90 books like Inspector Colbeck’s Casebook

By Edward Marston,

Here are 90 books that Inspector Colbeck’s Casebook fans have personally recommended if you like Inspector Colbeck’s Casebook. 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 The Long Goodbye

Michelle Hillen Klump Author Of Murder Served Neat

From my list on putting you in the mood for a good cocktail.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a former reporter turned mystery novelist with a fondness for classic cocktails. I’ve always been fascinated by the art of cocktail making, and how a great mixologist knows exactly what ingredients pair well with others to create new and surprising flavors. As a reader, I like a book that engages all of my senses. In the same way that a great description can draw a reader into a scene, the mention of a certain cocktail can evoke specific moods or memories. In each of these books, cocktails contribute to the atmosphere, offering readers something to savor, like a perfectly made Sazerac.

Michelle's book list on putting you in the mood for a good cocktail

Michelle Hillen Klump Why did Michelle love this book?

The Long Goodbye, the sixth novel in Chandler’s Phillip Marlowe series, is a classic noir with gritty gangsters, brutal cops, femme fatales, and plenty of cocktails.

Marlowe drinks his way through the novel on his quest to find out who killed his friend’s wife. In one scene, a character instructs the bartender how to make a proper gimlet using only gin and Rose’s lime juice, leaving you to wonder what bitter truths the man is trying to dilute with the overly sweet concoction.

As you ponder the forces of good and evil in American society, you can look forward to a twist at the end that is worthy of a good French 75. 

By Raymond Chandler,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Long Goodbye as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Ed Bishop stars as Philip Marlowe in a powerful and atmospheric full-cast dramatisation of Raymond Chandler's classic noir novel. The first time Marlowe sets eyes on Terry Lennox, he is lying drunk in the passenger seat of a Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith. The next time, he's on Skid Row. After they share a few Gimlets, Marlowe thinks he seems like a nice guy, but he's had a hard life - his white hair and scarred face testify to that. Or could it be marriage to Sylvia Lennox that has turned him prematurely grey? Although beautiful and rich, she plays the field…


Book cover of A Study in Scarlet

David Cairns Author Of The Case of the Wandering Corpse

From my list on 19th century murder, mystery and mayhem.

Why am I passionate about this?

History has always been a captivating adventure for me, a stage to rekindle the echoes of times long past. My journey began amid musty archives in Hobart, where I stumbled upon a handwritten prison record about my wife's feisty ancestor, transported in the 1830s. There and then, I resolved to breathe life into the fading embers of her existence, and after extensive research, I wrote my first novel, a tapestry of historical events intertwined with the resurrection of long-forgotten souls. Since then, I've applied lessons from masters like Conan Doyle to create exciting, atmospheric stories that turn us all into time travelers on an exhilarating voyage.

David's book list on 19th century murder, mystery and mayhem

David Cairns Why did David love this book?

This is the story that introduced Sherlock Holmes to the world.

The plot brings the reader to the dark streets of Victorian London as a cunning murderer is hunted down. Holmes’s unique powers of observation and deduction then set the bar for all subsequent detective stories as his friend, Watson, is etched into your mind as a ‘true blue’ friend whom you would like to call your own. The story is intricate, delving into the human psyche and the nature of justice. It draws you into the period; it has great characters and mystery, intrigue, and unexpected deductive skills.

I make no apologies for incorporating some of this Sherlockian style into my own mysteries, and perhaps there cannot be a greater tribute than that for this timeless classic. 

By Arthur Conan Doyle,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked A Study in Scarlet as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 9, 10, 11, and 12.

What is this book about?

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's A Study in Scarlet is the literary debut of the world's most famous fictional detective, Sherlock Holmes, introduced by Iain Sinclair with notes by Ed Glinert in Penguin Classics.

Convalescing in London after a disastrous experience of war in Afghanistan, Dr John Watson finds himself sharing rooms with his enigmatic new acquaintance, Sherlock Holmes. But their quiet bachelor life at 221B Baker Street is soon interrupted by the grisly discovery of a dead man in a grimy 'ill-omened' house in south-east London, his face contorted by an expression of horror and hatred such as Watson has…


Book cover of Maigret and the Burglar's Wife

Jim Eldridge Author Of Murder at the Natural History Museum

From my list on by the greatest writers of crime fiction.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always loved history, from ancient Egyptian times up to recent history (the 1950s and 1960s). Put history in the context of a crime and the history becomes even more fascinating. A book where the history of that time comes vividly alive for the reader is the greatest pleasure a reader can experience.

