The best books for unravelling knotty murder mysteries

Elizabeth Flynn Author Of Game, Set and Murder
By Elizabeth Flynn

Who am I?

I’ve always enjoyed murder mysteries, with spy novels coming a very close second. I like the puzzle aspect of the story and the unravelling thereof. From early in my childhood I have written and it has never occurred to me to write in any other genre than Crime Fiction. I do like, however, both in my own output and that which I read, to gain an insight into other people’s lives and histories. I like to learn about the surroundings in which the stories are set. Also, for me a must, the characters have to be rounded and three dimensional.


I wrote...

Game, Set and Murder

By Elizabeth Flynn,

Book cover of Game, Set and Murder

What is my book about?

Wimbledon—day one of the famous tennis tournament. The Media are in frenzied attendance and celebrity contestants have been arriving from all over the globe. Keen fans are camping nearby to secure the best places and queues for entry are stretching back along the street. The champagne is chilled and a whole shedload of strawberries is prepared. The entire place is buzzing with excitement. Everything is ready.

But there is a dead body lying on one of the outside courts. Newly-promoted Detective Inspector Angela Costello, herself a tennis fan, gazes down on the Slavic features of the former champion-turned-coach, Petar Belic, and knows that her first case as a DI is going to be a tough one. 

The books I picked & why

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Gaudy Night

By Dorothy L. Sayers,

Book cover of Gaudy Night

Why this book?

This is a completely absorbing mystery set in an Oxford University College. Dorothy L. Sayers is one of the classiest writers of the genre and the characters are multi-faceted and completely believable. Lord Peter Wimsey comes to the help of his friend Harriet Vane and together they solve the problem of who is behind some very unpleasant activity that has been happening at the college. In working through the situation and unmasking the culprit, Harriet and Lord Peter are also able to assess their relationship and make a major decision.

Gaudy Night

By Dorothy L. Sayers,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Gaudy Night as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The twelfth book in Dorothy L Sayers' classic Lord Peter Wimsey series, introduced by actress Dame Harriet Mary Walter, DBE - a must-read for fans of Agatha Christie's Poirot and Margery Allingham's Campion Mysteries.

'D. L. Sayers is one of the best detective story writers' Daily Telegraph

Harriet Vane has never dared to return to her old Oxford college. Now, despite her scandalous life, she has been summoned back . . .

At first she thinks her worst fears have been fulfilled, as she encounters obscene graffiti, poison pen letters and a disgusting effigy when she arrives at sedate Shrewsbury…


After the Funeral

By Agatha Christie,

Book cover of After the Funeral

Why this book?

Agatha Christie has got to be considered as one of the master craftsmen of the “whodunnit”. In this novel, she presents us with an intriguing mystery and brings in her famous character, Hercule Poirot to solve it. As always, Poirot faces a varied array of possible suspects and the highly-credible reasons as to why he/she may be the guilty party. The pace is consistent and keeps the reader turning the page and trying to guess until the unmasking at the very end.

After the Funeral

By Agatha Christie,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Hercule Poirot is called on to investigate the murder of a brother and sister, in this classic Agatha Christie mystery now available in an updated edition with a foreword Sophie Hannah.

 “He was murdered, wasn’t he?”

When Cora Lansquenet is savagely murdered, the extraordinary remark she had made the previous day at her brother Richard’s funeral suddenly takes on a chilling significance. At the reading of Richard’s will, Cora was clearly heard to say, “It’s been hushed up very nicely, hasn’t it. But he was murdered, wasn’t he?”

Did Cora’s accusation a dark truth that sealed her own fate? Or…


The Murder Book

By Jonathan Kellerman,

Book cover of The Murder Book

Why this book?

This is the first Alex Delaware book that I read, and I became immediately hooked. Delaware is a psychologist-detective based in Los Angeles, who works very closely with his good friend, Milo Sturgis, a detective with the Los Angeles Police Department. This story has them both looking back in time to a murder that Milo failed to solve. Between them they scour the “City of the Angels” and get to grips with this old case that never quite went away.

The Murder Book

By Jonathan Kellerman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Twisting, brutal and terrifying but ultimately redemptive, THE MURDER BOOK by New York Times No. 1 bestselling author Jonathan Kellerman, author of KILLER and BREAKDOWN, is recommended for fans of David Baldacci and Harland Coben.
'Optimism is a feature of The Murder Book although the premise is macabre . . . Kellerman ameliorates the horror with a surprising number of generous characters' (Telegraph)

Alex Delaware's relationship with his long-term partner is on the rocks. He is floored when Robin announces she's heading off on a three-month music tour.

But he soon has other things to think about. He is sent…


One Corpse Too Many

By Ellis Peters,

Book cover of One Corpse Too Many

Why this book?

This is the second in a murder series with a historical slant. Brother Cadfael, ex-crusading soldier-turned-monk is an intriguing character in himself. He runs the monastery’s herb garden in Shrewsbury in 12th Century England. When he is asked to bury 94 bodies of people who died because of the fighting between King Stephen and Empress Maud, he discovers a total of 95 corpses and realises that a very clever murder is lurking in the town.  

One Corpse Too Many

By Ellis Peters,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked One Corpse Too Many as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Brother Cadfael discovers a murder amid the wreckage of Shrewsbury Castle in this mystery series featuring “a colorful and authentic medieval background” (Publishers Weekly).

In the summer of 1138, war between King Stephen and the Empress Maud takes Brother Cadfael from the quiet world of his garden into a battlefield of passions, deceptions, and death. Not far from the safety of the abbey walls, Shrewsbury Castle falls, leaving its ninety-four defenders loyal to the empress to hang as traitors. With a heavy heart, Brother Cadfael agrees to bury the dead, only to make a grisly discovery: one extra victim that…


The Dogs of Riga

By Henning Mankell,

Book cover of The Dogs of Riga

Why this book?

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It’s set in Sweden and takes the reader to Latvia during the disintegration of the Soviet Union, so it touches on another genre that I like to dip into—spy novels. The hero is Kurt Wallander, a sympathetic character, who’s just trying to do his job which, in this case, means dealing with the bodies of two torture victims that have been discovered on the Swedish Coast. Now read on …

The Dogs of Riga

By Henning Mankell,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Sweden, winter, 1991. Inspector Kurt Wallander and his team receive an anonymous tip-off. A few days later a life raft is washed up on a beach. In it are two men, dressed in expensive suits, shot dead.

The dead men were criminals, victims of what seems to have been a gangland hit. But what appears to be an open-and-shut case soon takes on a far more sinister aspect. Wallander travels across the Baltic Sea, to Riga in Latvia, where he is plunged into a frozen, alien world of police surveillance, scarcely veiled threats, and lies.

Doomed always to be one…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in private investigators, Sweden, and murder?

7,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about private investigators, Sweden, and murder.

Private Investigators Explore 196 books about private investigators
Sweden Explore 52 books about Sweden
Murder Explore 497 books about murder

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