Mystery books are the most interesting reads out there. There’s no feeling better than cuddling up in those dark winter nights to read a great mystery book. Mystery novels are a great escape from reality since they keep you on the edge of your seat for every page that you read. The first time that I fell in love with mystery books was back in late 2019 when I was in a studio all by myself on a dark winter night. I felt bored and decided to go to my university library which was a few minutes away since that library was open for 24 hours. The library was big and I checked out many books until one paticular book caught my eye. It was called Murder On The Links (more on this later) and it was written by (guess who) Agatha Christie. I would read that book as soon as I woke up in the morning and just before I would go to sleep at night. It was a great time. Oddly enough, reading that book in those great moments was one of the best memeories of that year for me. Happiness really can be found in the small things. Once I finished reading that book I just kept coming back for more and more mystery books. So without further ado, here is 12 great mystery books that you should defenitely read.
1) And Then There Were None – Agatha Christie
Of course this book is top of the list. I have never read a book that has literally kept me on the edge of my seat for every single page. Literally every single page. I just feel like this book showed the genius of Agatha Christie and it is clearly the greatest mystery book of all time. To summarise the book extensively, a group of people got together after being invited by one person. Little did they know that they were invited to get together for a sinister reason. After some time they are interrupted by an announcer who tells them that because of one of their past actions they will die. Eventually they find an evil nursery rhyme that informs them by forshadowing to them how the die.
“First, there were ten—a curious assortment of strangers summoned as weekend guests to a little private island off the coast of Devon. Their host, an eccentric millionaire unknown to all of them, is nowhere to be found. All that the guests have in common is a wicked past they’re unwilling to reveal—and a secret that will seal their fate. For each has been marked for murder. A famous nursery rhyme is framed and hung in every room of the mansion:
“Ten little boys went out to dine; One choked his little self and then there were nine. Nine little boys sat up very late; One overslept himself and then there were eight. Eight little boys traveling in Devon; One said he’d stay there then there were seven. Seven little boys chopping up sticks; One chopped himself in half and then there were six. Six little boys playing with a hive; A bumblebee stung one and then there were five. Five little boys going in for law; One got in Chancery and then there were four. Four little boys going out to sea; A red herring swallowed one and then there were three. Three little boys walking in the zoo; A big bear hugged one and then there were two. Two little boys sitting in the sun; One got frizzled up and then there was one. One little boy left all alone; He went out and hanged himself and then there were none.”
When they realize that murders are occurring as described in the rhyme, terror mounts. One by one they fall prey. Before the weekend is out, there will be none. Who has choreographed this dastardly scheme? And who will be left to tell the tale? Only the dead are above suspicion.” – GoodReads
2) Shutter Island – Dennis Lehane
The first time I came across Shutter Island or the first time I heard about it was when I saw the film back in 2018 I think. It was a cozy night and I was looking for a good film to watch as entertainment and I came across Shutter Island and it had a mysterious twist at the end of the film. The book is also great and well famous. The twist left a lasting impression on me because it entailed so many meanings within the twist itself. It completely took me by surprise and I think no one can really guess what the ending will be. For me, that’s my favourite kind of mystery book. One that has a completely unpredictable ending that leaves me wondering about the book years after reading it. That’s the definition of a great mystery book for me.
“The year is 1954. U.S. Marshal Teddy Daniels and his new partner, Chuck Aule, have come to Shutter Island, home of Ashecliffe Hospital for the Criminally Insane, to investigate the disappearance of a patient. Multiple murderess Rachel Solando is loose somewhere on this remote and barren island, despite having been kept in a locked cell under constant surveillance. As a killer hurricane relentlessly bears down on them, a strange case takes on even darker, more sinister shades—with hints of radical experimentation, horrifying surgeries, and lethal countermoves made in the cause of a covert shadow war. No one is going to escape Shutter Island unscathed, because nothing at Ashecliffe Hospital is what it seems. But then neither is Teddy Daniels.”