Jim's book list on by the greatest writers of crime fiction

Jim Eldridge Why did Jim love this book?

After Conan Doyle, Georges Simenon is the greatest writer of European crime fiction, especially in his Maigret novels and short stories. This is a wonderful example of Maigret (and Simenon) at his very best, with Maigret and his inspectors coming alive for the reader, and the suspects presenting him with a serious challenge of wits.

By Georges Simenon, Julian Maclaren-Ross (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Maigret and the Burglar's Wife as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

While committing what he intends to be his last burglary, "Sad Freddie" discovers something completely out of his line: the body of a dead woman, her chest covered in blood, holding a telephone in her hand. Inspector Maigret is called in to solve the crime, and after an exhaustive search, a psychological duel, a marathon interrogation, and innumerable glasses of Pernod, wine, cold beer, and brandy--a sure sign that this is no easy case--the famous French sleuth triumphs.

Maigret is a registered trademark of the Estate of Georges Simenon


Book cover of The Mysterious Mr. Quin

Jim Eldridge Author Of Murder at the Natural History Museum

From my list on by the greatest writers of crime fiction.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always loved history, from ancient Egyptian times up to recent history (the 1950s and 1960s). Put history in the context of a crime and the history becomes even more fascinating. A book where the history of that time comes vividly alive for the reader is the greatest pleasure a reader can experience.

Jim's book list on by the greatest writers of crime fiction

Jim Eldridge Why did Jim love this book?

Agatha Christie is deservedly the world’s best-selling crime writer, and most of her readers are familiar with Miss Marple and Hercules Poirot, but with this book we have the undiscovered gems of the mysterious Harley Quin and his partner Mr. Satterthwaite. The book is evocative of England in the 1930s. It makes for addictive reading and shows Christie at her very best.

By Agatha Christie,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A unique offering from the Queen of Crime. This Agatha Christie Signature Edition features the hero the world-famous author was most fond of - Mr Harley Quin, the enigmatic friend and counterpart of the rational Mr Satterthwaite.

So far, it had been a typical New Year's Eve house party. But Mr Satterthwaite - a keen observer of human nature - sensed that the real drama of the evening was yet to unfold.

So it proved when a mysterious stranger arrived after midnight. Who was this Mr Quin? And why did his presence have such a pronounced effect on Eleanor Portal,…


Book cover of The Railway Detective

Chris Turnbull Author Of The Planting of the Penny Hedge

From my list on fiction with an historical twist.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a Yorkshire writer with a passion for historical fiction. My love of history came as a surprise to me in my late teens, as I had originally thought history was not my thing. However, I soon discovered the incredible stories throughout history, and how many authors carve fictional stories around these time periods or historical events. I love researching for my own historical writing, whether it be to find out what kind of jobs people did, or what they ate for breakfast. I love reading and writing historical fiction in multiple eras, such as WW2, Victorian times, and further back to the Romans and ancient Egyptians. 

Chris' book list on fiction with an historical twist

Chris Turnbull Why did Chris love this book?

I have always loved reading crime detective books, no matter what time period they are set in. However, The Railway Detective series manages to merge two of my favourite genres, crime and historical. Set in the mid-1800s when railways were still relatively new, this series has a brilliant set of characters and is written so brilliantly that you can picture every scene in your mind down to the last detail. 

By Edward Marston,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In 1851 England, the city of London anticipates the grand opening of the Great Expedition. Excitement is mounting with each engineering triumph of the railways, but not everyone feels like celebrating. A sudden attack hits the London to Birmingham mail train and it is looted and derailed. Planned with military precision, Detective Inspector Robert Colbeck fights to untangle a web of murder, blackmail and destruction. As Colbeck closes in on the criminal masterminds, events take an unexpected turn when the beautiful Madeline, daughter of the injured train driver, becomes a pawn in the criminals game. With time running out, good…


Book cover of Mystery in White

Benedict Brown Author Of The Snows of Weston Moor

From my list on overlooked classic Christmas whodunits.

Why am I passionate about this?

Having grown up in a family of crime-fiction readers, I published my first murder mystery in 2019 and have created two bestselling series. My 1920s-set “Lord Edgington Investigates…” books have been a big hit for me, and I’ve just published my third Christmas book overall. But that’s not the only reason I’m qualified to recommend Christmassy whodunits. I am obsessed with Christmas and, with a little help from my four-year-old daughter, spend far too much time decorating every December. Let’s just say that my Christmas Lego village is already out of control, and someone really needs to stop me from buying any more before it takes over our house.

