Stumbling Into International Mystery Series

As the theme for the 2016 Monthly Motif Reading Challenge in January is #Whodunnit, I’m sharing my recommendations for some of my favorite novels set in various locations around the World.


Detective Galileo Series, Keigo Higashino (Translated by Alexander O. Smith). I’ve read the first 2 books in this series set in Japan – The Devotion of Suspect X AND Salvation of a Saint – and they rock … hard! In both the books that have been put out so far, you know who committed the crime, but believe me when I tell you – that means nothing because the HOW of it is super hard to figure out. Of course, Detective Galileo is on the case. He’s really a professor of physics and friend to the investigating officer, but he’s pretty darn brilliant and hard to fool. You don’t have to read this series in order as each book is a completely separate story.


Harry Hole Series, Jo Nesbo. You can jump into this series at any point, and I did with book 9, Phantom. Listening to the audiobook was the right decision because I got to hear the proper pronunciation for the Norwegian names of people and places. Harry Hole, at this point, is a fantastic ex-detective, but he’s battling some dark demons from his past – so seeing him try to solve a complex, multifaceted case, plus stop himself from drinking and self destructing, makes for quite a thrill ride of a book.


Millenium Trilogy, Stieg Larsson. This probably one of the more well known book series. It’s set in Sweden, and admittedly, the first book, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, takes a while before it hooks you. But give it some time, and you’ll be rewarded with a spectacular, modern day, epic saga. The 2nd book, The Girl Who Played With Fire, is even better than the 1st. And the 3rd, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets Nest – HOLD ON! It’s non-stop crazy action. Since Stieg Larsson passed away, another author picked up where the series left off, bringing The Girl in the Spider’s Web (David Lagercrantz, translated by George Goulding). I read it recently and thought it did justice to the original author’s work. It was fast-paced, detailed and kept the essence of the main characters.

What are some of your favorite mystery books set in places other than the US and UK?

(Photo Credit: Alexander Perotto)


// Comments //

  1. Nish

    Jan 19

    I really should pick up the Detective Galileo series. It sounds awesome!

  2. Jess

    Jan 14

    I also hard time getting into the millennium series, but I think now that I’ve discovered audio I’m going to give it a second go ! I’m adding the Higashino series to my TBR, it sounds interesting.

  3. Millennium Trilogy is definitely worth a read – I never got to the fourth book, but I figured I’d be disappointed. Maybe I was wrong!

    • Tanya Patrice

      Jan 12

      @Whitney if you try it let me know what you think.

  4. maria helena

    Jan 11

    I love all 3 of these series, although I don’t quite agree with you about the fourth millennium book. I thought it felt a bite like a weak copy of the original books. The characters and plot wasn’t quite as vibrant and on point as in the original books. I gave it 3/5 stars – it wasn’t bad, just not as great as the original.

    • Tanya Patrice

      Jan 12

      @maria I definitely can see your point but I sort of missed Lizbeth in the 3rd book so I was glad to see more about her in the 4th book. I would love any recs. you have for more international mysteries too 🙂

  5. Resh Susan

    Jan 11

    Have heard so much about the millenium trilogy. Yet to read that one. I have never really paid much attention to where the mystery is set. So this was a fresh breathing post for me

    • Tanya Patrice

      Jan 12

      @Resh I used to not pay much attention either, but on audio book these really standout. And it’s nice to see a bit of the culture come out in the tiny details of the stories.

  6. I just got the Millennium Trilogy at a library booksale. I had tred to read the first and gave it up. I remember you saying to give it time so I will try again. Great list! I love international mysteries.

    • Tanya Patrice

      Jan 12

      @Tanya I think you will eventually get into it 🙂

  7. nordie

    Jan 11

    Cheating slightly, but am currently watching the Italian series “Inspector Montalbano” box set, which is based on the books by Andrea Camilleri.

    • Tanya Patrice

      Jan 12

      @nordie Yay thanks for sharing that! It looks awesome.