A good mystery is both captivating and thought-provoking. In this list of the best mystery books, we detail 25 thrilling and suspenseful whodunits. Several classics make this list, as well as several popular modern mysteries. No matter the decade, however, all of the mysteries on this list will satisfy your need for mystery and adventure.
For even more book-related lists, check out our list of the best young adult books. What are you waiting for? Find your next book and get to reading!
Set in modern day Dublin, Detective Rob Ryan investigates a case eerily similar to an unsolved mystery from his past. With this suspenseful mystery, author Tana French has readers on the edge of their seats the entire book. If you want a delicious mystery colored with suspense, In the Woods should not be missed.
This realistic novel details the lengths two brothers and a friend go to conceal a treasure they stumble upon. In doing so, however, these men not only become criminals but victims. For a complex, yet realistic mystery, A Simple Plan is a great bet.
One of the best-selling mysteries of all time, And Then There Were None showcases Agatha Christie’s flair for storytelling. In the mystery, ten guests of an absentee host begin to share their darkest secrets with each other, and then one by one these guests are murdered. If you love a good whodunit, this mystery is a great choice.
Featuring murder, secret societies, and clues and symbols galore, Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code sends readers around the world in search of clues. This fast-paced mystery offers a unique look at Western history and is sure to enthrall readers who love mystery and intrigue.
Perhaps the most famous mystery by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Hound of the Baskervilles showcases Detective Sherlock Holmes’ skill and prowess. A century-old curse, a supernatural creature, and an eerie setting provide all of the ingredients necessary for a page-turning mystery.
Written in the 1920s, Whose Body? introduces one of Sayer’s reoccurring characters, Lord Peter Wimsey, an amateur gentleman detective. In the story, Wimsey investigates a mysterious death and connects the death to the disappearance of a prominent businessman. Finding out how the death and disappearance are connected, however, leads Wimsey on a chase full of twists and turns.
A New York Times Notable Book and Book of the Month Club selection, this mystery is set in Washington D.C. during the Watergate break-ins. In the novel, murder and sexual assault are brought to the forefront with a child’s accusation. Moving and tragic, A Crime in the Neighborhood is a welcome alternative from typical mysteries.
Featuring Sam Spade, a private eye with his own code of ethics, The Maltese Falcon has delighted generations of readers. Intriguing characters and an entertaining storyline make this a mystery worth coming back to time and time again.
A modern bestseller, Gone Girl provides the perspectives of husband and wife Nick and Amy Dunne. When Amy disappears under suspicious circumstances, all eyes turn to Nick, especially when Amy’s diary surfaces and further incriminates Nick. But did Nick really kill Amy? For a thrilling story full of twists and turns, this mystery should not be missed.
Ambler’s main character, a mystery writer himself, seeks inspiration for his next novel from a morgue, but soon finds himself caught up in a web of intrigue, assassination, and treachery. The characters shine in this mystery, and the Balkan setting adds a touch of the exotic, making A Coffin for Dimitrios a great choice for readers looking for adventure and mystery.
Imagine being stuck on a train with a murderer and having nowhere to go. The second Agatha Christie book on this list is Murder on the Orient Express, and it is going to cover this exact situation. This book is the most widely read mystery of all time and for good reason.
This book was first serially published in 1868, but it has held its own as one of the best mystery books out there over all of these years. The Moonstone is a novel about a large valuable diamond that goes missing at a party. The suspect list continues to grow and shrink throughout the book as the culprit is searched for.
This book is going to center around the character Harry Bosch as he volunteers to work cold cases for the San Fernando Police Department. Before he knows it, he finds himself right in the middle of a high-level national case. At the same time, he will have to deal with his past and his time spent with the LAPD.
The End Game is going to center around two characters, Will Robie and Jessica Reel. Will and Jessica are the people that the government calls when threats of mass destruction against the United States are discovered. In this book, their longtime handler goes missing. They must figure out what has happened to him before it is too late.
This book has been made into a TV drama, but it was originally written in 1994. The time period of the book is set in 1896 and is going to take place in New York City. This mystery is going to cover the search for a serial killer that is loose and doesn’t seem to be slowing down.
This mystery centers around Kinsey Millhone. She is a private detective that somehow always finds herself taking on cases for the underdog. Desperate client Nikki Fife just got out of jail after serving eight years for being convicted of murdering her husband. However, she is claiming she didn’t do it. She now needs help finding her husbands real killer.
When an unknown man ends up dead in a small town in East Anglia, the job of solving the murder falls to the famous Lord Peter Whimsey. Lord Peter Whimsey is met with twists and turns as he is forced to determine the good and evil that lurks in every person.
If you love Sherlock Holmes books, you will love The Beekeeper’s Apprentice. Sherlock Holmes takes on a bright apprentice in young Mary Russell. They must solve a case of international importance and also deal with clues that dig back into Sherlock’s past.
Things are not always as they seem when young attorney Mitch McDeere joins his new firm. Before long the FBI is investigating the workings of his new firm. Because of this, Mitch finds himself between a rock and a hard place with the FBI.
Anytime you mix in Nazi Germany and the Allied Forces you have the combination for a great book. The Eye of the Needle is about a German aristocrat master spy whose fate lays in the hands of a young English woman whose loyalties could easily be swayed.
Also, a major blockbuster movie, The Silence of the Lambs is must read for any mystery lover. FBI agent Clarice Starling must find serial killer named “Buffalo Bill” before he strikes again. With the search going nowhere she must turn to the help of another serial killer in Hannibal Lecter for help.
This book is going to center around the character Tom Ripley who is a suave young up and comer living in Manhattan. Tom finds himself employed by a wealthy businessman who wants him to go to Italy to bring back his playboy son Dickie Greenleaf. Before long though he becomes obsessed with Dickie. He wants Dickie’s lifestyle for his own and will do whatever it takes to have it.
Magpie Murders is a deviously dark take on English crime fiction that allows the reader to become the detective. This story is going to center around editor Susan Ryeland and the murder at Pye Hall. As she digs deeper into the account of the murder, she starts to suspect that there might be more there than meets the eye.
Brother Cadfael is a monk living at Shrewsbury Abbey in western England. His story begins when monks from out of town come to the Abbey hoping to gather the remains of Saint Winfred. The town becomes divided and the leading protester dead. It is now up to Brother Cadfael to figure out what happened and who was behind the death.
Robert Langdon is a Harvard professor that has just attended a presentation that has revealed the answers to two fundamental questions of human existence. Robert Langdon and Ambra Vidal, the elegant museum director are forced to flee when the presentation turns to chaos. It is now up to Professor Langdon and Ambra to finish the shocking discovery and make it known to the world.
Best Mystery Books Conclusion
There is just something about a good mystery book that keeps you locked in and excited for the next page turn. Our goal with this list of the best mystery books was to provide you with at least a few books that you absolutely cannot pass up if you are a mystery book fan.
Let us know which one was your favorite in the comments below.
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