Benedict's book list on overlooked classic Christmas whodunits

Benedict Brown Why did Benedict love this book?

I can’t think of a more evocative start to a murder mystery than a steam train stuck in the snow on Christmas Eve. With no hope of getting to their destination, a group of unlikely allies gangs together to find shelter for the night.

Led by the mysterious Mr. Maltby of the Royal Physical Society, they survive a torturous trek through waist-high drifts and hole up in a stately home with the fires blazing but no one on the premises. There are bodies about the house, clues to be deciphered, and an ancient crime to uncover. I was overjoyed to discover this whodunit from 1937 that is full of quirky characters, unexpected twists, and more snow than any other Christmas mystery I’ve read.

By J. Jefferson Farjeon,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'The horror on the train, great though it may turn out to be, will not compare with the horror that exists here, in this house.' On Christmas Eve, heavy snowfall brings a train to a halt near the village of Hemmersby. Several passengers take shelter in a deserted country house, where the fire has been lit and the table laid for tea - but no one is at home. Trapped together for Christmas, the passengers are seeking to unravel the secrets of the empty house when a murderer strikes in their midst.


Book cover of Ghost Train to the Eastern Star

Neill McKee Author Of Finding Myself in Borneo: Sojourns in Sabah

From my list on exotic Asian travel and adventure.

Why am I passionate about this?

My first travel memoir, Finding Myself in Borneo, has won three awards. I hold a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in Communication from Florida State University. I worked internationally for 45 years, becoming an expert in the field of communication for social change. I directed and produced a number of award-winning documentary films/videos, popular multimedia initiatives, and have written numerous articles and books in my field. I worked and lived in Asia, Africa, and Russia for a total of 18 years and traveled to over 80 countries on short-term assignments. In 2015, I settled in New Mexico, using my varied experiences, memories, and imagination in creative writing.

Neill's book list on exotic Asian travel and adventure

Neill McKee Why did Neill love this book?

When I retired from my 45-year career as an international filmmaker and multimedia producer, I decided to concentrate on creative nonfiction writing, using my experiences and memories as a basis for the many stories I wanted to tell. I began to read and listen to travel memoirs to learn how to write in a captivating and entertaining way. Paul Theroux is one of the top writers in this genre and Ghost Train to the Eastern Star is one of his best. He doesn’t make it to Borneo, but reaches many familiar places I traveled to during my years in Southeast Asia. I love his style, full of descriptions of those old haunts, and his dialog with the people he encounters on his journey.

By Paul Theroux,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Ghost Train to the Eastern Star as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Paul Theroux's Ghost Train to the Eastern Star is a journey from London to Asia by train.

Winner of the Stanford Dolman Lifetime Contribution to Travel Writing Award 2020

Thirty years ago Paul Theroux left London and travelled across Asia and back again by train. His account of the journey - The Great Railway Bazaar - was a landmark book and made his name as the foremost travel writer of his generation. Now Theroux makes the trip all over again. Through Eastern Europe, India and Asia to discover the changes that have swept the continents, and also to learn what…


Book cover of Italian Ways: On and Off the Rails from Milan to Palermo

Jules Brown Author Of Not Cool: Europe by Train in a Heatwave

From my list on rail journeys.

Why am I passionate about this?

Jules Brown wrote travel guides for Rough Guides for over thirty years – if there’s a railway timetable somewhere he hasn’t studied, he’d like to know about it. He took his first InterRail trip around Europe when he was seventeen and, as a travel writer, he’s been on trains around the world, from Norway to New Zealand. Jules is the author of two travel memoirs, Don’t Eat the Puffin and Never Pack an Ice-Axe, which – after a lifetime of travel – are still the best bits of advice he has for anyone heading off on a journey.

Jules' book list on rail journeys

Jules Brown Why did Jules love this book?

An English novelist, a long-time resident of (and writer about) Italy, Parks is well placed to offer his hugely entertaining take on rail travel in Europe’s most gloriously maddening country. It’s neither fully a history book nor travelogue, though Parks writes divertingly and inspiringly about both history and travel. Instead, it’s partly an attempt to appreciate Italy through its railways – as he says early on, “if someone wanted to understand Italy, they might start by understanding how the train ticketing system works.” For anyone who has ever wrestled with the intransigence of an Italian rail conductor, stood forlornly waiting for an inexplicably delayed train, been crammed into a corridor with furiously smoking army conscripts, or been fed oranges by a garrulous Sicilian family, this book is a joy of recognition, despair, and delight.

