The best books to get your Sherlock Holmes fix

Who am I?

I think the lure of the detective novel lies in our human instinct to problem solve. There’s something satisfying about following a smart, observant, and even flawed character as they solve a crime. We’re working through a complicated puzzle, deciphering clues and theorizing, alongside the detective. Personally, I love detective novels set in richly drawn historical settings. I grew up addicted to Edgar Allan Poe and Sherlock Holmes stories. I remember reading The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins in a few days because I couldn’t put it down. The following books are a must-have for any Sherlock Holmes fans.


I wrote...

Ripper (A Ripper Novel)

By Amy Carol Reeves,

Book cover of Ripper (A Ripper Novel)

What is my book about?

It’s 1888, and after her mother’s sudden death, Abbie is sent to live with her grandmother in a posh London neighborhood. When she begins volunteering at Whitechapel Hospital, Abbie finds she has a passion for helping the abused and sickly women there. But within days, patients begin turning up murdered at the hands of Jack the Ripper. As more women are murdered, Abbie realizes that she and the Ripper share a strange connection: she has visions showing the Ripper luring his future victims to their deaths—moments before he turns his knife upon them. Her desperation to stop the massacres leads Abbie on a perilous hunt for the killer. And her search leads to a mysterious brotherhood whose link to the Ripper threatens not just London but all of mankind.

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The books I picked & why

Jackaby

By William Ritter,

Book cover of Jackaby

Why did I love this book?

This book has all my favorite detective fiction elements: a beautiful cover, an independent heroine, Abigail Rook, crime-solving alongside an elusive detective, R.F. Jackaby, and a solid plot that kept me guessing until the end. Set in late nineteenth-century New England, Rook teams up with Jackaby in a parallel to a Watson-Holmes relationship except this detective novel features the supernatural. Rook learns quickly that Jackaby stands out among detectives as he can see supernatural creatures. I love so much about this book, particularly the chemistry between Rook and Jackaby as co-investigators. This is a must-read not only for detective fiction fans, but for Dr. Who and Buffy the Vampire Slayer fans as well.  

By William Ritter,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Alone and newly arrived in New Fiddleham. 1892, Abigail Rook finds work as the assistant to R. F. Jackaby, an investigator of the unexplained with the ability to see supernatural beings. On her first day, Abigail finds herself in the midst of a thrilling case: A serial killer is on the loose in New Fiddleham. The police are convinced it's an ordinary villain, but Jackaby is certain the foul deeds are the work of the kind of creature whose very existence the local police - with the exception of a handsome young detective named Charlie Cane - seem adamant to…


The Name of the Rose

By Umberto Eco,

Book cover of The Name of the Rose

Why did I love this book?

The Name of the Rose is one of the cleverest detective novels I’ve read. Set in the Middle Ages, this story follows Brother William and his Benedictine novice, Adso, as they follow up on heresy allegations at an Italian Abbey. Soon a series of murders ensues, raising the stakes for the two investigators as Brother William and Adso race to find the serial killer. Adso is Watson to Brother William’s Sherlock. Set in an era long before forensic science, Brother William relies on logic and the philosophies of Aquinas and Aristotle for insight into the bizarre and ghastly murders. This detective novel unfolds like an intricate and deeply satisfying puzzle.

By Umberto Eco,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Read the enthralling medieval murder mystery.

The year is 1327. Franciscans in a wealthy Italian abbey are suspected of heresy, and Brother William of Baskerville arrives to investigate. When his delicate mission is suddenly overshadowed by seven bizarre deaths, Brother William turns detective.

William collects evidence, deciphers secret symbols and coded manuscripts, and digs into the eerie labyrinth of the abbey where extraordinary things are happening under the cover of night. A spectacular popular and critical success, The Name of the Rose is not only a narrative of a murder investigation but an astonishing chronicle of the Middle Ages.

'Whether…


Mexican Gothic

By Silvia Moreno-Garcia,

Book cover of Mexican Gothic

Why did I love this book?