3) Murder On The Links – Agatha Christie
Like I mentioned before, I have very fond memories of this book. I began reading it a few years ago and following this mystery story completely hooked me and had me addicted. Like many Hercule Poirot mysteries, the book began with a murder happening at a place and the detective, Hercule Poirot being sent in to discover what is going on. Hercule Poirot notices many strange things on the way like a woman he met that “had anxious eyes” amongst other things. Soon he realised that he does in fact have a murder on his hands. However, the story becomes more interesting when another murder happens. This eventually leads to the most interesting murder detective story that I have read.
“When Hercule Poirot and his sidekick Arthur Hastings arrive in the French village of Merlinville-sur-Mer, France, to meet their client Paul Renauld they learn from Paris police that he has been found that morning stabbed in the back with a letter opener and left in a newly dug grave adjacent to a local golf course. Among the plausible suspects are Renauld’s wife Eloise, his son Jack, an unknown visitor of the previous day, Renauld’s immediate neighbor Madame Daubreuil, and the mysterious “Cinderella” of Hasting’s recent acquaintance–all of whom Poirot has reason to suspect. Poirot’s powers of investigation ultimately triumph over the wiles of an assailant whose misdirection and motives are nearly–but not quite–impossible to spot.
Contains a character key, a detailed biography, and an illustrated list of notable Poirot portrayals.”
4) Sherlock Holmes: A Study In Scarlet – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Everybody has heard about Sherlock Holmes. Literally everyone. I know someone who went to the remote deserts of Mauritania (in west Africa) and still met people who knew about the Sherlock Holmes series. It’s that famous. Sherlock Holmes is undoubtedly one of the most brilliant characters in English literature who has been blessed with a genius mind. It’s even more incredible when you think about how there are members of his family who have been blessed with even more intellectual prowess than him. However they might not be as interested or passionate about solving murders than Sherlock Holmes. This is the first of the Sherlock Holmes series. In this book, John Watson (the retired soldier and medic from the British army) has just came back from the war and is looking for a room mate in London, lucky (or maybe even unlucky) for him, Sherlock Holmes is also looking for a room mate and they become friends from there. Soon their great adventures will start beginning with John Watson (his new assistant) writing stories about their adventures.
“A Study in Scarlet” is the first published story of one of the most famous literary detectives of all time, Sherlock Holmes. Here Dr. Watson, who has just returned from a war in Afghanistan, meets Sherlock Holmes for the first time when they become flat-mates at the famous 221 B Baker Street. In “A Study in Scarlet” Sherlock Holmes investigates a murder at Lauriston Gardens as Dr. Watson tags along with Holmes while narratively detailing his amazing deductive abilities.” – GoodReads
5) Enola Holmes: The Case Of The Missing Marquess – Nancy Springer
If you haven’t heard of Enola Holmes you will be in a real surprise. Enola Holmes is a series that has not been written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. However Nany Springers writing does take inspiration and is based off the original series. I first came across this the Enola Holmes series(or at least I first became aware of it) when the series was released on Netflix. It had a popular actor as the main character and the trailer just blew me away. I thought to myself that this is something that I have to watch. The entire film was amazing. Literally, every scene. I think I ended up watching the film 7 times over a period of one year. At some point I just wanted more content and I decided to look for the books. It was at that point that I discovered Springers book series. I read three of the books so far and I enjoyed the first book. It was different to Sherlock Holmes because in Sherlock Holmes his assistant is writing in second person about their adventures but in this novel its being narrated by Enola Holmes herself.
“When Enola Holmes, the much younger sister of detective Sherlock Holmes, discovers her mother has disappeared—on her 14th birthday nonetheless—she knows she alone can find her. Disguising herself as a grieving widow, Enola sets out to the heart of London to uncover her mother’s whereabouts—but not even the last name Holmes can prepare her for what awaits. Suddenly involved in the kidnapping of the young Marquess of Basilwether, Enola must escape murderous villains, free the spoiled Marquess, and perhaps hardest of all, elude her shrewd older brother—all while collecting clues to her mother’s disappearance!” – GoodReads
6) Murder On The Orient Express – Agatha Christie
Many people who have heard of Agatha Christie’s works have heard of the book Murder On The Orient Express. It’s a story of a group of people who are stuck on train together and then a murder takes place. There is a killer aboard the train. Lucky for everyone, Hercule Poirot (world renowned Belgian detective) is also on the same train and he begins finding out who has murdered who. The story takes an incredible twist and Hercule Poirot can’t believe what he has discovered. I first came across this story when I saw the trailer of the film many years ago. The trailer was amazing and immediately I showed the trailer to as many people as possible. However, between the time that the trailer was being released and the film coming out was long so I decided to read the book and watch the film when it came out anyway. I enjoyed the book far more than the film. I felt like the film lost its energy or spark towards the end. The book, however, remained exciting all the way through.