By Tim Parks,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Tim Parks's books on Italy have been hailed as "so vivid, so packed with delectable details, [they] serve as a more than decent substitute for the real thing" (Los Angeles Times Book Review). Now, in his first Italian travelogue in a decade, he delivers a charming and funny portrait of Italian ways by riding its trains from Verona to Milan, Rome to Palermo, and right down to the heel of Italy.

Parks begins as any traveler might: "A train is a train is a train, isn't it?" But soon he turns his novelist's eye to the details, and as he…


Book cover of Around India in 80 Trains

Rajendra B. Aklekar Author Of India’s Railway Man: A Biography of E. Sreedharan

From my list on railways and trains.

Why am I passionate about this?

Rajendra B. Aklekar (born 1974) is an Indian journalist with over 25 years of experience and author of best-selling books on India’s railway history and heritage. He is also the biographer of India’s legendary railway engineer Dr. E Sreedharan. With museology from Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharasj Vastu Sangrahalaya (formerly the Prince of Wales Museum, Mumbai, Aklekar is also a Google-certified Digital Marketer. Aklekar, associated with the Indian Railway Fans’ Club Association, Indian Steam Railway Society, Rail Enthusiasts Society, has contributed significantly while setting up the Rail Heritage Gallery at the UNESCO-listed Mumbai Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus station, formerly Victoria Terminus building, Bombay, and documentation of heritage relics of India’s first railway.

Rajendra's book list on railways and trains

Rajendra B. Aklekar Why did Rajendra love this book?

This out-of-the-box book that takes you on a very Indian train trip on the lines of the iconic work of eminent Jules Verne has been my instant favourite right from the title and idea. The author, the Indian British Tourist went on a trip to the sub-continent on trains and has covered everything from commuter trains to hospital trains. I personally love this book for the various narratives and the “people stories” that reflect as the author goes on trips across the country in trains. The small stories capture the essence of India and bring out the magnitude of railways and how deeply it is connected to Indian social life. As one of my favorite rail authors Ian J. Kerr once told me in a historical context, “No railways, no India.” on how the iron web of railways brought together a nation.

By Monisha Rajesh,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Around India in 80 Trains as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Crackles and sparks with life like an exploding box of Diwali fireworks' -William Dalrymple

'One can only envy Monisha Rajesh as she embarks on this epic journey' -Tim Parks

When she was a child, Monisha Rajesh's family uprooted to Madras in the hope of making India their home, but soon returned to England with a bitter taste in their mouths. Two decades on, Monisha turns to a map of the Indian Railways and takes a page out of Jules Verne's classic tale, embarking on an adventure around India in 80 trains, covering 40,000km - the circumference of the Earth.

Her…


Book cover of Europe by Rail: The Definitive Guide

Jules Brown Author Of Not Cool: Europe by Train in a Heatwave

From my list on rail journeys.

Why am I passionate about this?

Jules Brown wrote travel guides for Rough Guides for over thirty years – if there’s a railway timetable somewhere he hasn’t studied, he’d like to know about it. He took his first InterRail trip around Europe when he was seventeen and, as a travel writer, he’s been on trains around the world, from Norway to New Zealand. Jules is the author of two travel memoirs, Don’t Eat the Puffin and Never Pack an Ice-Axe, which – after a lifetime of travel – are still the best bits of advice he has for anyone heading off on a journey.

Jules' book list on rail journeys

Jules Brown Why did Jules love this book?

Back in the day, no self-respecting InterRail traveller would leave home without the iconic red Thomas Cook European timetable and while it’s still available in different formats these days, apps and websites have removed the urgency of travelling with a big book of timetables. But this sterling work, updated regularly, fills the gap between inspiration and destination – full of the nuts and bolts of European rail travel (what tickets, where, and how to buy) while featuring over fifty routes, complete with descriptions, diversions, recommendations, and discoveries. It’s brilliant for the armchair traveller, and invaluable for anyone eyeing a leisurely ride on the rails around Europe.

By Nicky Gardner, Susanne Kries,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Whether you are making a long grand tour or just planning a couple of weekend breaks, Europe by Rail is the perfect guide. The book describes over 50 key routes in detail. Together, they span mainland Europe and - brand new for this 16th edition - now also the British Isles. Each route can be followed in its entirety or used as a building block in a longer itinerary. Beyond the main routes you will find worthwhile excursions well off the beaten track. Written by two highly experienced travellers, Europe by Rail contains useful tips about how to plan your…


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