Probably due to my PhD in British literature, I loved the Jane Eyre-ish elements of this mystery novel. Heavy with gothic nods to the Brontë sisters and Daphne du Murier, this detective novel features socialite, Noemí Taboada, heading to an estate in rural Mexico after receiving a disturbing letter from her cousin, Catalina. Once at the estate, Taboada teams up with the family’s son, Francis, as she unearths shocking family secrets. I love Taboada’s strength and resourcefulness as she braves everything to rescue Catalina. With haunting and beautifully written prose, this book unfolds a disturbing tale of greed and madness, and I cheered Taboada on at every page.

By Silvia Moreno-Garcia,

Why should I read it?

13 authors picked Mexican Gothic as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The award-winning author of Gods of Jade and Shadow (one of the 100 best fantasy novels of all time, TIME magazine) returns with a mesmerising feminist Gothic fantasy, in which a glamorous young socialite discovers the haunting secrets of a beautiful old mansion in 1950s Mexico.

He is trying to poison me. You must come for me, Noemi. You have to save me.

When glamorous socialite Noemi Taboada receives a frantic letter from her newlywed cousin begging to be rescued from a mysterious doom, it's clear something is desperately amiss. Catalina has always had a flair for the dramatic, but…


The Diviners

By Libba Bray,

Book cover of The Diviners

Why did I love this book?

Evie O’Neill has been sent to live with her Uncle Will when she can’t obey the conventional rules of her hometown. The good news is that he lives in glitzy New York City during the 1920s, but Will runs a very different scene, operating the Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult. After a girl’s body is discovered with clues indicating that the murder was motivated by the occult, Evie, her uncle, and a few new friends find themselves involved in the investigation. A Young Adult book, what I particularly love about this novel, is the way Evie evolves from a thoughtless party-girl to a young detective who embraces the psychic gift she has long kept at bay. In the process, she becomes wiser about the larger, complicated world around her.  

By Libba Bray,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

It's 1920s New York City. It's flappers and Follies, jazz and gin. It's after the war but before the depression. And for certain group of bright young things it's the opportunity to party like never before.

For Evie O'Neill, it's escape. She's never fit in in small town Ohio and when she causes yet another scandal, she's shipped off to stay with an uncle in the big city. But far from being exile, this is exactly what she's always wanted: the chance to show how thoroughly modern and incredibly daring she can be.

But New York City isn't about just…


Lady Audley's Secret

By Mary Elizabeth Braddon,

Book cover of Lady Audley's Secret

Why did I love this book?

Often overlooked on detective fiction lists, Lady Audley’s Secret is a hidden gem. My favorite Victorian detective novel, I didn’t discover the book until grad school, and since have taught it in numerous British lit courses. When Robert Audley becomes curious about the beautiful, young bride of his uncle, Michael Audley, he starts investigating her past. He finds surprising ties to his friend George Talbot, who, years earlier, abandoned his young wife and son to seek his fortune in Australia. What I love about this book is how Braddon plays with Victorian anxieties—particularly preoccupations with the unconventional means a woman might go through to escape unhappiness. 

By Mary Elizabeth Braddon,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Lady Audley's Secret as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Originally published in Robin Goodfellow magazine, Lady Audley's Secret is the essential work of Mary Elizabeth Braddon and is considered a staple of sensation fiction. The story centers on a mysterious woman, whose dark past slowly comes to light.

Lady Audley is a former governess who marries the wealthy widower, Sir Michael Audley. She thoroughly enjoys the life of privilege and status associated with her new husband. Although she appears beautiful and polished, Lady Audley is more than meets the eye. She has a dark secret that could jeopardize everything she's worked for. To maintain her facade, she plots and…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Sherlock Holmes, the Middle Ages, and murder?

9,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Sherlock Holmes, the Middle Ages, and murder.

Sherlock Holmes Explore 79 books about Sherlock Holmes
The Middle Ages Explore 359 books about the Middle Ages
Murder Explore 727 books about murder

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

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