The best classic English murder mysteries

Who am I?

I grew up binge-reading murder mysteries and promised myself that some day, I would write one too. A Long Shadow is the first book in my Chief Inspector Shadow series set in York. Luckily, living in a city so full of history, dark corners, and hidden snickelways, I am never short of inspiration. When I’m not coming up with new ways to bump people off, I enjoy red wine, dark chocolate, and blue cheese—not necessarily together! 


I wrote...

A Long Shadow

By H.L. Marsay,

Book cover of A Long Shadow

What is my book about?

Old sins cast long shadows…

When the bodies of a young, homeless girl and a girl who disappeared thirty years ago are found on the same day, residents in the historic city of York are aghast. It seems unlikely the two cases are related, and yet some of the same players knew both victims. As Detective Chief Inspector John Shadow and his eager new partner, Sergeant Jimmy Chang, dive into their investigation, they uncover a complicated web of pop stars, pub owners, shopkeepers and old school friends who each have something to hide. As the two men gradually learn to work together to solve the case, it’s clear that the past is never as far away as you think.

The books I picked & why

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The Body in the Library: A Miss Marple Mystery

By Agatha Christie,

Book cover of The Body in the Library: A Miss Marple Mystery

Why this book?

It was so difficult to pick just one book by the ‘Queen of Crime’, but for me, The Body in the Library is the perfect murder mystery set in an English village. When Dolly Bantry finds the body of a beautiful young woman in her library one morning, she immediately calls her best friend, Jane Marple. Miss Marple arrives at the hotel where the dead girl worked and finds herself in a world of glamorous dancers and wealthy invalids. She sets out to uncover the murderer and restore her friends’ reputations.

The Body in the Library: A Miss Marple Mystery

By Agatha Christie,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Body in the Library as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

હોટેલમાં અડધેથી પોતાનું પર્ફોર્મન્સ છોડીને ભાગેલી યુવાન ડાન્સરની લાશ બેન્ટ્રી કપલના ઘરની લાઇબ્રેરીમાંથી મળી આવે છે.  બીજી તરફ ગામથી દૂર એક સૂમસામ ખીણમાં બળીને કોલસો થઇ ગયેલી બીજી એક યુવાન છોકરીની લાશ પણ મળી આવે છે. શું આ બંને ઘટનાઓને જોડતી કોઈ લિન્ક હતી?રિટાયર્ડ આર્મી કર્નલ, એનો તોછડો પડોશી, અતિ શ્રીમંત પણ દુઃખી અને અપંગ બિઝનેસમેન, ભૂતકાળમાંથી છટકીને નવું જીવન શરૂ કરવા માટે તલસી રહેલા થોડાં યુવાન સ્ત્રીપુરુષો -- આ બધાં જ શંકાના દાયરામાં છે. આ દરેક લોકો કંઇક તો છુપાવે જ છે, પરંતુ સૌની પાસે ખુદની નિર્દોષતા સાબિત કરવા માટેના સજ્જડ પુરાવાઓ પણ છે. માત્ર એક જ વ્યક્તિ જાણે…


Cover Her Face: An Adam Dalgliesh Mystery

By P. D. James,

Book cover of Cover Her Face: An Adam Dalgliesh Mystery

Why this book?

This is another murder mystery set in a quintessential English village and where we meet detective Adam Dalgleish for the first time. The day after the church fete, Sally Jupp is found dead in her bedroom, the door locked from the inside. I loved the way tension gradually builds through the story and how expertly each character is drawn. Nobody is who they seem, including the victim.

Cover Her Face: An Adam Dalgliesh Mystery

By P. D. James,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Cover Her Face as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The first in the series of scintillating mysteries to feature cunning Scotland Yard detective, Adam Dalgliesh from P.D. James, the bestselling author hailed by People magazine as “the greatest living mystery writer.”

Sally Jupp was a sly and sensuous young woman who used her body and her brains to make her way up the social ladder. Now she lies across her bed with dark bruises from a strangler’s fingers forever marring her lily-white throat. Someone has decided that the wages of sin should be death...and it is up to Chief Inspector Adam Dalgliesh to find who that someone is.

Cover…


Last Bus to Woodstock

By Colin Dexter,

Book cover of Last Bus to Woodstock

Why this book?

This is the first book that introduces us to one of my favourite crime solving duos—Inspector Morse and Sergeant Lewis. I love both these characters and how they interact together. I also love the fact that Oxford, where the stories are set, feels like another character too. In this story, Morse must investigate the murder of a young woman who missed the last bus home. The plot is complex with each strand expertly woven together and there are plenty of clues and red herrings too.

Last Bus to Woodstock

By Colin Dexter,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Last Bus to Woodstock as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Last Bus to Woodstock is the novel that began Colin Dexter's phenomenally successful Inspector Morse series.

'Do you think I'm wasting your time, Lewis?'
Lewis was nobody's fool and was a man of some honesty and integrity.
'Yes, sir.'
An engaging smile crept across Morse's mouth. He thought they could get on well together . . .

The death of Sylvia Kaye figured dramatically in Thursday afternoon's edition of the Oxford Mail. By Friday evening Inspector Morse had informed the nation that the police were looking for a dangerous man - facing charges of wilful murder, sexual assault and rape.…


The Case of the Famished Parson

By George Bellairs,

Book cover of The Case of the Famished Parson

Why this book?

I first discovered the Inspector Littlejohn stories by George Bellairs when I briefly lived on the Isle of Man. Littlejohn has a dry sense of humour and a sharp tongue. In this story he is called in to investigate the death of a bishop whose emaciated body has been found at the bottom of the cliff at Cape Marvin. Little is known about the bishop and it is up to the inspector to discover if the answer to his death can be found in his past or in the secretive village of Cape Marvin.

The Case of the Famished Parson

By George Bellairs,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Case of the Famished Parson as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A corpse belonging to a gentle bishop is found at the base of a cliff on the Isle of Man in an ingenious mystery by the master of the (The New York Times).
Dr James Macintosh, the Bishop of Greyle, is a mysterious man; for a long time, nobody even seems to know his last name. But things suddenly take a turn for the worse when his body is found completely emaciated and battered having being pushed face-first off the edge of a cliff...
Inspector Littlejohn faces an incredibly peculiar case and must figure out how to explain the savage…


The Killings at Badger's Drift

By Caroline Graham,

Book cover of The Killings at Badger's Drift

Why this book?

This is the book that launched the popular television series Midsomer Murders. Chief Inspector Tom Barnaby, who unlike most fictional detectives has a happy home life, is called in to investigate the death of Miss Simpson, an elderly spinster. With the help of Sergeant Troy, he uncovers hidden scandals, rivalries, and secret affairs. The two men soon discover that Badger’s Drift isn’t as idyllic as it first appears.

The Killings at Badger's Drift

By Caroline Graham,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Killings at Badger's Drift as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Badger's Drift is an ideal English village, complete with vicar, bumbling local doctor, and kindly spinster with a nice line in homemade cookies. But when the spinster dies suddenly, her best friend kicks up an unseemly fuss, loud enough to attract the attention of Detective Chief Inspector Tom Barnaby. And when Barnaby and his eager-beaver deputy start poking around, they uncover a swamp of ugly scandals and long-suppressed resentments seething below the picture-postcard prettiness. In the grand tradition of the quietly intelligent copper, Barnaby has both an irresistibly dry sense of humor and a keen insight into what makes people…


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