81 books like Behind the Red Door

By Megan Collins,

Here are 81 books that Behind the Red Door fans have personally recommended if you like Behind the Red Door. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Arsenic and Adobo

Amy Suiter Clarke Author Of Lay Your Body Down

From my list on amateur sleuths who have no idea what they’re doing.

Why am I passionate about this?

I like to write about everyday people who—whether by overconfidence or desperation—are motivated to solve crimes that hit close to home. My first novel Girl, 11 is about a true crime podcaster investigating a serial killer who terrorized her town decades earlier, and my newest book Lay Your Body Down is about an ex-fundamentalist Christian who returns to her insular community to expose the church’s secrets and uncover the truth of who killed the man she once loved. Normal people can and do solve mysteries before police—and even when detectives are involved, they rely on members of the community. Those are the stories I love to tell.

Amy's book list on amateur sleuths who have no idea what they’re doing

Amy Suiter Clarke Why did Amy love this book?

Oh my goodness, first of all: this book will make you so hungry. So, be prepared for that.

Taking place in a warm, intimate Filipino restaurant outside Chicago, Arsenic and Adobo forces recently dumped Lila Macapagal into action after a brutal restaurant critic (who just so happens to be her ex-boyfriend) drops dead while eating her aunt’s food.

She and Tita Rosie are the main suspects, so Lila has to put on her amateur sleuth hat and figure out what really happened to stay out of jail and save her aunt’s business. Arsenic and Adobo is funny, charming, and layered with enough sweetness and spice to keep you devouring it until the last crumb. 

By Mia P. Manansala,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Arsenic and Adobo as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A RUSA Award-winning novel!

The first book in a new culinary cozy series full of sharp humor and delectable dishes—one that might just be killer....

When Lila Macapagal moves back home to recover from a horrible breakup, her life seems to be following all the typical rom-com tropes. She's tasked with saving her Tita Rosie's failing restaurant, and she has to deal with a group of matchmaking aunties who shower her with love and judgment. But when a notoriously nasty food critic (who happens to be her ex-boyfriend) drops dead moments after a confrontation with Lila, her life quickly swerves…


Book cover of Hollywood Homicide: The First Detective by Day Humorous Mystery

Rob Osler Author Of Devil's Chew Toy

From my list on whodunits with highly entertaining amateur sleuths.

Why am I passionate about this?

My first book love was Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None. The game between author and reader that centers a whodunit has always delighted me. The breadcrumb trail of clues, the misdirection, the inevitable I should have seen it! are my jam. Now an author of whodunits—I have one series published and a second on the way, along with several short stories – I read mysteries with greater scrutiny—in admiration and with a selfish desire to learn from other authors’ envious talents. Each of the books on my list excited me for their excellent storytelling. In the end, I found them just plain entertaining. I hope you do too!

Rob's book list on whodunits with highly entertaining amateur sleuths

Rob Osler Why did Rob love this book?

As much as I love this book’s hero, former television commercial star Dayna Anderson, her tight circle of got-your-back friends is what made this mystery really shine.

To say the cast has big personalities is like calling Hollywood’s Dolby Theater a quaint venue. I laughed out loud throughout and wished I could ride along with these ladies (there are some guys involved, a love interest in particular) as they doggedly unravel the deftly plotted mystery.

I am grateful to Garrett that there is a sequel to this first in the series, Hollywood Ending.

By Kellye Garrett,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Dayna Anderson doesn t set out to solve a murder. All the semi-famous, mega-broke black actress wants is to help her parents keep their house. After witnessing a deadly hit-and-run, she figures pursuing the fifteen-grand reward isn t the craziest thing a Hollywood actress has done for some cash. But what starts as simply trying to remember a speeding car soon blossoms into a full-on investigation. As Dayna digs deeper into the victim s life, she wants more than just reward money. She s determined to find the poor woman's killer too. When she connects the accident to a notorious…


Book cover of Vera Wong's Unsolicited Advice for Murderers

Amy Suiter Clarke Author Of Lay Your Body Down

From my list on amateur sleuths who have no idea what they’re doing.

Why am I passionate about this?

I like to write about everyday people who—whether by overconfidence or desperation—are motivated to solve crimes that hit close to home. My first novel Girl, 11 is about a true crime podcaster investigating a serial killer who terrorized her town decades earlier, and my newest book Lay Your Body Down is about an ex-fundamentalist Christian who returns to her insular community to expose the church’s secrets and uncover the truth of who killed the man she once loved. Normal people can and do solve mysteries before police—and even when detectives are involved, they rely on members of the community. Those are the stories I love to tell.

