The best mystery books with layers of clues to leave you thinking

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up with books like Dinotopia, Goosebumps choose your own adventures, Harry Potter, and Lord of the Rings, growing me into a lover of intricate world-building. I've always been passionate about magic and science. Interweaving magic into everyday life is part of who I am and I love seeing it in writing. After writing ten fantasy detective novels, buckets of short mysteries, and over a decade of world-building I know a passionate writer when I read it. As an avid audiobook consumer, organizer, and progenitor for the Logan Writers Festival, and twice-a-week professional Dungeon Master, I love the way these books intricately lay down their clues in the places they didn’t think we’d look.


I wrote...

The Case of the Captain's Hair

By Rhiannon D. Elton,

Book cover of The Case of the Captain's Hair

What is my book about?

An exciting mixture of Sherlock Holmes and Middle Earth, The Case of the Captain’s Hair is a fun mystery that weaves you into Wolflock’s world and leaves you rereading the clues, piling over the map, and decoding the letter in the back for more. 

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Cocaine Blues

Rhiannon D. Elton Why did I love this book?

Witty, sharp, and absolutely fabulous. Kerry gives you a sense of the Australian 1920s as if you were standing right there in the magic of that swinging era. The book is full of twists and turns  and will keep you guessing until the end, but it also leaves you with a strong sense of certain threads being deliberately unresolved. If you're a fan of historical mysteries and strong female characters, Cocaine Blues is a must-read.  

By Kerry Greenwood,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Cocaine Blues as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Bored socialite Phryne Fisher leaves the tedium of the London season for adventure in Australia!

Tea-dances in West End hotels, weekends in the country with guns and dogs... Phryne Fisher - she of the grey-green eyes and diamante garters - is rapidly tiring of the boredom of chit-chatting with retired colonels and foxtrotting with weak-chinned wonders. Instead, Phryne decides it might be amusing to try her hand at being a lady detective - on the other side of the world!

As soon as she books into the Windsor Hotel in Melbourne, Phryne is embroiled in mystery: poisoned wives, drug smuggling…


Book cover of A Discovery of Witches

Rhiannon D. Elton Why did I love this book?

A Discovery of Witches is an exciting journey! Deborah Harkness masterfully weaves together history, science, and fantasy to create a captivating story that will keep you guessing until the  end. The book is filled with layers of clues and mysteries that will keep you on the edge of your seat. The characters are well-developed, and the romance between Diana and Matthew is both compelling and heart-wrenching. I couldn't put the book down and I can't wait to dive into the  next installment. This book is a true page-turner, and I highly recommend it to anyone who loves a good mystery with a touch of magic!

By Deborah Harkness,

Why should I read it?

17 authors picked A Discovery of Witches as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this tale of passion and obsession, Diana Bishop, a young scholar and a descendant of witches, discovers a long-lost and enchanted alchemical manuscript, Ashmole 782, deep in Oxford's Bodleian Library. Its reappearance summons a fantastical underworld, which she navigates with her leading man, vampire geneticist Matthew Clairmont.


Book cover of The Name of the Wind

Rhiannon D. Elton Why did I love this book?

The Name of the Wind is a must-read for fans of fantasy and mystery. The story of Kvothe, an orphan turned legendarily talented musician and magician, is rich in character development and world-building. The book is filled with layers of clues and mysteries that will keep the reader guessing and engaged. Rothfuss's writing style is captivating, making it hard to put the book down. The balance of fantasy, mystery, and adventure makes it a perfect fit for readers who enjoy multiple genres. It leaves you feeling like there is more going on than meets the eye, making it a true page-turner. This novel is not to be missed.

By Patrick Rothfuss,

Why should I read it?

11 authors picked The Name of the Wind as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The lyrical fantasy masterpiece about stories, legends and how they change the world. The Name of the Wind is an absolute must-read for any fan of fantasy fiction.

'This is a magnificent book' Anne McCaffrey

'I was reminded of Ursula K. Le Guin, George R. R. Martin, and J. R. R. Tolkein, but never felt that Rothfuss was imitating anyone' THE TIMES

'I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I burned down the town of Trebon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life. I was expelled from the University…


Book cover of The Lies of Locke Lamora

Rhiannon D. Elton Why did I love this book?

