom Decker meets in the first book. The books have two features: a crime that requires all he and his partner have to give, and Decker’s ongoing relationship with Rina. Begin with The Ritual Bath.
Nick Hoffman mysteries by Lev Raphael – This time I would actually suggest that you start with the second book in the series, The Edith Wharton Murders. Nick Hoffman is a professor in Michigan.
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