The best books for true murder junkies

Who am I?

I’ve been fascinated by true murder cases ever since I started reading about them when I was sixteen years old. They draw on all your senses and emotions: your curiosity about the psychology behind the killer’s actions and your horror and sympathy for the victims, their families, and the families of the killers because they suffer too. As a writer I am particularly drawn to apparent miscarriages of justice and I think there must be a secret detective hidden deep in my soul because I love to delve and investigate these. I wrote my first book after retiring from my long career in Social Services and Mental Health Services. 

I wrote...

The Rotherham Trunk Murder: Uncovering an 80 Year Old Miscarriage of Justice

By Jeannette Hensby,

Book cover of The Rotherham Trunk Murder: Uncovering an 80 Year Old Miscarriage of Justice

What is my book about?

When I was about 9 years old my grandma told me about a murder committed by someone that she knew. In 2014 I found an account of the crime and was horrified to read that the man that they hanged, Andrew Bagley, was not the person that grandma had named as the murderer.

After devoting a double centre-page spread to the book, the Nottingham Post wrote: “In her fascinating first book, the author argues that Bagley was innocent. She examines the evidence in forensic detail, asks questions that should have been asked at the trial, exposes a scandalous cover-up at the London appeal court, and in the final chapters, points an accusing finger at the person she believes was the real murderer.”

The books I picked & why

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The Stranger Beside Me

By Ann Rule,

Book cover of The Stranger Beside Me

Why this book?

In the early 1970s true crime writer Ann Rule discovered that the close friend she had been working with for several years was in fact the serial killer Ted Bundy. As a caring person she must have been completely shocked and horrified, but she would know at some level deep inside her that as a true crime writer she had been given a unique gift: the opportunity to write about a terrible crime from a very personal perspective. I was given the same “gift” when in 2014 I found an account of a murder that my grandma told me about many years ago, and I uncovered a miscarriage of justice. This led to me writing my first book and the rest as they say “is history”—I started a whole new career as a true crime writer. 

Ruled In: Solving the JonBenet Ramsey Case

By DocG,

Book cover of Ruled In: Solving the JonBenet Ramsey Case

Why this book?

As it did to other parents all around the world, the murder of six-year-old JonBenet Ramsey in 1996 chilled me to the bone. What kind of monster could kill an innocent child and leave her violated dead body in the basement of her home? And if it was possible to make it even worse, to do it on Christmas night. Police investigators seem to have made the child’s mother Patsy their number one suspect and completely ruled out JonBenet’s father John. The author rules him straight back in—hence the title of the book. I have read most of the books written about this sad case and in my opinion this one is the best. Doc G backs up everything he says with evidence and facts and you end up finding it difficult to disagree with him.

Deviant: Jeremy Bamber and the White House Farm Murders

By Paul Harrison,

Book cover of Deviant: Jeremy Bamber and the White House Farm Murders

Why this book?

A book is always more interesting if the author has some credible inside knowledge about the crime. Many books have been written about the terrible murders at White House Farm for which Jeremy Bamber received a life sentence, and numerous theories have been put forward; most of which have serious holes in them. This author, a retired police officer received a very long and detailed anonymous letter from someone who shared a cell with Jeremy and who says that Jeremy told him exactly what had happened on that terrible murder night. It all makes complete sense, and in my opinion, answers all those unanswered questions about this real-life murder mystery. 

How They Murdered Princess Diana: The Shocking Truth

By John Morgan,

Book cover of How They Murdered Princess Diana: The Shocking Truth

Why this book?

If you were an adult in August 1997 you will almost certainly remember exactly what you were doing when you first heard the news about the death of Princess Diana. I was in bed. My husband arrived home from his night shift at about 6 a.m., and climbing into bed he said “There’s been a terrible accident. Princess Diana is dead.” “Oh don’t be ridiculous.” I said, “She can’t be.” He switched on the television and we saw the first floral tribute being laid at the gates of Kensington Palace. It was true; the People’s Princess had been killed in a road accident in Paris by a drunk driver while being chased by the paparazzi. “Not so,” says the author. “She was murdered by the State.” Chilling!

Rotherham Murders: A Half-Century of Serious Crime, 1900-1950

By Margaret Drinkall,

Book cover of Rotherham Murders: A Half-Century of Serious Crime, 1900-1950

Why this book?

I investigated the murder of Irene Hart after I found an account of the crime in this anthology of murders. I was horrified to see that there had been an apparent miscarriage of justice with the wrong man being hanged. I researched the case and wrote my first book. Margaret’s book is very special to me as it started my career as a true crime writer. Although this is an anthology of crimes committed in the author’s home town they could have happened anywhere. The motives and reasons for murder are the same everywhere: greed, jealousy, sex, envy, or just a purely evil soul. Excellent book by an author who had a weekly true crime column in the local paper.

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in murders, France, and criminals?

5,309 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about murders, France, and criminals.

Murders Explore 302 books about murders
France Explore 544 books about France
Criminals Explore 28 books about criminals

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like The Murders at White House Farm: Jeremy Bamber and the Killing of His Family, Have Mercy on Us All, and The World of Lore: Wicked Mortals if you like this list.