The Lies of Locke Lamora is an expertly crafted fantasy novel that will leave you feeling like there is more going on than meets the eye. The story follows a group of thieves in a fantasy world who pull off elaborate heists and scams, but they soon attract the attention of powerful enemies. The book is filled with layers of clues and mysteries that keep the reader acting as a detective to solve the threads of mystery throughout. Lynch's writing style is engaging and the pacing is perfect, making it hard to put the book down. The book is also rich in character development and world-building. The balance of fantasy, mystery, and adventure makes it a perfect fit for readers who enjoy multiple genres. The Lies of Locke Lamora is for anyone who loves a good fantasy novel with a touch of mystery and adventure.

By Scott Lynch,

Why should I read it?

11 authors picked The Lies of Locke Lamora as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'One of my top ten books ever. Maybe top five. If you haven't read it, you should' Patrick Rothfuss, New York Times bestselling author of The Name of the Wind

'Fresh, original and engrossing' George R.R. Martin, the phenomenon behind A Game of Thrones

They say that the Thorn of Camorr can beat anyone in a fight. They say he steals from the rich and gives to the poor. They say he's part man, part myth, and mostly street-corner rumor. And they are wrong on every count.

Only averagely tall, slender, and god-awful with a sword, Locke Lamora is the…


Book cover of The Janus Affair

Rhiannon D. Elton Why did I love this book?

This book by Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris is one that you skip other books in your TBR pile for! It’s impossible to put it down. The story takes place in an alternate Victorian era  where the world is powered by steam and magic. The plot is filled with so many threads of clues and mysteries weave you into the world and before you know it you’re as tangled as the characters. The secret agent and medium characters are brilliant, and their chemistry is just amazing. The world-building is superb, the steampunk universe is so rich and fascinating. The  balance of mystery, fantasy, and adventure are just perfect. If you love steampunk and mystery,  you have to read this book! It's simply fantastic! 

By Pip Ballantine, Tee Morris,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

There's something rotten in the city of London. Women are disappearing - young and old, rich and poor, from all walks of society. The only thing they have in common is their belief that women also deserve the vote. It's up to the Ministry of Peculiar Occurences to find out why these women are vanishing, but agents Books and Braun have their own challenges. There's a turncoat with nefarious plans within the Ministry itself, and the reappearance of an old flame means their growing friendship is threatened. To say nothing of the queen of the underworld, tassassins-attacking-on-ornithopters, and a conspiracy…


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A Theory of Expanded Love

By Caitlin Hicks,

Book cover of A Theory of Expanded Love

Caitlin Hicks Author Of A Theory of Expanded Love

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

My life and work have been profoundly affected by the central circumstance of my existence: I was born into a very large military Catholic family in the United States of America. As a child surrounded by many others in the 60s, I wrote, performed, and directed family plays with my numerous brothers and sisters. Although I fell in love with a Canadian and moved to Canada, my family of origin still exerts considerable personal influence. My central struggle, coming from that place of chaos, order, and conformity, is to have the courage to live an authentic life based on my own experience of connectedness and individuality, to speak and be heard. 

Caitlin's book list on coming-of-age books that explore belonging, identity, family, and beat with an emotional and/or humorous pulse

What is my book about?

Trapped in her enormous, devout Catholic family in 1963, Annie creates a hilarious campaign of lies when the pope dies and their family friend, Cardinal Stefanucci, is unexpectedly on the shortlist to be elected the first American pope.

Driven to elevate her family to the holiest of holy rollers in the parish, Annie is tortured by her own dishonesty. But when “The Hands” visits her in her bed and when her sister finds herself facing a scandal, Annie discovers her parents will do almost anything to uphold their reputation and keep their secrets safe. 

Questioning all she has believed and torn between her own gut instinct and years of Catholic guilt, Annie takes courageous risks to wrest salvation from the tragic sequence of events set in motion by her parents’ betrayal.

A Theory of Expanded Love

By Caitlin Hicks,


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