Amy's book list on amateur sleuths who have no idea what they’re doing

Amy Suiter Clarke Why did Amy love this book?

I was lucky enough to read an early copy of this book, and I am blown away at how Jesse Sutanto continues to smash both her novel concepts and character voices out of the park!

Vera Wong herself is the ultimate amateur sleuth, but she is not reluctant whatsoever. When a dead body turns up in her tea shop, Vera Wong—the most wonderfully grandmotherly non-grandmother—decides the police aren’t up to the task of realizing the young man was murdered, obviously, and so she decides to hunt down the suspects and interview them herself.

Vera is at turns heartwarming and hilarious, infuriating, and delightful. Told through the perspective of Vera and all her murder suspects, this book will keep you guessing until the end—and might just charm your socks off.

By Jesse Q. Sutanto,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Vera Wong's Unsolicited Advice for Murderers as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A lonely shopkeeper takes it upon herself to solve a murder in the most peculiar way in this captivating mystery by Jesse Q. Sutanto, bestselling author of Dial A for Aunties.

Vera Wong is a lonely little old lady—ah, lady of a certain age—who lives above her forgotten tea shop in the middle of San Francisco’s Chinatown. Despite living alone, Vera is not needy, oh no. She likes nothing more than sipping on a good cup of Wulong and doing some healthy detective work on the Internet about what her Gen-Z son is up to.

Then one morning, Vera trudges…


Book cover of I Don't Forgive You

Amy Suiter Clarke Author Of Lay Your Body Down

From my list on amateur sleuths who have no idea what they’re doing.

Why am I passionate about this?

I like to write about everyday people who—whether by overconfidence or desperation—are motivated to solve crimes that hit close to home. My first novel Girl, 11 is about a true crime podcaster investigating a serial killer who terrorized her town decades earlier, and my newest book Lay Your Body Down is about an ex-fundamentalist Christian who returns to her insular community to expose the church’s secrets and uncover the truth of who killed the man she once loved. Normal people can and do solve mysteries before police—and even when detectives are involved, they rely on members of the community. Those are the stories I love to tell.

Amy's book list on amateur sleuths who have no idea what they’re doing

Amy Suiter Clarke Why did Amy love this book?

I love a book where you as the reader are wondering if the main character is—or is starting to go—completely mad.

After a recent move into suburban DC, Allie is setting up her photography business and making a name for herself when a hidden flicker of her past threatens to ruin it all. A local dad winds up dead, and suddenly the police are at her door, questioning her about the apparent relationship she had with him.

Only problem? The mountain of digital evidence of their affair is new to her. Someone has hacked her life, intent on destroying it, and Allie has to figure out who. If you’re looking for a book about the dark, back-stabby, insidious world of successful white moms in a wealthy suburb, hoo boy—this is the one!

By Aggie Blum Thompson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked I Don't Forgive You as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An accomplished photographer and the devoted mom of an adorable little boy, Allie Ross has just moved to an upscale DC suburb, the kind of place where parenting feels like a competitive sport. Allie's desperate to make a good first impression. Then she's framed for murder.

It all starts at a neighbourhood party when a local dad corners Allie and calls her by an old, forgotten nickname from her dark past. The next day, he is found dead.

Soon, the police are knocking at her door, grilling her about a supposed Tinder relationship with the man, and pulling up texts…


Book cover of The Queen and I

Corinne Maier Author Of The Conquest of the Red Man

From my list on tongue-in-cheek about social classes and clashes.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a french writer, I like to write satires and tongue-in-cheek books about society. Work, children, France, social classes... When you find the right angle almost everything can be funny. With my writing I want to entertain, but give the reader something to think about. I hope this list will make you laugh as much I did. 

Corinne's book list on tongue-in-cheek about social classes and clashes

Corinne Maier Why did Corinne love this book?

Let’s imagine the English people have decided to abolish the monarchy. We are back in the eighties, and the Windsor family, expelled from Westminster, is relocated to a poor neighborhood of London and is required to work. The ex-Queen tries to cook, Philip is depressed, Diana wonders about her wardrobe and Charles discovers gardening talents...The Queen and I is a book that plays wonderfully on the human and linguistic gap between high society and common people. Funny situations and the satirical tone made me laugh on each page. I recommend it to all the people who are struggling to make a living—they’ll think it could be worse