7) The Devil All The Time – Donald Ray Pollock
The devil all the time is my favorite mystery slow-burner ever. I think I have watched the film more than once. I have to admit though that the book wasn’t as well known as other books and so I never once came across the book. I did come across the film that was on Netflix and it’s main character was a very famous actor. I decided to give the film a watch. Funnily enough, when it came to the book (and the film) I didn’t think that the book would be a standard mystery fiction and not a horror story. The title gave me the impression that the story would have included ghosts and evil spirits. However it just showed how devilish human beings were capable of being. Cunningness is a trait of the devil (according to some faiths) however in order for the characters to survive in this story, they need to display a huge amount of cunning. The book is highly rated and a great read for anyone who loves slow burners and unpredictable twists. I know I do.
“Set in rural southern Ohio and West Virginia, The Devil All the Time follows a cast of characters from the end of World War II to the 1960s. There’s Willard Russell, tormented veteran of the carnage in the South Pacific, who can’t save his beautiful wife, Charlotte, from an agonizing death by cancer no matter how much sacrificial blood he pours on his “prayer log.” There’s Carl and Sandy Henderson, a husband-and-wife team of serial killers, who troll America’s highways searching for suitable models to photograph and exterminate. There’s the spider-handling preacher Roy and his crippled virtuoso-guitar-playing sidekick, Theodore, running from the law. And caught in the middle of all this is Arvin Eugene Russell, Willard and Charlotte’s orphaned son, who grows up to be a good but also violent man in his own right.”
8) Enola Holmes: The Case Of The Bizarre Bouquets – Nancy Springer
By the time I came around this book I had already read two books from the Enola Holmes series. I didn’t enjoy the second book of the series as much as I had enjoyed the first and so I remained unconvinced with the series. I chose to ignore the series for a long time. After many months, I was bored one random day and chose to continue reading the series and I have to be honest and say that I really enjoyed this book a lot. More than enjoy to be honest, I felt like this book was the best of the series. The story was interesting to me because Sherlock Holmes and Enola Holmes began to start playing a game against one another. In this book, John Watson goes missing and Enola Holmes (disguised) as someone else attempts to find him and bring him back to safety. Furthermore, by now Enola was less like how she was in the first book in the sense that she came out of her shell more. I don’t want to ruin too much for anyone who is reading this article but she definitely outwitted him a few times and the little game being played between the two siblings was an exciting game t witness.
“Everyone knows Dr. Watson is Sherlock Holmes’ right-hand man—so when he goes missing, it’s a shock. Even Sherlock hasn’t, well, the slightest clue as to where he could be. Enola is intrigued, but wary; she’s still hiding from her older brothers—and getting involved could be disastrous.
But when a bizarre bouquet shows up at the Watson residence, full of convolvulus, hawthorn, and white poppies, Enola must act. She dons her most discerning disguise yet to find the sender—and quickly, for Enola knows the blossoms symbolize death!
Hold your breath, because Enola’s about to take it away. The stakes are higher and the mystery deeper than ever before in this third installment of this Edgar Award-nominated, critically acclaimed series.”
9) The Guest List – Lucy Foley
The Guest List is an interesting book because not only is it the New York Times Best-Seller but it is also the number 1 rated mystery book in the year 2020 on GoodReads which is an incredible feat. Since GoodReads is a collection of millions of people’s different book reviews happening simultaneously, the fact that it was ranked number 1 in the mystery section completely impressed me. I have not read the book but it is on the lists of book that I want to read. The story is very interesting and it entails a group of people getting together on a remote island to celebrate a wedding. In the midst of the celebration someone is murdered and now this thrilling mystery story begins. Reading the blurb just had me hooked and I should be reading this book very very soon.
