The best fair play murder mysteries that are actually fair

Who am I?

I was born in Coatbridge, in the West of Scotland, more years ago than I care to remember. I recently took the big step of moving east to Edinburgh, by way of Birmingham, London, Lagos, Nigeria, Chicago, Pittsburgh, and New York: a necessary detour because traffic on the direct route is really, really bad. I’m a graduate of Birmingham University and Harvard Law School, and work in the field of counter-terrorist financing, which sounds way cooler than it is.  Basically, I write emails, fill in forms, and use spreadsheets to help choke off the money supply that builds weapons of mass destruction, narcotics empires, and human trafficking networks. And sometimes I write murder mysteries.


I wrote...

A Quiet Teacher

By Adam Oyebanji,

Book cover of A Quiet Teacher

What is my book about?

Greg Abimbola is a language teacher at the prestigious Calderhill Academy in Pittsburgh. Only that’s not his real name... or the only secret he’s hiding. When the murder of a wealthy parent on school premises shines an unwanted spotlight on Calderhill Academy, Greg is determined to avoid attention.

That is until the closest person to a true friend Greg has is arrested for the murder. To prove her innocence, Greg will reluctantly emerge from the shadows. But doing so will put him in danger. Because his past is determined to find him... and his past is full of very bad things.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

The books I picked & why

Book cover of And Then There Were None

Adam Oyebanji Why did I love this book?

Because it is arguably (!) the best of Christie’s mysteries and the best introduction to her work anyone could hope for. Ten strangers, all with a wide variety of occupations and backgrounds, accept invitations from a mysterious host to spend a weekend on an isolated island. The strangers, though, have one thing in common: they have escaped justice for dark deeds done in the past. As the weekend progresses to its seemingly inevitable conclusion, the weekend visitors begin to die one by one. Whatever the sins of the past, one of them is a killer.  The ever-dwindling band of survivors have no choice but to solve the mystery or die trying.

By Agatha Christie,

Why should I read it?

13 authors picked And Then There Were None as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Agatha Christie's world-famous mystery thriller, reissued with a striking new cover designed to appeal to the latest generation of Agatha Christie fans and book lovers.

Ten strangers, apparently with little in common, are lured to an island mansion off the coast of Devon by the mysterious U.N.Owen. Over dinner, a record begins to play, and the voice of an unseen host accuses each person of hiding a guilty secret. That evening, former reckless driver Tony Marston is found murdered by a deadly dose of cyanide.

The tension escalates as the survivors realise the killer is not only among them but…


Book cover of Moonflower Murders

Adam Oyebanji Why did I love this book?

Moonflower Murders shows what can be done at the boundary between genre and literary fiction. This is a writer at the top of his form with twisty plotting, mellifluous prose, and the sheer joy of storytelling. Realistic? No. But that’s not the point. This is an insane murder mystery within a murder mystery. A sequel to Magpie Murders, it features retired publisher Susan Ryeland, who now runs a small hotel on a Greek island. But running a small hotel on a Greek island isn’t for everyone, and Susan is beginning to miss her old life in London.

She is pushed into returning when two of her guests inform her that their newlywed daughter had been in dangerous proximity to a murder back home and had now gone missing – hours after reading a murder mystery Susan herself had edited in her old life. The book holds the key to both the murder and the daughter’s disappearance. Susan is determined to get to the bottom of them. Even if it kills her.

By Anthony Horowitz,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Moonflower Murders as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Pre-order the brand new Anthony Horowitz novel The Twist of a Knife, coming August 2022!

'EASILY THE GREATEST OF OUR CRIME WRITERS' Sunday Times

'Absolutely loved it. So clever, just masterful stuff.' Richard Osman

'A beautiful puzzle: fiendishly clever and hugely entertaining. A masterpiece.' Lucy Foley, author of The Hunting Party

'You have to hand it to Horowitz: the guy never fails to deliver a total page-turner. We LOVED it.' Richard & Judy Book Club
____________

Retired publisher Susan Ryeland is running a small hotel on a Greek island with her long-term boyfriend. But life isn't as idyllic as it…


Book cover of The Cuckoo's Calling

Adam Oyebanji Why did I love this book?

A reworking of the hard-boiled crime novel, updated with a modern-day female partner and a not-quite romance, there is a lot to like in the first and, I think, shortest of Robert Galbraith’s/J.K. Rowling’s mystery series. Private investigator Cormoran Strike is down on his luck. He is deep in debt, sleeping in his office, and utterly unable to pay for Robin Ellacott, the agency temp he forgot to cancel. Things take a turn for the better, though, when a high-strung model falls to her death from an upscale London balcony. Everyone says it’s suicide, except her brother, who turns to Cormoran for help. Reluctantly taking Robin in tow, Cormoran finds there’s far more to the apparent suicide than meets the eye. But while delving ever deeper is good for Cormoran’s bank balance, it is decidedly the reverse when it comes to his odds of survival.