By Sue Townsend,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In the not-too-distant future, a radical government has come to power in Great Britain and the Royal family has been moved to a housing estate in Leicester. For the first time, the Royals have to live as ordinary people and they find the experience baffling and frightening, but ultimately enriching. A satire on the failings of the welfare state, the pretensions, expectations and personal foibles of the Royal Family - this warm-hearted and affectionate comedy concerning the Royals' attempts to come to terms with their new situation with moments of gentle irony alternating with pure farce - are just some…


Book cover of Poemcrazy: Freeing Your Life with Words

Marge Pellegrino Author Of Neon Words: 10 Brilliant Ways to Light Up Your Writing

From my list on creative jump starts whatever your medium.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a kid, I loved how words on a page transported me. Later, I was astounded by how the words I wrote myself could help me solve problems, deepen my understanding, and expand my thinking. Over time, that writing offered clarity and built my confidence. And in my most challenging times, writing has saved me over and over again. Learning to observe like a writer or an artist continues to help me be more present in my life. Sharing expressive writing experiences with others, during a 35-year career as a writer and workshop facilitator, allowed me to witness how this creative engagement offers a respite while building resilience and joy in others too.

Marge's book list on creative jump starts whatever your medium

Marge Pellegrino Why did Marge love this book?

Susan Wooldridge’s Poemcrazy is a vibrant collage in which she shares her poetry-writing journey in rich detail. From evocative chapter titles, quotes by poets, and poems from a variety of lesser-known voices, each element plays a part in setting up and illustrating an approach or addressing the topic at hand. My favorite part of this book is the “Practice” opportunities Wooldridge crafts for us. Get out your pencil! This book, informed by Wooldridge’s expressive arts practice, is one in which we, the readers, are invited to play. You’ll be surprised and delighted by what Poemcrazy will inspire you to write.

By Susan G. Wooldridge,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Following the success of several recent inspirational and practical books for would-be writers, Poemcrazy is a perfect guide for everyone who ever wanted to write a poem but was afraid to try. Writing workshop leader Susan Wooldridge shows how to think, use one's senses, and practice exercises that will make poems more likely to happen.


Book cover of The Convent of Pleasure and Other Plays

Alison Findlay Author Of Love's Victory: By Lady Mary Wroth

From my list on women playwrights in Shakespeare’s day.

Why am I passionate about this?

Most people have not heard of a female playwright before Aphra Behn so I’ve been passionate about restoring the work of Shakespeare’s ‘sisters’, or female contemporaries, to the stage and to public awareness. Early play scripts by women are often dismissed as ‘closet drama’: unperformed, not written for performance, and unperformable. To challenge such assumptions, I staged productions of female-authored plays, most recently Wroth’s Love’s Victory. A good deal of writing about women’s drama now exists, including my book Playing Spaces. I have made this selection to encourage you to discover the plays for yourselves. I hope you enjoy reading, and perhaps watching or acting, them.

Alison's book list on women playwrights in Shakespeare’s day

Alison Findlay Why did Alison love this book?

This modern edition gives readers a sample plays by the remarkable Margaret Cavendish, who privately published 2 volumes of plays in 1662 and 1668 though many were probably written earlier.

I find her plays fascinating for the ways they deal explicitly with women’s experiences in love, in war and in marriage.

In this selection Love’s Adventures Parts I and II features a cross-dressing heroine in pursuit of her intended husband; Bell In Campo Parts I and II, dramatizes the experience of a superheroine leading an army, while The Bridals and The Convent of Pleasure satirize love and marriage.

I love The Convent of Pleasure’s depictions of same-sex retreat and desire. Cavendish’s witty prefaces on the difficulties of writing plays for a woman are included as appendices to Shaver’s edition.

By Margaret Cavendish, Anne Shaver (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Convent of Pleasure and Other Plays as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle (1623-1673), until recently remembered more as a flamboyant eccentric than as a serious writer, was in fact the most prolific, thought-provoking, and original woman writer of the Restoration. Cavendish is the author of many poems, short stories, biographies, memoirs, letters, philosophical and scientific works (including The Description of a New World, Called The Blazing World, the first work of science fiction by a woman), and nineteen plays. "The Convent of Pleasure" and Other Plays collects four of Cavendish's dramatic works that are among the most revealing of her attitudes toward marriage and her desire for…


Book cover of The Seven Basic Plots: Why We Tell Stories

James R. Benn Author Of Road of Bones

From my list on essential books for writers.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always wanted to write. It took years to get started, and after working in the library and information technology fields for over thirty-five years, I quit the day job routine in 2011 to write full time. I've learned two valuable lessons since I started writing which have been of immense help. The first is a quote from writer and activist Mary Heaton Vorse, who said, "The art of writing is the art of applying the seat of the pants to the seat of the chair." The second is from novelist Rachel Basch, who told me that "the story has to move down, as well as forward." Both sound simple. Neither is.