“The bride ‧ The plus one ‧ The best man ‧ The wedding planner ‧ The bridesmaid ‧ The body
On an island off the coast of Ireland, guests gather to celebrate two people joining their lives together as one. The groom: handsome and charming, a rising television star. The bride: smart and ambitious, a magazine publisher. It’s a wedding for a magazine, or for a celebrity: the designer dress, the remote location, the luxe party favors, the boutique whiskey. The cell phone service may be spotty and the waves may be rough, but every detail has been expertly planned and will be expertly executed.
But perfection is for plans, and people are all too human. As the champagne is popped and the festivities begin, resentments and petty jealousies begin to mingle with the reminiscences and well wishes. The groomsmen begin the drinking game from their school days. The bridesmaid not-so-accidentally ruins her dress. The bride’s oldest (male) friend gives an uncomfortably caring toast.
And then someone turns up dead. Who didn’t wish the happy couple well? And perhaps more important, why?”
10) Crooked House – Agatha Christie
This is a great book that I read and came across last year. On Netflix I saw this thrilling mystery story called crooked house that absolutely kept me at the edge of my seat all throughout the film. The film has been based of this story so the book is definitely more up-close and interesting. What sticks out with me when it comes to this book is that it has an absolutely dark and mind-boggling twist that absolutely no one can ever guess since it is so psychopathic and evil. Isn’t that what readers are looking for anyway?
“In the sprawling, half-timbered mansion in the affluent suburb of Swinly Dean, Aristide Leonides lies dead from barbiturate poisoning. An accident? Not likely. In fact, suspicion has already fallen on his luscious widow, a cunning beauty fifty years his junior, set to inherit a sizeable fortune, and rumored to be carrying on with a strapping young tutor comfortably ensconced in the family estate. But criminologist Charles Hayward is casting his own doubts on the innocence of the entire Leonides brood. He knows them intimately. And he’s certain that in a crooked house such as Three Gables, no one’s on the level…”
11) Sherlock Holmes: The Hounds of Baskerville – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Sherlock Holmes is a brilliant genius but does he have what it takes to discover what is going on in this story? Sherlock is called to a place only to discover that there is a sinister monster, a hound, that is killing people in the area that he has been sent to. We all know that beasts don’t exist on the planet and can’t be possible for all of these murder charges. However, the evidence does in fact show that there has been attacks by some sort of beast. Sherlock wants to get to the bottom of this interesting mystery. When I first came across this book (in secondary school) I didn’t think that Sherlock could get to the bottom of this. Check out the book to find out if he could discover the answer to this wild story.
“Could the sudden death of Sir Charles Baskerville have been caused by the gigantic ghostly hound that is said to have haunted his family for generations? Arch-rationalist Sherlock Holmes characteristically dismisses the theory as nonsense. And immersed in another case, he sends Watson to Devon to protect the Baskerville heir and observe the suspects close at hand. With its atmospheric setting on the ancient, wild moorland and its savage apparition, The Hound of the Baskervilles is one of the greatest crime novels ever written. Rationalism is pitted against the supernatural, good against evil, as Sherlock Holmes seeks to defeat a foe almost his equal.“
12) The Murder Of Roger Ackroyd – Agatha Christie
Agatha Christie strikes again with this interesting murder case. I came across this book in late 2019 and I wanted to borrow the book from my university library, however I was unable to because this book was well chased after and every time it was returned to the library someone else had already reserved it. Just goes to show how good the book was. This book is considered to be one of Christie’s more darker stories. A small village is in horror after a woman is murdered and then within a short time span, the man that she was meant to marry also gets murdered. Hercule Poirot is called in to get to the bottom of this case but as he tries to do that he realizes that this is so much more than two simple murders. Instead, its a huge conspiracy and Hercule Poirot is now part of huge web of corruption.
“Considered to be one of Agatha Christie’s most controversial mysteries, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd breaks all the rules of traditional mystery writing.
The peaceful English village of King’s Abbot is stunned. First, the attractive widow Ferrars dies from an overdose of veronal. Not twenty-four hours later, Roger Ackroyd—the man she had planned to marry—is murdered. It is a baffling, complex case involving blackmail, suicide, and violent death, a cast that taxes Hercule Poirot’s “little grey cells” before he reaches one of the most startling conclusions of his fabled career.“
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