The Big Stretch

The Longest-Running Series, By Number of Novels
(not including short stories, collections or omnibus editions)

According to all the evidence I could gather, the Larry Kent series by "Larry Kent," a house name, is the longest-running P.I. series of all-time, while Le Manchot by Pierre Saurel, assuming he actually wrote them all, is the longest-running series by a single author. Chritopher Bush's Ludovic Travers series comes close, although Ludovic is not working as a private detective in all of the books.

Series Author(s) Number
of novels
(short stories and collections not counted)
Time Span of Series Duration
LARRY KENT Larry Kent
(house name)
431 (approximately) 1954-80's 26+ years
LE POULPE
(Gabriel Lecouvreur)
Various 119, and counting... 1995 -- 10+ years
MIKE SHAYNE Brett Halliday
(house name)
77 (29 by Halliday) 1939-1976 37 years
LUDOVIC TRAVERS Christopher Bush 61 1929-67 38 years
SPENSER  Robert B. Parker
Later: Ace Atkins
51 (39 by Parker) 1973 - 2011 Ongoing
LE MANCHOT
(Robert Dumont)
Pierre Saurel 47 1980-1997 17 years
ED NOON  Michael Avallone  45? 1953-1988 35 years
DANNY SPADE Danny Spade
(AKA Dail Ambler)
42 1950-1954 4 years
NERO WOLFE Rex Stout
Later: Robert Goldsborough

46 (33 by Stout) + 1939-94 Ongoing
NAMELESS Bill Pronzini 41 + 1971- Ongoing
GLENN BOWMAN Hartley Howard 38 1951-79 28 years
MARK PRESTON Peter Chambers
(pseud. of Dennis Phillips)
36 1961-1992 31 years
SHELL SCOTT Richard S. Prather 35 1950-1987 37 years
CLIFF HARDY Peter Corris 35 1980-2017 37 years
RICK HOLMAN Carter Brown  31 1961-76 15 years
SHARON McCONE Marcia Muller 32 + 1977- Ongoing
DANNY BOYD Carter Brown 30? 1956-84 28 years
NESTOR BURMA Léo Malet 29 1943-1971 28 years
BERTHA COOL
& DONALD LAM
 
A.A. Fair
(Earle Stanley Gardner) 
30
(one published posthumously in 2016)
1939-1970 31 years
JOHNNY LIDDELL Frank Kane 29 1947-67 20 years
PETER CHAMBERS Henry Kane 29 1947-72 25 years
AMOS WALKER Loren D. Estleman 23 and counting 1980- Ongoing
KINSEY MILLHONE Sue Grafton 25  1982-2017 35 years
JACK REACHER  Lee Child 22 + 1997 -- Ongoing
TRAVIS McGEE John D. MacDonald  21 1964-1984  20 years
DAN FORTUNE Michael Collins 17 1967-2005 38 years
* Presumed to be an on-going series


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