10 Mystery Books Series Featuring Members of the Clergy

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Readers of mystery series know that very well, anybody can become a sleuth (amateur or not). From the baker to the shot whisperers, stumbling onto a cadaver may encourage the most incongruous person to become a bona fide detective–a lot of series starts with our future investigator wrongly accused of murder for some reason.

Members of the Clergy can also investigate crimes, and it’s not a new thing. As a matter of fact, there are several series that follow some of them from medieval times to the modern era.

Here are our Selection of Religious Mystery Book Series

Brother Cadfael Books in Order

The Brother Cadfael series by Ellis Peters – The series, which takes place in the 12th century, centers on a Welsh Benedictine monk who resides at Shrewsbury Abbey in western England. Brother Cadfael is the monk to contact when there is a murder to investigate, even though he spends much of his time caring for the plants and vegetables in the garden.

The Sister Fidelma series by Peter Tremayne – This historical mystery series transports us to the seventh century. Sister Fidelma is an advocate of the Brehornn court, a religieuse of the Celtic Church, and an Eognacht princess who is also the sister of the Cashel king. Her partner, the Saxon monk Brother Eadulf, assists her in solving crimes, mostly in Ireland.

The Matthew Shardlake series by C.J. Sansom  – A hunchbacked lawyer and detective in the Tudor Court during Henry VIII’s reign in the sixteenth century, Matthew Shardlake is assisted in his work by Mark Poer (and then Jack Barak). They initially worked on commission from Thomas Cromwell, then from Archbishop Thomas Cranmer and Queen Catherine Parr. 

The Sidney Chambers Series by James Runcie – Also known as the Grantchester series, this historical detective series about Sidney Chambers, a 32-year-old bachelor, vicar of Grantchester, and amateur sleuth who is working with his friend, Inspector Geordie Keating to solve crime in Cambridgeshire, England.

The Father Brown series by G.K. Chesterton – A Roman Catholic priest with a keen insight into human nature and a talent for solving crimes, Father Brown is a humble and unassuming cleric who possesses a deep understanding of human psychology and a talent for unraveling complex mysteries. The first collection of Father Brown stories was published in 1911.

Matthew Shardlake Books in Order

The Clare Fergusson/Russ Van Alstyne series by Julia Spencer-Fleming – Clare Fergusson is not only the first female priest at St. Alban’s Episcopal Church in Miller’s Kill, New York, but she’s also an ex-Army chopper pilot who doesn’t back down when a mystery appears at her church door. With the town’s police chief, Russ Van Alstyne, they investigate and more…

The Rabbi Small Series by Harry Kemelman – Rabbi Rabbi Small is the spiritual leader of the Conservative Jewish congregation in the fictional town of Barnard’s Crossing in Massachusetts. Despite his primary role as a rabbi, he often finds himself involved in solving crimes that occur within his community.

The Sister Agatha Series by Aimee and David Thurlo – This series follows Sister Agatha who is an extern nun in the cloistered order at the Our Lady of Hope Monastery near a small New Mexican desert town. A former investigative reporter, Sister Agatha is now a nun who moonlights as a private investigator.

The Blackie Ryan series by Andrew M. Greeley – Bishop Blackwood “Blackie” Ryan, an Irish-American Catholic bishop with a keen intellect and a penchant for solving crimes. He is a clever and resourceful detective who becomes involved in solving various crimes while navigating the intricacies of the Church and its hierarchy. 

The Father Dowling series by Ralph McInerny – Father Roger Dowling is the pastor of St. Hilary’s Church in the fictional town of Fox River, Illinois. Despite his primary role as a clergyman, Father Dowling often finds himself involved in solving various mysteries and crimes that occur within his parish and community.

With more than a thousand articles published on HowToRead.Me, it is clear that navigating through the different reading orders is becoming a bit arduous. To try to help, why not try to sort the series by genre (or sub-genres)? This will take some time, but if you want to ask for a particular list, leave a comment.

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