James' book list on essential books for writers

James R. Benn Why did James love this book?

This book is a masterwork of more than thirty years of research into why people tell stories. Booker breaks down literature into seven archetypal themes which occur across all types of stories. Using a wealth of examples ranging from ancient myths and folktales to plays and novels of great literature to the popular movies and TV soap operas of today, he demonstrates how these archetypal themes have remained constant over the generations. Not everyone will agree with Booker, but everyone will learn from him—about reading, writing, and understanding. This fascinating read provides writers with a new way to look at their own plotting and tap into the hero’s journey.

By Christopher Booker,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This remarkable and monumental book at last provides a comprehensive answer to the age-old riddle of whether there are only a small number of 'basic stories' in the world. Using a wealth of examples, from ancient myths and folk tales via the plays and novels of great literature to the popular movies and TV soap operas of today, it shows that there are seven archetypal themes which recur throughout every kind of storytelling.
But this is only the prelude to an investigation into how and why we are 'programmed' to imagine stories in these ways, and how they relate to…


Book cover of This Is Shakespeare

Tom Fletcher Author Of Ten Survival Skills for a World in Flux

From my list on navigating an unstable world.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a recovering ambassador, now running an Oxford college. After almost 25 years in diplomacy, including working in no 10 for three prime ministers, I realised that education is upstream diplomacy. If we are to find a way through the challenges ahead – from climate change to pandemics and economic crisis to artificial intelligence – we must act, urgently, to upgrade why, what, and how we learn. I set out to ask hundreds of the most inspirational people on the planet what they wished they had known, and what they would share with the next generation if this was their last day. 

Tom's book list on navigating an unstable world

Tom Fletcher Why did Tom love this book?

A book of immense humanity and authenticity, which reminds us of how the great themes of great literature and art can offer solace and guidance in moments of fragility. By helping us go back to Shakespeare with less insecurity or baggage, the book opens up new perspectives on how others have grappled with these questions about how to be human. And it reminds us that we are allowed to question, challenge, and have fun.

By Emma Smith,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked This Is Shakespeare as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A THE TIMES BOOK OF THE YEAR 2019

'The best introduction to the plays I've read, perhaps the best book on Shakespeare, full stop' Alex Preston, Observer

'It makes you impatient to see or re-read the plays at once' Hilary Mantel

A genius and prophet whose timeless works encapsulate the human condition like no others. A writer who surpassed his contemporaries in vision, originality and literary mastery. Who wrote like an angel, putting it all so much better than anyone else.
Is this Shakespeare? Well, sort of.

But it doesn't really tell us the whole truth. So much of what…


Book cover of Arcadia

Benjamin Markovits Author Of Imposture

From my list on historical fiction about famous writers.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I was fourteen years old, my family moved from Texas to London for a year, and I started going to a little second-hand book shop around the corner. It was run by a long-haired Canadian, who always smoked a pipe. There were only three or four aisles, plus a cluttered backroom. You could pick up a 19th-century edition of the complete works of Shelley, with uncut pages, for two pounds. One volume led to another, in the same way that one friendship can lead to another, or introduce you to a new circle of people. Twenty-odd years later, I decided to write a novel about some of these writers.  

Benjamin's book list on historical fiction about famous writers

Benjamin Markovits Why did Benjamin love this book?

One of my favorite plays. Set in an English country house across two centuries, it tells the story of Thomasina Coverly, a precocious schoolgirl in 1809 who falls in love with her eccentric tutor, Septimus Hodge.

Along the way she discovers a version of the 2nd law of thermodynamics – the fact that everything over time becomes messier. Because of sex, she jokes, apart from anything else. Byron makes a brief appearance and Stoppard manages to make him almost as witty on the stage as he was in life.

It’s a very funny, very clever play, but also incredibly moving, as a brilliant young woman briefly sees the world opening up to her remarkable understanding, before life gets in the way.

By Tom Stoppard,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In a large country house in Derbyshire in April 1809 sits Lady Thomasina Coverly, aged thirteen, and her tutor, Septimus Hodge. Through the window may be seen some of the '500 acres inclusive of lake' where Capability Brown's idealized landscape is about to give way to the 'picturesque' Gothic style: 'everything but vampires', as the garden historian Hannah Jarvis remarks to Bernard Nightingale when they stand in the same room 180 years later.

Bernard has arrived to uncover the scandal which is said to have taken place when Lord Byron stayed at Sidley Park.

Tom Stoppard's absorbing play takes us…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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