There’s nothing like curling up with a good book, and I love a classic mystery. Give me a detective in a trench coat and a fedora, with a snide attitude and a sidekick and I’m in heaven. Here are my recommendations for five mystery series with male protagonists. Grab one of these and settle into a cozy chair for a relaxing and mysterious afternoon.

Rex Stout

Rex Stout is the creator of the dynamic detective duo of Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin. Set in the 1930s, in this series Wolfe is the brains of the operation and Goodwin is the legs. Wolfe is a wealthy, arrogant eccentric. Goodwin is a con artist and a loudmouth. Together, they solve cases and provoke the local police… all without Wolfe ever leaving his home. Stout first brought Wolfe to life in short stories published in magazines, but the first novel is Fer-de-Lance (Nero Wolfe Mysteries).

Lawrence Block

I stumbled across Bernie Rhodenbarr one Saturday while wandering through the local library and the part-time bookseller, part-time crook has had me entranced ever since. Burglars Can’t Be Choosers is the first book in the series and you’ll meet characters like Carolyn, Bernie’s friend, neighbor and lesbian pet groomer; Ray, the edgy police officer who is waiting to send Bernie back to jail; and Wally, the friend and lawyer who keeps Bernie out of trouble. It’s a fun little series and you’ll be cringing along with Bernie as he gets into one fix after another.

Agatha Christie

The little Belgian detective with the egg-shaped head and the absurd mustache has a special place in my heart. Hercule Poirot first debuted in Christie’s Agatha Christie’s Mysterious Affair at Styles (Hercule Poirot Mysteries), and Christie eventually grew to despise the egotistical man. However, I love his quirks and his interactions, as well as the English countryside settings.

John Lescroart

Dismas Hardy is a family man… for the second time. After the death of his son, divorce and a stint with alcoholism, Hardy is coming out of the fog and reestablishing his life. The former cop, with his friend and former partner Abe, is pulled into solving crimes through a strong sense of what’s right and horrible timing. Hardy is an easy character to like, and the people who populate his life are equally enjoyable. This series veers away from the cozy mystery books I typically enjoy, having rougher edges and more violence that is described, rather than suggested. It’s a cop series, with the justice system taking center stage. The first book in the series is Dead Irish (Dismas Hardy).

Arthur Conan Doyle

If you love classic mysteries, then you must love Sherlock Holmes. With the loyal Dr. Watson at his side, Holmes applies logic and reason to each case brought to his attention. Holmes was brought to life in over 56 short stories, as well as four novels. And, once you’ve read The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, you can peek at Robert Downey, Jr. and Jude Law in the latest movie adaptation. They’re so pretty! :)

Don’t miss my recommendations for 5 Mystery Series with Female Protagonists!