By Robert Galbraith,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Cuckoo's Calling as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'The Cuckoo's Calling reminds me why I fell in love with crime fiction in the first place' VAL MCDERMID

-----

Now a major BBC drama: The Strike series

When a troubled model falls to her death from a snow-covered Mayfair balcony, it is assumed that she has committed suicide. However, her brother has his doubts, and calls in private investigator Cormoran Strike to look into the case.

Strike is a war veteran - wounded both physically and psychologically - and his life is in disarray. The case gives him a financial lifeline, but it comes at a personal cost: the…


Book cover of The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

Adam Oyebanji Why did I love this book?

Agatha Christie meets Groundhog Day meets Rashomon in this country house murder mystery where the narrator is as much a puzzle as the murder itself. The narrator lurches into the novel as a witness to a killing so dreadful they’ve lost their memory. Then awakes the next morning to live the same day again as a different character with a different viewpoint: a bizarre twist that repeats itself until we have, as the title suggests, seven different versions of what happened, and enough information, finally, to get to the “truth.” Come for the strange, mind-bending trip, leave with a beautifully constructed conclusion.

By Stuart Turton,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Can you solve the mystery of Evelyn Hardcastle?

WINNER OF THE COSTA FIRST NOVEL AWARD
WINNER OF THE BOOKS ARE MY BAG NOVEL AWARD
A WATERSTONES THRILLER OF THE MONTH
SHORTLISTED FOR THE SPECSAVERS NATIONAL BOOK AWARDS
SHORTLISTED FOR THE BRITISH BOOK AWARDS DEBUT OF THE YEAR
LONGLISTED FOR THE THEAKSTON OLD PECULIER CRIME NOVEL OF THE YEAR

Gosford Park meets Groundhog Day by way of Agatha Christie and Black Mirror - the most inventive story you'll read

Tonight, Evelyn Hardcastle will be killed ... Again

It is meant to be a celebration but it ends in tragedy. As fireworks…


Book cover of The Trespasser

Adam Oyebanji Why did I love this book?

Cynical, elegantly plotted, and beautifully written, in this, the sixth of French’s Dublin Murder Squad mysteries, a young woman is found dead in her home and the initial conclusion is that she’s a victim of domestic violence. Her boyfriend is hauled in and questioned and the Squad is convinced it’s an open and shut case. All except the deeply unpopular Antoinette Conway, who spots a number of inconsistencies that give her pause. Pushed to the limit by the hostility and harassment of her so-called colleagues, Conway probes deeper into the case—at the risk of sinking her precarious career for good.

By Tana French,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The bestselling novel by Tana French, author of the forthcoming novel The Searcher, is "required reading for anyone who appreciates tough, unflinching intelligence and ingenious plotting" (The New York Times). She "inspires cultic devotion in readers" (The New Yorker) and is "the most important crime novelist to emerge in the past 10 years" (The Washington Post).

"Atmospheric and unputdownable." -People


In bestselling author Tana French's newest "tour de force" (The New York Times), being on the Murder Squad is nothing like Detective Antoinette Conway dreamed it would be. Her partner, Stephen Moran, is the only person who seems glad she's…


You might also like...

Book cover of The Wild Rose and the Sea Raven

Jennifer Ivy Walker Author Of Winter Solstice in the Crystal Castle

New book alert!

Who am I?

Author French teacher Avid reader Lover of medieval romance European traveler

Jennifer's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

As the sole heir to the crown of Ireland, Issylte must flee her stepmother (the wicked queen who seeks her death), finding shelter with a fairy witch who teaches her the verdant magic of the enchanted forest. Fate leads Issylte to the otherworldly realm of the Lady of the Lake and the Elves of Avalon, where she must choose between her new life as a gifted Celtic healer or fight to save her ravaged kingdom.

The chivalrous hero of this medieval romance is Tristan of Lyonesse, a Knight of the Round Table who must overcome the horrors of his past and defend his uncle, King Marke of Cornwall, against the Morholt, the indomitable Black Knight who commands the Viking forces of the ruthless Irish queen. When Tristan becomes a warrior of the ancient Tribe of Dana, a gift of Druidic magic might bestow upon him the power he needs to ally with Issylte and confront the Black Widow Queen, who threatens them both.

Haunted and hunted. Entwined by fate. Can their passion and power prevail?

By Jennifer Ivy Walker,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Wild Rose and the Sea Raven as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this dark fairy tale adaptation of a medieval French legend, Issylte must flee the wicked queen, finding shelter with a fairy witch who teaches her the verdant magic of the forest. Fate leads her to the otherworldly realm of the Lady of the Lake and the Elves of Avalon, where she must choose between her life as a healer or fight to save her ravaged kingdom.
Tristan of Lyonesse is a Knight of the Round Table who must overcome the horrors of his past and defend his king or lose everything. When he becomes a warrior of the Tribe…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in murder, murder mystery, and private investigators?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about murder, murder mystery, and private investigators.

Murder Explore 891 books about murder
Murder Mystery Explore 469 books about murder mystery
Private Investigators Explore 277 books about private investigators