The best spooky (but non-graphic) mysteries that'll stick with you for years

The Books I Picked & Why

By the Pricking of My Thumbs

By Agatha Christie

Book cover of By the Pricking of My Thumbs

Why this book?

I had to choose a mystery by the absolute master of the genre, Agatha Christie (bonus—my dog's name is Agatha, if that tells you how much I love her books). Agatha had a way of writing non-graphic mysteries that could still get under your skin...along with villains that were unforgettable, as was the case in this one. I won't say more since I don't want to give spoilers, but I'll never forget the creep factor of the whodunit in this book. And it's a bonus that Tommy and Tuppence Beresford are the sleuths—married sleuths for the win!

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The Haunting of Hill House

By Shirley Jackson

Book cover of The Haunting of Hill House

Why this book?

This one is a classic that's enjoyed various screen adaptations, but I maintain that you haven't really experienced it until you've read it. Jackson took psychological mystery to the next level, because the most frightening part of the story isn't actually what's in the house, but what's in the main character's head. And that ending...well, it'll leave you pondering. 

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Hunter's Green

By Phyllis a. Whitney

Book cover of Hunter's Green

Why this book?

No list of spooky yet non-graphic/gory mysteries would be complete without a Phyllis Whitney novel, and although this one feels a little slow compared to the pace of contemporary mysteries, it packed a memorable punch for me—mostly because of the setting (Whitney does Gothic like no one else). I can still close my eyes and visualize the great estate. Whitney's reads are perfect to escape with on a misty rainy day or a dark and stormy night.

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By Daphne du Maurier

Book cover of Rebecca

Why this book?

How could I not recommend Rebecca? The nameless main character has drawn readers in for generations with her newly-married dilemma...can she step out of the shadow of her husband's dead wife, Rebecca? The character development—and the psychological drama—is so perfectly crafted, I stand in awe, wondering how Daphne came up with such an unforgettable plotline. Twists abound, but the setting and characters are what will stick with you forever.

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The House Next Door

By Anne Rivers Siddons

Book cover of The House Next Door

Why this book?

I hesitate to recommend this, but as I think back over spooky reads that aren't overly graphic, I have to say the plotline of this one has stuck with me over the years. To be honest, it's a book I'll never read again because it scared the tar out of me—we're talking on a psychological level. Yet if you're looking for an edge-of-your-seat mystery that'll freak you out without getting gory, this is the book for you. Just don't say I didn't warn you.

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